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The Great Crossing Baptist Church
By Samuel H. Ford, 1856
      Or, as it was first known, the Big Crossing. During the year 1776, several families collected from the mouth of Kentucky River and Drennon's Lick, and built a fort at Royal Spring, where Georgetown, Scott county, now stands. About three miles north-west of the spring, the great buffalo trace from the south Kentucky to the Ohio, crossed the Elkhorn. A small fort was built there in 1778, but was soon abandoned, as was also Clelland's Station, at the Royal Spring. Clelland was killed, and his party returned to Harrodsburg and Bryan's Station. The winter of 1783-4 was a severe one, yet the hunters and surveyors were out in all directions pursuing their different objects. Colonel Robert Johnson, whose residence had been at Bryan's Station, removed to the Great Crossing in the spring of 1784. It was the most exposed frontier. Not a week, scarcely a day, passed but some Indian sign was seen, or some desperate effort to invade or burn the fort.1 This was erected a few hundred yards from the crossing.

      Col. Johnson was distinguished for that high-toned integrity and courage which marked the age in which he lived; and in the sanguinary conflicts with the savage foe, the confidence reposed in his skill and courage, gave him a conspicuous position in any hazardous enterprise. A companion in arms with Logan and Clark, and Boone, he was elected to the first Convention held in Danville to form Kentucky into a State; was a member of the Convention which framed the first Constitution, and was among the first senators chosen by the electors in 1792. His sons, Richard M. Johnson, and James Johnson, and J. T. Johnson, are names familiar.

      No sooner did the settlement increase around the crossing fort, than Johnson, who was a man of God, urged the constitution of a church. Lewis Craig, John Taylor and William Hickman had made visits, and preached in the fort while sentinels kept guard, and bands of Indians were known to be in the vicinity. The internal space, surrounded by block-houses and palisades, was the temple where God was worshiped and his word proclaimed.

      On the 23d of May, 1785, sixteen Baptists were gathered in the cabin of Col. Robert Johnson for the purpose of giving themselves to each other and the Lord. They were William Cave, Robert Johnson, James Suggett, William Carr, Bartlett Collins, and nine others. One month afterwards, in the fort, with the echo of the war-cry still ringing in their ears, and tragic scenes of blood and massacre fresh in their memory, Lewis Craig, Wm. Hickman, and John Taylor attended as helps; and the "Baptist Church of Jesus Christ at Big Crossing," made the third church constituted north of the Kentucky river. For the first year nothing of special importance occurred, except that Elijah Craig moved soon after into the neighborhood, and became pastor of the church.
1 Collins' History of Kentucky, p. 509.


[From Samuel H. Ford, editor, The Christian Repository, 1856, "History of the Kentucky Baptists," chapter 5. Document from SBTS Library microfilm. The footnote symbol changed to a number. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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