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Morris Lassing
Early Primitive Baptist in Boone County (KY)
By Jim Duvall
J. H. Spencer, in A History of Kentucky Baptists says of Morris Lassing: "He was raised up to the ministry within the bounds of Licking Association. He was born in Bavaria, Germany, August 3, 1800. He was liberally educated by Catholic parents. But after coming to mature years, he became a free-thinker, or a disbeliever in revealed religion. In 1824, he emigrated to the United States, and shortly afterwards settled in Boone County, KY. In 1834, he was awakened from his delusive dream of infidelity, and after seeking and finding peace in the Savior, was baptized by William Hume [Pastor of Crews Creek Baptist Church, Kenton County, KY], in August of that year. He possessed an extensive stock of knowledge, and gave his church satisfactory evidence of his call to the ministry. Accordingly, he was ordained to that sacred office, April 29, 1854. He immediately assumed the pastoral care of Sardis Baptist Church in Union, Kentucky and continued to serve in that position during the remainder of his earthly life. He also traveled considerably and preached to the churches of his order in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. He was afflicted with heart disease for some time and died on January 9, 1867." [Vol. 2, pp. 248-9.]

Morris Lassing was listed as a messenger to the Salem Predestinarian Baptist Association from the Dry Creek Baptist Church in 1845. He was chosen as one of the bearers of the Letter of Correspondence to the Licking Association when it met in September of that year in Williamstown, KY.

In 1850 Lassing was still at Dry Creek and was a messenger to the Salem Association. He also represented Salem Association to the Mount Pleasant Baptist Association in Shelby County, KY in September of that year. From the wording of the associational Minutes, he probably had attended the Licking Association meeting in central Kentucky in 1850 as a messenger fom Salem Association. But when Licking Association's messengers came to the Salem Association meeting in Boone County in August, 1850, Salem withdrew correspondence from them and refused to recognize them. T. P. Dudley, the long-time moderator of the Licking Association, had written an essay and published it in 1849, concerning what many called the "Two-Souls Doctrine." Many churches of the Licking Baptist Association considered it heretical and all three of the associations then correponding with the Licking Association withdrew from fellowhship from them.

The 1850 Boone County Census, District #2 [Item #188 on p. 31] lists Morris Lassing as a farmer with 9,000 acres. He was 50 years of age and his wife, Martha, was 39 years old. At that time his son, Leonard W. was 23 and his son, H. C. was 17.

In 1852 the Licking Association held its annual meeting at Sardis Baptist Church, Union, KY. That year the Sardis church had received 3 members by letter, 1 member had died and there was a total of 26 members. Morris Lassing had been licensed by the church to preach and he was a messenger to the association from the church that year. He was ordained in 1854 (or 1856) and became pastor at Sardis. [Licking Baptist Association Minutes]

Lassing is listed in the 1851 county tax assessment records as owning 11 slaves valued at $1,100. [p. 14] In 1860 Lassing is listed as owning 18 slaves, the third largest number in the county. [Paul Taylor, Slavery in Boone County (and its Aftermath), Frankfort, KY: np, 1968, p. 15.]

Lassing's son, Henry C., served in the CSA in the Civil War and was captured. He later became a physician in Boone County.

Mary Bristow of Union was a member of the church and wrote a diary in which she tells many personal things about Morris Lassing as her pastor. She wrote in 1866: "Br Lassing has not been able to preach for us, nor even to meet with us for long time. Nor have I any hope he ever will again. Very faithfully has he attended us since May '56 (ten years) until his health got so poor - not for filthy lucre, for he never would receive one cent from the Church. Therefore he must have been actuated alone by love to God and his people." Lassing died the next January following this entry.

See more of Mary Bristow's comments here.

[From Spencer's A History of the Kentucky Baptists, 1885; Salem Predestinarian Baptist Association Minutes; Licking Baptist Association Minutes; Paul Tanner's Slavery In Boone County, KY, and "Aunt Polly's Diary." - Written and transcribed by Jim Duvall.]

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