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Early History of the Long Run Baptist Association in Kentucky
[Part 1 1803-1816]
Spencer's A History of Kentucky Baptists
1886
     In accordance with a resolution adopted by Salem Association, at its 19th annual meeting, all the churches of that body, north of Salt river, were set off to form a new association. The boundary occupied by these churches included, not only all the country lying between Salt river and the Ohio, from their junction to a line running due south from the mouth of Kentucky river to the first named stream, but also the adjacent border of what is now the State of Indiana. The churches thus designated, 24 in number, and aggregating 1,619 members, met by their messengers, at Long Run meetinghouse, in Jefferson county, on the 16th of September, 1803. A sermon was preached by John Taylor, from the words: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord:" I Cor. 15:58. It would be well if the Association, then about to be formed, would perpetually cherish that text, as a motto.

     After the sermon, the names of the churches and their messengers were enrolled, in the usual form. James Dupuy was chosen Moderator, and William Ford, Clerk. Ministering brethren, not messengers, invited to seats. Being thus organized, it was, "Agreed unanimously, that this Association be constituted, on the Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith, excepting some things contained in the 3d and 5th articles, if construed so as to make God the author of sin. Also, in the 31st article, respecting laying hands on newly baptized persons, that the using, or not using that ceremony, be no bar to fellowship. And that an oath before a magistrate be not considered a part of religious worship as contained in the 24th article of the same. The rules of decorum used by Salem Association, were adopted, till the new fraternity should agree on rules of their own. Such rules, having been prepared in the usual form, by James Dupuy, William Ford and Isaac Ellis, were adopted at the next session.

     The new fraternity took the name of "Long Run Association." They tendered correspondence to Salem and Elkhorn Associations. Some confusion, in two of the churches, demanded the attention of the body. Long Run church had divided into a majority and a large minority. 1 The matter was investigated and the minority was recognized as Long Run church. William Marshall, who was excluded from Fox Run church about this time, charged that organization with tolerating Arianism among its members. The Association took up the charge and appointed Philip Webber, James Dupuy, Moses Scott, Samuel Tinsley, David Standifer, John Taylor, John Penny, George Waller, Isaac Ellis, William Kellar, Thomas White and Reuben Smith, or a majority of them, a committee to investigate the matter and report to the next Association.

     It was agreed to appoint three quarterly meetings for the ensuing year: The first, at Sulphur Fork, the 3d Saturday in November, to be attended by John Taylor and John Penny; the second at Burks Branch, the 3d Saturday in April, to be attended by Moses Scott, James McQuade and George Waller; the third at Silver Creek, the 3d Saturday in July, to be attended by Reuben Smith, George Waller and John Dupuy. The churches were advised not to send more than two or three messengers to the Association, in future. A circular letter was adopted, the ordinary appointments made, and the body adjourned.

     Besides the 24 churches which entered into the constitution, two others were received immediately after the organization. Their names were East Floyds Fork and Port William. The churches now comprising the new fraternity were located, (as the counties now stand) as follows: Beargrass, Chenowiths Run, Long Run and Cane and Back Run, in Jefferson county; Brashears Creek, Fox Run, Beech Creek, Tick Creek, Plum and Buck Creek, Six-Mile, Burks Branch and South Long Run, in Shelby; Buck and Elk Creek, Little Mount and Ridge (probably) in Spencer; Harrods Creek, Floyds Fork, Eighteen-Mile and Lick Branch, in Oldham; Rocklick, Sulphur Fork and East Floyds Fork, in Henry; Salt River, in Anderson; Corn Creek, in Trimble; Port William, in Carroll, and Silver Creek, in Floyd county, Indiana.

     Of these 26 churches, Salt River (now Anti-missionary), Beech Creek (also Anti-missionary), Harrods Creek, Long Run, Eighteen-Mile, Corn Creek, Burks Branch and Little Mount still retain their original names and localities. Beargrass was destroyed by Campbellism. Brashears Creek changed its name to Clear Creek. Most of its members went into Shelbyville church, and the remnant dissolved. Chenowiths Run was greatly reduced by Campbellism. The remnant moved to a point on the Bardstown turnpike, twelve miles south of Louisville, and took the name of Cedar Creek. Fox Run moved its location, a few years past, a short distance, to Eminence, in Henry county; but retains its original name. Bucks and Elk Creek, split on the subject of missions, about the year 1838. The Anti-missionary party finally dissolved. The missionary party took the name of Elk Creek. A few years past, it split in a contention about its pastor. At present, there are two churches, nominally of the same faith and order, worshipping in the same house, and each calling itself Elk Creek church. They occupy the original locality of Buck and Elk Creek. Ridge numbered only five members when it went into the constitution of Long Run Association. It dissolved the same year. Tick Creek took the name of Bethel, in 1810. About 1840, it split on the subject of missions, and formed two churches. The Anti-missionary church retained the name of Bethel, and still occupies its ancient locality. The Missionary church moved about a half-mile, and took the name of Clay Village, which it still retains. Silver Creek, which was at first called Plum Creek, after various vicissitudes, located at the county seat of Floyd, where it is known as the church of Charleston. It was the first religious organization, of any kind, in what is now the State of Indiana. Plum and Buck Creek took the name of Buck Creek, in 1806. In 1849 it split over a difficulty about its pastor, and formed two churches in the same house, called Buck Creek, and Second Buck Creek. About 1860, the two churches reunited and formed the present Buck Creek church, which still occupies the ancient location of Plum and Buck Creek. Six-Mile took the name of Christiansburg, from a small village that grew up in its locality, on the Louisville and Frankfort Railroad. It is now in a very flourishing condition, under the pastoral care of T. M. Vaughan. Lick Branch, moved its location a short distance to the county seat of Oldham, where it is now known as the Church at Lagrange. Floyds Fork enjoyed a moderate degree of prosperity for a few years. But most of its members, including three preachers, of the name of Stark, having moved to Indiana, it dissolved, about 1816. The reader should not confound this ancient organization with the church now called Fisherville, which formerly bore the name of Floyds Fork. Cane and Back Run was located in the Southeast comer of Jefferson county. It split in two on the subject of missions. The Anti-missionary party retained the original name till it dwindled away. The Missionary party moved a short distance within the bounds of Bullitt county, and took the name of Kings church. It is now quite prosperous under the ministry of that valuable servant of Jesus Christ, W. E. Powers. Sulphur Fork split on the subject of missions about 1840. The Anti-missionary party still retains the original name and location. The Missionary party moved less than a mile and took the name of Campbellsburg, from a small village in which it is located. Rocklick united with North Six-Mile, and took the name of Mt. Pleasant. It is now a small Anti- missionary church located near the village of Pleasureville, in Henry county. South Long Run was considerably reduced by the Campbellite schism in 1830. Most of the members who remained Baptists went into a church at Simpsonville, in Shelby county, about two miles distant, and the remnant dissolved. East Floyds Fork remained at its original location till a few years past, when it moved some two miles north, to Smithfield, a small village on the Louisville and Frankfort Railroad, where it is known as East Fork church. Port William was constituted in 1800, on the present site of Carrollton, at the mouth of Kentucky river. It was afterwards moved a few miles up the Ohio, and took the name of McCool's Bottom. Again, after some years, it was moved to the village of Ghent, the name of which it now bears.

     The ministers who went into the new Association were: James McQuade, Reuben Smith, James Dupuy, Moses Scott, William Kellar, John Penny, Isaac Edwards, Philip Webber, Abraham Cook. John Metcalf, John Dupuy, John Taylor, Henson Hobbs, and William McCoy. Several others were in the organization, who afterwards became ministers, and some of whom were then licensed preachers. Among these were John Edwards, Stark Dupuy, David Standifer, William Ford, Martin Utterback, Isaac McCoy, Isaac Whitaker, William Dawkins, Abraham, David and Jonathan Stark, Edmund Waller, Thomas White and George Waller. Alan McGuire came into the Association, with East Floyds Fork, and William Marshall, so famous for his eloquence and power in Virginia, had recently been excluded from Fox Run church.

     In 1804, the Association held its second session, at Six-Mile. Four additional churches were admitted into the union. Drennons Creek (with Lazarus Whitehead as its minister), which had united with Elkhorn Association in 1799, now joined Long Run, by letter. It was for many years the largest church in the Association, and, perhaps, the largest in the State. It is located at the county seat of Henry, and is now known as the Church at Newcastle. Drennons Ridge had been admitted into Elkhorn, in 1802. It still retains its original name and location, in the eastern part of Henry county. Twins had been admitted into Elkhorn in 1801. It has been a very flourishing church. It is located in the northern part of Owen county, and is now known by the name of New Liberty. Bluestone was a small newly constituted church, located near the line between Shelby and Anderson counties. It dissolved in 1810. John Scott, a valuable preacher came into the Association with Twins church, and Isaac Malin came in with Drennons Ridge. The church at Fox Run was acquitted of the charge brought against it the previous year, and the Association admitted that it had cause of grief on account of the charges having been entertained. It will be remembered that the complaint had been made to the Association, by an excluded member. This year (1804), Six-Mile church brought four charges against Fox Run, all pertaining to the exclusion of William Marshall and the causes which led to it; but the Association decided that none of the charges were authenticated. The Association, at its first meeting, had invited to seats in the body, a number of members of the churches of which it was composed, who had not been sent by those churches. In answer to a query from Plum & Buck, as to the legality of such proceeding, the Association answered that it was lawful, but not expedient. It also advised, in answer to a query from Buck & Elk, "that no stranger be invited to preach, without coming well recommended."

     In 1805, the Association met at Brashears Creek. Some of the churches were still agitated, about the exclusion of William Marshall. Six-Mile complained of the Association for refusing to receive Mr. Marshall's charge against Fox Run. But the Association answered: "After having the matter fairly investigated, we think no excommunicated person has a right to appeal to an Association." The subject of Freemasonry was discussed, and it was decided that "any member of our society is condemnable in joining a Freemason lodge." Buffalo Lick church, which still retains its original name and location, in the eastern part of Shelby county, was received into the Association, this year. Flat Rock church petitioned for admittance. But having been formed of the disorderly majority of Long Run church, referred to in the minutes of 1803, it was rejected. However, a committee was appointed to visit the church, and to endeavor to set it right. The next year it was cordially received. It was located some three miles west of Long Run church. A large majority of its members became Campbellites, and held possession of its house of worship. Those who remained Baptists organized what is still known as Pleasant Grove church, in Jefferson county.

     In 1806, South Benson church, which had joined Elkhorn, in 1801, was received into the Association. It still retains its original name and location, in Franklin county. A query from Brashears Creek was propounded and answered, as follows: "Is it consistent with the Scriptures to preach, or perform any religious service, at, or because of the burial of deceased persons? Answer. We think it is inconsistent."

     In 1807, Crooked Creek church, in Indiana, and the church still known as Indian Fork, in Shelby county, were received. With the former, Jesse and John Vawter, both good preachers, came into the Association. Twins church complained of Drennons Ridge, for having received one of her excluded members. This breach of order, on the part of Drennons Ridge, not only kept up an ill-feeling between the two churches, but was also an annoyance to the Association, for two or three years. If a church has a right to receive into its fellowship persons excluded from a sister church, it is certainly very imprudent to exercise that right in a majority of cases.

     From the constitution of the Association, till 1809, a great spiritual dearth prevailed throughout its territory, and it had little increase. But the body was watchful of the peace, order and sound faith of the churches, and advised great tenderness, but also great firmness, in discipline. Towards the close of the last named year, a revival spirit began to be manifest among the churches, an increased in-gathering of souls was reported to the Association. This was "like the falling of a few drops before the more copious shower." In 1810, the churches reported 956 baptisms; and five new churches were received. These churches were Knob Creek and Indian Creek, in Indiana; Little Flock, in Bullitt county; Plum Creek, in Spencer, and Whites Run, in Gallatin. The last three still exist, though Little Flock is in rather a feeble state. The revival aroused the spirit of missions. A letter from Stark Dupuy, urging the sending of the gospel to the Indians, was read, and referred to the consideration of the churches till next Association. In 1811, three new churches were received: Upper Blue River and Lower Blue River, in Indiana, and Beech Ridge, in Shelby county. The latter was located some five miles south-east from Shelbyville. In 1823, it changed its name to Salem, by which designation it is still known. It is now in a prosperous condition, under the care of J. B. Tharp. The spirit of missions still animated the Association, in 1811. The letter of Stark Dupuy was again under consideration, but was referred to the churches for another year's consideration. The following was recorded on the minutes of this year: "Query from Harrods Creek: Is it not advisable that the ministers, belonging to the churches of this Association, visit the churches round, and preach to them once a year? Answer: Yes, so far as ministering brethren will voluntarily engage in this good work. Brethren, John Taylor, Joshua Rucker, Benjamin Allen, William Kellar, George Waller, Abraham Cook, Alan McGuire, James McQuade, William Hickman, Philemon Vawter, Daniel Robins, and William McCoy have given their consent to put in practice the above."

     The Association now numbered 41 churches, aggregating 2,925 members, and was, at that period, the largest fraternity of the kind in the state. A division was proposed, and referred to the churches for consideration. During the ensuing year, six of the churches, located in Indiana, went into the constitution of Silver Creek Association. These churches were: Silver Creek, Crooked Creek, Knob Creek, Upper Blue River, Indian Creek and Lower Blue River. They aggregated only one hundred and sixty-five members.

     In 1812, in accordance with a request from David Benedict, who was then preparing a history of the American Baptists, the names of ministers were, for the first time, printed in small capitals. The following items were recorded on the minutes of this year:
"Query from Burks Branch: What shall be done with a black member having his wife taken from him and removed to a distant part, and he marry another?
Answer: We advise that churches, in such cases, should act prudently and tenderly toward that afflicted people."

     A request from East Floyds Fork, that this Association shall form some plan which would be likely to prevent the ordination of improper persons to the ministry. We advise that in the ordination of ministers, the united consent of the church be gained; and we think it not improper for her to advise with the sister churches most convenient; and [that] at least three experienced men in the ministry be called to assist in the work, having due regard to the word of the Lord on the subject." Two churches were received into the Association: Dover in Shelby, and Goshen in Anderson county. Both these churches still retain their original names and locations; but the latter is now a small Anti-mission fraternity.

     The only item of general interest, considered at the meeting of 1813, was the subject of a general meeting of correspondence for the Baptists of the whole State, proposed and advocated by Silas M. Noel, in the first number of the Gospel Herald. The conclusion of the Association was, "That we think the Scriptures know nothing of such meetings, [and] therefore think them unnecessary." Two new churches were received at this session: Pattons Creek, in Trimble county, and Flat Creek, the locality of which is unknown. The latter dissolved about 1821, the former changed its name to Pleasant Ridge2 about 1838.

     In 1814, Cane Run church, in Henry county, was received. In answer to queries from the churches, the Association expressed the opinion that the office of a deacon was to administer the temporal affairs of the church. Also, that a witness in a case of church discipline may vote in the case, but the accused may not.

     In 1815, the First Church in Louisville was received into the Association. Previous to this, there had been no Baptist organization in that city.

     The First Baptist Church in Louisville was gathered by Henson Hobbs, and was constituted of fourteen members, at the house of Mark Lampton, just east of the Marine Hospital, in 1815. Mr. Hobbs served it as pastor, from its constitution, till his death, which occurred August 14, 1821. He was immediately succeeded by Philip S. Fall, who ministered to it three years. After this, it was supplied with preaching, by Benjamin Allen and John B. Curl, till 1830. At this date, it numbered two hundred and ninety-four members. But both of its preachers apostatized to Campbellism, and carried with them all the church, except eighty-five members. To this remnant, George Waller ministered, till 1834. He was succeeded by John S. Wilson, who served the church till his death, which occurred August 28, 1835. He was succeeded by William C. Buck, who served the church four years. Mr. Buck was followed by John Finley, in 1840. He resigned the next year, and moved to Tennessee. The church had been so regularly prosperous, that it had increased from eighty-one members, in 1831, to six hundred and ninety-seven members, in 1841. The next year it was reduced to two hundred and seventy-nine members, by the dismission of five hundred and fifty-nine colored members, to go into a separate organization. In 1843, A. D. Sears was called to the care of the church. He baptized one hundred and thirty-six, the first year. Mr. Sears served the church till 1850, when it united with the Second Church in Louisville, numbering one hundred and ten members, and took the name of Walnut Street Church, by which title it is still known.

     In 1815, the subject of foreign missions was brought before Long Run Association, as follows: "A letter from Brother Luther Rice was received, . . . and agreeably to a request in said letter, Brother George Waller was appointed a Corresponding Secretary, for the purpose of obtaining such information from the Board. . . as may be necessary to diffuse through the society. The pamphlets, entitled 'Missionary Reports,' were distributed among the churches, and paid for."

     William Ford, William Kellar, Robert Tompkins, Z. Carpenter, Isaac Forbes, John Jones, and James Bartlett were appointed a committee to receive contributions, and appropriate the same to the support of missionaries on the western frontiers. This was the first missionary board appointed by Long Run Association. Their first annual report showed that they had received $209.06, all of which, except $63.24, which remained in the treasury, had been expended in support of western missionaries.

     In 1816, in answer to a query from Indian Fork, concerning the ordination of deacons, the Association opined that "ordination by a presbytery is not necessary, the setting them apart by the church being sufficient." This opinion appears to have been given from a partial view of the subject, and does not accord with the general practice of the denomination, or with apostolic example.

     During this year, a revival commenced among the churches, and continued about four years, during which 1,138 converts were baptized, within the bounds of the Association.

     In 1816, McCools Bottom, Goshen and Whites Run churches were dismissed to go into the constitution of Franklin Association, and the next year, Six-Mile, Indian Fork, Buffalo Lick and Beech Creek were dismissed to join that organization. In 1818, North Six-Mile and Union Spring, newly constituted churches, were received into the Association. The next year, Shelbyville, Pigeon Fork, Mt. Moriah and Hunters Bottom were received. North Six-Mile, probably gathered by John Metcalf, was located in the southeastern part of Henry county. In 1837 it united with Rock Lick to form Mt. Pleasant church. Union Spring was located on Little Kentucky river, in the northern part of Trimble county. It lost nearly half of its members by the Campbellite schism, in 1830. In 1840, it identified itself with the Anti-mission faction of Sulphur Fork Association, after which it withered, and finally dissolved. Shelbyville and Mt. Moriah retain their original names and locations, in Shelby county. Pigeon Fork was located about a half mile from the present village of Smithfield, in Henry county. Hunters Bottom was gathered by John Wallace, and located near the Ohio river, in Trimble county. It dissolved about 1830. Hopewell church, in Henry county, was received into the Association, in 1820; but was dismissed the next year, together with Hunter's Bottom and Dennons Ridge, to go into the constitution of Concord Association.

Endnotes

1 For an account of this division, see the history of Long Run church.
2 It is now called Sligo.

==== [End of Part 1; for Part 2 go here.] ====

[From J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1886; rpt. 1984, pp. 150-160. The title for this essay has been supplied. Jim Duvall]



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