A History of Kentucky Baptists
By J. H. Spencer
Volume II, 1885
Greenup - 546-551; South Fork - 551; Soldiers Creek - 552; Panther Creek - 552-553;
South Cumberland River - 553-557; Freedom - 557-563; North Concord - 563- 565; Daviess County - 565-580;
South Kentucky 580-585; Washington - 585-586; Bethel Regular Primitive - 586-587; Zion United - 587-588;
Mt. Olivet - 588- 593; Regular Mates Creek - 593-594; Nelson - 594-603
This fraternity is located in the extreme north-eastern corner of the State. The first Baptist preacher that settled in this region, was John Young. He united with a church in the adjacent border of Ohio. After a time, he induced this church to extend an arm to a point on Little Sandy River, about ten miles above the mouth of that stream, in Greenup county, Ky. This arm was fostered by Mr. Young, and ultimately became an independent church, under the name of Palmyra. Two other churches, one of which was called Union, were raised up in adjacent neighborhoods, and the three were united with Ohio Association, which was constituted, in Lawrence county, Ohio, Nov. 11, 1820. In 1841, these three churches, having obtained letters of dismission, met at Palmyra meeting house, and constituted Greenup Association. The ministers in the organization were John Young, Thomas Reynolds, Thomas Abrams and John Howell.
In March, 1845, the General Association sent H.F. Buckner, subsequently the distinguished missionary to the Creek Indians, to labor within the bounds of the young fraternity. In August of that year, the Association comprised the following churches: Palmyra, Union (now Unity,) East Fork, Liberty, Chadwicks Creek, New Bethel, Bethany and New Salem. These churches aggregated 369 members, and T. K. Reynolds had been added to the list of ordained ministers. The licensed preachers of the body were Charles F. Crook, James P. Reynolds, Hiram Hastings and James Bush. The Association welcomed the missionary of the General Association, in the following language:
"Resolved, That our beloved brother, H. F. Buckner, visit and preach the gospel to the most destitute parts in the bounds of our Association." Mr. Buckner was requested to make collections for the General Association, and each church in the Association
was advised to appoint a solicitor for the same purpose. It was also, "Resolved, That this Association disapproves the intemperate use of ardent spirits." Mr. Buckner labored about two years in this wide and destitute field, and then entered upon his great life work among the Indians of the far West. Through its own feeble efforts, and the aid of the General Association, the body kept up its missionary operations a portion of the time, from year to year. But its growth was very slow, for a long time. The intemperate use of strong drink was acrying sin among the churches. Elder Thomas Reynolds labored earnestly to reform the evil. But he succeeded only with a small party. The result was a rupture in the body, and the formation of a small fraternity, of the temperance element, called Friendship Association. This breach was afterwards healed, but still the body did not prosper. In 1860, it reported only 11 churches, aggregating 455 members, and, seven years later, only 8 churches, with 320 members. But, in 1868, a revival commenced within its bounds, and continued several years. The increase was now so rapid that, in 1876, the body numbered 31 churches, with 1,581 members. This year it dismissed 8 churches, aggregating 291 members, to form Enterprise Association, on its southern border. In 1879, the Association expressed some displeasure with Mt. Pleasant church for receiving alien baptism, and, in 1880, adopted the following:
"Resloved, That we will not correspond with other Associations who will receive alien immersions."
The body has been quite prosperous since the beginning of the revival, in 1868. In 1880, it numbered 23 churches with 1,761 members.
John Young may be regarded as the father of Greenup Association. At what date, he settled within its present bounds, has not been ascertained, but he is supposed to have been among the earliest settlers on Little Sandy River. Mr. Young was a native of Virginia, and was born near Fredericksburg, June 24, 1764. He had chosen the occupation of a sailor, and was preparing to take command of the ship Abbyana, when he was pressed into the service of the United Colonies, as a bearer of dispatches for General Washington. In this position he continued to act, till the close of the Revolutionary War. Soon after the return of peace, he was married to Mary, daughter of
Elder Shadrack Moore, and moved to Kentucky. According to the custom of the period, he came down the Ohio River in a flat boat. Landing at Limestone, he traveled across the country to what is now Jessamine county, and there settled.
At what time he united with a church, or commenced his ministry, does not appear. But, in 1801, he was sent by Elkhorn Association to preach to the Indians. When, many years afterwards, a dispute arose between Licking and Elkhorn Associations in regard to the early practice of the latter, with regard to missions, the venerable missionary gave the following certificate:
"I, John Young, certify that I was ordained and sent as a missionary to the Indians, by Ambrose Dudley, David Barrow, George S. Smith, Joseph Redding, Austin Easton, John Price and Lewis Craig, in the month of September, 1801.
"Given under my hand, this 2d day of November, 1842.
According to a tradition among his descendants, when Mr. Young met a council of the Indian tribe to which he was sent, he was received in a friendly manner by all except a fierce young warrior, who walked back and forth, in a very angry mood, with a huge knife in his hand. Finally the missionary induced him to sit down by him; they smoked together, and peace was made. As to how long Mr. Young remained among the Indians, or what degree of success attended his labors, we have no knowledge. But soon after his return to Kentucky, he moved to what is now Green up county. It was then an almost unbroken wilderness, for, according to Collins' history, there were, in 1802, only six families living on the territory afterwards included in Greenup county. Mr. Young first located on Tigerts creek; but after a short time, moved to the mouth of Little Sandy river, and from thence to a point ten miles up that stream, where he spent the remainder of his days. Here he possessed himself of a large area of land. As the country filled up with people, he traveled far and wide over the mountainous region to preach the gospel to them. His large body of land was sold, piece by piece, to support himself and family, while he broke the bread of life freely to the poor settlers. He continued these faithful labors to a ripe old age, and laid a broad
foundation on which others have built. The Lord called him to his reward, Feb. 25, 1855, in his 91st year.
John Howell, one of the pioneer preachers in Greenup Association, was born in Bedford county, Va., about 1783. He was baptized into the fellowship of Meadowfield church, and licensed to preach, at Stone Road meetinghouse, in his native county. In 1834, he moved to Lawrence county, Ohio, and, a year later, settled in what is now Boyd county, Kentucky, near the present site of Ashland. Here he labored with much zeal in the Master's vineyard, and was instrumental in gathering Union (now Unity) church, about 1838. This was the second organization of the kind, formed within the present limits of Greenup Association. In this church, he was ordained to the full work of the ministry, by John Young and John Kelley. He, however, took charge of no church, but devoted himself to laboring among the destitute, with great zeal, for about twenty years. In 1854, he moved to Illinois, whence the Lord called him to his final reward, the following year.
Thomas Reynolds was born in South Carolina, in 1875. When he grew up, he became very dissipated, and continued in the paths of sin, till he was past middle life. In 1825, he moved to Pike county, Kentucky. Here he was converted from his evil ways, in 1836, and was baptized by Ezekiel Stone, for the fellowship of Union church, in what is now Johnson county. Two years after this, he moved to what is now Boyd county, and united with Union church, which was gathered, about that time, by the pious and zealous John Howell. Soon after this, he began to exercise in public exhortation, and was ordained to the ministry, about 1840, being then 55 years of age. He was calledto the care of Union and Bethel churches, in Kentucky, and South Point, in Ohio. Having experienced the great evil of drunkenness, he became an earnest and intelligent advocate of temperance, in his gospel ministrations. But in this region, where the principal occupation of the people was making iron, dissipation abounded, even among the comparatively few professors of religion among them. Mr. Reynolds became disheartened in his attempt to work a reform in the iron district, and, in 1846, moved back to Pike county. Here he raised up three or four churches, to which he ministered till the Lord called him home, June 28, 1851. After his death,
the churches he had served fraternized, under the style of "Friendship Association.'
Thomas Kelley Reynolds, Son of Elder Thomas Reynolds, was born in Rutherford county, N. C., December 29, 1815. He received a moderate common school education, including a fair knowledge of English grammar. After the removal of his parents to Kentucky, he obtained hope in Christ, and was baptized for the fellowship of Union church in what is now Boyd county, by John Kelley, in 1838. In the same year, he was married to Letitia Crum, sister of the well known Elder J. D. Crum of Boyd county. He began to exercise in public prayer and exhortation, in 1844, and was ordained to the ministry, by Thomas Reynolds, H. F. Buckner and W. W. Daniel, in 1845. Immediately upon his ordination, he assumed the care of New Salem church, and subsequently became pastor of Bethel, Union and Friendship churches. From that period, he was among the most active and efficient preachers in Greenup Association, for about thirty years, when his health failed. He was pastor, at different times, of about twenty churches in Kentucky and the adjacent borders of Ohio and Virginia. For about three years, he was missionary of the General Association in Boyd and adjoining counties. He has baptized 1,147 persons, and, on account of his failing health, secured the services of other ministers to baptize about 500 others, who were converted under his ministry. Except during the three years that he served the Board of the General Association, he labored in his holy calling, almost entirely without pecuniary compensation. In the prime of his ministry, he served five churches, preaching to one of them on week days, for a period of six years, for which he received only two dollars and fifty cents. Meanwhile, he supported his family by digging iron ore out of the hills around him. It is hardly to be wondered at, that his health gave way, and he became unable to labor, at an age when he should have been scarcely beyond the prime of manhood. He has sometimes been clerk, and sometimes moderator of Greenup Association. He is still living, but his emaciated form and shattered nerves forbid the hope that he will perform much more labor.
His son, R. N. Reynolds, who was baptized by J. D. Crum, and was ordained to the ministry, in 1879, is a promising
young preacher, and is acceptably occupying the field vacated by his father.
Thomas Abrams was among the pioneer preachers of Greenup Association, and was reputed a faithful, good man. It is regretted that few particulars of his life have been received, He appears to have been raised up to the ministry, in old Palmyra church, in which he was a licensed preacher, in 1839. He was in the constitution of Greenup Association, was one of its first moderators and frequently presided over its meetings, for a period of twenty-five years.
Of several other useful preachers, who have long labored among the churches of this body, no particulars have been received. ________________________
South Fork Association
This fraternity was constituted in 1841, and was located in Owsley and some of the adjoining counties. Joseph Ambrose was much the most active and effective preacher among its churches, and was its moderator from its constitution till his removal to Gallatin county, in 1855. Under his zealous and efficient labors, and those of John Ward and some others, the Association enjoyed a good degree of prosperity. In 1852, it reported sixteen churches, aggregating 593 members; four years later, it reported nineteen churches, but a slightly decreased aggregate membership. After Mr. Ambrose moved away, the body began to decline rapidly, and, in September, 1862, was formally dissolved. The territory it vacated has since been occupied by Irvine, Jackson and Booneville Associations.
John Ward was quite an active and useful preacher in this Association, and acted as its moderator after the removal of Mr. Ambrose. Mr. Ward was, for many years, one of the most influential preachers in that portion of the State. But he finally commenced the practice of medicine - that curse of many of the mountain preachers - which greatly diminished his usefulness. He is still living, at a venerable age, but is now known as a doctor, rather than a preacher.
Soldiers Creek Association
This small body of Antimissionary Baptists is located principally in Graves, Marshall and Calloway counties, in the western part of the State. It was constituted, in 1842, under the style of Soldiers Creek Association of Regular Baptists, and was composed of the following churches, which had been dismissed from Clarks River Association, and two others: Soldiers Creek, Rough Creek, Panther Creek, Mt. Pleasant and West Mayfield. These seven churches aggregated 197 members. The body was prosperous at first, and, at its second meeting, reported ten churches with 290 members. The same year, the peace of the fraternity was disturbed by the preaching of one Hicks, who led Elder Inman into the non-resurrection heresy. This affair was adjusted by deposing Inman from the ministry. But, in 1844, a more grievous disturbanceagitated the young fraternity. Two of its churches were arraigned before the body for having received members from the "Missionary Baptists" without rebaptizing them. Being unable to adjust the difficulty, the Association agreed to dissolve. The next year it was reconstituted of the following churches: New Hope, Mt. Zion, Mt. Pleasant, Union, Concord and Zion, leaving out the offending sisters. The body now numbered six churches with 196 members.
On its new foundation, it has usually enjoyed peace and a small degree of prosperity. In 1870, it reported nine churches with 233 members, and, in 1880, fifteen churches, with 451 members. ________________________
Panther Creek Association
This small fraternity, which assumed the name of United Baptists, originated in a difference of sentiment in regard to the proper method of supplying the destitution of preaching within the bounds of Goshen Association. The opposers of missionary
societies, in Panther Creek church, Ohio county, seceded from that body, in October, 1840. The seceding faction formed two small churches, one at what is now Pellville, and the other at the present site of Roseville. These, with another small church, occupying similar grounds, constituted Panther Creek Association, in 1842. At its first anniversary, in 1843, it reported three churches, aggregating 96 members. Its growth was very slow till after the Civil War. Since that period, it has had some increase. In 1870, it numbered six churches with 210 members, and, in 1880, ten churches with 470 members.
South Cumberland River Association
This fraternity originated in the following rather singular manner: In 1840, South Concord Association was in correspondence with Stocktons Valley and Russells Creek. The latter fraternity was in correspondence with the General Assosociation, for which Stocktons Valley had declared a non-fellowship. The last named complained of South Concord for this breach of fraternal relations. Upon receiving the complaint, South Concord immediataly withdrew correspondence with all her neighboring fraternities "for the present." In 1842, Big Sinking, Cedar Sinking, New Salem, White Oak, Welfare, Big Creek, and Pleasant Grove churches, requested South Concord Association, of which they were members, to resume correspondence with the neighboring fraternities, or grant them letters of dismission. The latter alternative was accepted. The seven churches thus lettered off, together with those of Liberty and Harrolds Fork, met, by their messengers, at Pleasant Grove, in Wayne county, November 5, 1842. A sermon was preached by Matthew Floyd, and the meeting was organized by the election of Matthew Floyd as moderator, and R. Semple asclerk. The proposed Association was formally constituted under the name of South Cumberland River. The churches of which it was constituted aggregated 454 members, and were located in Wayne, Russell, and Pulaski counties.
The real cause that gave birth to this fraternity was a difference of sentiment among the churches of South Concord Association,
on the subject of missions, the membership being nearly equally divided on that vexed question of the period. The mother fraternity retained the Anti-mission churches, while those which favored Missions entered into the new organization. Matthew Floyd was by far the most influential and effective preacher in South Concord Association, and became the leader of the missionary party, and, in the new organization, exerted the measure of his influence in favor of missions.
South Cumberland Association has shown much interest in home missions, from the time of its constitution, and has usually kept one or more missionaries employed within its bounds. It has enjoyed peace, and has had a steady, though not very rapid growth. In 1850, it numbered 10 churches with 546 members; in 1860, 14 churches with 962 members, in 1870, 22 churches with 1,610 members; in 1879, 22 churches with s, 708 members, and, in 1883, 24 churches with 1,856 members.
Matthew Floyd was one of the most popular, beloved, and efficient preachers in Kentucky, in his generation. His grandfather, Col. Matthew Floyd, came to America in command of a regiment of British soldiers, in time of the Revolutionary War. Being in sympathy with the cause of the Colonists, he succeeded in winning his regiment to his views, during the voyage across the ocean. Accordingly, on landing at Charleston, South Carolina, he, with his entire command, entered the service of the United Colonies, and fought on the side of American independence, during the War. His son, Abraham, who, as was his father, was a native of Ireland, came to America in command of a company in his father's regiment, and continued in the service of the Colonies, during their struggle for liberty. After the close of the War, Captain Floyd moved to Madison county, Kentucky, where he followed the occupation of school teaching. He finally moved to Indiana, where he died, at the age of 104 years.
Matthew Floyd was the son of Captain Abraham Floyd, and was born in South Carolina, in the year 1778. In 1796, he migrated with his parents to Kentucky. He was brought up in the Episcopal church, of which his parents were devout members He received a common English education, probably under the tuition of his father, and, in early life, joined the Methodist society as a seeker. Subsequently, he professed conversion, and united with a Baptist church near the residence of his parents. Coming home from the baptizing without having changed his garments, his father was so angry with him for having joined theBaptists, that he drove him from his house, with his wet clothes on. However, he continued firm in his new faith. Arriving at manhood, he married Susannah, daughter of Charles Warren, and settled in Pulaski county, near the present location of Old White Oak Baptist church. Here he commenced his long and eminently successful ministry, about the year 1811. White Oak church was probably the fruits of his first labors in the gospel. He was called to the pastoral charge of this organization about the time of its constitution, and served it with great acceptance, about 51 years. He also served with equal acceptance the churches at Monticello, New Salem, Big Spring and Beaver Creek, all in Wayne county. The churches he served belonged to the old Cumberland River fraternity, till that body became so large as to render attendance on its meetings inconvenient. In 1825, Mr. Floyd's charges, with seven other churches, entered into the constitution of South Concord Association. Mr. Floyd had now become the leading minister in the Cumberland Valley. His great popularity was evinced in his being elected Moderator of the new Association, seventeen years in succession. Meanwhile, he preached the introductory sermon before the body, as often as three times in succession.
Soon after the constitution of the General Association, in 1837, the subject of missions began to agitate South Concord Association, and there are good reasons for believing that it would have followed the example of Stocktons Valley, in declaring unanimously against missionary operations, had it not been for the influence of Mr. Floyd, who exerted his entire energies in favor of missions. The opposition in the Association had a small majority, including all the preachers of any considerable influence, except Mr. Floyd, whose personal popularity still gave him the moderatorship. But it became manifest to him, that the two parties could not live together in peace. His prudence secured a peaceable and orderly separation, by the dismissal of the missionary churches, by letter. He immediately secured the calling of a convention of these churches,
and South Cumberland River was constituted, in 1842. He had been Moderator of South Concord from its constitution, and he was now elected Moderator of South Cumberland River Association, a position he continued to occupy, until his death, a period of 21 years.
Besides his pastoral labors, Mr. Floyd preached abundantly among the destitute in Wayne, Pulaski and Russell counties, during his entire ministry of 52 years. He is believed to have been, at least, one of the first missionaries employed by the General Association in his part of the Sate. His success in the ministry was extraordinary, and he baptized a great many people. He was a wise man in council, as well as an efficient laborer in the field. But his work was finished at last, and, on the 19th of August, 1863, he answered the summons to come up higher. His son, John W. Floyd, entered the ministry and labored in that capacity for a time, but, anon, yielded to the temptation that has destroyed the usefulness of many of the preachers in the mountain counties -- the practice of physic.
John Keith was a pious, unassuming minister in this Association. He was born in Virginia, July 25, 1778, moved to Kentucky, in 1812, and united with First Liberty church. In 1842, he went into the organization of Coopers Delight church. He labored in the ministry, about 48 years. From his home in the south-east corner of Pulaski county, the Master called him to his home, above, Feb. 13, 1875.
William Rexroat was one of the most active and useful ministers of this fraternity. He was born in what is now Russell county, November 17, 1817. At the age of 17, he was baptized by Wm. Smith for the fellowship of Welfare church. In 1847, he was ordained to the ministry, and, from that time till his death, devoted himself with great zeal to the duties of his holy calling. He was a fair preacher, a fervent exhorter, and an excellent singer. His time was devoted principally to the work of a missionary and an evangelist. He rode nine years as missionary, under the appointment of South Cumberland River Association. As a revivalist, he was never excelled in his field of labor. During his ministry, he baptized over 2,300 people. He died on the field of labor, twenty miles from his home, December 30, 1875, leaving a wife and five children, all of whom were members of a Baptist church.
Morgan Blair was also a useful and zealous preacher in this Association. He was born in Cumberland county, Kentucky, December 25, 1814. At two years old, he was taken by his parents to Russell county, where he lived the remainder of his days. At the age of 16 years, he joined Union church, and was ordained to the ministry, January 6, 1849. For nearly 20 years, he labored successfully in the Master's vineyard. He was called to his reward, December, 21, 1868. ________________________
The churches composing this organization occupy the same territory with those of the old Stocktons Valley fraternity, and are located principally in the counties of Monroe, Cumberland, and Clinton, and the adjacent border of Tennessee. This region is generally poor and mountainous, except in the immediate valley of the Cumberland River, which runs through the midst of it. The Association originated in the following manner:
In 1835, Stocktons Valley Association adopted the following item: "This Association declares an unfellowship with the practice of the Baptist Convention and all other societies, moved by money, under the garb of religion." Renox Creek and Caseys Fork churches complained of this transaction, to the next Association, as being an infringement on the rights of the churches. On hearing this complaint, at its meeting, in 1836, the Association adopted the following :
"Art. 6. The Association reconsiders and rescinds the 11th article in the minutes of last year, declaring non-fellowship with the Baptist State Convention, etc., as having been untimely adopted. But a majority of the churches having heretofore acted upon the subject, and having declared nonfellowship with the said State Convention and all like institutions, founded upon, and moved by money, under the garb of religion, this Association does now concur with said churches."
Of course this rescinding and reasserting, in the same item, the obnoxious measure, gave no relief to the aggrieved churches. However, the subject was allowed to rest, for the present. But, in 1841, Renox Creek and Caseys Fork churches
petitioned the Association to rescind the 6th article of its transactions of 1836. The following items show how this petition was rescinded.
"Art. 2. This Association says she is not willing, under existing circumstances, to rescind the 6th article of the minutes of this Association of 1836, as requested by Renox Creek and Caseys Fork churches. "Art. 3. This Association drops Renox Creek and Caseys Fork churches"
The following item is recorded in the minutes of 1842: "This Association refused to rescind the 6th article of her minutes of 1836, at the request of Skaggs Creek church, upon which brethren John and Jesse Savage of McFarlands Creek church withdrew from the Association abruptly."
Elders John and Jesse Savage were, at that time, ministering to the churches at Mill Creek, Cumberland River, McFarfarlands Creek and Skaggs Creek. In these churches, the question was sprung, as to whether the brethren Savage were justifiable in withdrawing from the Association. They all decided in the affirmative, except Mill Creek, which was about equally divided, and which split in two parties, each claiming the name and prerogatives of Mill Creek church. In 1843, the matter was brought before Stocktons Valley Association, and the following item of business was transacted:
"Art. 1. That part of Skaggs Creek, Mill Creek, McFarlands Creek, and Cumberland River churches, which claimed to be said churches, dropped outof this Association for justifying the conduct of John and Jesse Savage in abruptly withdrawing from the Association, last year, in violation of her rule."
The six churches which had been cut off from Stocktons Valley Association, as shown above, met in convention, by their messengers, at Beech Grove meeting house, on the first Saturday in November, 1843, for the purpose of constituting themselves an Association. The names of these churches, which aggregated 216 members, were: Mill Creek, Cumberland River, McFarlands Creek, Renox Creek, Skaggs Creek, and Caseys Fork. Thomas Scrivner preached from Acts 24: 25, and then called the meeting to order. A resolution in favor of forming an association was adopted, and was carried into
effect, by electing Thomas Scrivner moderator, and Rice Maxey, clerk. The organization took the name of "Freedom Association of United Baptists." A circular letter setting forth the reasons for forming an association, was appended to the minutes, and the body adjourned to meet at Renox Creek (now Salem) meeting house, on the fourth Saturday in September, 1844.
At the time of its constitution, there were only two preachers in the Association, John and Jesse Savage. At its first anniversary meeting, John S. Page and Derby H. Morgan were added to the number of its ordained ministers; and Moses B. Furguson, John G. Wright, and William B. Adkins were its licensed preachers. At this meeting, in 1844, protracted meetings were appointed to be held at seven of the eight churches composing the body, during the ensuing year, and the ministers of this and the neighboring associations were requested to attend them. It was also recommended, that the several churches commence and continue to hold stated prayer meetings and that the lay members be encouraged to engage in public prayer and exhortation in these meetings.
At the meeting of 1845, the question of alien baptism was introduced, and a resolution was adopted, advising the churches, "that they had better not receive members from other denominations without administering baptism." At this session, an executive board, or committee, consisting of Samuel Long, Thomas E. Bramlette, and Rice Maxey, was appointed to receive contributions from churches and individuals, and to secure the services of a suitable minister to labor among the destitute. This was the first move of this body in the direction of systematic missionary operations. The same board was continued several years, and considerable missionary work was performed by its employee, R. T. Gardner. In 1847, the ministers of the Association subscribed 205 days' labor to be performed in the destitute portion of the field. The Association also contributed small amounts to the Kentucky and Foreign Bible Society and the Indian Mission Association. From that period, it has generally kept one or more missionaries employed, a part, or the whole of the year, and has contributed to the leading enterprises of the denomination.
The growth of the body was steady, from the beginning. During the first nine years of its existence, it advanced from six
churches with 216 members, to fourteen churches with 701 members. But its losses were so great, during the Civil War, that, in 1865, its twenty-one churches aggregated only 638 members; nor did it have any considerable increase, after this, till about 1873. But from that period, it grew quite rapidly. In 1879, it reported twenty-one churches with 1,338 members.
This Association has, from the beginning, suffered from a paucity of preachers; and of the few faithful ministers who have labored in its churches, no particulars have been received. But, while its preachers have been few, and generally illiterate, it has had in its churches and councils a large number of distinguished citizens. Among these may be named Rice Maxey, Radford Maxey, Sam Bell Maxey, P. H. Leslie, Thomas E. Bramlette, and Samuel Long.
Rice Maxey was of a large and respectable family of his name, which early settled on Cumberland river, in what is now Monroe county. This numerous family has been distinguished for brilliant native talent, active energy, and practical piety. The subject of this notice established himself in the practice of law, in Albany, Clinton county, Kentucky, where he speedily rose to the head of the bar. He was a leading member of the Baptist church, at that place, was the first clerk of Freedom Association, wrote its first circular letter, and acted as its moderator, from 1846, till his removal to Texas, not far from 1856. He avoided politics, and confined himself strictly to his profession. After his removal to Texas, he was made judge of the Circuit Court in his judicial district, and rose to distinction in that office. He died at a good old age, a few years past.
Sam. Bell Maxey is a son of the above, and is a native of Clinton county, Ky. He moved to Texas with his father in early life, entered the arena of politics, and rapidly rose to distinction. He is, at present, United States Senator from his adopted State.
Samuel Long was an early and active member of Freedom Association, and was chairman of its first missionary board, in which capacity he served during many years. He was a leading citizen of Clinton county, which he represented in the Kentucky legislature, from 1855, to 1857.
Preston H. Leslie, who is no less distinguished for his
unaffected piety than for his eminent statesmanship, was an efficient member of Freedom Association from 1844, till his removal from its territory. He was born in what is now Clinton county, Ky., March 8, 1819. His parents were poor, and raised a large family, in consequence of which he received a very limited education, in his youth. However, he was fond of books and subsequently became a fair scholar. At the age of 16, he was carried by his father to Louisville, and left there without money, to make his way in life the best he could. In the city and the surrounding country, he worked as a common laborer, about two years. He then returned to his native county, and, after clerking in a dry goods store, a short time, entered the office of Rice Maxey, as a student of law. About this period, he professed conversion, and united with a Baptist church. He was admitted to the bar, in 1841, and the next year, married Miss Black, and settled in Monroe county. Here he soon attained eminence in his profession. In 1844, he was elected to the Kentucky Legislature. He was chosen to the same position, in 1850; and, in 1851, was elected to the State Senate. In 1853, he moved to a farm in Jackson county, Tennessee, and thence, after a few years, to Glasgow, Ky. Here was again elected to the Kentucky Senate in 1867. On Feb. 13, 1871, he, being Speaker of the Senate, was sworn in as Governor of the State, on the resignation of Governor Stevenson. In August of the same year, he was elected Governor of the Commonwealth, for a term of four years, which position he filled with much satisfaction to the people of the State. At the close of his term, in 1875, he returned to his home in Glasgow, where he again engaged in the practice of his profession. For the last several years, he has been Judge of the circuit court in his district, and in that position, as in every one he has ever occupied, he has given general satisfaction. But faithful as has been this statesman and jurist, in all his civil relations, he has been more earnestly devoted to the cause of Christ. While Governor of the State, he not only attended the Sabbath ministrations of his pastor, but also the conference meetings and prayer meetings of his church, and was a regular teacher in the Sunday-school. He was Moderator of the General Association of Kentucky Baptists while he was Governor of the State, and afterwards, till he deemed it best to decline
the position. He has been active in the educational enterprises of the denomination, and a warm supporter of its missionary operations. All the cares and temptations of his profession and the duties and honors of office have not damped his religious zeal, nor checked his honest devotion to the cause of Christ. The humble, earnest minister of the gospel, who breaks to him the bread of life, never fails to be encouraged by his prayers and his tears.
Thomas E. Bramlette was also an early member of Freedom Association, and, for a time, acted as Clerk of that body, as well as a member of its first missionary board. He was born in Cumberland Co., Ky., Jan. 3, 1817. Receiving a fair English education, he was bred to the law, and was admitted to the bar, in 1837. He rose rapidly in his profession and in popular favor. In 1841, he was elected to the State legislature. From that period, he was almost constantly in public office. In 1849, he was elected Commonwealth's Attorney, and filled the position two years. In 1852, he moved from Albany toColumbia, where he was soon afterwards elected judge of the Circuit Court, a position which he filled during six years. At the breaking out of the civil War, he raised a regiment of troops for the Federal Army, and received a colonel's commission. He resigned his command, in 1862, and was appointed attorney for the United States Court for the district of Kentucky, and moved to the city of Louisville. In 1863, he was commissioned a Major General, and again entered the Army. But, while organizing his division, he was nominated for Governor of Kentucky. To this office he was elected, and filled the position four years. After the expiration of his term, he resumed the practice of law in Louisville, where he departed this life, Jan. 13, 1875.
Governor Bramlette remained a member of a Baptist church till his death, and was a man of warm charitable impulses, as well as an honorable and moral citizen. But his great popularity turned his heart too much to the things of this world, and his religious zeal was much abated. His last public office was that of Manager of the Kentucky Public Library Lottery, a position he was filling at the time of his death. How manifest is the sacred teaching: "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
Alford King was for a short time, a minister of some prominence in Freedom Association. He was born in Cumberland Co., Ky., March 31, 1806. He was fairly educated, and bred to the legal profession, which he entered in 1842. In early life, he joined the Campbellites, and remained in that connection, till 1856, when under the ministry of T. J. Fisher, he professed to be "born again," and united with the Baptist church at Burksville. He at once abandoned the practice of law, and was ordained to the ministry. He was a good speaker, and a fair logician. His favorite subject was the "new birth." After preaching about four years in Kentucky, he moved to Texas, and located at Victoria. Here he distinguished himself as an able and devoted minister. He was called to his reward, in 1872. ________________________
North Concord Association
This Association occupies the extreme north-east corner of the State. Most of its churches are located in the counties of Knox, Whitley and Bell. Little can be known of its early history, as its records have been lost. It was constituted of churches dismissed from South Union Association, in 1843, and the next year reported eight churches with 335 members. Its growth was very slow, till after the close of the Civil War. In 1864, it reported twelve churches with 527 members, and, in 1871, eighteen churches with 640 members. Since the latter date it has been quite prosperous.
This body is fully committed to missions, educational institutions and Sunday-schools. The 3d article of its constitution, as printed with the minutes of 1880, reads: "The business of this body shall be to promote Home and State missions and supply destitutions; also Bible and book colportage, Sunday-school, literary and theological schools and Colleges in southeastern Kentucky, and to collect and preserve our denominational history." The Association has adopted vigorous resolutions, from time to time, in accordance with this principle, but it does not appear that much else has been accomplished in this direction, except that something has been done to supply the destitute with
preaching. An attempt was made to build a high school within the bounds of the Association, in 1876, and a charter was procured for such an institution; but the enterprise proved a failure. As early as 1872, some efforts were made to establish Sunday-schools in the churches, and a temporary interest was aroused upon that subject; but, in 1881, the committee on Sunday-schools reported that there was "no regularly organized Baptist Sunday-schools" in the bounds of the Association.
In 1873, the body expressed its sentiments on the subject of alien baptism, as follows: "Resolved, That we will not receive, nor fellowship churches that do receive members from other denominations without rebaptizing them." For a few years past, the churches have been very well supplied with preachers, and many of them have been greatly prospered. In 1880, the Association numbered twenty-four churches, with 1,468 members, and, in 1881, twenty-seven churches with 1,678 members.
Concord church is the oldest in this fraternity, and one of the oldest in the upper Cumberland Valley. It was gathered by Moses Foley sr., and was constituted of twelve members, in the house of Thomas Arthur, near the present village of Flat Lick, in Knox county, in 1804. Among those who entered into the constitution were Thomas Arthur sr., Sarah Arthur, Thomas Arthur jr. and Sally Arthur. Moses Foley was the first pastor, and was succeeded by Blackgrove Hopper. William Hickey, Thomas Marcy, Ebenezer Ingram, John H. Bingham, and John G. Amis, the present incumbent, have served the church in turn. It now (1884) numbers eighty-four members.
Isaac S. Horn was a zealous preacher in this fraternity. He was born in Knox county, Ky., in 1818. In early life, he united with Concord church in his native county; but was not ordained to the ministry till about 1861, when, at the call of Freedom church in Bell county, he came under the hands of John H. Bingham, John G. Amis and J. N. Madox. From that time till his death he was very active in his holy calling, and it is estimated that he baptized over 400 converts. He died of pneumonia, in the spring of 1877.
John G. Amis is one of the ablest and most enterprising ministers of this Association. He is chairman of its missionary board, takes much interest in its missionary operations, and has
been especially active in its educational enterprises. He is pastor of old Concord and three other churches.
Stephen Golden has been Moderator of the Association for a number of years past, and is a preacher of considerable ability. But he fills the office of judge of Knox county court, and has too much of the world on him to be very efficient in the ministry. ________________________
Daviess County Association
This large and prosperous fraternity was constituted of the following churches, all of which had been dismissed from Goshen Association: Rock Spring (now Yelvington), Green Brier, Bethabara, Owensboro, Buck Creek, Pleasant Grove, Bells Run, Mt. Liberty and Fredonia.
In accordance with previous arrangements, messengers from the above churches met at Bethabara meeting-house, in Daviess county, November 1, 1844. Thomas Downs preached from 1 Peter 2:4-5. The convention was then called to order. Thomas Downs was chosen Moderator, and G. W. Triplett, Clerk. The preliminary measures having been gone through, the convention adjourned. It met again on the following day. A constitution, articles of faith, and rules of decorum were adopted, and the organization, embracing nine churches with 1,021 members, assumed the title of "Daviess County Association of United Baptists." John G. Howard was then elected Moderaor, and G. W. Triplett, Clerk. It was agreed to solicit correspondence with Goshen, Gasper River and Little Bethel Associations, in Kentucky, and Little Pigeon, in Indiana.
This organization came into existence after the schisms and revolutions which afflicted the older fraternities had ceased. It was constituted a missionary body, and from the first favored all the benevolent operations of the denomination. At its first anniversary, in 1845, it approved the formation of a Bible society within its bounds. The Indian Mission Association was also approved, and the churches were recommended to organize auxiliary societies. A small collection was taken up for the Daviess County Indian Mission Society. This branch of christian
benevolence received the attention of the Association several years.
At its first anniversary, the Association adopted the following: "Resolved, That, in view of the great destitution existing in the bounds of this association, we request the churches to send up their contributions, next year, for the purpose of employing a missionary in our bounds." This was the initiatory step to the principal work of this body, down to the present period. The next year, William Head was appointed missionary to labor within the bounds of the Association. An executive committee was appointed to conduct the mission, and was composed of John G. Howard, M. J. Whayne, J. S. Ford, C. T. Noel and James Miller. This committee was the first missionary board of Daviess County Association, as Mr. Head was its first missionary. The report of the executive board was not printed; but we have it from the lips of Mr. Head that the mission was very successful. This system of Associational missions has been kept up, with various modifications, and one or two prief interruptions, to the present time; and has doubtless been a chief cause of the extraordinary progress of the body. Its course of procedure with reference to other benevolent institutions, has been similar to that of other fraternities of the kind in the State.
At its second anniversary, in 1846, the Association took up the subject of alien baptism, and it was discussed at considerable length. A resolution, declaring the reception of such baptisms to be disorderly, was offered; but was rejected on the ground that the Association possessed no ecclesiastical authority, and therefore, had no right to dictate any system of doctrine or polity to the churches. The next year, three of the churches asked advice on the subject. As an advisory council, the Association had a right to give the advice asked for. It, therefore, adopted the following resolution: "Resolved, That while we disclaim all right to make laws for the government of the churches, we return as answer to Buck Creek and Station churches, that we advise the churches not to receive members from Pedobaptists or Reformers, upon their baptism." The subject was again brought before the Association, in 1871, when the following resolution was adopted: "Resolved, That this Association does not consider any person baptized, unless he has
been immersed in water in the name of the Trinity by the authority of a regularly organized Baptist church." In 1876, it was "Resolved, That immersion in water, under authority of a gospel church, is essential to Christian baptism, and prerequisite to membership in a gospel church; that no one ha the right to recognize any organization, or body, as a gospel church, the members of which have not these qualifications;" and, "that membership and fellowship in a gospel church are essential prerequisites to a seat at the Lord's table."
In 1852, the Association commenced raising a fund for the purpose of distributing books among the people within its bounds. This enterprise was putin operation, and the good work was prosecuted about eight years. This was doubtless a valuable work, and may, in part, at least, account for the fact that an unusually large number of people have come from other denominations to the Baptists, within the bounds of this fraternity.
Sunday schools did not receive the attention of this body, till 1858. At that date, A. B. Smith and K. G. Hay, were appointed a committee on Sunday schools and Sunday school books. In their report, they stated that, so far as they could learn, a majority of the churches had no Sunday schools; that they regarded such schools as among the most efficient means for accomplishing the work assigned to Christians, and advised that the Association recommend the churches to faithfully employ this means. They also recommended the careful selection of such books as taught the doctrine of the denomination. Since that time, there has been a constantly increasing interest on the subject, and this has become one of the leading enterprises of the body.
During the meeting of 1858, a communication, accompanied by a contribution of $12.10, was received from the Female Home Missionary Society of Spottsville church. This appears to have been the first society of the kind, organized in the Green River country. The Association passed a resolution of thanks to the society, and recommended the formation of similar societies, in other churches. The next year, a slightly increased contribution was received from this society, and the sum of $13 was received from a similar organization, at Owensboro.
It is presumed that these societies did not meet with popular favor, as we hear no more of them.
The subject of education engaged the attention of the Association, as early as 1855. It was then asserted that the education of the ministry should be one of the prominent objects of the body, and it was resolved to raise money to educate J. M. Dawson, a young preacher, at Georgetown College. Young Dawson declined going to college, and the subject was dropped. In 1860, the Association approved the enterprise of erecting a high school at Hartford, and the sum of $2,000 was pledged to aid in its establishment. In 1869, the Association resolved to secure a school property in Owensboro, and establish a high school, at a cost of $10,000. The buildings were finished, and the school was opened, under the style of the Central Baptist Institute, in September, 1869. The property was a very handsome one, and was valued at $25,000. But in default of paying the paltry sum of $3,500, a debt incurred in the erection of the buildings, this valuable property was sold, and thereby alienated from the Baptists. In 1865, the Association did a better work, in raising means to aid in educating John S. Gatton and F. P. M. Sharp, who are now very valuable ministers of the gospel.
About 1860, the subject of what was called intercommunion, was agitated among the churches of the Association, especially by B. T. Taylor, pastor of the church at Owensboro. He took the position that each church should confine the administration of the Lord's Supper to its own members. The great ability of Mr. Taylor so influenced the Association, for the time, that it declared in favor of his views, and advised the churches "to examine the Scriptural authority for this practice." The churches generally were not convinced of the correctness of the position, and the former practice of intercommunion among the churches "of the same faith and order," has been continued.
In 1864, a Mr. Bidwell, recently excluded from New Hope church, appealed to the Association for redress. This gave the body an opportunity to express its adherence to the ancient Baptist doctrine, that the individual church is the highest ecclesiastical authority on earth, and that, from its decision, there is no appeal, except to the Supreme Arbiter of human affairs.
Mr. Bidwell was accordingly informed that the Association had no jurisdiction in his case.
In 1866, the Association designated the first of the following January "as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer to Almighty God, for a revival of his grace." This is believed to be the only fast day this fraternity has ever appointed. The body gave its opinion, in 1869, in regard to agricultural fairs, as follows: "Resolved, That fairs, as now conducted, are not suitable places for members of the church to attend; and, as the evils growing out of them are manifest, we advise the churches composing this body to take the subject under serious consideration." In 1880, it expressed its opinion on the subject of dancing: "Resolved, That promiscuous dancing, as practiced by the unbelieving world, is inconsistent with symmetry of christian character, and destructive of christian influence. 2. That we earnestly request our churches to use all christian means for the suppression of the practice among their members."
The progress of this Association has been unusually even and rapid. Its membership was nearly doubled during the first ten years of its existence. In 1860, it numbered 26 churches with 2,783 members; in 1870, 34 churches with 3,639 members; in 1880, 34 churches with 4,103 members; and, in 1882, 34 churches with 4,317 members. At the last named date, it was the largest association of white Baptists, but two, in the State, Little River being the largest, and Bethel the next. Its statistics are wanting for the years '48, '50 and '61. During the remaining 35 years of its existence, down to its meeting, in 1882, its churches reported 6,951 baptisms.
Old Churches. Beaver Dam is the oldest church in this fraternity, and the oldest but one in the lower Green River country. Its history has been given. Buck Creek, located in McLean county, after existing some time as an arm of Beaver Dam, was constituted an independent church of 11 members, by Job Hobbs, Samuel Anderson and Philip Warden, in 1812. The new organization took the name of "Tanners Meeting House," by which it was known many years. Its first pastor is supposed to have been job Hobbs, who served it but a short time, and was succeeded by the famous pioneer, Ben Talbot. Mr. Talbot was succeeded by George Render, who was followed by Thomas Downs. The latter served the church many
years, and was succeeded by Frederick Tanner, who was raised up to the ministry, in that church. Since the resignation of Mr. Tanner, the church has had the pastoral labors of J. S. Coleman, J. M. Peay and Wm. Stephens. It is now one of the largest and most prosperous churches in the Association. Yelvington, located in the village from which it takes its name, in Daviess county, was constituted of 11 members, by Ben Talbot, and John Weldon, June 30, 1813. It first took the name of "Panther Creek." John Weldon was its first pastor, and served it about three years. In 1815, it joined Gasper River Association. In May, John Weldon resigned, and moved from the country. He was succeeded by Thomas Downs, who served the church nearly 25 years. In 1817, the name of the church was changed to "Rock Spring," and the next year it united with Goshen Association. Since the resignation of Mr. Downs, in 1842, the church has been served by a large number of pastors, prominent among whom may be named William Head, J. G. Howard, D. Dowden, C. J. Kelley, J. M. Dawson, D. E. Yeiser and W. H. Dawson. The church assumed its present name, in 1860. In 1878, it united with Blackford Association. Green Brier, located in Daviess county, was constituted of 25 members who had been dismissed from Tanners Meeting House, by Ben Talbot and Thomas Downs, Oct. 29, 1820. Thomas Downs was chosen pastor, and served the church nearly 30 years. Since his death, it has had the pastoral labors of J. M. Bennett, Wm. J. Owen, J. S. Dawson, J. S. Coleman, B. F. Swindler and J. M. Peay. It is now the largest and one of the most prosperous, of the country churches in this Association. Bells Run, located in Ohio county, was constituted Dec. 24, 1820, and took the name of "Barnetts Creek." Thomas Downs, by whom it was gathered, became its first pastor. About 1833, the somewhat notorious Wm. Downs, took the pastoral care of the church, and its name was changed to "Little Flock." Wm. Downs was succeeded by Ancil Hall, about 1839, and the church assumed its present name. In 1841, Reuben Cottrell took charge of the church, and served it till J. P. Ellis, one of its members was ordained to its pastorate, in October, 1842. Mr. Ellis continued in office till 1856. Since that period, the church has had a number of pastors, each serving only a brief period. J. S. Coleman took
charge of the church in 1882, and large numbers have been added to its membership, tinder hisministry. Bethabara, located in Daviess county, eight miles southeast from Owensboro, was constituted in 1826. Among its early pastors, was that devoted man of God, Reuben Cottrell. It has been a very prosperous body, and, in 1881, was next to the largest country church in the Association. The remaining churches of this Association are comparatively young.
Thomas Downs was among the fathers in Daviess county Association. He was born, perhaps, in Nelson county, not long before the year 1780. He spent his childhood and youth, with his parents, among the wilds of the lower Green River country. His father was killed by the Indians, near the present location of Calhoun, in McLean county. In early life, he united with Hazel Creek church, in Muhlenburg county, and was early set apart to the ministry. Of this church, he remained a member, till about 1815, when he moved his membership to Panther Creek (now Yelvington in Daviess county?) In 1824, he, with his wife, four daughters, his son and his son's wife, united with Green Brier church in Daviess county. Of this church, Rock Spring, Buck Creek and Ohio (Ia.,) he was pastor many years. He was also pastor of various other churches, for briefer periods. But his work was not so much that of a pastor, as of an indefatigable pioneer missionary. He bore the standard of the cross among the early settlers on both sides of the Ohio river, from the mouth of Green river, 200 miles up the Ohio, and over a belt of country, about 100 miles wide. In this region he gathered many of the early churches, and supplied them with occasional preaching, till they could procure pastors. He raised a large family of children, all girls but one, and was so extremely poor that he had to do much of his traveling on foot, and often barefoot. "Many a time," writes his successor in the pastorate, "has he ploughed hard five days in the week, and then walked from Green Brier to Rock Spring, a distance of 25 miles, and preached two hours, shoeless and coatless; sometimes to but few hearers, and once, to only three sisters." Such was the labor and lot of this consecrated servant of Christ, during a ministry of nearly 50 years. He endured many severe domestic trials. In early life, he lost his father, who was murdered by Indians, while hunting in the forests for his horses.
After he had raised a large family, his only son went to hunt horses in the forest, and was found hung by a bridle, already dead. About the same time, several of his children died of an epidemic, within a short period.
When Mr. Downs commenced preaching, not far from the year 1800, there were but two small churches in the broad field of his subsequent labors; when he closed his work, the same field was occupied by six flourishing and populous associations -- four in Kentucky, and two in Indiana. In the closing years of his life, he became very corpulent and helpless. But such was theattachment of his brethren to their aged pastor, that they would convey him to Green Brier meeting house, and place him in a chair, where he, like the Apostle John, would talk to them about the love of God, and exhort them to love one another. Not far from 1850, the aged servant of God was called to his reward.
Mr. Downs was not regarded a great preacher, even at the time in which he lived. He was uneducated in the scholastic sense of the term; but he was a close, prayerful reader of the Bible, and few men of his times were better acquainted with the sacred oracles. He possessed only medium talents, but he had an easy flow of common English words, his heart was thoroughly educated and deeply imbued with the grace of God, and he was an indefatigable laborer in the gospel of Christ.
Reuben Cottrell was born in Henrico county, Va., in 1792. Here he grew to manhood, receiving a fair English education. After his marriage, he emigrated to Kentucky, and settled in Shelby county, in the fall of 1815. In the following February, he united with Buck Creek church in that county, and was baptized by George Waller. He was ordained to the ministry by George Waller, Zacheus Carpenter, John Holland and Wm. Stout, the same year in which he was baptized. Soon afterwards, he was invited to preach once a month to Buck Creek church. About this period the subject of missions was agitated in Long Run Association, and Mr. Cottrell was engaged to labor as missionary, within the bounds of that fraternity. Louisville and Jeffersonville were points at which he preached. During these labors, he became deeply imbued with the spirit of missions, which led him to visit many points of destitution, on both sides of the Ohio river. In 1832, he made a tour
down the Ohio river as far as the "Yellow Banks." Next year he moved to Daviess county, and settled on a farm. He accepted a call to Bethabara church. A revival followed almost immediately, and 80 were added to the church. In 1834, he was called to Bells Run, Blackford and Union churches. About this time, he was invited to deliver a sermon at a barbecue, to be given on the 4th of July, at Owensboro. He accepted the invitation, and afterwards continued to preach there, until he raised up a church, to which he ministered till it could procure a pastor. In 1837, Little Bethel Association sent a letter and messengers to Goshen Association, asking correspondence. The corresponding messengers from Highland Association opposed the petition, on the ground that Little Bethel believed in missions. Mr. Cottrell, with others, warmly advocated the reception of the correspondence, and it was finally granted. The missionary spirit became very active in the lower part of Goshen Association. A convention of messengers from 13 churches was held, in 1838, and it was resolved to employ two missionaries to labor in the region around Owensboro. Mr. Cottrell and Samuel Anderson were appointed, and a great revival prevailed under their labors. From this period, the work of missions was prosecuted in this region, Mr. Cottrell always being a prominent actor, both in the council and in the field, until his strength failed. For several years before his death, he was too feeble to leave his home, and was constantly anticipating his departure. On the 29th of May, 1863, the summons came, and he went to his reward, after a very successful ministry of 47 years.
William J. Owen. This excellent and zealous young man was ordained to the ministry by Green Brier church, in Daviess county, near to which he was born and raised, Jan. 20, 1850. After serving this church with some others in the neighborhood, a short time, he moved to Jacksons Purchase, about 1856. Here he zealously devoted himself to the work of the ministry. In February, 1859, he located in Troy, Obion county, Tennessee, where he accomplished the principal work of his brief ministry. During the same month in which he moved to Troy, he gathered a church of eight members. Under the faithful labors of the young pastor, the little church steadily grew, till it numbered thirty-three. Mr.
Owen was also pastor of Palestine and Concord churches, where his labors were also successful. But his work was soon brought to a close. Early in December, 1863, he became too feeble to leave his room, and, on the 14th of the following June, was called to receive his crown.
Frederick Tanner was a good, plain, humble preacher. He united with Buck Creek church in McLean county, soon after its constitution, in 1812, and was probably baptized by Benjamin Talbot. After serving that church as clerk, a number of years, he was ordained to the ministry, in 1830, and, afterwards, served it as pastor, for a considerable time. He was also pastor of several other churches, at different periods. He had an humble opinion of his abilities, and, as he expressed it, only consented to serve a church, when it could procure no other preacher. Yet Dr, Coleman regarded him as a man of superior natural endowments, and, under favorable circumstances, an eloquent and powerful preacher. He maintained a spotless Christian character, and exerted an excellent influence over the people who knew him best. He died, at his home, in McLean county, at a ripe old age, about 1868.
John Graves Howard was born of respectable and pious Baptist parents, in Caswell county, N. C., Nov. 9, 1792. Under the parental roof, he received a plain English education. He was raised on a farm, and, in his twenty-first year, was married to Priscilla Yancy. In 1816, he emigrated to Daviess county, Ky., where he spent the remainder of his life. He was a man of high social standing, and, at one time, filled the office of justice of the peace, and afterwards that of sheriff. He also filled the office of colonel of the State militia, for a time, and from that circumstance, was afterwards known as Col. Howard. He Was fond of society, and at one time, after he entered the ministry, was betrayed into thehabit of drinking to intoxication. From this, he soon recovered himself; but his repentance and mortification were deep and long continued. The high esteem in which he had been universally held, the sincerity of his repentance, and his manly and Christian character, not only restored him to the fellowship of his brethren, but also secured to him the respect and confidence of the unconverted.
He professed faith in Christ, and was baptized into the
fellowship of the church at Tanners Meeting House (now Buck Creek), about 1818, by Benjamin Talbot. He commenced his public Christian labors, as superintendent of a Sunday-school, at Green Brier church. He was subsequently ordained to the deaconship, and, in December, 1821, was licensed to preach, at Green Brier church. It was several years before he entered fully into the work of the ministry. In September, 1840, he was ordained to the pastoral care of the church at Owensboro, by H. B. Wiggin, Reuben Cottrell, and Thomas Downs. He ministered to this church about two years. After this, he was active and zealous in the ministry, and, together with William Head, R. M. Snider, and Isham R. Allen, gathered a number of churches on both sides of the Ohio river. He served several churches, between 1845, and 1865. His last pastoral ministrations were at Pleasant Grove church, in Daviess county. He was chosen moderator of Daviess County Association, immediately after its constitution, in 1844, and served in that capacity, till 1859. He also served Goshen Association, as moderator, from 1841, to 1844. After the close of his last pastoral term, he continued to preach occasionally, till near the close of his life. He died, at his residence in Owensboro, April 16, 1874.
Isham R. Allen was a wicked, profane youth; but on professing faith in Christ, about 1837, he united with the church at Owensboro, and was probably baptized by John L. Burrows. He was licensed to preach, at Pleasant Grove church in Daviess county, about 1841, and, about two years later, was ordained to the ministry. For a number of years he preached with great zeal, in connection with William Head and John G. Howard; and, by his fervent exhortations, gave much aid in gathering a number of churches, on both sides of the Ohio river. He was a very impulsive man, was somewhat eccentric, and his gift consisted principally in exhortation. During the latter years of his life, he preached but little. He died at his home in Owensboro, a little past middle life, not far from 1864.
James M. Dawson was one of the ablest preachers that have lived in the Green River country. It is much regretted that more particulars of his life and labors have not been received. He was a native of Daviess county, Ky., and was born in 1835. His opportunities for acquiring an education were very poor. However, he possessed a strong intellect, and devoted himself
to close study, from his boyhood to the close of his life. Without the aid of a teacher, he not only acquired a good English education, but made considerable attainments in the Greek language. He declined the proffered aid of Daviess County Association, to enable him to attend Georgetown College, preferring the slower, but more independent course of acquiring an education by his own energies. He professed religion in his seventeenth year, and united with South Hampton church, in his native county. At the age of about twenty, he was licensed to preach, and was ordained, about 1857. At first, his efforts to preach were dull and prosy; but he improved steadily, and it was only a few years before he exhibited a massive strength, and an acuteness of logic, unequaled in his Association. He preferred to serve the country churches around his birth place, to occupying a city or village pastorate, and hence gave his entire ministry to those of Daviess County Association. He was successful in his pastoral labors, and was esteemed and honored by his brethren, throughout the State. But before he reached the prime of manhood, he was suddenly called to give an account of his stewardship. He died of pneumonia, at his home in Daviess county, April. 20, 1873.
Mr. Dawson distinguished himself as a clear and logical writer, and an able controversialist. He published a pamphlet in defense of "the final perseverance of the saints," and was engaged in various controversies, both oral and written, in defense of the doctrine and polity of his denomination. Among his last writing was a somewhat lengthy controversy with the learned Prof. J. E. Farnham, through the columns of the Western Recorder.
J. D. Arnold spent the last years of his life within the bounds of this Association, and was a valuable laborer in the Master's vineyard. He was born in Macon county, Tenn., Aug. 12,1839. At the age of seventeen he lost his father, and his mother could afford him but scant means of obtaining an education. He was studious, however, and acquired a fair knowledge of the common English branches. In 1855, he united with Pleasant Hill church, in Robertson county, Tenn, and was baptized by G. W. Featherstone. Here he was licensed to preach, in 1860. He shortly afterwards moved his membership to Lake Spring, in Simpson county, Ky., and was ordained to the
ministry, in 1861, by O. H. Morrow and J. W. Self. He was pastor of Lake Spring church two years, and of Franklin, one year. In May, 1869, he moved to Owenboro, Ky. While here, he served Macedonia church, one year. Meanwhile, he moved across the river into Indiana, where he served the churches at Grand View, New Hope. Pleasant Valley, and Pigeon. In all these churches his labors were much blessed. Under his ministry, at Grand View, there were eighty-one additions to the church; at New Hope, fifty-eight additions; at Pigeon, fifty-eight, and, at Pleasant Valley, fifty-five. In 1873, he commenced the publication, at Evansville, of a paper, called the Baptist Missionary, and a Sunday-school paper called the Echo. He soon found that he had undertaken more than his strength would bear, and accordingly disposed of the Baptist Missionary. He continued the publication of the Echo a short time, when the office in which it was published was destroyed by fire. He had continued to serve Pleasant Valley church two Sabbaths in the month, and he was now, in 1874, recalled to New Hope, and Pigeon. The next year, he resigned these charges, to take the care of some churches in Daviess county, Kentucky, whither he returned and pitched his tent, for the last time. He was pastor of Bethabara church five years, during which 130 were added to its membership. He served the church at Whitesville, about the same length of time, and those at Sugar Grove, Mt. Carmel and Zion, briefer periods. In the midst of a career of great usefulness, and in the prime of manhood, he was suddenly called home. He died at the house of a brother, Giles, near Pleasant Valley church, in Spencer county, Ia., where he had been invited to lecture on church history, June 11, 1881. Mr. Arnold was a man of great energy and tireless industry, and succeeded in his holy vocation, in an eminent degree.
Josiah Bridges Solomon was born of Baptist parents, in Franklin county, N. C., January 18, 1824. He was brought up on a farm, alternating between the plough and such schools as the neighborhood afforded. In 1843, he professed conversion, and was baptized by P. N. Smith, for the fellowship of Haywood church, in his native county. He soon began to take part in a prayer meeting, and was licensed to exercise his gift, at about the age of 20 years. After this, he entered Wake Forest College, where he spent three years. He was ordained to the
ministry, while at college, in November, 1848, by Wm. Hooper, W. T. Brooks, Thomas Crocker and Wm. Biddle. In 1849, he was married to Mary M., daughter of John Burges of Warren county, N.C. In December of the same year, he accepted an appointment to labor as missionary under the patronage of the Baptist State Convention. After filling this position, with good success, two years, he took charge of the church at Warrenton. Here he labored successfully, about seven years, when he was called to Leigh Street church, in Richmond, Va., where he entered upon his labors, in 1860. To this church he ministered four years, during which time it had an increase of 150 members. Being now impoverished by the War, he resorted to teaching, as a means of supporting his family. In 1873, he accepted the presidency of Monongahela College, in Pennsylvania, and occupied the position two years. In 1875, he took charge of the church in Sharon, Pa. Here he remained till 1880, when he accepted a call to the First Church in Owensboro, Kentucky, where he was well received, and labored, much to the satisfaction of the church, till 1885, when he accepted a call to Zion church in Henderson county, Kentucky.
Joseph Perkins Ellis is among the oldest living ministers of this Association, and has been one of the most active and useful. His parents wereVirginians, but settled in Shelby county, Kentucky, about 1803, where J. P. Ellis was born, in October, 1811. In 1819. his parents moved to Daviess county, where he was brought up. He was educated under the tution of Stephen H. Maddox, whose school he attended seven years. In 1826, he obtained hope in Christ, under the ministry of Samuel Vancleave; but he delayed uniting with a church, till 1834, when he was baptized by John Holland for the fellowship of Bethel church, in Shelby county. This occurred while he was on a visit to his relatives. Four days after his baptism, he delivered an exhortation from the words, "God is love." Returning to his home in Daviess county, he gave his membership to Panther Creek church. In December of the same year, he moved to Ohio county, and united with Bells Run church. On the 15th of September, 1835, he was married to Jane S. Taylor, and was licensed to preach, the following year. Although he had been zealously and usefully engaged in the Master's vineyard, from the time he was baptized, he was not ordained,
till October, 1842, when he came under the hands of Reuben Cottrell and H. H. Ellis. He immediately took charge of Bells Run church, and, within the same year, was called to the care of Panther Creek and Mt. Pleasant churches, in Ohio county, and Bethabara, in Daviess. Besides these, he has served, at different periods, Zion church in Ohio county, and Zion, Friendly Grove, Whitesville and Pleasant Ridge, in Daviess. To say that he served these churches faithfully and successfully, according to the custom of the times, would not give an adequate idea of his labor. Like Talbot, Downs and Cottrell, whom he succeeded, he was a voluntary unpaid missionary, seeking out the dark corners, and proclaiming salvation to the destitute. Only one year did he accept a salary for missionary labor. Among the churches of which he laid the foundation, are Whitesville and Zion in Daviess; Zion, in Ohio; Bethel in McLean, and Ohio in Spencer county, Ia. He also gathered the first Missionary Baptist church in Wayne county, Ill. In all, he has aided in the constitution of 16 churches. He has kept no account of the number he has baptized, but it must be quite large. The war-worn old soldier is no longer able to do the work of a pastor, but is still doing what he can. His residence is three miles east of Whitesville, in Daviess county, where he has resided since 1848.
John Samuel Taylor is among the oldest preachers of this fraternity. He was licensed to preach by Bells Run church in Ohio county, in November, 1835, and, afterwards, ordained at Whitesville, whither he had moved his membership. He has been pastor of a number of churches, for brief periods. But his principal labor has been that of a missionary within the bounds of Daviess county and Goshen Associations. In this field, he has wrought a good work. Some years past, when disease of the throat prevented his preaching, he represented Daviess county in the Kentucky Legislature.
A number of other valuable ministers have labored within the bounds of this fraternity, of whose lives we are unable to give particulars. A. B. Smith, a graduate of Georgetown College, located at Owensboro, about 1856, and has been pastor of a number of churches in the Association. W. P. Bennett is one of the elderly ministers of the body, and has done good service among its churches, for more than a quarter of a century. Daniel
E. Yeizer has also been an active and very useful preacher, about 25 years. W. P. Yeaman, a lawyer of Calhoun, was converted from Methodism, and ordained to the ministry, at that village, about 1858. He has been pastor of a number of leading churches in different parts of Kentucky. Subsequently he was pastor of a church in New York City, a number of years, and is now located in St. Louis, Mo. Win. H. Dawson, now of Rockport, Ia., was raised up to the ministry in this Association, and was, for a number of years, one of its most useful preachers. To him and his illustrious brother, J. M. Dawson, the author is indebted for valuable contributions to the history of Daviess County and Goshen Associations.
South Kentucky Association
This was the third organization of the kind, which assumed this name, in Kentucky. The first and second of these fraternities denominated themselves Separate Baptists, while the one under consideration distinguished itself by the appellation of United Baptists, and is in harmony with the great body of the denomination. Its origin has already been explained in the history of South Kentucky Association No. 2. In 1845, the following churches, located in Garrard, Lincoln and Casey counties withdrew from the last named Association, on account of the body's adhering to the name and principles of the Separate Baptists: Concord, Caseys Creek, Drakes Creek, Gilberts Creek, Greasy Creek and Union. These seven churches, met, by their messengers, the same fall, and formed the fraternity now under consideration. It engrafted in its constitution the following principles.
"The leading objects of this Association, when organized, shall be to devise ways and means for spreading and sustaining the gospel, at home and abroad, but especially to supply the destitute churches in the bounds of this Association with preaching." "No church shall be considered in good standing in this union, that will encourage, by laxity of discipline, or otherwise, the making and vending of ardent spirits as a beverage,
&c." In accordance with these principles, the fraternity has been quite active in its home mission enterprise.
At its first anniversary, in 1846, it reported two additional churches (Providence and Rocky Ford,) 17 baptisms and an aggregate membership of 711. The body had a very slow growth for a number of years. At the beginning of the Civil War, in 1861, it reported only 11 churches, with 860 members, and after the close of the War, in 1866, it embraced only six churches with 744 members. It had been sowing good seed, however, and it now began to reap.
From near the time of its organization, this body had kept one or more missionaries in its territory a portion of the year, sometimes employed by its own missionary board, and sometimes by that of the General Association. Among its most active laborers were J. C. Portman, Daniel Buckner, and H. F. Buckner, the distinguished Indian missionary. These all moved to the West, after which Wm. Graves and Wm. Taylor were employed as missionaries. Missionary operations were suspended during the War.
In 1866, the board of the General Association appointed Thomas H. Coleman to labor within the bounds of the Association. He filled the position with excellent success, especially in effecting a better organization of the churches. During the same session, the Association appropriated $50 to a book depository, which proved an efficient means of diffusing knowledge among the churches. Mr. Coleman distributed 242 volumes in his missionary field, the first year. This maybe regarded as the beginning of the period of prosperity in this Association. In 1867, the body withdrew from South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists a correspondence which had been maintained during some years past. J. O. Southerland had been appointed to preach the introductory sermon in 1867, on the subject of "church fellowship." He preached the sermon, but on another subject; whereupon the Association adopted the following:
"Whereas, We believe that the Asssociation has the right to name the subject she desires shall be discussed in the introductory sermon, and that the minister appointed to preach the introductory sermon should, in obedience to the Association, preach on the subject assigned him. Therefore,
"Resolved, That this Association do disapprove of the conduct of one of her members in disobeying the rules of the Association, by laying aside the subject assigned him by the Association, from which to preach the introductory sermon, and selecting anew subject."
In 1866, the Association adopted the following: "Resolved, That in the opinion of this Association, no minister ought to baptize an individual who has not been approved for the ordinance by a regularly constituted church; and also that we disclaim any succession, as a denomination, from the church constituted by Roger Williams." The first item in this resolution gave some dissatisfaction, and the next year, was referred to the churches. The churches failed to agree on the subject, and the matter was dropped.
In 1868, the now distinguished Dr. Lansing Burrows, who had recently entered the ministry, was appointed by the board of the General Association to succeed T. H. Coleman, and labored in that capacity one year, with moderate success. After this, the Association, through its executive board, employed its own missionaries.
In 1869, the body first gave its attention to the subject of Sunday-schools, though it is probable that some of the churches had previously organized such schools. The following resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, That the Association heartily recommend to the churches, the importance of encouraging the organization and sustaining of Sabbath-schools." This resolution was carried into effect with so much zeal that, in 1874, the committee on Sabbath-schools reported as follows:
"All our churches have Sunday-schools. All are Baptist schools but one. There are also connected with our churches four mission Sunday-schools. The number of officers, teachers and pupils in all these schools is about 700." This was a revival season. T. H. Coleman had been employed as missionary, at a salary of $1,000 a year, and his labors were being greatly blessed.
In 1871, the Association passed resolutions in favor of Foreign missions. At this time the body numbered 8 churches with 854 members. Seven years later, it numbered 17 churches
with 1,315 members. It has since somewhat diminished. In 1883, it numbered 14 churches, with 1,224 members.
The oldest churches in this fraternity are Mt. Salem and Somerset (formerly Sinking Creek), of which some account has already been given.
Jesse Coffee Portman was one of the most popular and efficient preachers that ever labored in his part of the State. His great-grandfather, John Portman, sr., emigrated from Pennsylvania to South Carolina, where he raised his family. In old age, he moved to Christian county, Kentucky, where he died, in 1799, aged about 100 years. John Portman jr., a son of this venerable patriarch, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and fought in the battle of Kings Mountain. After the War, he settled on the upper waters of Green River, in Kentucky, where he raised two sons, John and George. John moved to Mississippi, where he died, about 1855. George married a Miss Coffee, and settled in Casey county, Ky., where he died, June 12, 1857, aged 84 years. In this county, his son, Jesse Coffee Portman, was born, Sep. 2, 1805, and was brought up on his father's farm, receiving a fair common school education. Notwithstanding his parents were pious Baptists, Jesse grew up a wicked, profane lad, and continued to indulge in sinful sports and blasphemy till he was 22 years of age. In August, 1827, he professed conversion, and was baptized by Jacob Warriner for the fellowship of Hurricane church in his native county. The following March, he was married to Leannah, daughter of Gen. Christopher Riffe.
Hurricane church, afterwards called Green River, and, still, more recently, Middleburg, belonged to South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists. The churches of this fraternity, like the Campbellites, rejected all creeds and confessions of faith. At the period of Mr. Portman's entering the ministry, Campbellism was a raging fanaticism in northern Kentucky; and, scenting after the non-committal policy and loose "order of things" among the Separate Baptists, the Campbellite proclaimers descended upon them like eagles upon a carcass. John Steele a Baptist preacher, who had acquired great influence in Casey county, was carried away by the new doctrine, and, entering the Campbellite ranks, made havoc of the churches. Green River church held in its membership four preachers.
Three of these, Warriner, Polton and McCan, were swept into the "reformation," carrying with them a large part of the church.
In October, 1832, Mr. Portman was ordained to the pastoral care of the remnant of Green River church, by Thomas J. Chilton and A. J. Quinn. He had been preaching and exhorting for some years, and had gained the attention and confidence of the people. Soon after his ordination, he was called to the care of Rocky Fork (now Rolling Fork) church, in the same county. Into the fellowship of these two churches he baptized over 500 persons. He was pastor of several other churches at different periods, seldom preaching statedly to less than four congregations. However, he did not confine his labors to his pastoral charges, but preached with great zeal and power among the churches of his own and the surrounding associations. Early in his ministry, he became a convert to the principles and polity of the United Baptists, and ultimately succeeded in winning eight or nine churches of his Association to his views. These were afterwards embodied in South Kentucky Association of United Baptists, as related above. In this fraternity, Mr. Portman was the leading spirit. He acted as its missionary, two years, under the direction of its own board, and one year under that of the General Association. During this period, he baptized a great number of people, and gathered several churches. Among the latter was the church at Stanford in Lincoln county, which was constituted of 12 persons, December, 4, 1852.
In 1853, this eminently useful and greatly beloved minister moved to Texas, where, after remaining a short time, in Collin county, he finally settled in Denton county. In his new field of labor, his zeal and usefulness was unabated. He was usually pastor of four churches, and, during eight years, acted as moderator of Elm Fork Association. During his thirteen years' residence in Texas, he baptized over 500 persons. In the midst of a career of great usefulness, he was stricken with a violent fever, of which he died, August 23, 1866. His last words on earth were: -- "I am done;" and doubtless the first words he heard in Heaven were: "Well done."
The acquirements of Mr. Portman were moderate, but his natural gifts were varied and extraordinary. As a pleasing and
effective preacher, he was far above mediocrity, and he seldom preached without weeping profusely; in the social circle, he was charmingly attractive, and, when conversing on the subject of religion, he exhibited so much of the mild sweetness of his Master, that his conversation was pleasing, even to the unconverted. It is said by those who knew him well, that he never failed to make peace between contending parties, in any case he undertook. Possessed of such gifts, used with rare sincerity, zeal and industry, his brilliant success is not wonderful.
A. J. Dye was a young preacher of excellent promise. He was born in Pulaski county, Kentucky, May 3, 1831. Under the tuition of Henry D. Anderson, who was conducting a school at Somerset, he acquired a good English education. Having obtained hope in the Savior, he was baptized into the fellowship of Fishing Creek church, in his native county, by James Cooper, September 3, 1852. A few months later, he was licensed to preach, and was ordained to the ministry, by James Cooper, Robert C. Buckner and F. Richardson, in 1853. After preaching with much acceptance in his native county, he accepted a call to the church at Cloverport in Breckinridge county, in 1855. While serving this church, he was married to Catherine E. Braden of that county. After preaching at Cloverport two years, he returned to Pulaski county, in a very feeble state of health. Here he divided his time between preaching and laboring on a farm. His health improved for a time, and hopes of his recovery were entertained. But, in 1862, two of his three children died of flux. His health now rapidly declined, and, on the 3d of November, of the same year, he died of consumption of the lungs. ________________________
This small, but very respectable fraternity originated in a rupture in Bracken Association, in 1847, caused by a difference of opinion regarding the conduct of Gilbert Mason, then pastor of Washington, Maysville and Mayslick churches. A council of messengers from the above churches, together with those
from Lewisburg, was held at the last named place, in 1845, to investigate certain charges alledged against Mr. Mason. The council decided that he was guilty of unchristian conduct, and advised Washington church, of which he was a member, to exclude him, "unless he frankly acknowledge his errors, and ask the forgiveness of his brethren" Mr. Mason evaded the requirements, and merely conceding that he was fallible, asked to be forgiven for any injustice that he might have committed. Washington church accepted this vague apology, but it was rejected by others that were concerned, and the whole matter was brought before Bracken Association. Washington church was charged with violating its agreement to abide by the decision of the Lewisburg council, and, failing to give satisfaction, was excluded from the Association.
This church and others that sympathized with it called a convention, in 1847, and formed Washington Association, whose churches were intermingled with those of Bracken. The young fraternity started off prosperously. In 1849, two years after its constitution, it reported 6 churches, 117 baptisms, and 527 members. After this, it had very little increase. In 1855, it reported 5 churches with 546 members. This year, Mr. Mason returned to Virginia, and the Association, in which he had been the principal minister, reunited with Bracken, and thus lost its identity. ________________________
Bethel Association of Regular Primitive Baptists
This confederacy is located in the extreme south-west corner of the State, and the adjacent border of Tennessee. Its name sufficiently indicates that it is Hyper-Calvinistic in doctrine, and Antimissionary in practice. It was constituted of 15 churches aggregating 507 members, at Mud Creek meeting house, in Fulton county, Kentucky, in 1846. These churches had been dismissed from Obion and Clarks River Associations.
This fraternity has, of course, accomplished but little in spreading the gospel, as its doctrine and polity require it to put forth no effort in that direction. It has generally enjoyed a good degree of peace and harmony. Some of its ministers are
excellent men and very good preachers. Through their labors, the churches have had small additions, from year to year, and the Association has had a slight increase in numbers, during the last decade. In 1870, it numbered 13 churches with 450 members, and, in 1880, 20 churches with 653 members. According to its official statistics, there were baptized into the fellowship of its churches, between the time of its constitution and its meeting in 1881, a period of 35 years, 784 professed believers.
William A. Bowden has been one of the most popular, influential and successful preachers in this Association, from its organization to the presenttime. He is about 70 years of age, has been preaching from early life, and is still (1882) active in the ministry. His residence is in the south-east corner of Graves county, and he preaches both in Kentucky and Tennessee. He was the first moderator of Bethel Association, and has been its clerk since 1850. His moral reputation is unsullied, and he is much esteemed, both by the churches and them without.
William Howard is also an earnest preacher in this fraternity. He was born in North Carolina, October 27, 1806, migrated to the West, in 1830, was licensed to preach, at Mt. Zion in Graves county, Kentucky, in 1838, and was ordained, in the same church, by Reuben Ross* and W. A. Bowden, in 1847. Mt. Zion, Brush Creek, Mt. Zion (north), Pisgah, Mud Creek and Spring Creek (Tenn.), have enjoyed his pastoral ministrations. He has frequently been moderator of his Association, and is still (1882) actively engaged in the ministry. ________________________
Zion Associaiton of United Baptists
This body of Antimissionary Baptists is located on the eastern border of the State, in a very mountainous region of country, lying between the Tug and Lavisa Forks of Big Sandy River. It was constituted of six churches, at Salem meeting house in Wayne county, West Virginia, Nov. 4, 1848. These churches, which had been dismissed from Paint Union Association, aggregated, in 1849, 205 members. Their names were
Rockcastle, Silver Creek, Zion, Salem, Comfort, and Kiers Creek. The fraternity was quite prosperous, and so rapid was its growth that it was, some years past, deemed expedient to divide its territory. The eastern division, including most of the West Virginia churches, took the name of Bethlehem Association. At present most of the churches of Zion Association are located in Johnson and Martin counties. In 1879, the Association numbered 19 churches with 959 members, and, in 1880, 20 churches with the aggregated membership not reported.
James Williamson is the most prominent minister in this Association, and has acted as its moderator, since 1876; previous to which he was clerk of the body. He was born in Lawrence county, Ky., Nov. 3, 1813. At the age of 22 years, he united with Rockcastle church in what is now Martin county, and was baptized by Henry Dixon. After exercising some time in public prayer and exhortation, he was ordained to the ministry, by John Borders and Henry Dixon, about 1840. He has generally been pastor of from two to four churches, and is still (1881) actively engaged in his holy calling. ________________________
Mt. Olivet Association
The origion of this fraternity has been sufficiently explained in the history of West Union Association. Mt. Olivet, Little Obion, Liberty and Salem churches, aggregating 199 members, withdrew from that body, on account of the expulsion of Thomas L. Garrett from its council. These four churches met in convention, by their messengers, at Mt. Olivet meeting house in Graves county, on Saturday before the first Sunday in July, 1848. A sermon was preached by T. L. Garrett, from Hebrews 13:1. The convention was organized by the election of M. S. Wiman, moderator, and W. W. Maxey, clerk. The four churches named above were then reorganized as a confederacy under the style of Mt. Olivet Association of United Baptists. The only preachers in the organization were T. L. Garrett, M. S. Wiman and Wm. J. Flournoy.
At its first anniversary, the Association received Pleasant
Ridge church, which increased its membership to five churches with 231 members. But as the organization of the body was revolutionary, the neighboring fraternities refused to correspond with it. It also manifested a spirit of great bitterness in its meetings. In 1849, it declared the circular letter of West Union Association to be "a tissue of falsehood throughout." Under these circumstances, the little fraternity continued to diminish, rather than increase, till about 1856. After this, it had a slow growth, till 1860, when it numbered 9 churches with 353 members. After the Civil War, it obtained recognition by the neighboring associations, and has enjoyed a good degree of prosperity. In 1865, it organized a ministers' and deacons' meeting, and has since employed the usual appliances, used by the denomination in the State, for the spread of the gospel and the promotion of morals.
In 1877, the body expressed its sentiments regarding the use of strong drink in the following language: "Alcoholic liquors constitute the greatest curse of the age. They impede the progress of education, civilization and Christianity, more than all things else: they cause more suffering, both mental and physical, more paupers, criminals and maniacs." Church members were advised to abstain from intoxicating drinks, and the churches were recommended to deal rigidly with members who drink or sell intoxicating beverages.
A remarkable incident in the history of this body is, that there were baptized into the fellowship of its churches, from 1850 to 1855, just three persons each year, six years in succession. The whole number baptized into its churches, from 1848 to 1883, exclusive of the year 1856. was 1,889. In 1870, itnumbered nine churches with 648 members; in 1880, twenty churches, with 1,086 members, and in 1883, eighteen churches with 1,193 members.
Mt. Olivet has from the first been a leading church in this fraternity. It was constituted in Durin Alcock's tobacco barn in Graves county, by James P. Edwards and Lewis Goad, Aug. 20, 1836. The following persons were in the constitution Elder Durin Alcock, Henry Fulgam, Anthony Fulgam, John Cargil, Sauny Thomas (Col.), Lewis Sams (Col.), __ Alcock, Anna Fulgam, Sarah Wester, Rebecca Fulgam, Nancy Cargil, Celia Garrison and Rachel Thomas. The church was called
Concord, till 1848, when it assumed its present name. Durin Alcock was its first pastor, and, has been followed in turn, by Lewis Goad, Josiah King, M. S. Wiman and W. F. Lowe. The last named is the present pastor, and has been serving the church about twenty-three years. The church now numbers about 150 members, and is the largest in the Association.
Thomas Lorton Garrett was the originator of Mt. Olivet Association, and continued to be its most prominent preacher until his death. He was born in Charlotte county, Va., Oct. 2, 1803, and was raised in Prince Edwards county, with few educational advantages. In 1822, he professed conversion and was baptized by John Watkins. He was licensed to preach, in 1824, and was soon afterwards ordained to the ministry, and became pastor of several churches. In 1831, he failed in business as a buggy manufacturer, after which, he moved to Kentucky. He first settled in Henderson county, where he rode as missionary in Little Bethel Association several years. In 1838, he moved to Hartford, in Ohio county, where he became pastor of Nelson Creek, and perhaps some other churches, in Gasper River Association. Two years later, he moved to Hardinsburg, where he labored a short time. In 1842, he was invited to aid A. W. Meacham, pastor of Paducah church in a protracted meeting at that place. His commanding talent unsettled the young pastor, and, the following year, Mr. Garrett succeed him in his pastoral office. This caused some unpleasant feeling between Mr. Meacham and Mr. Garrett. Meanwhile Mr. Garrett accepted an appointment as missionary to labor on both sides of the Ohio river, in the region around Paducah.
When Paducah church, of which Mr. Garrett was then a member and the pastor, prepared a letter to send to West Union Association, in 1843, he alone objected to it, alleging that the church had practiced open communion, and, therefore, was not in good order, as stated in the letter. On the same grounds, he opposed the reception of the letter by the Association. A committee, consisting of Elder J. P. Edwards and Wm. E. Bishop, was sent to investigate the matter. They reported to the Association, that Paducah church was as sound in the faith as any in the fraternity. Out of this originated a personal difficulty between Garrett and the venerable Edwards, which continued to widen until 1849, when the matter was brought before the Association.
During the progress of the ensuing discussion, Mr. Garrett was expelled from his seat in that body on a charge of contempt for the Associations. He immediately left the house, followed by the messengers from four churches. The next year, these churches formed Mt. Olivet Association. Within the bounds of this new fraternity, Mr. Garrett labored very earnestly, but with very small success, till the Lord called him away. He died at his home, in Paducah, about the fourth of December, 1842.
Mr. Garrett was a self-educated man, and possessed excellent preaching gifts. But he was over ambitious and sensitive, and possessed a bad, unyielding temper. The late Dr. Cad Lewis once said, in a speech before the General Association of Kentucky Baptists, that Brother Garrett was like a cat sitting under a chair, which, however it might turn its head, always puts out its tail for some one to tramp on. While there seems to be no occasion to doubt Mr. Garrett's sincerity, it cannot be denied that his unfortunate temper greatly impaired his usefulness, and caused much trouble among his brethren.
M. S. Wiman was born in Henry county, Kentucky, Aug. 27, 1808. At the age of six years, he was left an orphan, and committed to the care of an aunt living in Washington county, who had him christened, and brought him up in the practice of strict morality. A few days after he was nineteen years old, he was married to Elizabeth Tharp, and, on going to housekeeping, set up family worship, supposing that his infant baptism and his morality constituted him a Christian. But, through the faithfulness of his Baptist wife, he soon became convinced of his error, and shortly afterwards obtained a good hope, and was baptized into the fellowship of New Hope church, in Washington county by Isaac Taylor.
In 1829, he settled near Brandenburg in Meade county, and gave his membership to Mt. Pleasant church, then under the pastoral care of Simeon Buchanan. Here he prospered in his worldly affairs, till the spring of 1832, when "the great rise" in the Ohio river swept away most of his earthly possessions. He moved, the same year, to Graves county, where he united with Emmaus church in the adjacent border of Ballard, and was shortly afterwards licensed to preach. In February, 1835, he was ordained to the ministry by Stephen
Ray, A. Danial, E. Curd and __ Allison. From the time of his ordination, he devoted himself with great zeal and activity to his sacred calling. In 1838, he was appointed to ride as missionary within the bounds of West Union Association. In this position, he labored about three years, visiting most of the churches in the "Western District," and some in the adjacent borders of Missouri and Tennessee, as well as laboring in many destitute neighborhoods. During this period, and subsequently, with the help of the beloved J.P. Edwards and others, he gathered a number of churches, among which may be named Union, Sugar Creek, Paducah, Mt. Olivet, Salem, Liberty and Providence.
When the unhappy difficulty, which caused a schism in West Union Association, occurred, in 1847, Mr. Wiman adhered to the Garrett party, and entered into the constitution of Mount Olivet Association. Of this body he was elected moderator, at the time of its constitution, and continued to occupy the position until he was succeeded by his son, Isaac N. Wiman, in 1863, only a few months before his death. He was called to his reward, from his home in Graves county, Dec. 10, 1863.
Mr. Wiman received a very limited education in his youth. But with the aid and sympathy of a godly and intelligent wife, he continued to progress in knowledge during the whole of his married life, and, in the end, possessed no mean literary attainments. He was a plain, earnest and very effective preacher, and, through the grace of God, accomplished a glorious work in the then semi-wilderness of Western Kentucky.
Isaac N. Wiman, one of the thirteen children of the above, was raised up to the ministry in Mt. Olivet Association. He succeeded his father as moderator of that body, in 1863, and occupied the position till he moved to the West, in 1866. In 1871, he returned to Kentucky, and was again elected moderator of Mt. Olivet Association. But the next year, he moved to Kansas, where he has taken a good position among the ministers of that State. It is much to be regretted that his usefulness in the new country has been much diminished, for the present at least, by the failure of his health.
Robert W. Mahan has been a prominent and useful preacher in Mt. Olivet Association, for a number of years past. He entered the ministry, about the close of the Civil War, and
has been quite successful, both as a missionary and a pastor. He has recently moved from his old home in Graves county to Clinton in Hickman, where his labors are being much blessed.
Wm. Francis Lowe is one of the leading ministers in Western Kentucky. He was born in Graves county, Kentucky, August 7, 1838, and was raised up on a farm, acquiring also the trade of a house carpenter. After attending the schools of his neighborhood, he studied Latin and some other branches under Rev. L. O. Winslow, a Cumberland Presbyterian. He was converted at a Cumberland Presbyterian meeting, in October, 1854, and, in November following, was baptized with 23 others, into the fellowship of Mt. Olivet church, by M. S. Wiman. In May, 1856, he was licensed to preach, and was ordained to the ministry, soon afterwards, by M. S. Wiman, Carroll Morris and John H. D. Carlin. On the resignation of Mr. Wiman, with whom he had been associatedin the pastoral office at Mt. Olivet, he became pastor of that church, in March, 1862, and, on the 3d of April following, was married to Mary Logan Samuels, first cousin to the lamented P. B. Samuels of Nelson county. This marriage proved a most happy one, and Mr. Lowe attributed much of his success in the ministry to the aid and sympathy of this excellent woman.
Mr. Lowe was called to Pleasant Ridge church about the time of his marriage, and has since been pastor, for different periods, of Liberty, Zoar, Salem, New Concord, Emmaus, Milburn, Dublin, Pleasant Grove and Wingo churches. He was elected clerk of Mt. Olivet Association, in 1860. After serving in that capacity seven years, he succeeded to the moderatorship of that body, which position he has continued to fill to the present time. _______________________
Regular Baptist Mates Creek Association
This small fraternity of Antimissionary Baptists is located in the eastern extremity of the State. It was constituted at Mates Creek meeting house in Virginia, in 1849, at which time most of its churches were in that State. It extended its operations into Kentucky, and subsequently dismissed most of its
original churches to form a new Association. At present, most or all of its churches are in Pike county, Kentucky, except Sulphur Spring, which is in Buchanan county, West Virginia. It had considerable growth for a time, and, in 1878, numbered 16 churches with 729 members. Since that date, it appears to have declined. In 1880, it numbered 14 churches with 503 members.
In the list of the ministers appear the names of Gabriel Riffe, W.W. Fields and Basil Hatfield. The first named acted as moderator of the body a number of years. He was called to his reward, about 1878. Basil Hatfield has acted as moderator since 1877. _______________________
At a regular meeting of the old Salem fraternity, at Otter Creek church in Mead county, August 15, 1849, the following churches were dismissed to form a new Association: Cox's Creek, Bloomfield, Bardstown, Rolling Fork, Mill Creek, Little Union, New Salem, Mt. Washington, Shepherdsville, Hardins Creek and New Hope. Messengers from all these churches, except Hardins Creek, met at Cox's Creek in Nelson county, on the 28th of September of the same year, and, after a sermon by Wm. Vaughan, from Psalm 133:1, proceeded to form Nelson Association, with the usual formalities. The new organization took the name of the county in which most of its churches were, and still are located. After the organization was effected, by the election of Spence Minor, Moderator, and P. B. Samuels Clerk, Chaplins Fork church was received into membership. The 11 churches now composing the fraternity, aggregated 1,625 members. The only preachers belonging to the body were Wm. Vaughan, P. B. Samuels, and W. G. Hobbs, a licentiate. The Association adjourned, after resolving to become auxiliary to the General Association, requesting each church to appoint a solicitor to collect funds for that body, and inviting A. D. Sears, agent of the General Association, to take a collection for his agency.
In 1850, Hardins Creek church was received by letter.
Collections were taken for the General. Association, and resolutions were adopted, recommending Georgetown College and the Western Baptist Theological Institute. The next year, contributions were made to the General Association, the Indian Mission Association, and the Kentucky and Foreign Bible Society, aggregating $91.30. These organizations continued to receive the contributions of the Association, several years. In 1854, the churches and pastors were requested to make four collections annually: one for the General Association, one for Indian missions, one for Foreign missions, and one for the Bible cause.
Down to this period, the Association had depended on the General Association to supply its destitution, with the gospel. But as that body had not the means of accomplishing this work satisfactorily, it now resolved to perform the duty itself. Accordingly, it called a meeting, to be composed of messengers from all the churches, to convene at Cox's Creek on Wednesday after the first Sabbath in November, 1854, to devise some plan for carrying out this purpose. Wm. Vaughan was requested to preach a sermon suited to the occasion. The meeting resulted in the formation of "Nelson Home Missionary Society," which was approved by the Association, at its next session. But the Society proved inefficient; and, in 1857, the Association adopted the following:
"Whereas, The 'Nelson Home Missionary Society,' which was organized, in 1854, and has been adopted by this Association, has failed to accomplish the contemplated result, Therefore, "Resolved, That said organization, in view of its inefficiency, be hereby dissolved; and that the funds in the treasury of said society be subject to the direction of an executive board, to be hereby appointed by this body, that an executive board, consisting of P. B. Samuels, A. King, S. Wills, J. H. Taylor, and D. H. Cox, be appointed, whose duty it shall be to select a missionary, fix his salary, and recommend him to the Board of the General Association for ratification of his appointment, with a request that the agent of the General Association visit our churches, collect money, and pay it over to the treasurer of our executive board, to be appropriated to the payment of said missionary's salary."
Under this arrangement, J. T. Hedger was employed as missionary at a salary of $400 per annum, and was kept in the field two years. During this period, he traveled 5,662 miles, preached 272 sermons, delivered 163 exhortations, witnessed 141 conversions, baptized 45 persons, and sold 793 books. From that period, the Association has generally kept one or more missionaries employed, at least, a part of each year, and, perhaps, no organization of the kind in the State, has cultivated the field of its operations more thoroughly.
The first allusion to Sabbath-schools, in the records of this body, is in the missionary's report, of 1861, and no direct action was taken on the subject, till 1865, when the following resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, That we, the Nelson Association, sympathize with the objects of the Sunday-school enterprise, and will cordially co-operate with Elder W. S. Sedwick, the agent of the General Association, and Elder J. V. Riley, S. S. missionary in our bounds and recommend semi-annual Sunday-schools; one of which shall be held with this body."
Under the labors of that remarkable Sunday-school worker, W. S. Sedwick, a fine enthusiasm was gendered among the churches, a Sunday-school convention was organized within the bounds of the Association, and the work spread so rapidly that, in 1874, the committee on Sunday-schools reported as follows: "The Sunday-school Convention of this Association, is still doing its work. All our churches have Sunday-schools. We have now four mission schools in a very flourishing condition, and doing a noble work." The subject continues one of leading interest in the body.
Besides contributing liberally to the general missionary and educational enterprises of the denomination, this Association has built up two high schools within its bounds: one at Bloomfield, the other at Bardstown. The latter, in which the youth of both sexes are educated, is still in a very flourishing condition, under the principalship of H. J. Greenwell A. M.
It is a little remarkable that this fraternity, so vigorous in its prosecution of other benevolent enterprises, has been silent on the subject of temperance reform. In this respect, it stands almost alone among the Baptist associations of the State, if the Antimissionary Baptists be excepted, and it can hardly be
regarded strange that immense quantities of whisky are manufactured within its bounds, if not by its members.
The progress of this body, in numbers, has been rather steady In 1850, it numbered 12 churches with 1,678 members; in 1860, 12 churches with 1,766 members; in 1870, 13 churches with 1,761 members; in 1880, 17 churches with 2,145 members, and, in 1883, 18 churches with 2,266 members. It has reported in 33 years 3,364 baptisms.
Old Churches. Cedar Creek, constituted July 4, 1781, is the oldest in the fraternity, and the oldest in the State but one. Cox's Creek and Bloomfield areamong the oldest churches of the Mississippi Valley. Of these three ancient fraternities some account has already been given.
Preston Burr Samuels was not only by far the most influential and efficient preacher in Nelson Association, in his generation, but was among the most valuable ministers in the State. He was born in Nelson county, Ky., Aug. 3, 1810, and was brought up on a farm, receiving only a moderate English education. During his youth and early manhood, he was remarkably fond of popular amusements, engaged in hunting, horse-racing and other sports of the period, and was essentially a bold, daring, wicked young man. He had, however, the redeeming trait of a high sense of honor, and did not swerve from the path of truth and integrity.
On the 15th of December, 1831, he was married to Malvina, daughter of Wm. Newbolt, a man of exalted Christian virtues. This excellent woman was eminently suited to the position she was called to occupy. She was a true wife, "a chaste keeper at home," and an exemplary Christian. But her husband continued his rounds of pleasure and daring wickedness, till he was near 30 years of age. About that period, he was smitten down under the ministry of Smith Thomas, by whom he was soon afterwards baptized into the fellowship of the church now called New Salem, in his native county. He now entered into the service of his new Master with as much zeal as he had formerly served the old. He commenced exercising in public prayer and exhortation soon after he was converted. But, at first, he met with very little encouragement. His pursuit of pleasure and neglect of business had involved him in debt, and this made the people distrustful of him. However,
he was a good farmer and a discreet business man, and, now giving himself diligently to business, he soon cancelled his pecuniary obligations.
In 1845, having been ordained to the ministry, he was called to the care of New Salem church, then numbering 117 members. For a dozen years, the numerical growth of the church was slow. But the pastor cultivated its broad territory with great diligence. He did not confine his ministrations to the church, but preached at its outposts, worshipped with the people at their homes, visited them in sickness, sympathized and advised with them in their business perplexities, comforted them in trouble, preserved always among them the same earnest, deep-toned piety, and was always the same cheerful, dignified christian minister. At length the field ripened, and the laborer began to reap. About 1859, he and J. T. Hedger held a meeting within the bounds of the church, which resulted in about forty additions to its membership; in 1860, he was aided by J. H. Spencer in a meeting which resulted in seventy-seven additions; in 1864, he was aided in a meeting by the same minister, when thirty-two were added to the church; in 1868, J. M. Harrington aided him in ameeting, when over one hundred united with the church, and, in August, 1871, J. H. Spencer again aided him in a meeting, during which sixty were added to the church. During this meeting, he frequently said he felt like this would be his last protracted meeting at this church; and so it proved. The church now numbered 365 members, and was the largest in the Association.
In 1849, Mr. Samuels was called to the care of Cox's Creek church in the same county, to which he ministered one Sabbath in the month, till 1857, after which he preached to it two Sundays in each month the remainder of his earthly life. Here, in one of the most intelligent churches in the State, he enjoyed a pastorate of almost uninterrupted prosperity, about twenty-one years. In his earlier ministry, he served the churches at Mt. Washington, Shepherdsville, Elizabethtown and Rolling Fork, for longer or shorter periods; and during his entire ministry, he aided in many protracted meetings, in which he met with a large measure of success. In November, 1871, he engaged in a meeting at East Fork school house. Here he frequently expressed his belief that this was the last meeting of the kind he
would ever labor in, although he appeared to be in his usual health. On the first day of the following January, after a brief illness, he answered to the summons to come up higher.
Mr. Samuels was the most prominent actor in all the business affairs of the Association. He was clerk of that body from its constitution, in 1849, till he was called to succeed the venerable Dr. Vaughan, as its moderator, in 1865. The latter position he continued to fill till his death. In early life, he was justice of the peace for a number of years, and acquired the reputation of being an excellent magistrate.
The character of P. B. Samuels was one to be studied and admired. He was a Christian philosopher, in the full sense of the term. In person he was rather above medium height, very straight, finely proportioned, and dignified in all his movements. His complexion was dark, his hair nearly black, and his physiognomy indicated clear judgement, decision of purpose, and calm, rational benevolence. He was scrupulously neat in his dress, and his whole bearing commanded respect. In conversation he was remarkably deliberate, and always easy and self-possessed. He was an excellent practical business man, whether on his farm, presiding in a court of justice, or occupying the pulpit. As a preacher he was clear, plain, and eminently practical. It was said that he never preached a big sermon, or a little one. He studied the Bible closely, and his theological views were clear, orthodox and consistent. His manner of preaching was a plain, simple statement of truth, illustrated by familiar figures and incidents, and always brought within the comprehension of his hearers. Even in his exhortations, he used no meaningless words or phrases. As a pastor he greatly excelled. He knew all his flock, could call them by name, studied all their wants, temporal and spiritual, and labored diligently to have them supplied, as far as practicable.
Allen Burr Miller, now the well-known Dr. Miller of Little Rock, Ark., was born in what is now LaRue Co., Ky., July 9, 1834. At the age of six years, he was taken by his parents to Ohio county, where he was raised on a farm with few educational advantages. After his arrival at manhood, he attended Bethel College for a time. He professed conversion at a Methodist meeting when he was about thirteen years of age, and was baptized several years later, for the fellowship of Green
River church, by Alfred Taylor. He was licensed to preach before he went to college, and was ordained to the ministry, in 1856. In 1857, he took charge of the church at Hickman, Ky. Here he labored with good success two years, and then went to Trenton, Tenn., where he ministered one year, after which he returned to his native State, in answer to a call from the church at Bardstown. Here he remained two years, and accomplished a good work. He next moved to Owensboro, from whence he was called to the First church in Memphis, Tenn., where he labored with a good degree of success, several years. His next move was to Paducah, Ky., where he ministered two years, and then accepted a call to Quincy, Ill. After preaching there a year, he again returned to Kentucky, and was, for a time, pastor of the church at Versailles. From this place he went to Evansville, where he preached some five years, and then went to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he still ministers. On the 4th of January, 1866, he was married to Anna Clark, a handsome and accomplished lady of La Grange, Ky.
Besides his pastoral labors, Dr. Miller has devoted much time to the work of an evangelist, in which capacity he has been very successful, having baptized about 2,000 persons. He is a popular preacher, brilliant rather than profound, a man of untiring energy, and is full of zeal in his holy calling.
James Bland English, a native of Hardin county, Ky., was several years pastor of the church at Shepherdsville, about the time of the Civil War, previous to which he had been employed as missionary in Goshen Association. He was afterwards pastor of Portland Avenue church in Louisville. Subsequently he moved to Missouri, where he still resides. He was a very moderate preacher, but a diligent and successful pastor.
A. Frank Baker was born in Owen Co., Ky., April 16, 1835. He was raised on a farm and received a good English education, with some knowledge of Latin and Greek. In 1854, he united with Dallasburg church in his native county. In 1859, he was ordained to the ministry at Hodgenville, Ky., and called to the pastoral care of the church at Bardstown. While here he established the Bardstown Baptist Female Seminary, now a male and female seminary, and one of the most flourishing schools in the State. He has sincebeen pastor of several prominent churches in the State, and was for a time co-editor
of the Prophetic Key, a monthly magazine. He has labored much as an evangelist, and has conducted protracted meetings in which several hundred persons have been approved for baptism. During the past two years he was missionary pastor of the young churches at Ashland and Catlettsburg; but has recently (1884) gone to Mattoon, Ill. He is a strong preacher, a good pastor, and a man of tireless energy.
Thomas H. Coleman is a native of Mercer county, and was licensed to preach, at Harrodsburg, previous to his entering Georgetown College, about 1857. On his return from college, he located in Lincoln county, where he took pastoral charge of Mt. Salem church. He also rode as missionary of South Kentucky Association two years, and was moderator of that body from 1864 to 1867. In 1868, he took charge of the Baptist Female High School, at Bardstown. In 1871, he accepted a call to the care of Little Union church in Spencer county, and, the next year, succeeded the lamented P. B. Samuels in the pastoral charge of Cox's Creek church, in Nelson county. He also preached monthly to several other congregations while he resided in Spencer county, and was clerk of Nelson Association sixteen years. In 1884, he moved to Georgetown, where he continued to devote himself to the ministry, being pastor of several country churches.
Mr. Coleman is a good, sound preacher, and has been, from the period of his ordination, one of the most useful ministers in the State.
James M. Coleman, a younger brother of the above, began his ministry about 1867, and was called to the care of Mill Creek church in Nelson county, in 1868. On the death of P. B. Samuels, he was chosen pastor of New Salem church in the same county, in 1872. He was several years pastor of Cox's Creek and Mt. Washington churches, and served those of Cedar Creek and Mt. Moriah, shorter periods. About 1882, his health became so feeble that he moved to Lincoln county with the hope of being benefited by a change of location. Here he took charge of McKinney church (formerly Mt. Salem) to which he still ministers.
Mr. Coleman is noted for his constant and unaffected piety, and perhaps no man in Nelson Association was ever more generally beloved. Although feeble in health from the beginning
of his ministry, he has been diligent in his sacred calling, and has enjoyed more than an ordinary degree of success.
Thomas Hall, who is pastor of the churches at Bloomfield, Mill Creek and New Hope, has been a prominent minister in Nelson Association, since 1869, and moderator of that body, since the death of P. B. Samuels, in 1872. He was born in Charleston, S. C., June 29, 1828, and bred an Episcopalian. Under the ministry of Dr. Richard Fuller, he was converted to Christ, and was led to adopt Baptist principles by reading the New Testament in Greek. He was baptized by Dr. James Cuthburt of Washington, D. C. In 1864, he was ordained to the ministry at Anderson, S. C., and afterwards moved to Kentucky, where he succeeded Dr. Win. Vaughan as pastor of Bloomfield church, in 1869. The next year, he was called to New Hope church in Washington county, and, in 1875, accepted the care of Mill Creek church in Nelson county. To these three congregations, he continues to minister to the present time. A good degree of success has attended his labors, and he is much beloved by his people. He is a scholar of generous reading, a sound theologian, and a good minister of Jesus Christ.
John M. Sallee, a son of J. W. Sallee of Somerset, is a native of Pulaski county, in which he was raised up to the ministry. After preaching several years in Lincoln and Casey counties, he succeeded J. M. Coleman in the pastoral charge of Cox's Creek church in Nelson county, about 1879, and continues to occupy the position with much apparent satisfaction to his people. He is the first pastor who has given all his time to that famous old church.
William W. Willett, a son of Richard Willett, was born of Baptist parents in Mead county, Kentucky, March, 8, 1848, and was raised on a farm. He completed his education at Salem College in his native county, in 1869. At the age of 17, he professed faith in Christ, and was baptized by G. H. Hicks, into the fellowship of Hill Grove church in Mead county. He was licensed to preach, in 1869, and ordained, in 1871. After preaching a year at Rock Ridge, near where he was raised, he moved to Jefferson county, and established a school which he called Beechland Seminary, in which he taught, four years, preaching, at the same time, to Knob Creek and Pitts Point churches in Bullett county. In 1875, he accepted a call to Bardstown, and, as pastor
of the church at that place, enjoyed a degree of success in building it up, that it had not before experienced. In 1882, two of his children died of typhoid fever, and, on October 3d, of the same year, he was called to join them in the land of rest.
There have been many prominent citizens, valuable members of the churches of this fraternity, among whom may be named the now venerable Abner King of Cox's Creek, whose father and grandfather were valued members of the same church, Samuel McKay of Bloomfield, Elijah Wiggington of Little Union, and Judge T.P. Linthicum of Bardstown. ===============
[J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume 2, 1886; reprint 1984, pp. 456-603. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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