The General Association Constituted -- 1837
Five years after the organization of the "State Convention" another effort was made to effect a general organization of Baptists in Kentucky.
Dr. Silas M. Noel, who was largely responsible for the constitution of the Baptist State Convention, with some others, was still saying "something must be done." "The need of a state organization was felt by the brethren, so a call was sent out for a meeting in Louisville in response to which a number of delegates and brethren from various associations and churches met in the Baptist meeting-house in the city of Louisville, on Friday, October 20, 1837, for the purpose of organizing a general Association of Baptists in Kentucky." (Spencer here gives a list of those present.)
Following is the constitution which this body adopted:
1st. This body shall be called the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky.
2d. This association shall be composed of representatives from such Baptist churches and associations in this state as are in regular standing.
3d. Every such church and association, contributing annually to the funds of this association, shall be entitled to a representation.
4th. This association shall, in a special manner, aim to promote, by every legitimate means, the pros- perity of the cause of God in this state.
5th. It is distinctly understood that this association shall have no ecclesiastical authority.
6th. At each meeting of this association there shall be elected by ballot a moderator, recording secre- tary, corresponding secretary, treasurer, and eleven
managers, who shall constitute a board of directors for the management of all the bueiness of this association during the recess of its annual meetings, and annually report to the same their proceedings.
7th. The moderator, secretaries and treasurer shall perform the duties usually performed by such officers in similar associations.
8th. All associations contributing to this, and co-operating in its designs, shall be considered auxiliary to it.
9th. A general agent may be appointed by the association or board of managers, whose duty it shall be to survey all the destitution, the means of supply, etc., and report regularly to the board, so as to enable them to meet the wants of the destitute. He shall also raise funds, and in every practical way promote the designs (If the association, for which he shall receive a reasonable support.
10th. Any visiting brethren in good standing, as such shall be entitled to sit in counsel in the annual session of this association, but shall not have the right to vote.
11th. The annual meetings of this association shall be on Saturday before the third Lord's Day in October.
12th. This constitution may be amended or altered (the 5th article excepted) at any annual meeting by a concurrence of two-thirds of the mem- bers present.
Under this constitution the General Association of Baptists of Kentucky was now fully organized by the election of George Waller, Moderator; James E. Tyler, recording secretary; John L. Waller, corresponding secretary; and Charles Quiry, treasurer. A committee to nominate a board of managers, at least ten of whom should be located in or near Louisville, presented the following names, which were confirmed by the association: B. F. Farnsworth, Wm. Colgan, C. Vanbuskirk, T. R. Parent, W. C. Buck, E. A. Bennett, John B. Whitman, J. C. Davie, W. Vaughan, G. C. Sedwick, and James M. Pendleton.
"The association was composed of fifty-seven members, twenty of whom were ordained preachers, one a licensed preacher, and the remaining thirty-six private church members. The visiting brethren present were Elder Alfred Bennett, agent of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions; Elder Noah Flood, of Missouri; Silas Webb, M. D., of Alabama; Elder T. G. Keene, of Philadelphia (now Doctor Keene, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky); and Elder R. B. C. Howell, of Nashville, Tennessee.
"This was not a large meeting, yet it was one of very great importance to the Kentucky Baptists. It was destined to inaugurate a line of policy so different from that which had been pursued from the planting of the first churches in the West as to almost amount to a revolution in the practice of the denomination in the state." (Spencer, Vol. I, p. 666 f.)
The "General Association" struck a more receptive chord than the "State Convention" had done, as its history demonstrates.
The brethren were not so afraid of the name Association as they were of the name Convention. They already had district associations, and were used to the word, so they accepted the term" General Asso- ciation." Thus Doctor Noel succeeded in getting the state work organized. Of course there were others who labored faithfully with Doctor Noel to effect this organization.
When the General Association was constituted in 1837 there were 28,142 Baptists in Kentucky. Spencer in his Jubilee Address "Jubilee Volume" (p. 22) says:
"From a membership of 45,442 comprised in 34 associations and 614 churches in 1829, the Baptists of Kentucky had been reduced to 39,263 members, organized in 43 associations and 664 churches. Of these about 11,127 were anti-missionaries, leaving only 28,142 nominal missionaries-a number less than that of the Methodists, and hardly equaling that of the Campbellites. While they were being swallowed up by their prosperous and enthusiastic rival sects without
HISTORICAL TABLE OF GENERAL ASSOCIATION SINCE ITS ORGANAZATION
YEAR PLACE MODERATORS SECRETARIES PREACHERS 1837 Louisville George Waller J. L. Waller-J. M. Pendleton Wm. Vaughn. 1838 Bowling Green Wm. C. Buck J. L. Waller-J. M. Pendleton W. C. Buck. 1839 Shelbyville Cyrus Wingate T. L. Waller A.Taylor. 1840 Elizabethtown Wm. C. Buck J. M. Pendleton-Junius Caldwell G. Mason. 1841 Russellvllle D. S. Colgan J. M. Pendleton Samuel Baker. 1842 Bloomfield Wm. C. Buck J. M. Pendleton Thos. S. Malcom. 1843 Georgetown Wm. C. Buck James H. Bagby W.Vaughn. 1844 Henderson H. Malcom F. C. McCalla T. G. Keene. 1845 Georgetown H. Malcom F. C. McCalla R. T. Dillard. 1846 Danville H. Malcom F. C. McCalla James M. Frost. 1847 Maysville Wm. C. Buck F. C. McCalla S. Dyer. 1848 Bowling Green R. T. Dillard Junius Caldwell R. D. Campbell. 1849 Lexington D. G. Hatch A. R. Macey Samuel Baker. 1850 Covington J. L. Reynolds F. C. McCalla-D. G. Hatch W. W. Gardner. 1851 Hopklnsvllle J. P. Campbell A. R. Macey R. T. Anderson. 1852 Glasgow T. L. Waller A. R. Macey A. R. Macey. 1853 New Castle S. L. Helm S. H. Ford W. W. Evarts. 1854 Louisville S. L. Helm E. D. Isbell W. Vaughn. 1855 Louisville S. W. Lynd A. R. Macey D. R. Campbell. 1866 Henderson John Brice J. M. Cooper H. McDonald. 1867 Louisville E. B. Bartlett J. M. Cooper-H. McDonald A. D. Sears. 1858 Georgetown W. M. Pratt J. M. Cooper S. L. Helm. 1859 Bowling Green J. S. Coleman Wm. L. Morrls B. Smith. 1860 Elizabethtown J. S. Coleman Wm. L. Morris S. P. Forgy. 1861 Lexington J. S. Coleman W. Pope Yeaman J. F. Cook. 1862 Owensboro J. S. Coleman W. Pope Yeaman Wm. Vaughn. 1863 Shelbyvllie A. B. Knight W. Pope Yeaman G. C. Lorimer. 1864 Bardstown J. S. Coleman W. Pope Yeaman S. L. Helm. 1865 Covington J. S. Coleman W. Pope Yeaman J. S. Coleman. 1866 RussellvllIe J. S. Coleman W. Pope Yeaman G. C. Lorimer. 1867 Henderson J. S. Coleman Wm. L. Morris N. M. Crawford. 1868 Danville J. S. Coleman J. W. Rust-J. R. Hawkins R. M. Dudley. 1869 Louisville J. S. Coleman J. W; Rust-J. R. Hawkins J. M. Dawson. 1870 Louisville J. S. Coleman J. W. Rust-J. R. Hawkins James A. Kirtley. 1871 Georgetown J. S. Coleman C. E. W. Dobbs-J. C. Freeman A. T. Spalding. 1872 Bowing Green J. S. Coleman C. E. W. Dobbs-J. C. Freeman H. McDonald. 1873 Paducah S. L. Helm C. E. W. Dobbs-J. C. Freeman Green Clay Smith. 1874 Frankfort Gov. P. H. Leslie C. E. W. Dobbs-U.V. Williams, M.D. N. G. Terry. 1875 Louisville Gov. P. H. Leslie C. E. W. Dobbs-U.V. Williams, M.D. Cleon Keyes. 1876 Louisville Gov. P. H. Leslie C. E. W. Dobbs-B. W. Seeley T. G. Keene.
YEAR PLACE MODERATORS SECRETARIES PREACHERS HISTORICAL TABLE OF GENERAL ASSOCIATION -- Continued
1877 Ellzabethtown E. H. Black, M.D. C. E. W. Dobbs-B. W. Seeley J. H. Spencer. 1878 Harrodsburg E. H. Black, M.D. C. E. W. Dobbs-B. W. Seeley J. P. Boyce. 1879 Winchester Green Clay Smith C. E. W. Dobbs-B. W. Seeley Thomas Hall. 1880 Owensboro Green Clay Smith C. E. W. Dobbs-B. W. Seeley J. M. Lewis. 1881 Shelbyville Green Clay Smith C. E. W. Dobbs-B. W. Seeley E. N. Dicken. 1882 Hopklnsville Green Clay Smith B. W. D. Seeley-James O. Farrel W. M. Pratt. 1883 Mt. Sterling Green Clay Smith B. W. D. Seeley-J. N. Prestridge A. C. Graves. 1854 Glasgow Green Clay Smith B. W. D. Seeley-J. N. Prestridge M. M. Riley. 1885 Mayfield Green Clay Smith B. W. D. Seeley-J. N. Prestridge W. H. Felix. 1886 Bowling Green Green Clay Smith B. W. D. Seeley-J. N. Prestridge I. C. Hidden. 1887 Danville Green Clay Smith B. W. D. Seeley-H. T. Daniels John A. Broadus. 1888 Eminence G. F. Bagby B. W. D. Seeley-W. J. E. Cox T. T. Eaton. 1889 Maysville G. F. Bagby B. W. D. Seeley-W. J. E. Cox Wm. B. Stewart. 1890 Owensboro J. S. Coleman B. W. D. Seeley-W. J. E. Cox A. C. Davidson. 1891 Williamsburg F. H. Kerfoot B. W. Do Seeley-W. J. E. Cox F. H. Kerfoot. 1892 Covington F. H. Kerfoot B. W. D. Seeley-J. G. Bow G. W. Perryman. 1893 Lebanon W. Larue Thomas B. W. D. Seeley-J. K. Nunnelley B. J. Davis. 1894 Carlisle W. H. Felix B. W. D. Seeley-J. K. Nunnelley W. W. Gardner. 1895 Paducah J. S. Coleman J. K. Nunnelley-Thos. D. Osborne W. L. Pickard 1896 Bowling Green J. S. Coleman J. K. Nunnelley-J. G. Bow -------------- 1897 Georgetown W. H. Felix J. K. Nunnelley-J. G. Bow E. V. Baldy. 1898 Hopklnsville W. H. Felix J. K. Nunnelley-J. G. Bow C. G. Jones. 1899 Mt. Sterling F. H. Kerfoot J. K. Nunnelley-J. G. Bow Wm. D. Nowlin. 1900 Owensboro W. H. Felix J. K. Nunnelley-J. G. Bow W. B. McGarity. 1901 Murray T. T. Eaton J. K. Nunnelley-B. H. DeMent H. H. Hibbs. 1902 London T. T. Eaton J. K. Nunnelley-B. H. DeMent H. B. Taylor. 1903 Winchester W. H. Felix J. K. Nunnelley-B. H. DeMent Preston Blake. 1904 Campbellsville W. H. Felix J. K. Nunnelley-J. Henry Burnett T. T. Eaton. 1905 Russellvllle T. T. Eaton J. K. Nunnelley-J. Henry Burnett J. J. Taylor. 1906 Richmond T. T. Eaton J. K. Nunnelley-J. Henry Burnett A. S. Pettie. 1907 Mayfield Wm. D. Nowlin J. C. Nunnelley-J. W. Hedden L. T. Wilson. 1908 Louisville Wm. D. Nowlin J. K. Nunnelley-John L. Hill M. B. Adams. 1909 Ashland J. A. Booth John L. Hill-J. M. Walker C. M. Thompson. 1910 Cynthlana J. A. Booth John L. Hill-J. M. Walker M. E. Dodd. 1911 Paducah C. M. Thompson John L. Hill-A. E. Wohlbold J. W. Porter. 1912 MadlsonvllIe C. M. Thompson John L. Hill-A. E. Wohlbold W. W. Landrum. 1913 Lexington J. W. Porter John L. Hill-A. E. Wohlbold H. B. Taylor. 1914 Somerset J. W. Porter John L. Hill-A. E. Wohlbold W. M. Wood. 1915 Jelllco,Tenn A. Gatllff John L. Hill-A. E. Wohlbold C. C. Carroll. 1916 Louisville A. Gatilff John L. Hill-A. E. Wohlbold W. M. Stallings. 1917 Paducah H. B. Taylor John L. Hill-A. E. Wohlbold M. E. Staley. 1918 Campbellsvllle W. M. Stallings John L. Hill-J. G. Bow C. W. Elsey. 1919 Georgetown W. M. Stallings John L. Hill-J. G. Bow Sam P. Martin. 1920 Owensboro W. A. Frost John L. Hill-J. G. Bow J. T. McGlothlin 1921 Hopkinsville W. A. Frost John L. Hill-J. G. Bow W. E. Hunter.
they were consuming themselves by perpetual discord and strife within. The churches were in a large measure destitute of the ministry of the word, without which any considerable measure of prosperity is hopeless. The whole number of preachers was estimated at two hundred. 'Of these,' says Mr. Buck, 'not more than one-third were employed.' According to this estimate there were about ten churches for every preacher actually engaged in the work. Of these faithful laborers, Mr. Buck says: 'There was not one settled pastor in Kentucky, nor one minister supported, and not one pastoral laborer except in the Louisville church.' The preachers were compelled to engage in some secular occupation for a support, and as a rule could preach at most only on Saturdays and Sundays. By this means less than half of the churches could be supplied with Saturday and Sunday preaching once a month."
The outlook that faced our brethren in 1837 when they organized the General Association was decidedly gloomy, but they were men of faith and courage. The General Association of Baptists in Kentucky now has a membership of 269,000 and 1,886 churches.
We give below [above - jrd] the historical table of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky for its eighty-five years of glorious achievements. _________________
Editor's note: The tables are given as they are listed in the book.
[William D. Nowlin, Kentucky Baptist History, 1922, pp. 124-129. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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