Joseph Ashbrook exercised a brief ministry in this fraternity. He was born in Chesterfield county, Va., about 1800. At the age of thirty, he emigrated to Kentucky and settled in Hickman county. Three years later, he professed hope in Christ and was baptized into the fellowship of Emmaus church,
by James P. Edwards. After exercising in public prayer and exhortation for some time, he was ordained to the ministry, in October, 1836. The good man labored acceptably in the Lord's vineyard a little more than four years, when the Master bade him come up higher, January 5, 1841.
William E. Bishop was a good, faithful man, and a useful member of Hopewell church in Ballard county. He was also a prominent actor in the Association, and was associated with James P. Edwards in making the famous report concerning Paducah church, which was made the occasion of producing the chism in West Union Association, in 1847. Mr. Bishop was ordained to the ministry late in life, and preached only a short time. He was moderator of the Association during the three years preceding his death. The Lord called him home, about 1852.
Thomas Henry Porter, an older brother of the well known Elder D. N. Porter, M.D., of Eminence, Ky., and Elder Joseph B. Porter, of Kansas, was a native of Virginia, whence he emigrated to Kentucky, and settled near Columbus in Hickman county. He gave his membership to Hopewell church in Ballard county, where he was ordained to the ministry, about 1856, being then considerably advanced in years. He was pastor of Wolf Island church in Mississippi county, Mo., and perhaps one or two others. His preaching gifts were below mediocrity; but his deep toned piety, his sound practical judgement and his manifest love of his race, gave him great influence over the people, and made him a valuable servant of Christ. He preached only a few years, before the Master called him to his reward.
John M. Harrington. This strangely gifted, but singularly weak and vacillating man, was a native of New York, whence he emigrated to Metropolis, Illinois, and became pastor of the church at that village, not far from the year 1850. This church belonged to West Union Association, and Mr. Harrington soon became a prominent actor in that body. About 1854, he moved across the Ohio river and settled near Spring Bayou church in McCracken county, Ky. He was a brilliant and fascinating speaker, and would have been extremely popular, but for the fact that he occasionally got drunk. He was moderator of the Association, some five or six years. After the
beginning of the civil War, he attached himself to the Federal army, in the capacity of a suttler, While in this position, he was accused of various disorderly acts, upon conviction of which, he was excluded from Spring Bayou church. After the close of the War, he moved to Nelson county, where hispreaching was so popular that the church at Bardstown entered into negotiations with Spring Bayou church from which it obtained consent to receive him into fellowship. After this, he spent several years in preaching in Nelson and the surrounding counties, and was remarkably successful, especially as an evangelist. After the death of his wife, he moved to Illinois, where also he was very successful, for a time. But charges of disorderly conduct were prefered against him, and he was again excluded from his church. After some time, he obtained admission into another church, and then moved to Kansas, where he was still preaching, when last heard from. His son, J. R. Harrington, is a respectable preacher in Nelson Association, and, if he lacks his father's brilliant genius, he has not exhibited his moral weaknesses.
Robert Williams was one of the ablest and most useful preachers that have labored in Western Kentucky. He was born near Petersburg, Va., Nov. 12, 1811. His parents moved to Kentucky and settled near Franklin in Simpson county, in 1813. Here he grew up to manhood, receiving barely the rudiments of an English education. He was converted to Christ under the ministry of Robert T. Anderson, and was baptized into the fellowship of Lake Spring church in Simpson county, in January, 1833. During the next year he was licensed to preach, and was ordained to the ministry and called to the pastoral care of Lake Spring church, in 1835. After laboring here about two years, he moved to Robertson county, Tenn., and took charge of Harmony church. He was also called to Greysville church in the same county, and to Lebanon and Mt. Zion churches, both in Todd county, Kentucky. With some changes of pastoral relation, he labored in this field twenty-one years; and it is probable that no minister in Bethel Association did more in building up the cause of Christ, during that period. He was a hard worker, and a good student, and became a well informed and able preacher. Both willing and able to defend the doctrine he preached, he did not hesitate to engage in public
debate, when it appeared to him that the cause of truth demanded it.
In 1858, he moved to McCracken county, Ky., and gave his membership to Spring Bayou church. Here he soon attained the same eminence in West Union Association, that he had reached in Bethel. In this field, he was pastor of several churches, and was moderator of the Association several successive years; but he gave much of his strength to evangelizing, not only within the bounds of West Union Association, but extending his labors into Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. About 1875, he was attacked by bronchitis, from which he suffered much, during two winters, and which greatly impaired his capacity for labor. While on a visit to his son, Prof. A. F. Williams, in Elkton, Ky., he was taken ill, and, on the twelfth of May, 1877, departed to give an account of his stewardship.
E. W. Benson was born in Robertson county, Tenn., Oct. 5, 1823. He professed faith in Christ, at the age of fifteen years, and was baptized into the fellowship of Hopewell church in his native county, by Robert T. Anderson. He was licensed to preach, in the Spring of 1842, and, the same year, entered Cumberland University, at Lebanon, Tenn. In 1843, he entered Union University, at Murfreesboro', Tenn., where he remained three years. Having finished his studies, he married Gillie S. A., daughter of Elder W. S. Baldry, and moved to northern Alabama, having been ordained to the ministry, at Murfreesboro', in September, 1846, by J.H. Eaton, Matt. Hillsman and Bradley Kimbrough. In Alabama he took pastoral charge of Russells Creek church in Lawrence county, and some others. In 1850, he located in Maury county, Tenn., where he was chosen pastor of Carters Creek, Friendship and Rock Spring churches. To the last named he ministered nine years, teaching school during the same period. In 1860, he moved to McCracken county, Ky., and settled near Paducah, giving his membership to Spring Bayou church. Here, at different periods, he was pastor of the churches at Spring Bayou, Salem, Providence, Newtons Creek, Antioch, Mayfield, Lovelaceville and Harmony. He was clerk of West Union Association from 1865 to 1876. Without any extraordinary natural gifts, he was a good, solid well informed preacher, and enjoyed a fair
degree of success in the ministry. He was called to his reward Oct. 17, 1882.
Of a number of other good preachers, who have labored within the bounds of this fraternity, in the past, no particulars have been received. The Association is now supplied with an able and efficient corps of preachers, among whom may be named J. S. Taylor, R. W. Mahan, F. M. Sharpe, W. C. Taylor, T. H. Pettit, J. N. Hall and J. B. Moody. Of several of these active and useful ministers, some particulars are known to the author, but the space allotted to this Association is filled, and he is forced to deny himself the privilege of giving even brief sketches of them.
The Baptist Gleaner, a deservedly popular religious weekly, is published at Fulton, within the bounds of West Union Association. It is conducted by J. N. Hall and J. B. Moody, both of whom are regarded able preachers and clear, forcible writers. Mr. Moody is a native of Christian county, Ky., was educated at Bethel College, followed mercantile business in Louisville, several years, was ordained to the ministry at Pewee Valley, preached at Pewee Valley, Lagrange, Harrods Creek and Elk Creek churches a short time, and then took charge of the church at Paducah. After a year there, he became co-editor of the Baptist Gleaner. Mr. Hall was born in Henry county. Ky., Feb. 5, 1849, was raised up in Ballard Co. At the age of fourteen, he united with Cane Run church, was licensed to preach, at the age of twenty, and ordained in Jannary, 1872. He taught school, farmed, and preached to some country churches, till January, 1880, when he issued, at Fulton, Ky., the first number of the Baptist Gleaner. The paper has grown rapidly in public favor, and now has an extensive circulation in Western Kentucky and Tennessee. Mr. Hall has already taken high rank as a newspaper writer. He is also endowed with excellent preaching gifts, and devotes himself to the ministry with great zeal and activity.
Little Bethel Association
This organization originated in a split in Highland Association. That fraternity had become so violently opposed to missions and other charitable enterprises, that it refused to fellowship
any church that would suffer its members to contribute to any of the benevolent institutions of the day. On this account, the following four churches withdrew from its union, in 1835: Grave Creek, in Henderson county, Bethel, in Muhlenburg, and Highland and Little Bethel, in Union. Messengers from these churches met at Flat Creek meeting house in Hopkins county, on Saturday before the 2d Sunday in September, 1836. Timothy Sisk was chosen Moderator, and A.M. Henry, Clerk. The meeting then proceeded to adopt the constitution of Highland Association, adding the following article:
"9. Whereas the benevolent institutions of the day have been made a bone of contention in Highland Association, to the destruction of the happiness of that body, which contention has led to our separation from the same, we do solemnly agree to abide by the nine articles of general union of Baptists in Kentucky, of 1801, leaving each church, and every individual member thereof, to his own discretion and sense of duty, to give or not to give to such things, and that this Association shall never have the right or power to intermeddle with churches or individual members thereof, in regard to them; and further, they shall never be made a bar to fellowship in this our union." The meeting also adopted the rules of decorum of Highland Association, and assumed the title of Little Bethel Association. The new fraternity gave as its reasons for withdrawing from Highland Association, "the violent opposition of a majority of that body to the benevolent institutions of the day." and "its repeated violation of the spirit and letter of its constitution: 1st, by appointing committees to determine matters which belonged exclusively to the churches, 2d, by nullifying acts of the churches, and, 3d, by appending to its minutes of 1835, that document known in this section as Harroldson's Bull, which we consider an infringement on the rights of the churches, and which contains grossly false charges against Baptist preachers of the highest standing for piety and usefulness."
At the time of its constitution, three of the four churches composing the Association, aggregated go members, the statistics of Grave Creek not being given. At its first anniversary meeting, which convened at Bethel in Muhlenburg county, in 1837, three churches were received, viz.: Bethel in Henderson county, Unity in Muhlenburg, and Richland in Hopkins.
This gave it a membership of seven churches with 163 members. Its preachers were Wm. Morrison, Richard Jones, William Hatchett and T. L. Garrett, Timothy Sisk having died since the constitution. Garrett moved away during the year, leaving the Association only three preachers. But small and weak as was the infant fraternity, it was deeply inbued with the spirit of missions, and at once set about the work from which its churches had hitherto been restrained by the intolerance of the mother association. It passed resolutions, recommending Sunday schools and other benevolent institutions, and, what was more to the purpose, appointed a committee to raise funds to support a missionary within its bounds. The committee was successful, and the following year, Wm. Morrison was appointed missionary, at a salary of $300 a year. The next year, R. Jones was employed at the same salary, and the churches were advised to hold protracted meetings, within the year. The labors of both the missionaries were very successful, and the Association increased from seven churches with 163 members, in 1837, to 15 churches with 812 members, in 1841. Meanwhile, Highland Association had decreased, from the time of its publication of Harroldson's Bull, in 1835, from 14 churches with 619 members, to 14 churches with 362 members, in 1840. The two associations occupied the same field, and Highland had the advantage in the number of its preachers. The difference in the success of the two fraternities, originated in the fact, that one used the means God had placed in its hands, while the other rejected the use of means. Little Bethel continued to support its home mission, foster a Bible society in its midst, and contribute to Indian missions and enjoyed a high degree of prosperity.
In 1844, the Union Baptist Bible society was organized for the purpose of supplying the destitute within the bounds of the Association, with the sacred scriptures. The Anti-missionaries on the one hand, and a large Catholic population on the other, strongly opposed the operations of the society. L. W. Taliafferro, one of its colporteurs, reported that the opposition was so great that he could neither sell Bibles, nor give them away. Still the society persevered in its efforts, for a number of years, and, doubtless, accomplished a good work.
In 1845, some confusion was caused by one P. F. Ogleby, who had been chosen pastor of Zion church in Union county.
Ogleby was a stranger, and was soon suspected of being an impostor. Disturbances in the church ensued, and several prominent members were excluded. Charges against Zion church were brought into the Association. After examining the case, the Association advised the church to reconsider her acts, and call a council to aid her in adjusting the difficulties. The church took the advice, and, convicting Ogleby of imposture, excluded him from her fellowship. This allayed the distress, and harmony was restored.
In 1845, the churches, having failed to contribute sufficient means to employ a missionary, were advised to give their pastors such support as would enable them to perform missionary labor in their respective neighborhoods. The next year, the ministers of the body were requested to preach all they could, and make collections on the field for their support. These arrangements for supplying the destitute were continued three years, and were very effective, but as the burthen fell almost entirely on the preachers, a missionary was again employed, in 1848. From that period, the Association has generally had one or more missionaries employed within its bounds. This has been its principal work. It has approved foreign missions, Bible societies and Sunday schools. But, until recently, it has done but little in these departments of benevolence. Considering that it has had much opposition from a large Catholic population in its territory, a strong Antimission element to contend with, and a respectable Protestant population to rival, it has probably done well to exert its principal strength in its own field. By this measure, it has enjoyed a good degree of success.
In 1846, on motion of Wm. Morrison, the churches were requested to observe "a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer," and to maintain "weekly prayer meetings as a means, under God, of preserving them in a thrifty state." The latter recommendation was repeated frequently, from year to year, with the additional request that especial prayer should be made for the success of their missionary. In 1847, the following item was recorded: "Took up the following query: 'Is it in accordance with the Christian character and the spirit of the gospel for a professor of religion to retail spirituous liquors?' We as an association, answer unanimously: It is not."
In 1848, Richland church divided on the subject of Freemasonry. The matter was brought before the Association, and was discussed at much length. The following decision was finally rendered: "We do not know that belonging to the Freemasons, or any of the secret institutions, is a violation of the gospel, therefore, we do not declare non-fellowship for any brethren who may belong to such institutions, or may wish to do so." This did not altogether allay the disturbance. In 1850, there was a division in Friendship church, on the question, and the subject was again brought beforethe Association. The following resolution offered by L. W. Bailey, was adopted without debate, by a vote of 30 to 28: "Seeing that brethren’s identifying themselves with the Freemason Lodge produces unkind feelings among us, therefore, Resolved, That we advise them to discontinue frequenting the Lodge, and endeavour to carry out the principles of charity, benevolence, fidelity and temperance, in and through the church of God." This was the last time the subject was brought before the body.
The subject of alien baptism was brought before the body, in 1854, by a query from Liberty church. The question was answered as follows: "We advise the churches in our Association not to receive any into their communion, who shall not have been baptized by a regularly ordained Baptist minister." When the subject came before the body again, in 1873, it was,
"Resolved, That the reception of all such immersions is inexpedient and unscriptural."
This fraternity has made good progress, in numerical strength. In 1850, it numbered 27 churches with 1,837 members; in 1860, 32 churches with 2,389 members, and, in 1868, 36 churches with 2,952 members. At the last named date, it dismissed 8 churches, aggregating 879 members, to go into the constitution of Henderson County Association. In 1870, the fraternity numbered 38 churches with 2,206 members; in 1880, 37 churches with 2,348 members and, in 1882, 39 churches with 2,941 members. From the time of its constitution, in 1836, to its meeting in 1883, there have been baptized for the fellowship of its churches 7,989 converts, exclusive of those baptized in 1840, of which we have no report. This is an extraordinary work, and will compare favorably with that of most associations in the State.
There are, it is believed, no very old churches in this body. The oldest that have belonged to it, have gone to other associations, under the heads of which some of them will be noticed.
William Morrison was among the fathers in this fraternity. He was born of Presbyterian parents at Aberdeen, Scotland, May 25, 1795. Having been well educated, he embarked for America, at the age of 23, and arrived at Philadelphia, in the fall of 1818. Here he found the Presbyterian General Assembly in session. Forming the acquaintance of Rev. N. H. Hall, of Kentucky, he was induced to accompany him to his home, and was employed by Mr. Hall as a clerk in a dry goods store at New Market in what is now Marion county. After two or three years, he established himself as a grocer, in Springfield, Washington county. Here, on the 7th of August, 1823, he was married to Elizabeth G. Seay, a lady of eminent virtues. In the fall of 1827, heclosed up his business in Springfield, and moved to Union county, where he bought a farm and settled, about six miles from Uniontown, and near the same distance from Morganfield. In the following spring, he and his wife professed religion and united with the Presbyterian church at Morganfield, he having been christened in the "Kirk o' Scotland," in his infancy. Soon after his union with Morganfield church, he was elected to a ruling eldership. He was zealous in public prayer and exhortation, and through the solicitation of his brethren, was preparing to attend the approaching meeting of the Presbytery, in order to be set apart to the ministry. Meanwhile, his wife had become convinced, by a close study of the subject, that infant baptism and affusion for baptism, were unscriptural. She now induced her husband to read that immortal work, Pengilly on Baptism. This raised so many doubts in his mind, that he declined to attend the Presbytery, and resolved to thoroughly study the whole subject. He finally arrived at the conclusion, that nothing but the immersion of a true believer in Christ, is scriptural baptism.
On the 19th of August, 1832, he and his wife were baptized into the fellowship of Highland Baptist church in Union county, by Wm. C. Buck, and, at the following church meeting, he was licensed to preach. On the resignation of Mr. Buck, Mr. Morrison was called to the pastoral care of Highland church, to which office he was ordained by Wm. C. Buck, Mar.
16, 1834. This ordination caused some dissatisfaction, on account of its having been performed by only one minister. The subject was brought before Highland Association, in 1834, and the following opinion was given: "This Association is of opinion that although the act was in violation of the letter of the constitution of the Association, yet the Association deemed it prudent to acknowledge the ordination, while it hopes that Bro. Buck, the church at Highland, and all others concerned, will be more tenacious of this rule in future."
Mr. Morrison continued to serve Highland church, as pastor, from his ordination, till his death, a period of about 24 years. Under his ministry, it was exceedingly prosperous, and no less than six other churches have been constituted of its membership. Of these, Mr. Morris was directly instrumental in gathering Zion and Uniontown, in Union county, and Mt. Pleasant and Bethlehem, in Henderson. He was laborious also in the broad mission field beyond the bounds of his pastoral charge, and was the first missionary employed by Little Bethel Association. He continued to preach with untiring zeal and activity, till the Master called him from the field, to his rest, on the 24th of August, 1858. On a marble slab that marks his resting place are engraved the words: … "a sinner saved by grace," placed there by his request.
Mr. Morrison's preaching talents were not above medium; but they were supported by an undoubted piety, and used with consecrated diligence. He was greatly beloved, and implicitly trusted by the people among whom he labored, and his influence was extensive and salutary. His eminently godly and faithful wife is (1884) still lingering on the shore of time, and doing what she can to advance that cause to which she has been scarcely less useful than her husband.*
John Bryce was born of wealthy Scotch parents, in Goochland county, Va., May, 31, 1784. He was put to school early, and was thoroughly educated in the primary English branches, acquiring also some knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages. He chose the profession of law, and entered upon its practice, at about the age of 21 years. Being brought up strictly in the faith of his parents, who were Episcopalians,
* She has recently been called to her reward.
he heartily dispised all dissenters and more especially the Baptists. It is probable that he never heard a Baptist sermon, before he attained his majority. But about the time he came of age, he and a number of other gay, aristocratic young people attended a Baptist association, near his father's residence. Of this meeting, he gave the author the following account: "When we reached the place of meeting, there was an immense concourse of people assembled in the shade of the forest trees. Three preachers were sitting on a temporary stand, erected for the occasion. As I had not gone to hear preaching, the first two men that spoke had very little of my attention. But when the third speaker arose, the first sentence he uttered riveted my attention. There was an easy, graceful elegance in his manner, a thrilling sweetness in his voice, and a solemn dignity and sublimity of eloquence in his diction and delivery, that I have never met with in any other man. The gospel of Christ flowed from his lips, a living power that penetrated my heart with an acuteness, sharper than a two-eged sword. When he closed his sermon, notwithstanding I was a member of the Episcopal church, I felt myself a lost and undone sinner."
The preacher here referred to, was the distinguished Andrew Broadus. Mr. Bryce soon afterwards obtained peace in Christ, and, despite the opposition of his aristocratic parents and friends, united with the Baptists. He began to warn sinners to repent, almost immediately after he was baptized, and was soon afterwards ordained to the ministry.
He did not give himself wholly to the ministry, for many years after his ordination. He practiced law in Richmond and Lynchburg, and was master in chancery under Chief Justice Marshall, several years. In 1810, he was chosen assistant pastor of the First Baptist church in Richmond, the venerable John Courtney being the pastor. This position he filled till 1822, except during a short period, in which Andrew Broadus occupied the place. During hisresidence at Richmond, he was president of the fire department of that city, several years, at a salary of $1,000 per annum. He was also chaplin in the army, one year, during the last war with Great Britain. In 1822, he accepted a call to the church at Fredericksburg, where he remained two years. He then accepted a call to the church at Alexandria, D. C., where he preached one year, and then returned to Fredericksburg.
During his pastoral labors in his native State, he was one of the prime movers in the erection of Columbian College. He was also a prominent member of the American Colonization Society. At one time, he freed 40 of his own slaves, and sent them to Liberia, through this society.
In 1827 he moved to Georgetown, Ky., and engaged in the practice of law. During an exciting political contest, in 1832, he was induced to "take the stump," in favor of the Democratic party. As the campaign progressed, it grew more exciting, and the eloquent lawyer of Georgetown was led into the habit of drinking too freely. He was soon awakened to a sense of his guilt and shame, and, at once, abandoned the. use of intoxicating drinks forever. But a remembrance of his shameful fall, and the reproach it brought on the cause of Christ, filled him with remorse, during the remainder of his days. He at once left Georgetown, and went to Crawfordsville, Ia. Here he united with the "hardshell" Baptists. He remained at Crawfordsville, about ten years, representing his county in the State Legislature, at least one term. From Crawfordsville, he moved near Indianapolis, where he lived about two years.
In 1844, President Tyler appointed him Surveyor of the port at Shrievesport, Louisiana. This was pending the annexation of Texas to the United States; and Mr. Bryce is supposed to have been Mr. Tyler's confidential agent, in that important affair of State. The time he remained at Shrievesport, was, by far, the most useful period of his life, in the ministry. The duties of his office, which he held but a short period, required but a small portion of his time. The remainder of his time, he devoted very actively to the ministry. There probably was not a Baptist church, or another Baptist preacher, within two hundred miles of that town, and the rite of immersion had never been performed there. Mr. Bryce preached in the open air, when the weather would permit, and, at other times, like Paul at Rome, “in his own hired house.” He was soon brought into controversy with Leonidas Polk, then Bishop of an Episcopal diocese, and since Major General in the Confederate Army, on the subject of baptism. Shortly after this, he constituted, in his room at a hotel, a church, consisting of himself, his wife and son, Dr. W. George, John Howell and one other person.
Within a year the little church increased to 42 members, and before two years had expired, it built a large, commodious house of worship. Mr. Bryce did not confine his labors to the city, but, as if inspired with a new and irresistable zeal, he preached with wonderful power and success, throughout a large district of country, embraced in western Louisiana and eastern Texas. The people that sat in darkness saw a great light. The whole country appeared to be inundated by a holy religious influence. Churches seemed to spring up as if by magic. Within the seven years that Mr. Bryce remained at Shrievesport, about twenty churches were constituted and two associations formed.
After his term of office, under appointment of the General Government, expired, Mr. Bryce was elected Mayor of Shrievesport, the duties of which office he discharged with faithfulness, and to the satisfaction of the people.
In 1851, he returned to Kentucky, and located in Frankfort. He was invited to the pastorate of the church at that place, but on account of an irreconcilable division of that body, he declined the invitation. In July of the next year, he moved to Henderson, Ky., and took charge of the church in that village. The relation between him and his people there was remarkably pleasant, and he continued to minister to them about ten years, when he resigned on account of the encroachments of old age. After this, he preached when his strength would permit, but his long and eventful life was drawing to a close. He died at Henderson, of congestion of the brain, July 22, 1864.
Mr. Bryce was a man of extraordinary gifts, and a liberal culture; but while he did much good in his generation, his capacities were by no means used to the best advantage. His father left him a good estate, he acquired enough in the practice of law, and in filling lucrative offices, to have made a handsome fortune, and married wealthy four times, yet he squandered it all, and was reduced to poverty in his old age. He spent three-fourths of his life and strength in purely secular pursuits, when his inherited estates, properly husbanded, would have enabled him to give his whole time and strength to his holy calling. Let young men emulate the virtues of this good and great man, and carefully avoid the mistakes that deprived the cause of Christ of so large a portion of his extraordinary
powers. His fifth wife, with whom he lived 40 years, survived him a short time.
William Hatchett was in the constitution of Little Bethel Association. He was a native of Virginia, and began his ministry in Lunenburg county, in that State. He was licensed to preach, in 1817, and ordained, in 1821. In 1828, he emigrated to Kentucky and settled in Henderson county. The next year, he succeeded John Dorris in the pastoral care of Grave Creek church. In this position he continued about 30 years, although he had the aid of an assistant pastor, a number of years before his death. In 1835, he withdrew from Highland Association, with his church, and, the following year, entered into the constitution of Little Bethel Association. He was a man of meek and gentle spirit, was greatly beloved by his people, and was a good plain, gospelpreacher. He was called to his reward, in 1860. His son, Abraham Hatchett, is a useful preacher in Henderson County Association.
Timothy Sisk was a native of North Carolina. He emigrated to Kentucky with his parents, at an early period, and settled in Hopkins county. Here he united with Flat Creek, the oldest church in Hopkins county, it having been constituted in 1803. Mr. Sisk was licensed to preach, by this church, in 1819, where also he was soon afterwards ordained. As his church went into the constitution of Highland Association the same year he was licensed to preach, most of his ministry was spent in that fraternity. In 1835, he dissented from that body on account of its intolerance to missions, and, the next year, became identified with Little Bethel Association. But his connection with this fraternity was short. Before its first anniversary meeting, in 1837, he had gone to his final reward. He is said to have been a good, useful preacher.
Gabriel Sisk, a son of Elder Timothy Sisk, was a young preacher of excellent gifts. He was probably raised up to the ministry in old Flat Creek church, not far from 1843; but became identified with Sharon church, in what is now Webster county, in 1846. But his ministry was short. He was both preacher of the introductory sermon, and moderator of Little Bethel Association, in 1852. But before the next meeting of that body, the Lord had called him to give an account of his stewardship.
John Withers was a native of Union county, Ky. In the 24th year of his age, he professed conversion and united with Little Bethel church in his native county. In 1840, he was ordained to the deaconship, and, in May of the next year, was licensed to preach. In May, 1842, he was ordained to the ministry, by Wm. Morrison, Joseph Board, and Joel E. Grace. In July of the same year, he accepted the pastoral care of Little Bethel church, in which capacity he served about 13 years, when he resigned, in order to ride as missionary of Little Bethel Association. The next year he resumed his old charge, where he continued to serve till the Master called him from his labors. In 1858, the church enjoyed a precious revival under his ministry, and about twenty were added to her number. From Little Bethel, he went to Vanderburg in what is now Webster county, to begin another meeting. Here he was taken ill, and, after a few days, passed to his final reward, Nov. 30, 1858. At the time of his death, he was pastor of four churches, as he had been during the greater part of his ministry. He was noted for his piety and faithfulness, and his ministry was much blessed. His son, S. B. Withers, is now in the ministry, and is said to be every way worthy of so godly a father.
Richard Jones was among the most prominent and useful preachers in Little Bethel Association, during his brief ministry. He united with Grave Creek church in Henderson county, in 1822. He was licensed to preach, in 1829, andwas ordained to the ministry, in 1836. At the last named date, he entered into the constitution of Little Bethel Association, among the churches of which he was a zealous and effective laborer, for a number of years. In 1839, he was chosen to succeed Wm. Morrison as missionary of Little Bethel Association, at a salary of $300 a year. He afterwards moved to Muhlenburg county and united with South Carrollton church. While living here, he was pastor of Beaver Dam, Nelson Creek and Pond Run churches, all in Gasper River Association. About 1850, he was appointed agent for the Indian Mission Association, a position he was occupying at the time of his death. On his way to his association, in 1851, he was taken ill at the house of James Collier, in Muhlenburg county, where, after a few days illness he departed this life on the 11th of October.
Joseph Board was a member of Richland church in Hopkins county, and an early minister in Little Bethel Association, which body he served as moderator, from 1842, to 1845. He appears to have been a preacher of fair gifts, and was regarded a good and useful man. It is regretted that more is not known of his life and labors. He was called to his reward, about 1871, at a ripe old age.
William Whayne was also a good, zealous, preacher in this Association. His membership was at Bethel church in Henderson county, where he was an ordained minister, as early as 1845. After laboring within the bounds of this Association, both as pastor and missionary, about ten years, he moved west, about 1854, where he has since died.
L. W. Bailey was a preacher in Sharon church in what is now Webster county, as early as 1845, and was a zealous and useful laborer in Little Bethel Association, about twenty-five years. His preaching gifts were not great, but he used them diligently, and made them useful in the Master’s cause. He was a good man, and was much esteemed by his brethren. The Lord called him to his inheritance, Aug. 19, 1870.
L. W. Taliaferro was licensed to preach, at Salem church in Hopkins county, as early as 1846, and was ordained to the ministry, in 1847. For some time, he acted as colporteur for Union Baptist Bible Society, within the bounds of Little Bethel Association. Of his subsequent labors, no definite information has been received. But he maintained a good christian character, and doubtless accomplished good in his generation. He left the shore of time, about 1873.
Pryor S. Loving was born of pious Baptist parents, in Hopkins Co., Ky., Oct. 13, 1818. At the age of twenty years, he obtained hope in Christ, under the ministry of Richard Jones, by whom he was baptized into the fellowship of Concord church in his native county. In 1841, he was licensed to preach, and was ordained, in the spring of 1844, by Gabriel Sisk and Joseph Board. He wasan active and faithful laborer, principally among the churches of Little Bethel Association, about twenty-one years. Fair success attended his ministry, and he so lived as to win the confidence and affection of the people among whom he labored. The Lord was pleased to call him from his toils, in the prime of manhood, Jan. 19, 1865.
William Mclean was born in Barren Co., Ky., Sept. 25, 1805. At an early age, he moved lower down in the State, where he was married to Harriet Bourland, in Calloway county, April 16, 1832. He professed faith in Christ, and was baptized by T. L Garrett, for the fellowship of Richland church in Hopkins county, in July, 1841. After exercising in public prayer and exhortation some time, he was ordained to the ministry, July, 2, 1844. From that period till near the close of his life, there were few more faithful or useful preachers in that region of the State. His preaching gifts were by no means brilliant. But he was well versed in the Bible, and his preaching was sensible, practical and safe. He was an excellent singer, and an earnest, quiet and constant worker. His christian character was above reproach, and he had the full confidence of all who knew him. He was usually pastor of several churches, which he labored to build up. But in addition to this, he searched out the destitute places, talked to the people privately, as well as publicly, and encouraged the scattered brethren to organize churches, where it appeared prudent. His labors were so quiet and unpretending, that others were often accredited with the work that he performed. He laid the foundation and others built thereon. He quietly prepared the materials and others put them together. The now prosperous church in Madisonville, where he spent his latter years, owes its existence to his labors, more than to those of any other man. He labored in the ministry about thirty-eight years, and then went to receive the reward of one who had turned many to righteousness. He died at the home of his son, in Johnson county, Ill. Oct. 4, 1882.
Roland Gooch was long a prominent and useful member of Olive Branch church in Hopkins county, before he entered the ministry. He was licensed to preach, in 1863, and ordained the following year. His preaching talent was very moderate; but he was a man of so much practical wisdom, of such exalted piety, and so consecrated a zeal and diligence, that perhaps no preacher in the Association accomplished more for the cause of Christ, during the brief period of his ministry. He was called to his home above, about 1873.
F. J. Jessop was a native of Ireland, where he was raised up in the Episcopal church, and received a classical education. In his youth, he came to America for the purpose of joining
Gen. John Morgan's calvalry, during the Civil War. At the close of the War, he located in Central Kentucky. In 1866, he professed conversion and was baptized by Wm. G. Hobbs, into the fellowship of ElkCreek church in Spencer county. He began to pray in public before he was baptized, and was soon afterwards ordained to the ministry. In 1868, he started to Missouri; but, on reaching Union county, he stopped and gave his membership to Highland church. Here he married and settled. During the remainder of his days, he labored among the churches of Little Bethel Association, and was held in high esteem by his brethren. He died in Morganfield, July 21, 1875.
Brooken T. Taylor was born and raised in Henderson county. In early life, he obtained hope in Christ and united with the church. Having been licensed to preach, he went to Georgetown College, where he completed his course, not far from 1854. He then took charge of the church at Columbia in Adair county. Here he labored with very remarkable success, about four years. From Columbia, he was called to the church at New Castle in Henry county, where he remained about two years. In 1860, he was called to Owensboro, where he labored only a short time. From this point, he moved to Henderson county, where he served several churches in Little Bethel Association from 1862 to 1867. He also served that Association as moderator, three years. About 1868, he moved to Missouri where he still labors.
Mr. Taylor is a man of a high order of talents and extraordinary preaching gifts. Few men have displayed more intellectual power in the pulpit, in Kentucky, or enjoyed a higher degree of success in the ministry.
James C. Hopewell is one of the most prominent ministers of this fraternity, and has usually served the Association as moderator, since 1868. He is a native of Spencer county, it is believed, but was raised up in Union county, where he continued to reside until he moved to Madisonville, about 1879. He was set apart to the ministry, at Little Union church in Union county, not far from 1860, and has usually had all his time occupied in the pastoral office. He is said to be an excellent and very successful preacher.
David Whittinghill is one of the elderly ministers of
this Association, and is a valuable laborer among its churches. He was raised in Ohio county, where also he was put into the ministry, about 1858. He was, for a considerable period, employed as a missionary. After the close of the Civil War, he located near Madisonville in Hopkins county, where he still resides. He is a preacher of warm zeal and great energy, and his labors have been blessed in bringing many sinners to Christ.
There are, and have been, a number of other good and useful preachers in this Association, of whose lives and labors no particulars have been received. Among these, the names of W. S. Morris, S. M. Martin and John O'Bryan appear to be conspicuous.
[J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists,Volume II, 1885, pp. 455-503. -- jrd]
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