[Cumberland River Association -- pp. 234-238; Licking Association -- 239-250
Gasper River Association -- 250-266; Union Association, No. 2 -- 267-268]
This fraternity is now located principally in Pulaski county, but in its early history some of its churches were located in Lincoln, and its territory extended thence southward to the Tennessee line. Previous to its constitution, Tates Creek Association had extended its territory so far south as to include part of Wayne county. At a meeting of the last named fraternity, at White Oak Pond, in Madison county, in 1809, the following six churches "from the south part of this Association, were dismissed when joined in another Association, according to the terms of general union:" Double Springs, in Lincoln county; White Oak, Sinking Creek, (now Somerset), Forks of Cumberland, and Union, in Pulaski; and Big Sinking, in Wayne. These, together with Beaver Creek and Otter Creek churches, both in Wayne, met, by their messengers, at Sinking Creek, the first Saturday in October, 1809, and there constituted Cumberland River Association. The aggregate membership of these churches is not given, and the records of the following year are lost. But the minutes of 1811, report 13 churches, with 447 members. The five churches which had been added since the constitution, were Little Spring, Flat Lick, Fishing Creek, Pleasant Point, and New Hope. The preachers of the Association, at this date, as far as known, were Richard Barrier, Isham Burnett, John Smith, Stephen Collier, Wesley Short, Thomas Hansford, Thomas Hill, Thomas Wolverton, Moses Foley, Malachi Cooper, Peleg Baker, Joseph M. James, and Richard Collier.
Soon after the constitution of this Association, a very precious revival commenced among its churches, and continued some
three or four years. A number of new churches were gathered, and the old ones were greatly increased. In 1812, 368 baptisms were reported, and so rapid was the growth of the young Association, that, in 1814, it numbered 19 churches, aggregating 1,106 members. Cumberland River church, which, together with Hurricane church, in Lincoln county, was received into the Association, in 1812, was the largest in the body. It was located on the north side of the stream whose name it bore, some three miles below Barboursville, in Knox county. It was a prosperous church, under the ministry of Moses Foley sr., and his son Elijah. It reported the reception of 107 by experience and baptism, in 1812, and had extended arms around it, in every direction. In 1815, this prosperous organization, with its numerous arms, took a letter of dismission from the Association, for the purpose of entering into a new fraternity, which, when formed, took the name of South Union Association. About the same time, a considerable number of Baptists in this region of the State, went over to the Newlights. It will be remembered that, in 1812, John and Philip Mulkey, two of the most influential preachers in Stockton's Valley Association, which bordered on the one under consideration, united with that enthusiastic sect, and led away much people after them. In 1815, the subject of Emancipation was agitated in the Association, as the following extracts from its minutes of that year, will show: "Query: Is it right to uphold hereditary and perpetual slavery? Ans. We conceive that all nations, by nature, have a right to equal freedom. But as we are involved, in our Nation, with hereditary slavery, we think it would be best to wait for the dispensations of Providence, and pray to God for the happy year of their deliverance to commence." At the same time, the question of opening a correspondence with the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions was introduced in the body, and, after a year's consideration, was "voted out of the Association," as a question, too difficult for decision.
By these dismissions, schisims and agitations, the hitherto prosperous fraternity lost nearly half of its aggregate membership: So that, in 1818, it numbered 18 churches, with only 623 members. But its mourning was soon turned to joy. About 1820, a most powerful revival commenced among the churches, and prevailed some two or three years. During this refreshing
from the Lord, the aggregate membership of the Association was considerably more than doubled. In 1823, the body had increased to 22 churches, with 1,494 members. Two more churches were added within the next two years.
In 1825, it was deemed expedient to form a new Association of the churches in the southern part of the territory of the old one, and, accordingly, the following churches were dismissed for that purpose: Big Sinking, Bethel, Otter Creek, Liberty (formerly Cedar Sinking), Pleasant Point, Stephen's, Monticello, New Hope, and White Oak. This left the old Association 14 churches with 903 members; while it gave the new one, which took the name of South Concord, 10 churches, with 492 members.
From this time till 1837, the Cumberland River Association moved on with little change in numbers. The records of the period of the Campbellite schism, are lost; but it is believed that this fraternity sustained no great loss by that movement. In 1836, the body comprised about the same numbers that it had reported ten years before. In 1837, the great and long continued revival, which prevailed in such a remarkable manner in Kentucky, at that period, reached this Association, and prevailed as in most other parts of the State, for more than a decade. Within twelve years, the body again doubled its membership. But even during this season of prosperity, there was a serious hindrance to the joy it would have otherwise afforded. The hearts of God's people were much enlarged by his wonderful displays of heavenly grace in the conversion of such multitudes of sinners, and in so richly bestowing the Holy Spirit upon themselves. They were eager to join with their brethren in sending the blessed gospel to the destitute, at home and in foreign lands. The Association had been nominally a missionary body, during its whole history, and had occasionally appointed missionaries to labor in its own bounds, and requested the churches to compensate them for their labors. But there was now a growing anti-missionary element in the body, that thwarted every effort to promote systematic benevolence. Party spirit was gendered among the churches, andthe anti-mission faction finally became so intolerant as to demand of the Association, that it should drop correspondence with all its neighboring fraternities, which tolerated missionary societies. This question of correspondence was submitted to the Association, in 1861. The Anti-missionary
party being defeated by a vote of the body, the venerable Richard Collier, long the Moderator of the body, arose and said "We are a divided people." The two parties effected separate organizations, the Missionary party, in the house, and the other party, at the stand. Each claimed to be the original Cumberland River Association. The Antimission party numbered, at its organization, 11 churches, with 683 members. The majority was acknowledged by the neighboring associations. It has enjoyed several revival seasons, and has about regained what it lost by the Anti-mission schism. It is still favorable to missions, at least in theory; but the country in which it is located is generally mountainous, and much of the land is sterile: so that little is done for the spread of the gospel abroad. It has done something in the way of supporting missionaries within its own bounds, and has probably enjoyed an average degree of success, in bringing sinners to Christ. In 1881, it reported 17 churches, with 1,422 members. During 47 of the first 72 years of its existence, there have been baptized into the fellowship of its churches, according to its official reports, 5,080 converts.
This old fraternity has generally had a fair supply of ministers; and a few of them have been men of good preaching ability; but a large majority of them have possessed only very moderate gifts and small acquirements. Of its most prominent pioneer preachers, some account has been given elsewhere.
William Stogdill, a son of Benjamin Stogdill, an early immigrant from Virginia, was born in Pulaski county, Ky., about 1810. He was raised by a widowed mother, having lost his father in infancy. Although brought up to hard labor, he acquired sufficient education to enable him to teach a common school. He was converted under the preaching of Richard Collier and Robert McAlister, being baptized by the latter, in 1837. He united with New Hope church, in his native county, of which he remained a member until his death. In 1838, he was ordained to the deaconship; but, discovering in him a warm zeal for the salvation of sinners, and an aptness in speaking, the church licensed him to preach. He was ordained to the ministry, in 1843, and immediately took charge of the church of which he was a member. He was also called to serve other churches in Cumberland River Association. God greatly blessed his ministry in turning sinners to salvation. But the period of the
good man's labors was brief. He contracted disease of the lungs which speedily terminated his earthly career. Only four days before his death, not anticipating that his end was so near, he said: "I know I have but a short time to live, but what time I do live, I intend to spend in preaching Jesus to sinners." On the first Saturday in September, 1855, with feeble voice, he preached the introductory sermon before Cumberland River Association. On Monday following, he took an active part in the business of that body. As he returned home, on Tuesday, he said to his wife: "This is the last Association we shall ever return from together." On Wednesday, he taught school. That night his sufferings were very great, and, on Thursday morning, September 6th, he was released from earthly cares and pains, and doubtless received a good man's reward.
Malachi Cooper was one of the pioneer preachers of Pulaski county. He gathered old Fishing Creek church, about 1803, as is supposed, and ministered to it many years. He was Moderator of Cumberland River Association, as early as 1811, and represented his church in that body, as late as 1822. It is regretted that little else is known of him. A numerous posterity survives him, and among them several useful ministers.
James Warriner was a native of Virginia, and was born October 18, 1773. He first united with the church in Buckingham county, about 1802, and began to declare the glad tidings of salvation almost immediately. In 1804, he was ordained to the ministry, and became pastor of Zions Hill church, in Pittsylvania county. Besides discharging the duties of the pastoral office, he traveled and preached extensively, in the State of his nativity, about twelve years. In 1816, he moved to Kentucky, and settled at Creelsboro, in what is now Russell county. Here he aided in laying the foundation of the early churches in that region. He was pastor of several churches around him, and continued to labor in the ministry, to a good old age. He was called to his reward, February, 14, 1862, having been a laborious servant of Christ, nearly 60 years.
W. F. Richardson held a conspicuous position in Cumberland River Association, during a period of nearly thirty years. He was born in Pulaski County, Ky., in 1818. He united with Rock Lick church, in 1837, and was there ordained to the ministry, in 1845. He was pastor of several churches, at different
periods. From 1854 to 1860, he served the Association as Clerk, and was subsequently Moderator of the body, two or three years. He was a good, earnest preacher, a man of excellent practical judgment, and did much to encourage missions and Sunday-schools, within the bounds of his Association. He was called to give an account of his stewardship, about 1875.
William Graves of Flat Lick church, if not the oldest, is one of the oldest of the living ministers of Cumberland River Association. He is believed to be a native of Pulaski county, and is now not far from four-score years of age. His preaching gifts are not of a high order; but he is of a warm, zealous temperament, and of a tender pathetic address, and has been a very successfullaborer in the missionary field. He was employed by the General Association, some years, and did good service as a mountain missionary.
John O. Sutherland was among the ablest and most useful preachers in the upper Cumberland valley, in his generation. He was born in Russell Co., Ky., Oct. 1812. At about the age of 21 years, he obtained hope in Christ, and united with the Baptists. Some three years later, he was put into the ministry, after which he devoted himself to his holy calling with much zeal, about 47 years. His field of labor embraced Lincoln, Pulaski, Russell, Wayne, Knox, and other counties. Flat Lick, Mt. Salem, Somerset and other prominent churches in his field enjoyed his pastoral labors. For some years, he was missionary of the General Association, and did a valuable work in the counties named above. While performing this labor, he came in contact with the opposers of Baptist principles, and was engaged in several public debates, in which he evinced good ability. But his chief work was in leading sinners to Christ, and, in this, he enjoyed a good degree of success. He was a clear, sound gospel preacher, and an eloquent speaker. After faithfully serving his generation, he died of consumption, at his home near Somerset, Aug., 19, 1883. ___________________ Licking Association
So much has been said in the general history and in that of
Elkhorn Association, concerning the origin of this fraternity, that it is unnecessary to repeat the details here. It originated purely in a personal difficulty, which occurred in Town Fork church, between Jacob Creath, Sr., and Thomas Lewis, concerning the exchange of a couple of slaves. Other churches being called on to aid in adjusting the difficulty, became involved in the strife. It continued to spread its baleful influences among the churches, and new issues were dragged into it, until it finally got into Elkhorn Association. The decisions of this body only aggravated the trouble; and, in 1809, several of the churches refused to represent themselves in the Association. During the ensuing year, a number of ministers sent a circular letter to the disaffected churches, aggravating the discontent, and inviting them to send messengers to Bryants, in Fayette county, on the second Saturday in August, 1810, the same day on which Elkhorn Association had appointed to meet at Clear Creek, in Woodford county. The faction at Bryants organized under the style of Elkhorn Association; but, before the meeting closed, changed the name to Licking Association. The churches represented in the meeting were Tates Creek, Bryants, Dry Run, East Hickman, Brush Fork, Raven Creek, Stony Point, Flat Lick, Elk Lick, Mill Creek and Rock Bridge. These 11 churches aggregated 764 members. The ministers who entered into the organization were Ambrose Dudley, John Price, Joseph Redding, John Barnett, Lewis Corban, Richard Thomas, John Conner, and Bartlett Bennett. A committee was sent from Elkhorn Association, while both bodies were yet in session, to endeavor to effect a reconciliation; but the effort proved abortive.
The new fraternity held its first anniversary at Stony Point, in Bourbon county, in 1811. Ambrose Dudley was re-elected Moderator, which position he filled continuously till his death, in 1825. John Price was re-elected Clerk. The following additional churches were enrolled: Boones Creek, 2d Town Fork. Mt. Carmel, Little Huston and Forks of Silas. The Association now numbered 16 churches, with 802 members.
From this period, till 1820, Licking Association, apart from its irreconcilable quarrel with Elkhorn, did not differ, in doctrine or polity, from the surrounding fraternities. Nor did it complain, even of Elkhorn, as respected its doctrine. It kept up a regular correspondence with the neighboring associations, and appeared
to be in entire harmony with the Baptists in the State. The subject of foreign missions was brought before it, first, in 1814, and was disposed of as follows: "Letter from Rev. Luther Rice respecting missionary business, called for and read. Agreed to send Brother Rice a friendly letter, and remit to him the money for the pamphlets that he sent us; but that we do not join in the missionary business in its present form." The next year, it was agreed, "that this association present to Elder Rice their thanks, and, through him, to their respected brothers of the Board of Foreign Missions, for their attention to us, and that we will cheerfully send them a copy of our minutes annually, and hope that God in his providence will open a door for the entrance of the gospel among the heathen of our own country, when we trust we shall be willing to attend to the business as may then appear best to us."
In 1818, the Association agreed to correspond with Long Run, Franklin, North Bend, Union, and Elkhorn Associations. It was now hoped confidently that Licking Association would be fully gained to the general union of the denomination. But this ardent hope was soon chilled again; for, the very next year, the offer of correspondence on the terms of general union by Tates Creek Association, was rejected. The offer of correspondence by South District Association was also rejected, on suspicion of unsoundness of faith, on the part of that fraternity. Several of the churches had requested that the correspondence with Elkhorn should be dropped. This request, however, was rejected, for the present.
In 1820, Licking Association gave the first positive indications of a departure from the faith and order of the Baptist denomination, in Kentucky. Its first act of that year, is recorded in the following words: "From Elkhorn Association a letter was received by their messengers, E. Waller, J. Sims and E. Mason; the same being read, on motion, agreed that it be laid on the table, and the correspondence dropped, seeing that the original difficulties remain untouched by that Association, and that new ones have arisen respecting doctrines." This Association had now been in existence ten years. Its churches mingled with those of Elkhorn, occupying the same territory, and, in several cases, the same houses. This was the first complaint it had made "respecting the doctrines" of its rival, and even
now, no obnoxious doctrine was specified. The reader of the records must remain in ignorance of the heresies complained of, or find them out from some other source, if indeed, that is possible. The same year, a circular letter from the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions was laid on the table, which was equivalent to withdrawing correspondence from that organization. John Taylor's pamphlet, titled Thoughts on Missions, a bitter denunciation against benevolent institutions, was brought to the notice of the Association. Whereupon the body "agree to receive it, and recommend to our brethren the perusal of it." And, to crown the fanaticism of that memorable session, the following transaction was recorded on its minutes: "Remarks contained in the letter from Dry Run taken up; "and, on motion, agreed that we, as an Association, adopt the name of Particular Baptists, for the sole purpose of expressing, by our name, our holding the doctrines of particular atonement, personal election &c." The name, Particular Baptists, was, at that time, applied to no other Baptist organization on the American continent. Nor is it known to the author that any religious body has since adopted it, except such churches as have done so with a view to gaining admission into this particular fraternity. Two years later, the Association declared that it was not in the general union.
Through the mediation of Long Run and Franklin Associations, a conference was held at Town Fork, in May, 1826, by messengers from Long Run, Franklin, Elkhorn and Licking Associations, for the purpose of effecting a reconciliation, and a renewal of correspondence between the two last named fraternities. The purpose was so far accomplished, that the correspondence between Licking and Elkhorn, which had been suspended six years, was renewed the following autumn. For about nine years from this period, the correspondence between Licking and the neighboring Associations continued without interruption, and the former enjoyed a moderate degree of prosperity. But in reading its records, we are reminded of the ancient Pagan proverb: "Whom the gods intend to destroy, they first make mad." This apparently doomed Association appears to have become vain and arrogant in a proportion greater than that of its prosperity.
In 1830, while the surrounding fraternities were being rent
by the Cambellite schism, Licking Association seems to take pleasure in contrasting its harmony and serenity with the turbulence and distress of its sisters. In its circular letter of that year, it says: "It is a matter of pleasing astonishment that schisms and divisions, prevailing so extensively in the Baptist ranks, have been kept from us, and that we are permitted to enjoy uninterrupted harmony." At this period, Andrew Fuller was a popular expositor, with the Baptists of Kentucky, and his system of theology, especially with reference to the extent of the atonement, was preferred to that of John Gill, which had been more generally received, at an earlier period. To this "departure," Licking Association attributed the present trouble, among her neighboring associations, and very freely expressed her opinion, as to the comparative merits of the respective systems of doctrine, advocated by Andrew Fuller and John Glass. Identifying Mr. Glass' system (which had been popularized by Robert Sandeman, and hence was called Sandemanianism), with Campbellism, she expressed herself thus: "We have as much fellowship for John Glass' system as for Mr. Fuller's."
The Association still continued to increase slowly, in numbers, till 1834, when it reached a membership of 32 churches, aggregating 1,483 members. These are the largest numbers it has ever attained. It had been made sufficiently manifest, by the transactions of 1820, that the body was opposed to missions. But now the more radical of the churches began to clamor for a direct expression on the subject. Accordingly, the Association, in 1834, recorded its views in the following language: "In answer to the suggestions made in several of the letters from our churches, we declare nonfellowship for missionary, Bible, tract [and] temperance societies, theological and Sabbath schools and Baptist conventions as religious institutions, believing they are without divine warrant."
This resolution, or declaration was the beginning of trouble, with this fraternity. The neighboring associations, and even some of her own churches, had tolerated her arrogance and anti-missionary proclivities, with the hope of regaining her to the general union, when better counsel should prevail. As early as 1824, the propriety of continuing correspondence with her was questioned in Long Run Association. But the latter body, after discussing the subject, came to the conclusion: "That it
is expedient and proper still to continue our correspondence with both [Elkhorn and Licking], and still to pursue the course originally devised, with the hope of ultimately accomplishing our object." Doubtless other associations continued their correspondence for the same purpose. But now the Baptists of the State had become convinced that some plan for systematic co-operation was necessary to their prosperity. To carry out this conviction, the Kentucky Baptist State Convention had been organized, and a number of auxiliary associations had been formed to co-operate in its designs. But now Licking Association boldly declared non-fellowship with the very means that her corresponding fraternities had adopted to advance the Kingdom of Christ. This was intolerable, and longer forbearance could not be expected. Sulphur Fork Association declined further correspondence, immediately; Elkhorn and Long Run withdrew correspondence, in 1837, and Baptist Association, in 1838. Within the next three years, the former relation of Licking Association to the Baptist denomination in Kentucky, had entirely changed: so that she corresponded only with three small, new associations of Antinomian and Antimissionary Baptists, viz: Tates Creek, Salem, and Mt. Pleasant.
From the period of its declared opposition to missionary societies and other benevolent institutions, and its consequent severance from the general union of the Baptists in the State, this fraternity was, for a number of years, almost continuously embarrassed by internal dissensions. The church at Dry Run withdrew from the Association the same year that she declared non-fellowship for missionary societies. In 1837, East Hickman and Richland Creek withdrew; and, in 1839, Mill Creek, Poplar Grove, White Oak Run, North Fork and Licking Locust were dropped from the Association, for failing, two successive years, to represent themselves. The Association, never amiable in its deportment toward its rivals, or opposers, became more bitter in its sarcasm, in proportion to the increase of its domestic dissensions. In 1843, in answer to some observations in the minutes of Elkhorn Association, to the effect that Ambrose Dudley, Joseph Redding and John Price were favorable to missions, Licking Association uses the following expressions: ďSome are curious to know why Elkhorn Association has not introduced Peter, James, John, the Master, or some other inspired witness
to sustain her missionary operations, instead of Ambrose Dudley, Joseph Redding, John Price and others. A solution of this question is not difficult. Ö They had weight of character, of which, it would seem, that Association considers herself exceedingly deficient." Again, on the same page "Are we to understand Elkhorn as having raised her banner with this inscription: GOD & Co., Laboring for the salvation of an apostate world."
In 1845, Thomas P. Dudley was appointed to write the circular letter for the ensuing year. He wrote on the subject of the "Christian Warfare, including the Eternal Spiritual Oneness of Christ and the church." Showing the paper tosome of the brethren, it was privately discussed, before the Association was organized. Learning that some objection would be made to the letter, Mr. Dudley declined presenting it, and it was not published, for the time. But its contents were discussed among the brethren, and, as Mr. Dudley averred, its teachings were misrepresented. In order to correct the erroneous impressions, made on the public mind, Mr. Dudley, in 1849, printed and circulated a thousand copies of the letter, in pamphlet form. The style of the treatise is labored and obscure, but the substance of the doctrine contained in it was understood to be as follows:
1. God created two distinct families of men. The first was created in Adam, and was denominated the natural man. As the great oak, with its innumerable branches, leaves and acorns, was contained in the acorn from whence it sprang: so the whole human family, comprising the countless millions of all its generations, was contained in Adam, at his creation.
2. The other family was created in, and simultaneously with Jesus Christ, and was called the spiritual man. As every soul of the natural family was comprised in Adam: so every member of the spiritual family was embraced in Jesus Christ, at his creation.
3. What men call a multiplication of these families, is only a development, or manifestation, to human perception, of what God created instantaneously, in the beginning.
4. The nature of each of these families, is uniform and unchangeable. That of the natural man is wholly corrupt, and remains so perpetually, in every member of that family: That of the spiritual man is wholly pure, and can never be, in any degree, corrupted or tarnished.
5. A christian is a compound being, composed of one natural
man and one spiritual man, mysteriously combined by the power of the Holy Spirit, while the original nature of each remains unchanged, and unchangeable.
6. The christian's warfare consists in a life-long struggle between the two men of which he is composed, often called, in the sacred Scriptures, the "old man" and the "new man." In the end, the spiritual man triumphs over, and utterly destroys his antagonist, and then returns to God, who sent him to be developed in this warfare.
This teaching was popularly called the "Two-Souls doctrine," and was regarded heretical by some of the churches and all the correspondents of Licking Association. Such was the influence of Mr. Dudley, however, that a majority of the churches acquiesced in his interpretation of his pamphlet. But much disturbance followed its publication. Salem Association ofPredestinarian Baptists withheld correspondence from Licking, in 1850. Foreseeing the storm that was gathering, James Dudley, a brother to the author of the "Christian Warfare," sent a circular to all the churches in Licking Association, inviting them to send messengers to meet at Bryants, in March, 1850, for the purpose of endeavoring to allay the confusion. Most of the churches responded to the call. But Friendship and Stony Point issued a joint manifesto, denouncing the teaching of Mr. Dudley's pamphlet, and declaring non-fellowship for three churches which had received it, and for all who believed as they did. This resulted in a speedy division of the Association. Friendship, Stony Point, Twin Creek, Williamsburg, Rays Fork, and Fork Lick churches withdrew, and constituted a new fraternity, under the style of "Twin Creek Old Regular Baptist Association." This occurred, in 1850. The next year, all the Associations in Kentucky withheld correspondence from Licking. The body still exchanged minutes with two or three distant fraternities, but, in 1853, even this shadow of a correspondence was dropped. But Mr. Dudley, who has been the leading spirit of the Association, for more than fifty years, was a man of great energy and excellent address, and, by visiting the various Associations, preaching among them, and conciliating them, wisely and prudently, he succeeded in re-establishing correspondence with most of those fraternities from which his Association had become alienated.
Since 1855, the body has generally enjoyed peace and harmony. But it has, since 1834, when it declared non-fellowship with all benevolent enterprises of the day, continued to decline in numbers and influence. From a membership of 32 churches, with 1,483 members, in 1834, it had fallen to 15 churches, with 438 members, in 1878. At least 50 churches, located in about 20 counties, embracing almost the entire Blue Grass region of the State, have had membership in this Association, and it is believed that no one of them has been peacefully dismissed to join any other fraternity. Mr. Dudley gives the names of twelve which have been dissolved, and nine that have withdrawn. As the body numbers only 15 chruches now, 14 churches are unaccounted for by Mr. Dudley. The body had, in 1878, preserved its records complete. It had met every year, at the appointed time. It failed, however, to transact any business, in 1862. During the first 68 years of its existence, its churches reported an aggregate of 1,977 baptisms.
In the early years of its history, this body was blessed with an able and efficient corps of ministers. Of most of these, some account has been given in the preceding pages.
Thomas Parker Dudley has been by far the most distinguished and influential minister in Licking Association, since the departure of the fathers. He was one of the family of eleven sons and three daughters, children of the famous pioneer preacher, Ambrose Dudley, and was born in Fayette Co., Ky., May 31, 1792. He was educated in the private schools of his native county, and, at the age of 16, was employed as clerk in a store at Frankfort. He remained in that position about four years, when, in the fall of 1812, he enlisted in the War with Great Britain. In the North-western Army, he was appointed commissary. At the battle of the River Rasin, he was wounded, and taken prisoner by the Indians. The ball, which entered his shoulder, was extracted, in 1820, having remained in his body five years after the War closed. After being exchanged, he was appointed Quarter Master of the detachments sent to reinforce Gen. Jackson at New Orleans, and was in the battle at that place, Jan. 8, 1815.
On his return from the War, he was appointed Quarter-Master General for the State of Kentucky, and filled the position two years, resigning, in 1817. Meanwhile, he had been elected
cashier of a branch of the Bank of Kentucky, located at Winchester. He occupied this position, about eight years, and was afterwards engaged, about seven years, in winding up the business of five branches of that Bank, after they had been discontinued.
Mr. Dudley united with the church at Bryants Station, in Fayette county, of which his father was pastor, in March, 1820. He was licensed to exercise his gift, in 1822, and, on the 3rd Saturday in June, 1823, was ordained to the ministry, by Ambrose Dudley, John Shackleford and Henry Toler. He was immediately associated with his father in the pastoral office, and, on the death of the latter, was chosen pastor of the church at Bryants Station, in February, 1825. He preached for this church more than 55 years, and, although too old and feeble to labor in the ministry, he is still its nominal pastor. He served the church at Elizabeth, in Bourbon county, 53 years; that at Mt. Carmel, in Clark county, 46 years; and the church at Georgetown, in Scott county, 44 years. It was not for want of preaching ability, in Mr. Dudley, that all the churches he served, and the Association over which he presided as Moderator, 45 years, with almost unbounded influence, dwindled to insignificance, under his administration, but on account of his system of teaching, which prohibited all efforts to bring sinners to Christ.
He has been a man of superior natural ability, and of great firmness, courage, and energy. He appears to have been born for a leader; and it is certain that few preachers in Kentucky, have exercised so great an influence, as he exerted over the entire Association, in which he was by far the ablest preacher, for a period of fifty years. He has been, during a very long life, not only a man of eminent respectability and unimpeachable integrity, but also, since his conversion, of undoubted piety, and devotion to what he deemed the cause of truth. However he may have been led, by the circumstances surrounding him in early life, and the natural bent of a massive, but undisciplined intellect, to adopt an erratic system of theology, which may have tended to evil rather than good, he deserves to be held in respect. He is still living, and, although in his 94th year (June, 1885), he retains the use of his mental powers in a remarkable degree.
Morris Lassing was raised up to the ministry within the
bounds of Licking Association. He was born in Bavaria, Germany, Aug. 3, 1800. He was liberally educated by Catholic parents. But after coming to mature years, he became a freethinker, or a disbeliever in revealed religion. In 1824, he emigrated to the United States, and shortly afterwards settled in Boone Co., Ky. In 1843, he was awakened from his delusive dream of infidelity, and, after seeking and finding peace in the Savior, was baptized by William Hume, in August of that year. He possessed an extensive stock of knowledge, and gave his church satisfactory evidence of his call to the ministry. Accordingly, he was ordained to that sacred office, April, 29, 1854. He immediately assumed the pastoral care of Sardis church, in Boone county, and continued to serve in that position, during the remainder of his earthly life. He also traveled considerably, and preached to the churches of his order, in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. He was afflicted with disease of the heart, some time before his death, and died of that malady, Jan., 9, 1867.
John Conner was one of the early preachers of Licking Association. He probably began his ministry in Virginia, whence he moved to Kentucky, and settled in Harrison county, not far from 1811. He gave his membership to Mill Creek church of which he remained a member, and probably the pastor, the remainder of his days on earth. He preached the introductory sermon before the Association, in 1812, and appears to have been well esteemed by that body. He died, at a good old age, Sept. 26, 1824.
Samuel Jones was raised up to the ministry in Licking Association. He was licensed to preach at Bald Eagle, in Bath county, about 1825. In this church he held his membership, and preached the gospel, about fifty years. He was a moderate preacher, but was regarded a good man, and was esteemed by his brethren, and doubtless, by the community in which he so long preached the gospel. He died, about 1875.
John F. Johnson, who began his ministry in Warwick Association, in New York, preached in Licking Association the latter years of his life. He was a preacher and writer of respectable ability. In the absence of T. P. Dudley, he was chosen Moderator of the Association, in 1868. He lived at Lawrenceburg a number of years, but, after his second marriage, moved to Shelby county, where he spent his last days. He was pastor
of Bethel, Salt River and some other churches, and ministered to them with satisfactory ability. But his manner was so rough, and he dealt so freely in sarcasm and caricature, that it is feared his preaching did more harm than good. He died, at a good old age, not far from 1879.
John Theobald is regarded one of the best preachers in the Association, at present. He was raised up to the ministry at Long Ridge church, in Owen county, where he still resides. He began to preach, about 1843, and has maintained an excellent moral and religious reputation. He is an unassuming man and is said to exhibit the spirit of the Master in his preaching. *
* He has recently fallen asleep.
Gasper River Association
This organization resulted from a division of the territory of the old Green River fraternity. Although a division had been effected, in 1804, by which Russell's Creek and Stockton's Valley Associations had been set off from Green River, the mother fraternity had again become inconveniently large; partly from the addition of the churches which had composed Union Association, and partly by means of an extensive revival which prevailed in that region, in 1810 and the two years following. This second division of Green River Association was made during its meeting at Dripping Spring, in what is now Metcalf county, in July, 1812. The dividing line ran nearly north and south, through the central part of what is now Allen county. The churches west of this line, 16 in number, together with a new church, called Midway, met, by their messengers, at Providence church in Warren county, Sept. 26, 1812; and, after electing Edward Turner Moderator, and Thomas Downs, clerk, the Association, now to be considered, was formed, and took its name from a small stream which flows through its territory. The churches of which it was constituted were Bays Fork, Union, Ivy, Smith's Grove, Mt. Zion, and Providence, in Warren county; Trammels Fork, Middle Fork and Sulphur Spring, in Allen; Center, in Logan; Hazle Creek, in Muhlenburg; Sandy Creek
and Midway, in Butler; Beaver Dam, in Ohio; Lick Fork, in Simpson; Salem, in Barren, and Lick Creek, the location of which is unknown.
Of these churches, Union, constituted in 1796, was the oldest. It was located near the south-east corner of Warren county. In 1820, it went into the constitution of Drakes Creek Association, and was finally dissolved. Hazle Creek was the next oldest. It was constituted, Dec. 3, 1797, and still remains a member of Gasper River Association. Beaver Dam was constituted, March 5, 1798. It is located about four miles south of Hartford, in Ohio county. In 1866, it took a letter and united with Daviess County Association, of which it is still a member. Sulphur Spring, located in the south-west corner of Allen county, was constituted in 1798. It went into the constitution of Drakes Creek Association, of which it is still a member. Bays Fork, located some four or five miles south-east of Bowling-green, was one of the early churches of Green River Association, but the time of its organization is unknown. It entered into the constitution of Drakes Creek Association, in 1820. About 1825, it divided about its first and only pastor, Samuel Greathouse. The minority formed Rocky Spring church, which now belongs to Bays Fork Association. The majority adhered to its disorderly pastor, was dropped from Drakes Creek Association, and, after a few years, was dissolved. Trammels Fork is located some five or six miles west of Scottsville. It was constituted in 1807, and became a member of Green River Association. Afterwards, it went into the constitution of Gasper River, and later, into that of Drakes Creek Association. In 1839, it split on the question of missions. The Association recognized the minority as the legitimate church. The majority entered into the organization of what is now Bays Fork Association, of which it is still a member. Lick Fork is, if not the oldest church in Simpson county, at least one of the oldest. The date of its constitution is unknown. After going from Green River Association into the constitution of Gasper River, it, in turn, entered into the constitution of Drakes Creek Association of which it is still a member. Middle Fork was constituted in 1808. It also went into the constitution of Drakes Creek Association, and still remains a member of that body. Salem, located in Barren county, three or four miles east of Cave City, was constituted in 1804,
and united with Green River Association. After entering into the constitution of Gasper River, in 1812, and that of Drakes Creek, in 1820, it returned to Green River about 1822. When Green River Association divided on the question of missions, in 1840, it entered with seven other churches, into the constitution of Liberty Association, of which it remains a member to the present. Lick Creek was, according to Benedict, constituted in 1809, and united with Green River Association. In 1812, it entered into the constitution of Gasper River of which it remained a member five years. In 1816, it was reduced to 19 members, and is supposed to have been dissolved soon afterwards. Its location is unknown. Its messengers were Joseph, Ab., and James Taylor, G. Harlan and Wm. Beasley. It was constituted in 1812, joined Green River and entered into the constitution of Gasper River, the same year. In 1820, it went into the constitution of Drakes Creek, and, in 1823, returned to Green River Association, of which it is still a member. Smiths Grove, located in a small village of the same name, on the Louisville and Nashville R. R., in the northern part of Warren county, was constituted in 1812, joined Green River and entered into the constitution of Gasper River Association, the same year. In 1818, it returned to Green River Association, and is still a member of that fraternity. Mt. Zion was also constituted in 1812, joined Green River and went into the constitution of Gasper River the same year. It entered into the constitution of Drakes Creek Association, in 1820, and is still a member of that body. Center, located about ten miles north-east of Russellville, was constituted of 20 members, by Lewis Moore and Edward Turner, in June,1810. It was identified with Green River Association till 1812, when it entered into the constitution of Gasper River. In the latter fraternity it remained till 1860, since which time it has held membership in Clear Fork Association. Providence, popularly known as Knob church, is located about seven miles west of Bowling-green. It was constituted in September, 1804, by John Hightower and John Martin. It was dismissed from Green River Association and entered into the constitution of Gasper River, in 1812. Of the latter, it remained a member till 1860, when it became identified with Clear Fork, with which it still associates. Sandy Creek, located eight miles south of Morgantown, is supposed to have been the first
church gathered in Butler county. It was constituted of 40 members, by Benjamin Talbot and Lewis Moore, June, 15, 1805. It was connected with Green River Association, in 1812, but entered into the constitution of Gasper River, that year, and continues in that body to the present. Midway was formed in 1805. It was located in Butler county, four miles east of Rochester. What its associational connections were, previous to its entering into the constitution of Gasper River, is unknown. It was known by its original name, till 1837, when it either changed its location and took a new appellation, or disbanded and immediately formed a new constitution, under the style of Point Pleasant. The former was the most common method of procedure, at that period. In 1839, it changed its name to Monticello, by which title it is still known. It is worthy of remark that after a lapse of 70 years, of the 17 churches of which Gasper River Association was constituted 14 still exist, and 13 still retain their original names and locations.
Among the early preachers of this Association, were Samuel Greathouse, John Hightower, Zachary Morris, Edward Turner, Lewis Fortner, Benjamin Talbot, Philip Warden, and Thomas Downs. Some of these were soon dismissed with their churches, to join other associations; but their places were filled by others who either moved within the bounds of the Association, or were raised up among its churches.
The Association being constituted in the usual form messengers were appointed to solicit correspondence with the neighboring fraternities. "Query: Shall members baptized by a minister in disorder, be received as regular members in orderly churches? Ans. We think not." The Articles of Faith, Constitution and Rules of Decorum were ordered to be printed with the minutes.
The first anniversary meeting of the body was held at Bays Fork, in 1813. The introductory sermon was preached by Joseph Taylor. There were represented 21 churches, aggregating 1,334 members. This was the largest aggregate membership, reported by this Association, previous to 1838. Three churches were received, viz: Tanners (now Buck Creek in McLean county,) Bethany, in Warren county, and Nelson Creek (constituted in 1803,) in Muhlenburg county. A day of fasting and prayer was appointed.
This Association appears to have been greatly deficient in enterprise, and sadly wanting in ministerial efficiency. However we may revere the fathers of the fraternity for their sincere and devout piety, we cannot avoid the conclusion, that with few exceptions, they were weak and inefficient. The Association, while increasing in the number of its churches, decreased in its aggregate membership. In 1817, it numbered 24 churches, with only 1,099 members. During the session of this year, it agreed to correspond with the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions; but the correspondence was dropped, in 1820. In 1818, a motion to correspond with the Kentucky Baptist Mission Society prevailed; but before the session closed, the motion was reconsidered, and the correspondence rejected. Three churches were dismissed: Smiths Grove, to join Green River, and Tanners and Panther Creek, to go into the constitution of Goshen Association. In 1820, it was deemed expedient to divide the territory of the Association, which was done by a line running from Russellville to Bowlinggreen, and thence, to Honaker's Ferry, on Green River. The churches south of that line, thirteen in number, were organized, under the style of Drakes Creek Association.
Gasper River Association was now (1821) reduced to 11 churches, with 693 members. For the next five years, there was a slow increase in the aggregate membership. In 1827, "the Campbellite revival" reached this region, and about 350 members were added to the churches. This brought the Association up to 14 churches, with 1,255 members. The next year, it was resolved to have union meetings at certain of the churches, for the purpose of having more preaching to the people. These meetings, which were attended by the best preachers that could be procured, drew large crowds, and were doubtless instrumental in accomplishing much good. But the confusion, consequent upon the introduction of Campbellism, began to pervade the churches, and they began to wither. Within five years from the time of this revival, the Association lost nearly half its numerical strength. In 1832, it was reduced to 12 churches, with only 684 members. This reduction was due, in part, at least, to the severance of the Campbellites from the churches. This was effected by the following advice of the Association, printed in the minutes of 1831:
"Dear Brethren: As your advisory council, we recommend
to your consideration the propriety of shutting your doors against the doctrine taught by A. Campbell, or his followers viz:
"First: Such as deny the agency of the Holy Spirit, in quickening dead sinners, only by or through the word. "Second: Such as make baptism (in water the new birth.) "Third: Such as are trying to put down all creeds. "Fourth: Such as make the divinity of Christ anything less than God. In 1833, another revival occurred, which added nearly 300 members to the churches. Meanwhile there began to be a manifest improvement in the spirit of the Association. David L. Mansfield had become an able minister, and was a leading spirit in the body. The frequent visits of William Warder, John. S. Wilson, D. J. Kelley, Reuben Cottrel and others, diffused much light in the Association, and greatly inspired the zeal of the younger ministers of the fraternity. The correspondence hitherto maintained with Red River, Highland and Drakes Creek Associations, had been discontinued, and the blighting influence of those Anti-missionary fraternities, being no longer felt in the council of Gasper River, the spirit of missions began to pervade the body. In 1834, it resolved to aid the Kentucky Baptist State Convention; and, at the same session, agreed to raise means to support one or more men to preach among the destitute within its own bounds. In 1835, protracted meetings were recommended, instead of union meetings; and appointments were made for such gatherings at Hazle Creek and Beaver Dam. The next year, protracted meetings were appointed to be held at Waltons Creek, Stony Point, and Cave Spring. Five preachers were appointed to attend at each of the first two, and four at the last. In 1837, appointments were made for three protracted meetings. This year, as at the preceding session, the attention of the churches was called to the work of the American and Foreign Bible Society. The result was the formation of the Gasper River Bible Society, on the following Christmas day.
For a time, the protracted meetings, which were now new to the people, and opposed by most of the old preachers and church members, appeared to be unfruitful. But the young preachers, and specially Alfred Taylor, persisted in what they deemed this good work, and finally began to reap the fruits of their faithful sowing. The first successful protracted meeting,
held in the lower Green River country, was conducted by Alfred Taylor, at Waltons Creek, in Ohio county, in December, 1837. Of this meeting, the biographer of Mr. Taylor says, in substance
"Many were openly against the meeting. Others would shake their hoary locks, doubting what all this might lead to. But the youthful pastor continued preaching, day and night, until opposition gave away. The revival swept over the whole country for miles in every direction, All classes were reached. Christians were overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God, while old and young, parents and children, youths and maidens, sought and found Christ a precious Savior. Men professed religion everywhere. The like had never been seen by the people; but all felt and acknowledged the power to be of God, and not of man. During the meeting, which continued just two weeks,and within a few months afterwards, 146 were received into this church, by baptism. In one day, during this meeting, 84 persons united with the church. The news of the great revival was upon all lips, and a desire was awakened in many churches, for a meeting of days."
In addition to that at Waltons Creek, Mr. Taylor held meetings, during that winter and the following spring, at Pond Run, Sandy Creek, Little Bend, Green River, and Beaver Dam churches, and at the Duncan House, near the present location of Nelsons Creek Station, and Stum's tobacco house, where Paradise has since been built. All these meetings were eminently successful. The results of Mr. Taylorís labors induced other ministers and churches to hold protracted meetings, and a most glorious revival pervaded the churches of the Association, during this and the year following. At the meeting of the Association, in 1838, the churches reported 591 baptisms. This revival increased the numerical strength of the fraternity, within a single year, from 15 churches, with 875 members, to 17 churches, with 1,498 members. The revival continued till 1843, when the body comprised 24 churches, with 2,031 members.
From this period the Association has been generally prosperous, and has approved, and contributed to the benevolent enterprises, fostered by the denomination, in the State. It has also sustained missionaries in the destitute portions of its own territory. Notwithstanding it has dismissed a number of churches,
from time to time, to enter into the several new fraternities that have sprung up on its borders, it has continued to increase in numbers and efficiency. Its loss during the War was comparatively small, and, since 1864, its growth has been quite rapid. In 1881, it numbered 29 churches, aggregating 3,071 members. Elder F. M. Welborn has published a pamphlet, titled, Gasper River Associational Record, which contains much valuable information concerning this old fraternity and its early correspondents. But he has unfortunately failed to give the numbers baptized into its churches, from year to year.
Among the early ministers of this fraternity, the most distinguished and efficient were Benjamin Talbot, John Hightower and Philip Warden. During a later period, Alfred Taylor, D. L. Mansfield and John B. Dunn were eminent for their abilities and usefulness. During the present generation, it has been blessed with a ministry unsurpassed in efficiency by that of any similar fraternity in the State.
John B. Dunn, was a prominent and useful preacher in Gasper River Association. It is believed that he was a native of Logan county, and was brought up amid its deep forests, at a period when the children of the poor settlers had no opportunities to procure more than the elements of a commonEnglish education. At an early age he obtained hope in Christ, and united with Center church, then under the pastoral care of William Tatum. Here he was set apart to the ministry, not far from 1833. About this time, he moved his membership to Stony Point, having been called to succeed that eminent old servant of Christ, Philip Warden, in the pastoral care of that church. He served this congregation eight years, with moderate success. In 1835, he accepted a call to Hazle Creek church, where he became the immediate successor of the famous pioneer, Benjamin Talbot. Here his labors were greatly blessed. In 1838, a revival prevailed, and the church was increased from 59, to 182 members. He preached to this church seven years. At the last named date, he became pastor of Nelson Creek church in Muhlenburg county. He served this church one year, during which about 10 were added to its membership. In 1837, he succeeded William Tatum in the pastoral charge of Mt. Pleasant church, and ministered to it nineteen years. The body numbered 56 members when he took charge of it, and
172, when he left it. His membership was at this church, during most of the time he served it as pastor. In December, 1839, Mt. Carmel church, in Muhlenburg county, was constituted, and Mr. Dunn was immediately called to its pastoral charge. During the six years he served in this position, the church grew from 14, to 46 members. He was pastor of Clear Fork church, in Warren county, and perhaps others not named above. In 1857, he resigned all his charges, and moved to the West, since which, no account of him has been received.
In person, Mr. Dunn was tall, of a rather spare build, and of a grave, dignified demeanor. His appearance in the pulpit was admirable, and the manner of his address was solemn and impressive. On his resignation, the church at Mt. Pleasant properly recommended him as "a man of true christian character and logical mind."
Gray B. Dunn, a brother of the above, was born Sept. 1, 1804. At about the age of fifteen, he was converted, and united with Center church. He was something near thirty years of age when he entered the ministry. His preaching gifts were moderate, and he did not devote as much of his time to the ministry as did his more gifted brother. But he was a man of an enlightened public spirit and active energy. He was a zealous promoter of education. With the assistance of Mr. John Marrs, he established a school of academic grades, at Moats Lick, which was the first of the kind in the region of country lying north of Russellville, and known as the "Coon Range." He was also a constant advocate of total abstinence, and did much to reform the illiterate population that surrounded him in early life. In 1837, he succeeded William Tatum as pastor of Center church, and served that congregation five years. In 1851, he went into the constitution of Moats Lick church, in Logan county, and, in 1858, became its pastor. He was also pastor of Edgars Creek, Union and Hebron churches. He died suddenly, at the house of his daughter, Mrs. Rebecca Vick, where he had stopped to rest, on his way home from Sundayschool, in the village of Homer, in Logan county, March, 4, 1883. He had taken an active part in the exercises of the Sunday-school, and appeared deeply interested. He was exceedingly triumphant in his dying hour, and passed to his reward without a groan or a struggle.
Daniel Barham was one of the early preachers in the northern part of Logan county. He was probably instrumental in gathering old Stony Point church, of which he was one of the original members. This church was constituted, April 24, 1813, and was, at first, called Mt. Moriah. Mr. Barham appears to have served the church as pastor, from its constitution, till 1820, when he was succeeded by Philip Warden, who had been ordained to the ministry by that church, in 1815. Mr. Barham appears to have been an obscure man, of whom little is now known. He remained a member of Stony Point church till 1827, when he was dismissed by letter. To what point he moved does not appear.
George Render was early a member of Beaver Dam church, in Ohio county, and was both deacon and clerk of that organization, as early as 1812. He was ordained to the ministry, in 1813, at the request of the church at Tanner's Meeting-house, in Ohio county, (now Buck Creek, in McLean). Of this church he became pastor immediately after his ordination, and served it a number of years. He was also pastor of Pond Run church, in 1841, and the year following. He was highly esteemed for consistent piety, rather than for any superior ability. The Master called him to his reward about 1849.
Robert Render, a brother of the above, and also an early member of the same church, was in the constitution of Gasper River Association, and represented his church in that body more than thirty years. In advanced years he was ordained to the ministry, and, although a preacher of inferior ability, was a man of much respectability. It does not appear that he was pastor of any church, but he served as Moderator of the Association, from 1839, till he was succeeded by D. L. Mansfield, in 1846. He died at an advanced age, about 1861.
Joshua Render, still another brother of the above, and long a member of the same church, and, although highly esteemed for his faithfulness to the Master's cause, was, like his brothers, a very moderate preacher. He represented his church in the Association, some fifteen years. He was pastor of Salem church, in Butler county, from its constitution, in 1838, till 1842. The time of his death has not been ascertained.
Simeon Vaught succeeded Thomas Downs, as clerk of Hazle Creek church, in 1814, and filled that position till 1836. He
was a messenger from his church to Gasper River Association, at least twenty-three times. Late in life, the good old brother was ordained to the ministry, and, although possessing small talent, doubtless accomplished some good in the Master's vineyard. He was pastor of Nelson Creek church, a short time, including the year 1837.
David Logan Mansfield, next to Alfred Taylor, was the most prominent and useful preacher in Gasper River Association, in his generation. He was Moderator of that body, from 1846, till the time of his death, and was an active leader in all its benevolent enterprises. His father, Elijah Mansfield, was born in Rockingham Co., Va., June 13, 1775, whence he was brought by his parents to Kentucky, in 1779. When he grew to manhood, he married Susan Pierce, an orphan, raised by Hugh Logan. Her parents and their whole family, except Susan, had been killed by the Indians. Immediately after his marriage, Elijah Mansfield moved to Logan county and settled near where the village of Auburn is now located, about 1796. Here he raised a family of eight sons and three daughters. One of his sons, David L. and one of his grand sons, J. W. C. Mansfield, became Baptist preachers, and his son, Granville, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. The old pioneer lived to the age of 90 years. D. L. Mansfield, the oldest of eight sons, was born, June 18, 1797. Tradition has it, that a piece of bark served him as a cradle, and that the poplar tree from which it was peeled was still standing, at the time of his death. His early education was very limited; but being ambitious to learn, he lost no opportunity, to improve his mind. While a young man, he was engaged as a chain carrier, in surveying the public land in Missouri. While thus engaged, he applied himself so assiduously to studying the art of surveying, that he was soon appointed to a deputyship. On his return to Kentucky, he was married to Elizabeth Barnett, July, 31, 1817, and settled near his birth-place. He was a bold, daring youth, and a great sinner, but possessed a high sense of honor. He was convicted of sin under the preaching of John M. Berry, known at that period, as a Cumberland Presbyterian "circuit rider." He went to meeting with the avowed purpose of staring the preacher out of countenance, and, with that intention, took a position near where Mr. Berry
stood in the door of a private house. The preacher looked the impudent young man steadily in the face, while he solemnly declared the gospel message. Presently the daring sinner began to tremble, his knees smote together, and he walked away. But the arrow of the Almighty stuck fast in him. For about ten days his soul was in agony of remorse. Feeling, at last, that he must perish if he did not obtain relief, he left his house, early on a Sabbath morning, saying he would not eat, drink or sleep till he found the Savior, or died seeking him. About 9 o'clock, he returned to the house, praising God, while his soul overflowed with joy. At first, he was strongly inclined to join the Cumberland Presbyterians. But delaying till he could read the New Testament, he became a decided immersionist.
In August, 1820, he united with Stony Point church in Logan county, and was baptized, probably by Daniel Barham. A month afterwards, he was elected clerk of the church, and the next month asked and obtained leave to exercise a public gift. He soon gave such indications of usefulness, that the church sent him to Robert T. Anderson's Academy, at Glasgow, one year. In November, 1823, he was ordained to the ministry, by William Warder, William Tatum, Philip Warden, and Jacob Bower. About this time, he was called to preach, in connection with Philip Warden, at Providence church, in Warren county. Two years later, he moved within the bounds of Providence, and became sole pastor of that church, to which he ministered the remainder of his earthly life. He was, at different periods, pastor of several other churches, three of which he was serving at the time of his death.
"Mr. Mansfield's preaching gift," says a colaborer, "was considerably above mediocrity, and was diligently employed, when he was not compelled to be in the school room as a means of support." When his soul was fully enlisted for the salvation of sinners, his appeals seemed irresistable. Going, on a certain occasion, to a meeting where he was not known, the preacher who was conducting the services felt that courtesy required him to invite the visiting brother to preach. But seeing that he was young, and supposing he would be awkward and unprofitable, the pastor resolved to put him up first, and to have a more experienced minister to follow him. His brother, Rev. Granville
Mansfield, who was present, related the circumstance, after the following manner:
"He rose up, calm and self-possessed, and read for a text, these words: 'Is it well with thee; is it well with the child; is it well with thy husband.' His solemn appeals, his soul stiring manner, and his conscience-dealing questions, put to the sinner about his spiritual health, soon caused a great excitement. David preached as long as he could be heard. I donít think he called for mourners. They came into the altar, of their own accord, and fell down, crying for mercy, till the space was filled -- two of my older brothers, I believe, among the rest. I do not know that I ever saw a more powerful time. It seemed that heaven and earth were coming together. I could but look for the preacher that was to follow. He had thrown down his books, and was clapping his hands and rejoicing. There was no more preaching that day. Many professed religion during the day and night."
In the fall of 1832, a revival of great power pervaded the churches of which Mr. Mansfield was pastor. This was before protracted meetings came in vogue, and much of the preaching was done in private houses. Mr. Mansfield devoted himself to the work with great zeal. He preached from house to house, day and night: The revival continued a year, and the zealous young preacher baptized about 300 people. To Providence church, 110 souls were added, during theyear. From some of the rude people, the earnest minister met with violent opposition. "At the house of Simeon Shaw," says the venerable O. H. Morrow, "the wife of Sandy Spillman, and two daughters of William Doors, came forward for prayer. The husband and father of these women became enraged, and threatened violence to the person of the preacher, vowing, at the same time, that they would have their women out of the house, if they had to drag them out. Mr. Mansfield replied in a conciliatory manner, that the moon would be up presently, and then they would come out. After some other threats of violence, the men withdrew. Next night, at the house of John Spillman, the outlaws were still more violent in their threats. Knowing that the men were desperadoes, the friends of Mr. Mansfield were alarmed for his safety; and some of them advised him to arm himself, for his defense. He replied: 'The weapons of our warfare are not
carnal,' and added: 'I will pray for them.' The following night, while Mr. Mansfield was hitching his horse, Doors approached him, and began to confess his sins, and to beg him to pray for him and Spillman. On his way to the house, he found Spillman on his knees, praying for mercy. Both of the men, the wife, and the two daughters, were baptized a few days afterwards."
Successful as was this zealons servant of God in winning souls to Christ, he did not neglect other duties of an enlightened minister. He warmly advocated education, Bible distribution and missions. In this work, as in preaching to sinners in the highways and hedges, he met with determined opposition, as the following incident will show: On one occasion he had an appointment to preach at Woodsonville, in Hart county. One of the Antimission preachers had a previous appointment to preach there, at the same hour. When the latter came in, he merely bowed to Mr. Mansfield, and proceeded to harangue the congregation. At the close of his discourse, he said to the people What would become of you all if I were to leave you? You would all go to the dogs, or, what is worse, to the Missionaries. (Pointing directly at Mr. Mansfield, he continued:) There sits one now, who has come to spy out our liberties. Mr. Mansfield had no opportunity to reply.
This eminent servant of God was taken from the scenes of toil and contention, in the vigorous strength of mature manhood. He died of cholera, in the Summer of 1849. Just before his departure, his wife said to him: "Davy, what advice have you to give me?" He replied: "Live near the Lord." He manifested great anxiety for the welfare of his charges, praying "Lord, have mercy on my churches, and send them a pastor who will be more faithful than I have been." His last words were: "In the broad ocean of thy love, I file my plea for mercy, O Lord!" His physician, Dr. R. Curd, said of him: "D. L. Mansfield died more like a christian philosopher than any other man I have ever seen die."
William Childers was raised up to the ministry in old Sandy Creek church in Butler county, and represented that body in Gasper River Association, as early as 1818. He was not ordained to the ministry, however, till 1827, and even then, seemed to develop very slowly. During the revival of 1837, his zeal was
aroused, and the church of which he was a member called him to its pastoral care. To this church he ministered twelve years, with good success. In 1838, he was called to succeed Joseph Taylor, at Point Pleasant, previously known as Midway, and subsequently, as Monticello church, in Butler county. He served this church as pastor, nine years, during which time its membership increased, from 45 to 69. He was also pastor of Salem church, in the same county, for a brief period. He was advanced in years when he entered the ministry, but he did a good work, in a quiet, unostentatious way. He probably entered his rest, about 1848.
Amos Russ was a valuable preacher. He was probably a native of Butler county, and was the intimate associate of Alfred Taylor, in the days of their mutual youth. He was among the first fruits of the great revival of 1837, and was baptized into the fellowship of Sandy Creek church, in November of that year, by his early associate, Alfred Taylor. He was licensed to preach, in March, 1841, and was ordained in September, 1842. He was Clerk of his church, from 1840 till 1848. The year previous to the last named date, he succeeded William Childers as pastor of Monticello church, and served in that capacity one year. Subsequently he served the same church, one year at a time, at three different periods. At Sandy Creek, Rock Spring and Union churches, he served as supply, for brief periods. He was pastor of the last named, from 1860 to 1864. He appears not to have been adapted to the pastoral office. His most valuable labors were those of a missionary, and in this position, he rendered useful service to the Masterís cause. He died suddenly about 1864.
J. H. Felts was one of the best pastors in Gasper River Association. He was born in Logan Co., Dec. 1, 1806. At about the age of 24, he united with Center church, and was set apart to the ministry, some two or three years later. In 1837, he accepted a call to the care of Antioch church, in Todd county, where he continued to serve till 1853. During this period, the church increased from 40 to 76 members. With the exception of the year 1857, he was pastor of Rock Spring church, from 1845, till 1871. This body was also prosperous, and grew up, under his ministry, from 42 to 108 members. He was pastor of Center church, in 1842, and in 1862, but how much of the intervening
period he served that congregation, does not appear. He also served Sandy Creek, Stony Point, and, perhaps, other churches, for longer or shorter periods. He was not what is denominated a brilliant preacher; but he possessed a clear knowledge of Bible doctrine, was steadfast in the faith, and was a good, practical religious teacher. In addition to these qualities, and more valuable than they all, he lived a godly life, and bequeathed to his survivors a spotless christian character. He died of pneumonia, April, 1, 1880.
Lewis Fortner had a share in laying the foundation of the early churches in Gasper River Association. He was in the ministry, and was the preacher in Dan River church, in Patrick county, Virginia, as early as 1790. He moved to Logan county Ky., at an early period, and was probably instrumental in gathering Center church, which was constituted by Lewis Moore and Edward Turner, in 1810, and appears to have been its first pastor. In this capacity he ministered till 1815, after which we have no account of him. He was an old man, and probably finished his course, about that time.
William Tatum was a prominent minister in Gasper River Association, for more than twenty years. He was probably the best writer, in that body, of his day, and his success, and stability in office, prove him to have been a good pastor. He succeeded Benjamin Talbot as Moderator of the Association, in 1830, and served in that capacity, till 1837. Whether he was raised up to the ministry in Center church, in Logan county, or moved from some other field of labor, has not been ascertained; but he was a member of that organization, as early as 1814, and succeeded Lewis Fortner in its pastoral care, in 1816. This church he served, without intermission, twenty-one years. Mt. Pleasant church, in the same county, which he aided in constituting, April 20, 1822, enjoyed his pastoral labors, from 1828, till 1836. He also preached a number of years for Nelson Creek church, in Muhlenburg county. In 1836, he resigned all his charges, and, next year, closed his services in this Association.
Jacob Bower was an humble minister in this body, at an early period. His membership was at old Hazle Creek church, as early as 1815. He afterwards became a member of Antioch church, in Todd county, which he probably gathered in 1819, and of which he was pastor, from its constitution, till he was
succeeded by William Tatum, in 1829. He was also the first pastor of Mt. Pleasant church, in Logan county, which he aided in constituting, April 20, 1822, and of which he also became a member, about 1827. There also, he was succeeded in the pastoral office, by William Tatum, in 1828, He was a short time pastor of Stony Point church, in Logan county, where he was succeeded by Philip Warden, in 1830. This is the last account we have of him. He appears to have been active and useful in the ministry.
Richard H. Miller, a son of Andrew Miller, and an older brother of the well known Dr. A. B. Miller, and Dr. A. J. Miller, was a native of LaRue county, but was carried by his parents to Ohio county where he grew to manhood with but few educational advantages. He was converted in early life, and was baptized into the fellowship of Mt. Zion church, in Ohio county. In this church he was raised up to the ministry, and, in 1856, succeeded his brother, A. B. Miller, inits pastoral charge. He was also pastor at Cool Spring, and, perhaps, of some churches, in Goshen Association. He was a warm, animated preacher, and "labored with great zeal and good success." The Lord was pleased to take him away in the prime of life.
James F. Alstin* is one of the oldest, as well as one of the most distinguished of the living ministers of this Association, and is regarded one of the most eloquent pulpit orators in the Green River country. He was baptized at Beaver Dam, by Alfred Taylor. He was ordained to the ministry, in 1845, and the same year, took pastoral charge of Salem church, in Butler county. He has since been pastor, at different periods, of Beaver Dam, Nelson Creek, Pond Run, Mt. Carmel, Providence and other churches. He was clerk of his Association eight years, and has generally been Moderator, since 1866.
Besides those already named, a number of other distinguished preachers have been raised up to the ministry, in this old fraternity: as J. M. Bennett and K.G. Hay, of Illinois, A. B. Miller D. D. of Evansville, Ind., A. J. Miller D. D. of Henderson county, J. S. Taylor, of Clinton, W. C. Taylor of Mayfield and others.
* Died Oct., 4, 1883, in his 64th year.
__________________ Union Association, No. 2
This small fraternity was constituted in 1813, of the following churches, which had been dismissed from Elkhorn for the purpose the same year: Union, Indian Creek, Beaver Creek, North Fork of Licking and Mouth of Ravens Creek. These five churches aggregated only 216 members, and Isaac Munson appears to have been the only minister who went into the organization. The records of the body have been lost, and very little of its early history can now be known. Three years after its constitution, its churches aggregated 340 members, and, in 1820, it comprised 13 churches with 613 members. In 1827, it enjoyed an extensive revival among its churches. But, in 1830, and for several years after, it was so much depleted by the Campbellite schism, that in 1838, it numbered only 6 churches with an aggregate membership of 197. From this time, it had a steady growth, till 1860, when it numbered 16 churches with 1,089 members. It sustained a small loss during the War, but has since enjoyed a good degree of prosperity. In 1880, it numbered 17 churches with 1,297 members, and, in 1882, it had increased to 18 churches with 1,551 members.
Indian Creek, in Harrison county, is the oldest church in this body. It was constituted in 1790, and united with Elkhorn Association, the same year, to which it reported 8 members, Thomas Hubbard and Wm. Cromwell being its messengers. In 1803, Augustine Eastin led off a party of this church into Unitarianism. The body has never been large. In 1880, it numbered 42 members.
Falmouth, formerly called Forks of Licking, is the next oldest church in the body. It was constituted in 1792, and united with Elkhorn Association the same year. Alexander Monroe is supposed to have been its first pastor, serving it till 1825. B.L. Abernathy served it the next four years, and led off a party of its members with the Campbellites. In 1880, it numbered 163.
Isaac Munson was the first preacher in Union Association. He was probably in the constitution of Indian Creek church,
which he first represented in Elkhorn Association, in 1792, and of which he appears to have been pastor till his death, which occurred in 1852. Of this church he was a member at least 62 years.
John Taylor (not the historian) was early a minister in this Association. He was a member and the pastor of Flower Creek church, in Pendleton county. This church was constituted, about 1798, and dissolved, in 1833. Mr. Taylor was regarded a good man, and was useful among the pioneers of that region.
J. R. Barbee has been one of the most active and useful ministers in Union Association, for a number of years. He was raised up to the ministry, in Mt. Pleasant church, in Jessamine county, which church he represented in Elkhorn Association, from 1845, till 1851. In 1852, he united with Silas church in Bourbon county, where he remained eight years. He then moved within the boundary of Union Association. Of this body, he was Moderator, from 1866, to 1873. He has been pastor of a number of churches, and has performed much missionary labor. He is still actively engaged in the ministry. His son, J. N. Barbee, late of Mt. Olivet, in Robertson county, but now living in Kansas, was one of the most active and useful preachers in that portion of the State.
Of a number of other ministers, in Union Association, no account has been received. ====================
[J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume 2, 1886; reprint 1984, pp. 234-268. jrd]
Go to next section
Go to Spencer History, Volume 1
Return to Kentucky Baptist Church Histories
Return to American Church Histories
Return to HOME Page