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Kentucky Baptist History
By William D. Nowlin

Some Early Frontier Customs for Supporting
Ministers and Meetinghouses

None of these "early customs" are now in use among the Baptists of Kentucky, so far as the author knows.

We give two old subscription lists here of some interest. The first is for pastor's salary in South Elkhorn Church, and has on it thirty-six gallons of whiskey. The other is a facsimile of a subscription found in minutes of the Robinson & Pitman Church -


[Document transcribed]
Robinson & Pitman Baptist Church

Saturday Feb.y 1? 1806 Met pursuant to
adjournment & after worship proceeded to _____?
- Enquiry being made into the standing of
the Church, all appear to be in peace
No Businefs coming before the Church dis
were dismifsed - B Cliffton M[oderator]
Inste John Chandler

After Businefs a Subscription was Opened for
Raising property for the finishing the Meeting
House and is as follows

						          L      S    d
John Chandler 8 Gall'n whiskey 1 4
Jonathan Cowherd in Cattle 1 16
James Isbell in Corn 1 0
Timothy Riggs making 2 Doors 1 4
Isaac Wilson 20/ in Corn 1 ------
Baldwin Cliffton 16/ in Corn 0 16
Ambrose Ship in Corn 0 12
Isaac Hogland 1 Yearling 0 15
Stephen Hardin in Cattle 1 10
Wm Hardin in [?] 0 6
Rob't Jasbar[?] in [?] 0 6
Rich'd Wright in [?] 0 6
Joseph Richason in [?] 0 6
Tho's T. Cook in [?] 0 6

12 5 = 12 pounds & 5 shillings

20 shillings = pound L - [The British money system was still in use.]

(Robinson & Pitman Baptist Church) now Campbellsville Church - and containing eight gallons of whiskey.

In contrast with the above subscription lists we give the following which was adopted by the South Kentucky Association No.3 at its organization in 1845. Says Spencer (Vol. II, 580): "No church shall be considered in good standing in this union, that will encourage, by laxity of discipline, or otherwise, the making and vending of ardent spirits as a beverage, etc."

This shows the change of sentiment on the whiskey traffic in forty-seven years among the early Kentucky Baptists. And as compared with the present, it strikingly illustrates the great progress made in temperance reform in these 124 years.

What was true of the early Baptist churches in this country was true of churches of other denominations touching the whiskey traffic. Baptists were no worse and no better in this particular than those of other religious bodies of that time.

[William D. Nowlin, Kentucky Baptist History, 1922, portion from Chapter 3, pp. 39-42. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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