By S. J. Conkwright
Lulbegrud Church was located on the banks of Lulbegrud Creek in Montgomery County, Kentucky. The author was able to find three record books of this church, which have been preserved, the first book beginning with the date of constitution and ending with the meeting on September 15, 1804. The second book begins with September, 1818 and ends, with July, 1820. The third book begins with April, 1835, and ends with September, 1903. This sketch has been compiled from the information obtained from these three books, together with the records of South Kentucky, North District and Boone's Creek Associations.
The church was constituted on the third Saturday in March, 1793. The first entry is as follows: "We United Baptists, twenty in number, were constituted
a Gospel Church of Jesus Christ, founded on the unchangeable word of the Lord which endureth forever. He Himself being the Chief Corner Stone. Held justification in the sight of God alone by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Believers in baptism by immersion, and final preservation of the saints through grace."
The eleventh article of the rules of decorum is as follows: "That it is the duty of each member of the church to attend each church meeting, unless providentially prevented, and for neglecting to attend the church meetings, may be dealt with by the church." And the records show that this was enforced time and again.
Elders Thomas Ammon and Andrew Tribble, of South Kentucky Association assisted in the constitution of this church.
In March, 1794, John Summers and John Allen were chosen elders. At the same meeting Martin Dewitt and Edward Williams were elected deacons. And the following August they elected Elijah Summers, Daniel Williams, John Treadway and Anthony Griffin as messengers to the South Kentucky Association, which was to meet at Gilbert's Creek.
The church had no regular pastor for several years after their constitution, but presumably they had some preaching during this time, although the records do not state by whom. Tradition says that Daniel Williams preached for them during this period. In July, 1799, we find the first record of the church having extended a call to a preacher, when Elder Daniel Williams was tendered the pastorate. From the following entry in the church book, in June, 1800, "the church proposed to call on Brother Williams to know the cause why he neglected to attend this church," it would seem that he never accepted the call. It appears that their first pastor was that eminent man of God, Moses Bledsoe, who preached for them for several years. It is believed that he was succeed by Elder David Barrow, but he did not officiate for many years on account his holding emancipation views. Elder David Barrow was a man of the highest order of talent, a fine preacher, very zealous, well educated and possessed of thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. Before coming to Kentucky, in 1798, he lived in Virginia, and from his entry into the ministry, in 1771, he was a shining light among the churches and associations in Virginia. He lived in a day when a contest was going on between the friends and the foes of religious liberty, and he became one of the principal leaders of reform and employed his talents and influence to obtain a change in many of the then existing oppressive laws of Virginia and he was known in his day as the "Wise Man."
There was then an interval of a few years when the church was without a regular preacher, but the members met on the regular days, had singing and prayer and conducted their church business. Some of their records at this time are very brief, like the following: "Met in peace, parted in love." In October 1801, we find this entry:
"Querry. Can this church fellowship the conduct of her members, communing with societies that do not hold with, nor practice baptism by immersion?"
Answer. "We do not fellowship such conduct." In July, 1802, the church agreed to hold their meetings at the Lulbegrud school house until better accommodations could be obtained.
In March, 1803, the minutes of the church for the first time are signed by a moderator and clerk; Moses Bledsoe being moderator and Will Orear clerk of this meeting. On May 21, 1803, James French was received by letter from Otter Creek Church, of Madison County. In July, 1803, another trustee was appointed to assist those already acting, to see about building a meeting house. The last entry in the first minute book, on September 13, 1804, is as follows: "The church appointed a committtee to confer with a committee from Mt. Sterling Church to see if the joint committee could not agree on a lot to erect a church house for each congregation to use; if so to fix a plan to prosecute the building." Brother Jilson Payne was moderator of this meeting. We have no way of knowing whether this was ever carried into effect, as from this date until September, 1818, there are no church records that would be found. But we do know that the Lulbegrud congregation, between the years 1806 and 1810, built a new house of worship, about one mile from where the first one stood. The new house was built of hewn logs, with twelve corners, to represent the twelve apostles. The pulpit was so arranged that the speaker could be seen and heard from all parts of the house. According to tradition, this house of twelve corners was planned by Mrs. Keziah Callaway French, wife of the uncompromising Baptist, James French. There was a church house in Halifax County, Virginia, called Republican Grove, of similar construction, with twelve corners.
About the year 1810, Jeremiah Vardeman, a great revivalist, came into their midst and held a series of meetings, and many were added to the church. He was called as pastor and served them with ability and faithfulness until 1817. During his ministry many precious seasons of grace were enjoyed by the church and over one hundred were added to their number. In those revivals they would meet at eleven o'clock and after preaching would continue in exhortation, singing and prayer until admonished by the going down of the sun that it was time for dismissal. Vardeman was a remarkable man; he had a voice that was musical, yet he could be heard by an acre or more of people in the open air. His forte was exhortation, and he could emphasize in the most pathetic manner the interjection, Oh! and could paint in living color the happiness of the redeemed and the torments of the damned. He weighed three hundred pounds and was well proportioned.
Elder Vardeman was succeeded in 1817 by another remarkable and influential man, Elder "Raccoon" John Smith, who served them until 1823. During one of the years of his ministry, the church was greatly revived and had one hundred and twenty additions. Elder Smith was a man of extraordinary talents, full of wit and humor, a logician and warrior. His sermons were generally one and a half hours long, but when aroused he would preach for two hours or more. About this time he embraced the teachings of Elder Campbell, and he had a powerful influence in North District and Boone's Creek Associations.
In March, 1820, the church "by vote, revokes and annuls all prior power heretofore conferred on ruling elders, and all duties assigned them are hereby recalled and cancelled." In June, 1820, Daniel, (a man of color) was excluded for neglecting to get a letter of dismissal when he left the neighborhood of the church and for playing ball. Jane (a woman of color), belonging to Brother
French, was excluded for refusing to live with Simm as her husband. Simm was excluded for disagreeing with his wife. The church voted to have preaching on business days. We infer from this that before this date they never had preaching on the days for business. The church excluded members who moved and did not ask for letters of dismissal. From this date there are no more records preserved until April, 1835.
The first entry in the third record book is the election of Noland Treacy as clerk, and a committee was appointed to go with Brother Treacy to Sister French's after the church records.
Elder Smith was succeeded in the pastorate by Elder Thomas Boone, about the year 1823, and he was their pastor for more than twenty years. He was known by his orderly walk and godly conversation of all men, and of whom it can be truly said that "though dead, he yet speaketh." About the time he accepted the pastorate, Lulbegrud Church numbered about two hundred members, and for a number of years prior to and subsequent to this time exercised a powerful influence in North District Association.
Under the ministry of Elder Thomas Boone the church enjoyed a reasonable share of prosperity, although her numbers were considerably diminished by death and immigration. Toward the close of his ministry, there began to develop dissatisfaction in the church. In the spring of 1843, some of the members invited G. A. Pitts to come and hold a meeting, which he did for ten days, resulting in a number of additions. A part of the church objected to this, and claimed that the Pitts party were [sic] not in accordance with Baptist usage in their manner of receiving members. They also differed on the subject of foreign missions. The controversy was sharp, and resulted in a division of the church. In August, 1843, we find this entry In the record book: "The church ordered the following named brethren, Charles Hazelrigg, Stephen Treadway, Eli Biggers, Samuel Chorn, James Spry, Melvin McKee, and Sisters Mary French, Polly Treadway, Nancyd Hazelrigg, Nancy Fletcher, Elizabeth Bartlett, Jr., Kitty Biggers, Srharlotty Nelson, Sally Morris, Martha Morris, Sally Brookshire, Elvira McKee, Theodosia Hood, Elizabeth Ragland, Yoana Morris (late Burton) and Polly Ann Treadway, be excluded from the fellowship of this church for splitting off from her and saying that they are a majority of the white members of this church." At the next meeting three more of the members were excluded in like manner, namely, Nimrod Garrett and his wife, Betsy Garrett, and Polly Davis. These excluded members constituted a new church, and in the next month, September, 1843, they were received into Boone's Creek Association, their membership having increased to forty-nine.
The courts were appealed to in order to settle the property rights, and while the case was pending, which was for several years, the Pitts party improved the house at a cost of $450.00. About the year 1847, the Court of Appeals finally disposed of the case by giving the property to the Boone party by their first paying to the other party the $450.00 expended by them in improvements on the building. The reason assigned by the Court for its decision was that it appeared from the records that the Boone party was in the majority. The money was promptly paid and enough was added to it by the Pitts party to build another
house, and in 1848 another was built near the old one and it too was called Lulbegrud Church. Here we leave our brethren of the Primitive Baptists (The Boone party), except to say that they still remained in full fellowship with North District Association until they ceased to exist as a church a few years ago.
Mrs. Keziah Callaway French
Born in Virginia, 1769 - died September 26, 1845.
James French, Sr., was one of the frontiersmen of Kentucky and was in the fort at Boonesborough when the town was laid off in lots, one of the streets being named in his honor. While in the fort he married Miss Keziah Callaway (see French family, First Winchester Church). He and his family were among the leading members of Lulbegrud Church for years. One of the sons of James French was Judge Richard French (see First Winchester Church).
James French was clerk of the church at Lulbegrud for years, was elected clerk of North District Association in 1803, and was the efficient clerk of that body for thirty consecutive years, during which time he wrote most of the
circular letters for that Association. These are only preserved in the record book of the Association, but should be put into book form for Baptist literature. He was an uncompromising Baptist, and when the difference between the Baptists and the so-called Reformers arose, James French saw that there must be a separation, so he called a meeting extraordinary at Lulbegrud in April, 1830, and invited to be present only such churches as stood firmly upon Baptist ground.
Judge Richard French
Born June 23, 1792 - died May 1, 1854
Elder "Racoon" John Smith, who had embraced the teachings of Elder Alexander Campbell, in alluding to this difference, in his autobiography, says of French: "He was indeed the wisdom of the opposition." In a word, it was James French and not John Calvin that withstood John Smith so obstinately in the North District Association.
Of the congregation of Lulbegrud that united, with Boon's Creek Association in 1843, we could find no church record book, so the remainder of this sketch
is compiled from the Association records. In 1844 they extended a call to Elder A. R. Macey to become their pastor, and he accepted and served the church for several years. He was succeeded by Elder B. E. Allen (see Boone's Creek Church). He remained their pastor for two years, and was succeeded by Elder S. V. Potts, who served them for a few years. He was succeeded by E1der S. L. Helm, who retained the pastorate for one year. The church was then without a pastor for a few years, when Elder B. E. Allen again accepted the care of the church and served until 1860, at which time Elder A. D. Rash became their pastor and remained with them until the latter part of 1865, when that venerable man of God, Dr. R. T. Dillard, accepted the pastorate, retaining the same until 1868. He was succeeded by Brother Murphy, who had the care of the church for one year, when Elder John Brown was called, serving them about two years. There was then a short interval during which they were without a pastor, when E1der J. Pike Powers was chosen as their under-shepherd and served them until the church, at their April meeting in 1879, they were regu1arly disbanded. At the annual session of the Boone's Creek Association, in 1879, a motion was made and carried that inasmuch as Lulbegrud Church has disbanded her name be stricken from the list of churches composing this body.
After this congregation withdrew from the old Lulbegrud Church, her membership never exceeded ninety-one. N. B. Tipton was the last church clerk. She entertained four annual sessions of Boone's Creek Association in the years 1846, 1854, 1864 and 1874.
[From S. J. Conkwright, History of the Churches of the Boone's Creek Baptist Association, 1923, pp. 69-75. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
Frank M. Masters writes this in A History of Baptists in Kentucky (1953, p. 231): Daniel Williams, came to Kentucky in an early day, from either Virginia or North Carolina. It is known that he served in the War of the Revolution. He was described as "a plain pious old preacher," who led the churches in the Upper Licking Valley to obtain letters from the North District Association in 1814 to go into the Burning Spring organization. This brother was an early settler in Montgomery County, where he preached to the Lulbegrud Baptist Church. Here he purchased 100 acres of land and according to the court records of Clark County, the deed was dated June, 1784. He moved to Morgan County in 1805, then a wilderness, and settled upon the side of West Liberty, cleared a farm and "preached the first sermon ever delivered in that county."
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