History of Shelby County (KY) Baptist Association
A History of Baptists in Kentucky
By Frank Masters
      The Shelby County Association was organized August 16, 1872 Clayvillage Baptist Church of fourteen churches located in Shelby County. Four churches - Mt. Moriah, Mt. Vernon, Pigeon Fork, and Salem - we members of the Middle District Association, constituted in 1837, but dissolved at this time. Four of the churches - Buck Creek, Clayvillage, Shelbyville, and Little Mount - came from the Long Run Association; while Buffalo Lick and Christiansburg were from Franklin Association. Indian Fork was received after the organization of the body, which made eleven churches, aggregating 1797 members.

      Elder B. F. Hungerford, principal originator of the Shelby County Association, was elected Moderator, and served six years. He came to Shelbyville in 1860, where he was ordained to the ministry. T. J. Doolan was elected Clerk, and continued in the office eight successive years. The introductory sermon was preached by Elder J. D. Bohannon. A circular letter was sent out from this meeting, requesting correspondence with the neighboring associations. In this letter appears the following: "As a body, we encourage all causes of benevolence. We sustain by our prayers, our influence, and our contributions, Sabbath schools, and Foreign, State and Domestic Missions."

      The session of 1873 was held with the church at Shelbyville, and Elder William M. Pratt delivered the introductory sermon. A constitution was adopted, of which the ninth article reads: "No church of this Association shall be considered as acting in good faith with sister churches, which practices receiving the excluded members of a Baptist church, without first investigating the case in connection with the church, in which the exclusion occurred." Elder George W. Gibson was appointed missionary in the Association. His duty was to teach sacred music. As far as is known this action was the first taken in an association in Kentucky to appoint a missionary to the exclusive work of teaching singing. In 1876, the following was adopted: "We record the sentiment of this body as decidedly opposed to the manufacture, traffic, and use of what intoxicates, except it may be for mechanical or medicinal purposes." Three years later a similar resolution was adopted: "No church can permit its members to engage in this traffic (of intoxicating liquors) without ignoring the teaching of God's word, and compromising its claim to be a church of Christ."

      The Association met with the Indian Fork Church in 1880. Elder Shelby Vannatta was elected Moderator and continued to serve until 1897, a period of twelve years. J. E. Nunn was elected clerk and continued in that office seven years. Fifteen churches were represented with 2096 members. In 1893, the twenty-one co-operating churches reported 236 baptisms, 64 received by letter, and a total of 3417 members. In 1903, the Association met with the Buck Creek Church. Twenty-two churches were represented, which reported 334 baptisms, 117 received by letter and a total of 4113 members. Elder John A. Middleton was elected Moderator for the seventh time, and John T. Doyle was elected Clerk for the fourth year, and continued to serve in that office until 1924, twenty-five years. Thirty years later, 1933, there were twenty-three cooperating churches with 5889 members.

      In 1948, the Shelby County Association met with the Hempridge Church September 2-3. Twenty-four churches were represented, which reported a total of 8,027 members, and 4,040 pupils enrolled in the Sunday schools. The First Church, Shelbyville, reported 1280 members, and Dr. C. W. Elsey, pastor, who was in the twenty-second year of service. The second largest church was Salem, Rev. D. R. Bennett, pastor, with 629 members.*
* Minutes of the Shelby County Association of Baptists; Spencer, John H., A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1885, Vol. 2, pp.638-641.


[Frank M. Masters, A History of Baptists in Kentucky , 1953, pp. 424-5. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

Kentucky Baptist Church Histories
Baptist History Homepage