Chapter 17 — The Work of 1793 — Tates Creek Association
The Baptists were much more active in gathering the new settlers, of their order, into churches, in 1793, than during the preceding year. Kentucky was now an independent state. The people made and executed their own laws, and they enjoyed a degree of contentment that they had not felt before, since they had been in the new country. The Indians had been finally driven away from their soil, and they felt a degree of security for themselves, their wives and their little ones, to which they had hitherto been strangers, in the western wilderness. The ministers of the gospel could leave their families with less fear of their being molested. They pushed out among the border settlers, and gathered the scattered Baptists among them, into churches.
LULBEGRUD, so called from a small stream near where it was located, was the first church gathered in what is now Montgomery county. A plain, humble preacher of the name of Daniel Williams was probably the principal instrument in bringing this church together. It was constituted of twenty members, on the third Saturday in March, 1793. It united with South Kentucky Association, where it remained till the general union, when it became a member of North District. Its growth was very slow, till 1810, when Jeremiah Vardeman came among its members. He was called to the care of the church, and served it about seven years. During this period over one hundred were added to its membership. Previous to 1810, this church exhibited a singular conceit in building a house of worship with twelve corners, to represent the twelve apostles. John Smith succeeded Vardeman in the pastorate. Under his administration a revival occurred, during the continuance of which, one hundred and twenty-five were added to the church.
In 1823, Thomas Boone was called to the care of this church; and continued to serve it twenty years. In 1843, the church was divided on the subject of missions; and the pastor, with a majority of the church, formed the Anti-mission party. A .R. Macey was chosen pastor of the Missionary church. From that period till 1879, it changed pastors frequently. Two new churches were constituted near it, and it dissolved. The Anti-mission church still exists, but in a very feeble condition.
Sketches of Moses Bledsoe, David Barrow and Jeremiah Vardeman, who were early pastors of this church, have already been given.
JOHN SMITH, who took charge of this church, in 1823, and who was widely known as "Raccoon John Smith," was raised up, and began his ministry among the Baptists in Wayne county. His education was very limited, but he possessed a strong intellect, was a keen wit, and a vivid humorist, and became a strong and very popular preacher. He moved to Montgomery county, and soon became the most influential preacher in North District Association. He was instrumental in building up the churches of this fraternity, till about 1830, when having fully imbibed Campbellism, he set about perverting them. His success was so great that North District Association soon lost its existence, except that its name is retained by a small fraternity of anti-missionary Baptists. Mr. Smith soon became a prominent leader among the Campbellites of Kentucky. He lived to a ripe old age, and maintained an excellent character among his people.
THOMAS BOONE was the next pastor of this church. He was called to its care in 1823. He was a grandson of Squire Boone, who was a Baptist preacher, a noted pioneer and a brother of Daniel Boone, the famous Kentucky hunter and explorer. His father, Squire Boone, jr., was also a Baptist preacher, as was his brother, Isaiah Boone, who preached in the Green River country and ultimately joined the Campbellites. His son, Ira Boone, was a "Regular Baptist" preacher in Missouri. It will be seen that the Boones were a preaching family.
Thomas Boone was born in Madison county, Ky., Dec. 24, 1789. His parents moved to Fayette county, while he was a small child. Here he was brought up with a limited common
school education. He obtained hope in Christ at the age of fourteen, and was probably baptized by his father, and united with Boggs Fork church. In his twentieth year, he was married to Sallie, daughter of George Muir, of Fayette. Soon after his marriage, he settled in Clark county, where he spent the remainder of his earthly days. He was ordained to the ministry at Log Lick church, in 1815, by Edward Kindred and others. To the care of Goshen church he was called in December, 1816. He was also pastor of Log Lick, Dry Fork, and New Providence. Of all these churches he was pastor at the time of his death. Soon after he became pastor of Goshen he took membership in that church. After a year of patient suffering, and in full assurance of faith, he died of cancer of the stomach September 21, 1855.
Mr. Boone was a man of that warm, genial and cheerful piety that wins the admiration of the good, and disarms the evil of their malevolence. He was eminently a man of love, and few men ever enjoyed more fully the confidence of the people. He possessed only moderate preaching gifts, but his influence was very great. On the split of the churches on the subject of missions, in that region, in 1843, he identified himself with the Antimissionaries. After his death, Lulbegrud church erected a monument over his grave.
JAMES FRENCH, a prominent citizen of Montgomery county, was long clerk of Lulbegrud church. He was among the earliest settlers of Kentucky. When Boonesboro was laid off, in 1779, his name was given to one of its streets. When Campbellism was rending the churches of North District Association, Mr. French called a meeting at Lulbegrud to consider means of defense against the wiley arts of "Raccoon" John Smith, and his influence was so great that Mr. Smith pronounced him "the wisdom of the opposition." A subsequent historian has said "In a word, it was James French, and not John Calvin, that withstood John Smith so obstinately in North District Association."
JUDGE RICHARD FRENCH, son of the above, was also a member of this church. He was born in Madison county, Ky., June 23, 1792. In early childhood, he was carried by his parents to Montgomery county where he was raised up. He received a moderate common school education, and chose the law
for his profession. He was early admitted to the bar, and entered into partnership with Mr. Dillard (afterward the distinguished Ryland T. Dillard, D.D.), at Winchester, Ky. In 1820, he represented Clark county in the Legislature, and was returned in 1822. In 1828, he was appointed Circuit Judge. He afterwards served three terms in Congress. In the midst of his political honors, he paused to seek the salvation of his soul, and was baptized by his former law partner. In 1850, he located in Covington, where he resumed the practice of his profession. His health soon failed, and he moved out a few miles into the country, where he departed this life in a most triumphant manner, May 1, 1856. Two of his sons, James, Judge of the County Court and Moderator of Boone's Creek Association, and Stephen, Judge of the Circuit Court, are members of the Baptist church in Winchester, Ky.
GRASSY LICK church was located in the western part of Montgomery county. It was probably collected by Elijah Barnes. It was constituted of members dismissed from Bryants, for that purpose, in the early part of 1793. At the fall session of Elkhorn Association, the same year, it reported to that body, 18 baptisms, and a total membership of 32.
This church was very prosperous for a long series of years. In 1801, it reported 107 baptisms during the year, and a membership of 195. About 1805, it took a letter from Elkhorn and joined North District Association. About 1810, Jeremiah Vardeman became its pastor, and ministered to it about three years, during which go were added to its membership by baptism. It continued a prosperous church till the introduction of Campbellism into that region, when it was destroyed by that schism.
ELIJAH BARNES who was probably the first pastor of Grassy Lick church was received into the fellowship of Bryant's church by experience andbaptism, in June, 1790. He was dismissed by letter in March, 1793, and united with Grassy Lick church, where he was probably set apart to the ministry. After a few years, he moved to Lincoln or Pulaski county, where he was active in raising up the first churches in the hilly regions of these counties. He was a man of small preaching talent, but was highly esteemed for his piety and consecration. He was widely known in the "Hill country" as "old daddy Barnes." For many years, he rode a gray horse. The faithful beast came to
be almost as well known by the name of "old gray," as the rider, by his sobriquet. One year, when feed was very scarce, old gray suffered much for want of food, and became so lean as to be hardly able to carry his master to his appointments. During this period, at a church meeting, the brethren discussed the subject of paying preachers. One of the members said, in substance: "I don't think preachers ought to be paid anything for preaching. The Lord calls them to preach: they are in his employ and he will reward them in the next world.” At this point, "Daddy Barnes" put in the question: "But what will old Gray do?" This may remind the reader of the old English preacher's remark that, "the water of Salvation is free, but the pitcher it is carried in must be paid for."
Mr. Barnes lived to be quite old. He was faithful to the end, and his memory is still cherished by those who knew him.
BRACKEN CHURCH is located in the village of Minerva in Mason county. It was gathered by the famous Lewis Craig, by whom it was constituted, in the summer of 1793, of the following persons, who had been dismissed from Washington church, with perhaps some others: Philip Drake, Ann Drake, Bernard Thompson and wife, Mary Lewis, Mary Downing, Thomas Kelsor, Elizabeth Murphy, Hannah Kelsor and Dennis Murphy. The records of the church are lost, and little is known of its early history. It is most probable that Lewis Craig was its first pastor. As early as 1805, the church was divided into two distinct organizations, on the subject of Slavery. At this date William Holton was pastor of the Pro-slavery church, and James Thompson was pastor of the other party. They had occupied the same house. The split was finally healed, by the dissolution of the Anti-slavery Association, in the State.
The church appears to have been received into Elkhorn Association in 1795, at which time it comprised forty-five members. When it entered into the constitution of Bracken Association, in 1799, it contained 156 members. In 1829, Jesse Holton, who had been pastor since 1815, went over to Campbellism, taking most of the church with him, so that out of a membership of 251, only thirty-seven remained with the Baptists. After the split, Gilbert Mason was called to the pastorate, and preached several years. He was so strongly tinctured with
Campbellism that he induced the church to discard its articles of faith. A. D. Sears began to preach to this church, in 1840. Under his administration, it re-adopted its articles of faith, and again enjoyed peace and a good degree of prosperity.
In 1842, A.W. LaRue succeeded Mr. Sears in the pastorate. This church enjoyed prosperity under his labors. In 1850, there was a summing up of the church’s labors in the past, and it was ascertained that there had been baptized into its fellowship 618 persons. Since that period, it has declined. From 1850 to 1875 it had eleven pastors. A church must have remarkable vitality to survive such treatment, a quarter of a century. At present it has a membership of sixty.
Of the numerous pastors of this old church, several are widely known. Of Lewis Craig a sketch has been given. Of William and Jesse Holton there is little information at hand. JAMES THOMPSON was pastor of the Anti-slavery division of Bracken church, from the division, in 1805, till its dissolution, about 1818. He was a native of Scotland, and emigrated to America in his youth. Arriving in Philadelphia, January 8, 1767, he was sold for a term of three years, to pay his passage across the ocean. He married during his servitude. When his term of service expired, he moved to Virginia. Here, under the preaching of Henry Hagan, he professed religion, and, although he had been raised a Presbyterian, was baptized by Mr. Hagan into the fellowship of a Baptist church. The next year he was drafted into the army. At the return of peace, he moved to Bracken county, Kentucky, where he was set apart to the Gospel ministry, and gave the evening of his life to preaching the Word. He was regarded a man of sincerity, as well as a sound gospel preacher.
GILBERT MASON was born in Bedford county, Virginia, June, 1810. When he was about ten years old, his parents moved to Franklin county. Here Gilbert, at the age of eleven professed conversion under the preaching of J. B. Jeter and Daniel Wills, and was baptized by Moses Green into the fellowship of old Bethel church. He was immediately induced to engage in public prayer, and early in his thirteenth year, was fully licensed to preach the Gospel. Although compelled to labor continually on his father's farm, he preached of nights during the week, and on Sabbaths. After laboring a year or
two in this manner, he was permitted to live a year with Abner Antony, at the solicitation of that kind minister. Here he gave himself wholly to the work of the Master. He then went to school in Fincastle nearly two years, living in the family of Rev. Absalom Dempsey. After this he attended an academy in Albemarl. He then became a co-laborer of John Kerr, pastor of the First Church in Richmond. From this field he was called to the church in Petersburg, and was regularly installed its pastor the day he was nineteen years old. He occupiedthis pastorate about five years, during which he baptized a large number, among whom were Elder Thomas Hume, Sr., and the distinguished Dr. J. S. Baker, now of Georgia.
On the death of Elder Abner Clopton, Mr. Mason was called to succeed him as pastor of some churches in Charlotte county. He filled this position nearly three years, when he was called to the pastorate of Mays Lick church in Mason county, Kentucky. He also preached to Maysville, Washington and Bracken churches. About 1845, he became involved in personal difficulties with several members of the different churches he was ministering to. Grave reports affecting his moral character became current. A council was called to investigate the charges. The council met at Lewisburg and decided that Mr. Mason should make acknowledgements for his error, and ask forgiveness for his wrongs, or that Washington church, of which he was a member, should exclude him. He agreed at once to comply. He made the following declaration in writing:
"Not claiming to be infallible, I declare, in fulfillment of the requisition of the council, as far as I can do without a violation of conscience, that I am sorry for any errors I may have committed, and any injustice I may have done Brother William V. Morris or Brother John L. Kirk, or any other member of the Mays Lick or Maysville churches, and I ask forgiveness.
(SIGNED) GILBERT MASON."
The Washington church accepted this apology, but Mays Lick and Maysville rejected it. The whole matter came before Bracken Association, in 1847, and Washington church was excluded from the Association, for not complying with the decision of the council. The result was the organization of a new Association within the bounds of Bracken. It may here be remarked
that the two Associations were reconciled, and united again, after a few years.
About 1853, or the year following, Mr. Mason was called to the church at Lexington, Virginia. Remaining here several years, he baptized a large number, among whom was the eloquent and scholarly J. C. Hiden, now (1885) of Lexington, Ky. From Lexington, he was called to Manchester, Va., where he preached under the employ of the board of the General Association, as he had done at Lexington, till the beginning of the Civil War, when he moved back and resumed his old charge in Kentucky. Here he remained until the fall of 1872, when, his health being impaired, he resigned his charge, and returned to Virginia. He resided at Lynchburg till January 1, 1873. At that time, though very feeble in health, he went to visit his brother, Elder G. M. Mason, of Yancyville, N.C. Here he remained till his death, which occurred March 4, 1873.
Gilbert Mason was one of the most remarkable men that ever occupied a place in the American pulpit. At the age of twelve years he could repeat whole chapters of the Bible by rote, and, could readily turn to any passage in it. He was fully licensed to preach early in his thirteenth year. At the time of his death, which occurred when he was only sixty-three, he had been actively engaged in preaching the gospel, fifty years. And, according to his own statement, had baptized over four thousand people.
A. D. SEARS, labored at Bracken church, under the employ of the missionary board of Bracken Association, about two years. He was not pastor of the church, but did much to recover it from its disorder and confusion.
Mr. Sears was of English ancestors, and was born in Fairfax county, Va., Jan. 1, 1804. He acquired a fair education. He was raised under deistical influences, and entertained a strong prejudice against religious people, holding the Baptists in especial contempt, on account of what he regarded their vulgar and indecent practice of immersion. He had never formed the habit of attending preaching. In 1823, he came to Kentucky, and settled in Bourbon county, where, in 1828, he married Miss Ann B. Bowie. By some means he was led to a close study of the Bible and was thereby led to Christ. He had never heard a Baptist preach. But getting hold of Andrew Fuller's
Works, he found their teachings so fully in accord with his experience, and understanding of the New Testament, that he resolved to join the hitherto despised sect. On the 19th of July, 1838, he and his wife were baptized by Ryland T. Dillard, and became members of Davids Fork Baptist church in Fayette county. In 1839, he was licensed to exercise his gift. In February, 1840, he was ordained to the ministry, at Davids Fork, by R. T. Dillard, Edward Darnaby and Josiah Leak.
He at once entered upon the work of his holy calling, and, during the next seven months, preached once a month at each of Georgetown and Forks of Elkhorn, (not being pastor at either place), and devoted the rest of his time to holding protracted meetings. In December, 1840, he moved to Flemingsburg, and was appointed missionary in the bounds of Bracken Association, in which capacity he labored with good success about two years. During the year 1840, he held meetings at Shelbyville, Burks Branch and South Benson, where large numbers were added to the churches. In July, 1842, he commenced a meeting with the First Baptist church in Louisville, which continued eight weeks, and during which he baptized 125 persons. The first of September following, he accepted the pastoral care of that church, and continued to serve it till July, 1849, when he resigned to take the general agency of the General Association. In July, 1850, he took charge of the church at Hopkinsville. Here he remained till the war came on, when he went South, where he preached at various places, and much of his time to the soldiers, many of whom he baptized. In the latter part of 1864, he attempted to return to Kentucky, but was prohibited by the military authorities. In January, 1866, he took charge of the church at Clarksville, Tennessee, where he still remains. Under his care the church has increased from 25 to 225 members, and has erected a house of worship at a cost of $25,000.
Mr. Sears is now 80 years old, is an active and successful pastor, and, six years ago thought he could preach with less fatigue than he could thirty years before. May his useful life be long spared.
ALEXANDER WARREN LARUE held his first pastorate at old Bracken church. His paternal grandfather, John LaRue, was of French extraction, and settled in the county which bears his name, in 1785. He left the Presbyterians and joined the Baptists,
and was a distinguished and honored citizen. His father, Squire LaRue, was Assistant Circuit judge of his district, represented Hardin county in the Kentucky legislature, in 1822, was a member of the Baptist church, and of him, it is written, "He filled every place to which he was called, with dignity and honor." The mother of A.W. LaRue was a daughter of Alexander McDougal, who was a native of Ireland, and a faithful Baptist preacher.
A. W. LaRue was born in what is now LaRue county, Kentucky, Jan. 23, 18 19. He was led to Christ under the ministry of his cousin, S. L. Helm, and was baptized into the fellowship of Severns Valley church, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, by Colmore Lovelace, Sept. 17, 1837. He was licensed to preach, Nov. 3, 1838. Having taken an academic course at Elizabethtown, he entered Georgetown College, in 1839, where he graduated, in 1842. Soon after he graduated, he was called to the church at Flemingsburg and two or three others in Bracken Association. At the former he was ordained, by John L. Waller and A.D. Sears, Dec. 4, 1842. In this field, he labored with great zeal and usefulness, nearly seven years, not only preaching to four churches, but laboring abundantly throughout the territory of the association. In 1849, his health having become greatly enfeebled from excessive labor and exposure, he moved to Louisville, and entered into partnership with the distinguished William C. Buck, by which he became co-editor and part owner of the paper now so widely known as The Western Recorder. He was connected with this journal about four years. Meanwhile he was pastor of Bank Street church in New Albany, Indiana, for a time, and then of East church in Louisville.
In January, 1853, having severed his connection with the pager, he accepted a call to the church at Harrodsburg. He remained here a little more than three years, when, in the summer of 1856, he took charge of the church atGeorgetown. Here also he remained about three years, and then, in August, 1859, entered upon the duties of a pastor at Stanford. Here, as at every other place where he labored, his success was remarkable. In 1863, he moved to Christian county, and became pastor of Salem church. Before he had been here a year, his wife died suddenly of an attack of neuralgia of the brain. She was a
daughter of Elijah Craig, jr., and grand-daughter of the famous old pioneer preacher, Lewis Craig. She was a noble, godly woman, and was the strength of her household. Mr. LaRue was frail, delicate, and extremely sensitive and refined in his feelings. The shock was greater than his constitution could bear. His wife died July 19, 1864, and he followed her to the place of everlasting rest, on the 11th of September, following.
Mr. LaRue was not a genius, neither did he possess a superior native intellect. He was but a medium man in all his gifts. But his application, his industry, and well-tempered zeal were extraordinary. Few men were ever more consecrated to the cause of Christ, or made a deeper impression upon the minds and hearts of those with whom they came in contact. His usefulness in the cause of Christ was very extensive, and a multitude of Christian hearts mourned when the beloved LaRue, great in goodness, fell, scarcely beyond the prime of manhood.
Few families in Kentucky have produced more valuable men than that of John LaRue. Among his descendants may be named Hon. George H. Yeaman, now of New York, and late minister to Russia, Rev. John H. Yeaman, deceased, Rev. W. Pope Yeaman, D.D., of St. Louis, Rev. William L. Morris, deceased, the late Rev. Robert Enslow, Rev. S. L. Helm, D.D., Judge Squire LaRue and Rev. A. W. LaRue, and the distinguished Gov. John L. Helm, of Kentucky. Except Gov. Helm, who was not a member of any church, they were all worthy Baptists.
MILL CREEK church (Nelson county) is located about five miles east of Bardstown. It was, according to tradition, gathered by that famous old pioneer, William Taylor, at that time pastor of Cox's Creek church. It was constituted on Saturday before the fourth Sunday in December, 1793, of the following persons: John Batsel, Joseph Suttle, William Kendrick, Henry Cotton, Thos. Ellison, Thomas Halbert, Sarah Halbert, Judith Briggs, and Hannah McCarty. It is probable that William Taylor supplied them with occasional preaching, till 1799, when John Penny visited them. He found the church in some disorder. There was one or more of the members, who held the chimerical notion of "Redemption from hell," which was taught by the eloquent John Bailey, about that time. Mr.
Penny refused to commune with the church on that account. It is probable that they speedily corrected the evil; for Mr. Penny took charge of the church the following January. How long he preached to them is not known.
Joshua Morris began to preach for the church, one Sunday in the month, in 1802, Wm. Taylor being pastor. In 1807, Mr. Morris became pastor. In 1816 Jeremiah Vardeman and George Waller aided the pastor (Morris) in a series of meetings. An extensive revival prevailed, and sixty-eight were baptized. Again, in 1829, an extensive revival prevailed, Joshua Morris being pastor the second time, and there was a large ingathering of souls. Next year Samuel Carpenter was called to the church. He had imbibed the sentiments of A. Campbell, and taught them so effectively that the large and hitherto flourishing church was filled with discord. In 1834, the Baptists separated from the Campbellites; the latter probably being in the majority. Since that period, the church has not been large, but it has maintained a respectable standing, and has had a number of able pastors.
It had, in 1878, 105 members. Of the early pastors of this church, sketches have been given elsewhere, except that of John Penny which will appear more appropriately in connection with Salt River church.
SAMUEL CARPENTER was a native of Madison county, Va., and he was born in 1785. His parents moved to Bullitt county, Ky., in 1795, where he was brought up. He studied law and was admitted to the bar at Bardstown, about 1805. In 1828, he professed religion under the ministry of Jeremiah Vardeman, and joined the Baptist church at Bardstown. He was soon afterwards set apart to the ministry, and became the preacher of Bardstown and Mill Creek churches. Imbibing and preaching the sentiments of A. Campbell, he divided both the churches, and almost destroyed the one at Bardstown. The Campbellites got possession of the meetinghouse at that time, one of the best in the State. There was some debt on the house, for which it was sold. Mr. Carpenter bought it, and notwithstanding, he was the leader of the Campbellites in that region, and was formally identified with them in church relationship, he manifested his sympathy with the Baptists by selling them the house at little more than a nominal
price. The Campbellite church soon dissolved, and has not been gathered again.
After these transactions, Mr. Carpenter occasionally preached, but did not make it his calling. He practiced law at Bardstown till 1847, when he was appointed by the Governor, Circuit Judge. He maintained the reputation of a Christian gentleman, and died in the faith of the Gospel, June 24th, 1857.
WILLIAM MARTIN BROWN was a prominent preacher in his time, and field of labor. He was an active and valiant soldier, and the cause of truth and righteousness owes much under God to his fine abilities, his active zeal, and wisely directed labors. His principal field of operation was comprised in Nelson, Hardin, LaRue and Hart counties, but he often went beyond these bounds.
He was born in Halifax Co., Va., August 18,1794, where he grew up to manhood with only the common school education of the times. In 1812, he married Christina, daughter of John Yates, of his native county. The next year he moved to Mercer county, Kentucky in 1815, he settled for the remainder of his earthly days, in what is now Hart county. He obtained hope in Christ, and was baptized by David Thurman, into Three Forks of Bacon Creek church, in 1820. He was licensed to exercise his gift the first Saturday in February, 1821, and was ordained to the ministry in 1829, having served Three Forks of Bacon Creek church as preacher, three years before he was ordained. To this church he ministered till the close of his earthly career -- a period of thirty-two years. He was pastor of South Fork church, LaRue county, thirty years, and of Knox Creek, Mill Creek and perhaps several others, during shorter periods. He was eminently successful in his pastorates, and equally so in the fields of destitution around him, in which he labored abundantly. He aided in raising up new churches and strengthening weak ones, and was full of zeal and enterprise in all that pertained to the interest of Zion. He died June 3, 1861.
Mr. Brown was of an extremely cheerful temperament, insomuch that his conversation, while it was brilliant and pleasing, smacked of levity. He was fond of humor, and was a ready wit. On one occasion, in the presence of Elder William Vaughan, who was one of the most brilliant wits of his generation, Mr. Brown was entertaining some friends in the social circle with a
rather lengthy and extravagant story. When he had finished, Mr. Vaughan responded: "Billy, if I were you, I would never tell that story in the presence of sensible people." Mr. Brown instantly responded: "I never do, Brother Vaughan." It was always Greek meeting Greek when these two wits of the Kentucky pulpit came together in the social circle.
Mr. Brown left two sons who are Baptist preachers: James H. Brown, of Louisville, and Judson Brown, of Hart county.1
NIMROD C. BECKHAM, of whose life few particulars are at hand, was a good man of fair preaching gifts, and for a period of twenty years previous to 1856, performed his part in ministerial labors among the churches of Shelby, Spencer, Nelson and the neighboring counties.
He was born in Culpeper county, Va., May 28, 1802, and received a fair English education. He joined a Baptist church in early life, and was early set apart to the ministry. When he moved West, he settled in Nelson county, Ky., probably about 1825. He was for a time pastor of Mill Creek church in Nelson, and Newhope in Washington.
In 1856, he moved to Rumsey, McLean county, where he died of heart disease, August 31, 1865. Of his six children, five became Baptists.
RICHARD H. SLAUGHTER was descended from a distinguished family of his name, among the pioneers of Kentucky. He was born in Hopkinsville, Ky., in 1823. He was educated at Georgetown College, and was early set apart to the ministry. His preaching gifts were not above mediocrity, and most of his time was devoted to school teaching. However, he loved the work of the ministry, and preached as often as he could make opportunity. He usually supplied several churches with monthly preaching, in connection with his teaching. Under such circumstances, as might be expected, he was not very successful in the ministry. But he was an excellent teacher, and a good man of fine, cheerful spirit. He was at different times, stated preacher for the churches at Mt. Washington, Bullitt county, Mill Creek and Cedar Creek in Nelson county, and perhaps others. He died of typhoid fever while conducting a school at Shiloh, Hardin county, Ky., Jan. 16, 1863.
MT. MORIAH CHURCH,2 at first called Drennon's Lick Creek, is located in Nelson county, about twelve miles southwest from Bardstown. All its early records are lost, and little is known therefore, of its early history. It was admitted into Salem Association, in 1793, and has continued a member of that ancient fraternity to the present time. William Taylor, Joseph Barnett, and John Whitaker were the only Regular Baptist preachers known to have lived in that region of the State at that period, but which of them gathered this church, or who preached to it during its early years is not known. The growth of this church appears to have been slow at first. In 1822, it contained 95 members. It had enjoyed a precious revival in 1816, during which 27 were baptized. In 1839, it comprised 1 16 members. It continued gradually to increase till, in 1879, it attained a membership of 185.
COLMORE LOVELACE was the most distinguished pastor of Mt. Moriah church. He was a native of Maryland, and was born Nov. 26, 1795. His parents, who were both Baptists, emigrated to Kentucky, and settled in Nelson county, about the year 1800. They united with Lick Creek (now Mt. Moriah) church. Here their son Colmore was raised up with very little education. At the age of fourteen years, he professed conversion, and was baptized by Moses Pierson. From the time of his conversion, he manifested a strong desire for the salvation of sinners. But he possessed no extraordinary sprightliness, and his growth in a knowledge of the gospel was very slow. In his twenty-first year, he married Rachel, daughter of Thomas Newman, and settled in Hardin county. Here he took membership in Severns Valley church. He was extremely timid, but so great was his desire for the salvation of his neighbors that he began to pray and exhort, and the church licensed him to exercise his gift, April, 6, 1822. His progress was so satisfactory that, on Aug. 2, of the following year, he was ordained to the ministry at Severn's Valley, by Alexander McDougal, Simeon Buchanan and Daniel Walker. In a brief space of time he became themost popular preacher in his Association and retained this popularity as long as he lived.
On the 4th of March, 1824, his wife died, and, on the 24th of June following, he married Christina, daughter of Benjamin Irwin. Among the first churches to which he was called, was that to which he first belonged, and it was among the last he relinquished in his old age. During his ministry of about fortyone years, he was at different periods pastor of about 15 churches, all of which were probably within less than thirty miles of his home, and he seldom went out of this boundary. Living within less than forty miles of Louisville, from early childhood to old age, he never saw that city.
He was a good medium preacher. He studied his subject well, and adhered closely to his text. He studiously avoided controversy, and his sermons, prayers and exhortations were all attuned to love tones. His life was one of almost spotless purity; it is not known that, from his youth to his death, he ever committed a single act, unworthy of a Christian minister.
His address was extremely pleasing. His voice was soft and musical. His countenance was always bright, and his face seemed to beam with the tenderest love. All classes heard him with interest and pleasure. It is probable that no man ever had fewer enemies. His popularity was evidenced in the fact that he married over 575 couples. A moderate degree of success attended his labors; he baptized something over 1,200 persons.
Sometime before his death, his health was feeble. In the winter of 1864, he was attacked with paralysis. He was confined to his bed a few weeks. Among his last words were these: "I now have a glimpse of my precious Savior." He passed to his reward, on the 16th of March, 1864.
With all his excellences, Mr. Lovelace had one palpable weakness that should not be imitated. Perhaps it originated in his extreme timidity. It is as much the duty of a minister to defend the truth as it is to preach it. And no part of God's truth should be left untaught. Man’s influence may be wider where he preaches only what is pleasing to men, but God gives greater success to him who preaches and defends a whole Gospel.
MILL CREEK church (Jefferson county), was located three miles south of the present limits of Louisville, near the junction of the 18th Street and 7th Street turnpike. There is a small brick meeting-house, in which a congregation of Methodists worships,
and in which the Baptists own an interest, marking the site of this ancient fraternity. The early settlers of this locality were principally Germans, prominent among whom were the Shiveleys. But of whom the church was composed, who gathered it, or was its pastor is utterly unknown. The most we can know of it is, that,
"Once in the flight of ages past
There was a church …"
It was constituted as early as 1793; for during that year, it was received into the fellowship of Salem Association. The number of its members was not reported. The excitement on the subject of African slavery ran high at that period. In 1795, this church sent the following query to Salem Association: "Is it right for professing [religious] heads of families to raise up their servants without learning [teaching] them to read the word of God, and giving them sufficient food, raiment and lodging?" The Association thought it not proper to interpose in domestic concerns, and, therefore, voted it out.
2. Query from the same church: "Has a black slave a right to a seat in the Association?" Answer: "Yes, provided he be sent as a messenger from a church." The manner in which these queries were treated seems to have offended the church past its endurance. Next year, the Association, "Resolved, That the church at Mill Creek, Jefferson county, be no longer considered a part of this Association, having withdrawn from us." After this, the name of the church appears no more on associational records. Whether the Anti-missionary church that occupied the same locality afterwards was identical with the original “church at Mill Creek" does not appear.
FLAT LICK church, located, it is believed, in Bourbon county, and probably gathered by Augustine Eastin, was received into Elkhorn Association, with a membership of 13, in 1793. It had a moderate growth till the "Great Revival," during which it received 63, which brought its membership up to about 100. But Mr. Eastin, its pastor had succeeded in leading most of its membership into the Arian heresy: so that, in 1803, it only had 16 members. In 1809, it entered into the constitution of Licking Association with a membership of about 33. In 1819, it took the name of Mt. Dependence. It existed, with a membership of 30, as late as 1832.
RICHARD THOMAS was a minister in this church, where he probably succeeded Mr. Eastin in the pastoral office. He, with his brother Philemon, who afterwards attained to some prominence in the councils of the State, had been baptized by Wm. Hickman, at the Forks of Elkhorn, about 1788. He was a young preacher of some sprightliness, and might have been useful, but for his union with Licking Association of Anti-missionaries.
JOEL MOREHEAD was a minister in the same church a number of years. He preached the introductory sermon before Licking Association, in 1829, and again in 1833. He appears to have stood well with his people.
SPRINGFIELD church was constituted, at the county seat of Washington, in 1793, and united with Elkhorn Association, with a membership of 19, the next year. In 1796, it reported 27 members, and then disappeared from the records. Who gathered it, or who occupied its brief pastorate is unknown.
In 1793, a third effort was made to form a union between the Regular and Separate Baptists. At the meeting of Elkhorn Association, in May of that year, it was agreed that Ambrose Dudley, James Garrard, John Taylor, John Price and Augustine Eastin be appointed to visit the South Kentucky Association to confer with them on the subject of a union between the two bodies. Arrangements were made to have the churches of both associations to send messengers to a meeting to be held at Marble Creek, in Fayette county, in July. The meeting was accordingly held. A large majority of the messengers agreed on terms of union. But some of the Separates opposed the measure in such a manner as to defeat it. This so displeased some of the churches of south Kentucky Association that they at once, declared a non-fellow for that body.
On the 23d of the following November, four3 churches met, by their messengers, and formed themselves into an association, under the style of "Tates Creek Association of United Baptists." This was the fourth association formed in Kentucky, and the first that styled itself United Baptists. This was done in imitation of the Baptists of Virginia, who had happily united, and assumed this title, six years before.
Tates Creek Association did not, at first, adopt any confession of faith, but in general terms agreed to that adopted by Elkhorn and Salem. This gave some trouble, for, although Elkhorn entered into correspondence with the new fraternity immediately, it caused such uneasiness among some of the churches, that she was compelled to withdraw her correspondence the next year. But, in 1797, the correspondence was resumed, and has continued to the present time. Of the eight churches constituted this year, only three are known to exist now, and, judging from the partial reports accessible, the number of baptisms was only a little more than half of that of the preceding year. But the faithful old soldiers of the cross labored on amid increasing gloom, believing that in due time they should reap if they fainted not. Neither did their faith fail, nor their hopes mock them; although they must wait yet seven years for the harvest they were now so diligently sowing and cultivating.
1 The latter, a valuable minister, died January 1, 1885, aged 48. 2 I am conviced that Lick Creek (con. 1789) and Mt. Moriah are the same church. 3 Benedict says five but the official record before me says four. ================[John Henderson Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1885; rpt. CHR&A, 1984. - jrd]
Kentucky Baptist Church Histories
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