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Boone County, Kentucky
Ordination to the Baptist Ministry

Records of William Montague, 1817 and Robert Kirtley, 1822
And Others

     In April, 1817 the Bullittsburg Baptist Church voted to ordain William Montague as a gospel minister and decided that the service be performed at the June monthly meeting. Helps from five other Baptist churches were invited to assist in the service. Various brethren from the Bullittsburg church were appointed to go to the sister churches and invite their ordained brethren to attend and help them with the ordination.

     The church also decided to ordain Robert Terril and Robert Kirtley as deacons and included their ordination in this service

      The church's representatives met with the invited brethren from the other churches and they formed a presbytery. An interrogator usually was chosen from among the presbytery to make things more orderly in the "examination and due deliberation." He would ask the candidate questions relating to his salvation experience, call to the ministry and doctrinal beliefs. With permission, usually anyone among the group could ask questions of the candidate. After the presbytery was finished with their interrogation, if they were satisfied with the candidate's answers, they voted among themselves as to whether the candidate was qualified for the ministry. They then made a recommendation to the host church and the church would vote to proceed with the ordination.

     The churches showed their authority in the matter of licensing men to preach the gospel. Always the church encouraged men to preach "within the bounds of the church." What that meant was that the church had a sense of control over the men whom they licensed. The church did not intend for them to go preach anywhere they pleased. That would be "out of order." They were to preach "within the bounds" and the church could determine if they were preaching right doctrine and carrying on their ministry in a proper way. If they proved to have "a gift" for preaching, then the church, by vote, would ordain them to the full gospel ministry.

      The intention of a church to ordain a man to the ministry was not an automatic matter. In late 1823 the Baptist church at Lawrenceburg, Indiana invited Bullittsburg to assist them in ordaining Bro. Reuben Carman. The Bullittsburg church sent representatives to assist the church. These brethren later reported to their church, "that after examination they thought it not advisable to ordain him at that time." Bullitsburg Minutes, November, 1823. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.

      The following is the clerk's record of their procedure in ordination:

At a Church meeting held at Bullittsburgh on Saturday 5th Aprile 1817
Bro. A. Graves moderator

The reference concerning bro. Montague's ordination was taken under consideration and agreed unanimously to ordain him on the sunday suceeding the first saturday in June, at which time we agreed to connvene

Likewise appointed brethren Hawkins & Tho. Whitaker to apply to Mudlick Church. Ward & Brockman to Dry Creek. Edw'd Graves & Th. Allen to Middle creek, Wm. Cave & John Terrill to Forks Gunpowder and James Dicken & Robt Kirtley to Bethel for helps to assist in his ordination

Motioned by bro. Mosby to consider the propriety of appointing more deacons the matter was taken up and agreed to appoint two at next meeting

Adj'd  Lewis Webb Clk

Churches as sent to attend us as follows
From Gunpowder Brethren C. Wilson, Moses, Vickers & Lewis Conner From Middle Creek Brethren James Ryle & Wm. Garnett From Dry Creek Brethren William Thompson John Stansiffer, John Leathers & Adam Clore From Bethel Bro. Presley Peak & From Mudlick Brs. Philip Roberts. The matter being fully investigated and duly considered it is unanimously agreed that Bro. Montague is a proper subject for ordination and that the rites be performed tomorrow after the ministration of the word. Also the reference respecting the ordination of Brethren Robt Terrell & Robt Kirtley to the office of deacons in this church was taken up investigated and considered and unanimously agreed to and that the rites of ordination be performed also tomorrow at the same time.

Adj'd L Webb Clk

Sunday 8th June 1817 After the ministration of the word the Brethren were set apart by solemn ordination bro. Montague by the prayer & imposition of the hands of Brethren Henderson & Hilldreth Charge by bro. Wilson. Brethren Terrill & Kirtley by prayer & imposition of the hands of Brethren Thomson and Vicers, Charge also by bro. Wilson.

L Webb

      The following comes from an earlier entry in the Bullitsburg Churchbook:

At a Church meeting held at Bullittsburgh on Saterday the 1th day of Octob'r 1814

On a motion by brother Ruben Graves that we tack into consideration brother William Montagues gift the matter was tacken up investigated and it is agreed that we do incoridge him to go forward where ever he thinks proper

[Written in the left margin of the churchbook] Bro. William Montague Licensed to Preach

W. Early Clk


From the Bullittsburg Baptist Churchbook, Sunday June 3, 1820:

The refference respecting the ordination of Bro. James Dicken to the office of the ministry was taken up and the helps from the different churches as sent to, attended as following
From Sandrun Brethren Chichester Mathews Wm. Montague Wm, McCoy Beverly Ward and Cave Montague
From Bethel Brethren Presley Peake, and, Hue Stears
From Dry run Brother Rogger Wigington
From Mudlick Brethren Elijah And____ Reuben Conner and Calif Nawman
From Gunpowder Brethren Lewis Conner Wil__ Roggers and Lewis Crisler From Midle creek Brethen Mosef Scott James Riel and E, Ho__ Brethren Jimerson Hawkins William Wo__ (Worrell ?) Balem Harred William Stevens and Asel ___ were invited to a seate with the helps
The matter beaing fully investigated & duly concidered it is unanimously agreed that brother Dicken is a proper subject for ordination and that the rights be performed on tomorow after the ministration of the word

Adj'd Wm. Whitaker CLk

Sunday 3rd of June 1820 after the ministration of the word bro. James Dicken was set apart by sollem ordination by the prayer and imposition of the hands of Brethre[n] Montague Mathews and, Graves Charged by Mathews

William Whitaker, [Clerk]

     In August, 1822, Robert Kirtley was ordained to the full gospel ministry at Bullittsburg:

1st Saturday August, 1822. The reference respecting Bro. Kirtley's ordination to the office of the ministry was taken up. And the helps from the different churches as sent to attend us as following: From Middle Creek Brethren Robt. Garnett, Jno. Brady, Moses Scott, Jno. Ryle, William Garnett, Jno Ryle Jr., and Larkin Ryle. From Gunpowder Brethren Lewis Conner, Wm. Rogers and Lewis Christlin. From Sand Run Chichester Matthews, Wm. McCoy, Joseph Graves, Beverly R. Ward and Benj. Watts. And after examination and due deliberation it is agreed that the rite be performed tomorrow after the ministration of the word. Minutes.

Sunday 4th August, 1822. Bro. Robt. Kirtley was set apart by ordination to the work of the ministry. The hands of Brethren A[bsalom] Graves and James Dicken were imposed and the same brethren offered the ordination prayer. Bro. Matthews gave the charge and right hand of fellowship. Minutes.


From the Sand Run Baptist Churchbook
The ordination of Lewis Conner

Sunday 16th Sept, 1821
Received a request from the Church at Gunpowder for helps to assist in the ordination of Bro. Lewis Conner to the office of the Ministry. agreed that the request be answered and that Brethren Matthews & T[homas] Whitaker attend accordingly.


From the Bullittsburg Baptist Churchbook 24 April 1824

The ordination of Landan Robinson

[A list of the various ordained men from the sister churches is given.] "The matter was then submitted to the helps, who took it up. After inquiring of bro. Robinson in relation to his faith and call to the ministry they went fully into the investigation of the matter, and agreed that bro. Robinson was a proper subject for ordination, therefore it is agreed that his ordination take place the ensuing day."

Lord's Day following
After preaching bro. Robinson was set apart to the work of the ministry by prayer & imposition hands of brethren Matthews, Wilson and Dicken.

Revised 12.9.08

[From the Bullitsburg and Sand Run Baptist Churchbooks. These are available on microfilm at the Boone County Public Library, Main Branch, Local History, Burlington, KY. Compiled and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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