Editor's note: S. P. Brady was the Clerk of the Middle Creek Baptist Church and the Associational Clerk for many years. Middle Creek is now known as Belleview Baptist Church and Northbend is now Northern Kentucky Baptist Association. — Jim Duvall
HISTORY OF MIDDLE CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
Boone County, Kentucky
By S. P. Brady, 1874
The church at Middle Creek, Boone county, Kentucky, was constituted on the 12th day of March, 1803, "on the principles of the Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith, as received by the Elkhorn Association," by helps called from the church at Bullittsburg, to-wit: William Cave, Lewis Deweese, John Watts, Forest Webb, John Hall, Chichester Matthews, and Jeremiah Kirtley. Names of those constituted were: Christopher Wilson, William Brady, Uriel Sebree, Jamison Hawkins, William Rogers, Elijah Hogan, Isaac Carlton, Thomas Carter, John Ryle, James Ryle, Lucy Wilson, Hetha Brady, Fannie Sebree, Ruth Hawkins, Sarah Rogers, Lucy Hogan, Nancy Carter, Elizabeth Ryle, Sarah Ryle, Mildred Sebree, Dorcas Carlton, whites; Anthony and Alec, colored persons — whole number 23.
At their first church meeting, April 16, 1803, Moses Scott was received by letter, and on the same day was chosen Clerk of the Church. The second Saturday in each month was agreed upon to attend to the business of the church, to meet at 12 o'clock. Christopher Wilson, Jamison Hawkins and Moses Scott were appointed a committee to draft rules of order for their government, which were adopted at their next meeting.
At their June meeting, William Rogers and James Ryle were set apart by ordination as Deacons of the Church, and on the same day Wilson, Hawkins and Scott were appointed delegates to represent the Church in the contemplated organization of North Bend Association, at Dry Creek, on the 29th of July following. Christopher Wilson was also licensed by the Church and encouraged to preach the Gospel, and shortly afterwards the subject as regards his ordination was taken up and agreed to, but before there was further action taken in the matter he was dismissed by letter and ordained at Bullittsburg.
The subject was taken up and discussed as to the proper plan for raising funds for Church expenses, and decided in favor of "equitable apportionment" on membership, and a committee was appointed to raise a specific amount, to be put in the hands of the Deacons, who were to make a full report at the end of the fiscal year of all that had been received and expended, and also to report those, if any, who are in arrears.
The subject as regards "Elders, whether there was such an office in the Church distinct from preachers of the gospel," was taken up and discussed and decided in the negative.
Up to 1809 the Church had made no regular call for ministers to attend them, but had been supplied by occasional visits and the "gifts" they had among them, and on special occasions, such as their "communion seasons," would invite some ordained minister. But in February of that year they agreed to invite Lewis Deweese, Chichester Matthews and Christopher Wilson, preachers of the gospel at Bullittsburg, to attend them twice a month, as might best suit their convenience, so as to have one of them on the second and fourth Sabbath in each month. In August following Moses Scott resigned as Clerk of the Church, having served nearly six years, and Elijah Hogan was appointed to that office.
The Church up to this time, or to 1811, had gained but little strength as to members, having but twenty five members — only four more than at the date of constitution. But during this year (1811) they experienced a revival of religion, when eighteen were added to the Church by experience and baptism and eight by letter, increasing their number to fifty-two, all of whom have long since gone to the grave.
On the 9th of May, 1812, Robert Garnett and John Watts, who were previously licensed by the Church, were ordained as ministers of the gospel. The former preached to the Church acceptably until June, 1825, when he was dismissed by letter. The latter remained a member but a few years, he not being a very good "peacemaker" in the Church — preached but little. Moses Scott and Jamison Hawkins had also been licensed by the Church and "encouraged to go forward in a public way," but not making that improvement the Church thought necessary were never ordained.
It was a custom in those days, when members of other churches moved into the vicinity, known to hold letters of dismission, if they delayed to offer for membership, to appoint a committee to go in a friendly way to admonish them in regard to their duty.
In 1814 they built their second house of worship — a small frame — having used up to this a log cabin, in which they were constituted, a part of the time, but held their meetings mostly at private houses through the neighborhood.
In October, 1814, William Garnett was appointed Clerk of the Church, in place of Elijah Hogan, [who] resigned.
In 1815 the subject of "Missions" was taken up and discussed, and the Church decided that they were willing to encourage the spread of the gospel.
On the 13th day of June, 1818, Reuben Graves and William Garnett were ordained to the Deaconship, when the latter was released from acting as Clerk, having served about three and a half years, and John Hawkins was appointed to that office.
During the year 1818 the Church experienced a gracious revival of religion among them, and ninety-three members were received by experience and baptism, and ten by letter, making their total membership one hundred and fifty-eight, only five of whom are now living — three of whom are members of this Church — to-wit: Polly Rice and Elizabeth Garnett, who had joined by letter a short time previous, and Frances Yowell, Robert Huey and John P. Scott, who were baptized in the time of the revival. The last two having been dismissed by letter hold their membership, one at Big Bone Church, the other at Burlington.
The Church this year took into consideration the subject as regards "feet washing as an ordinance," and decided that it was not binding, and agreed that every member act agreeably to their own discretion.
In December, 1819, fourteen members were dismissed to constitute a church at East Bend.
In December, 1820, John Hawkins resigned as Clerk of the Church, having served about two and a half years, and John Brady was appointed to the office.
In the latter part of the year 1825 Robert Kirtley, who had been preaching to the Church for some time, and who had preached his first sermon at Middle Creek, was called to the pastorate of the Church, the Church agreeing to compensate him for his services, and that Deacon James Ryle receive the contributions for that purpose.
In 1829 they built their present house of worship, a brick, 34 X 50 feet, a good substantial building but badly arranged.
In January, 1839, James Ryle, who had been a Deacon of the Church, from its organization, a man of quiet spirit and exemplary in his walk, died, have [having] served in that capacity over thirty-five years, and in April following William Huey was ordained to the Deaconship.
After the revival of 1818 passed away, for a period extending to 1839, accessions to the Church were comparatively small, only twenty-nine having been baptized during that time; so that their membership, which was 158 at that time, was now reduced by dismissals, death, &c., to 63. Although the Church, from her earliest history, had been accustomed to set apart one day in the year to be observed as a day of fasting and prayer, they now more than ever felt the need of God's reviving grace; and so feeling, the oft-repeated cry went up, "Lord, revive us," and it was not long until it was apparent that the Lord had a blessing in store for them. The Church wanted preaching more frequent; the pastor preached with more warmth and zeal, and soon sinners began to come forward to tell the gracious dealings of God with them, so that up to September, 1840, 31 had been baptized and received into the fellowship of the Church, only 8 of whom remain members. Of the remainder, a few are living, who are members of other Churches, principally in the West.
From this revival the Church was much encouraged and strengthened, and manifested a desire that the Gospel should be preached to regions beyond their immediate vicinity; and at their February meeting decided to hold meetings once a month or oftener at Burlington, about six miles distant, and to offer an opportunity to any who might wish to become members. This move was in accordance with the feelings of the pastor. They also appointed a committee to visit the Church at Bullittsburg, to get their co-operation, which was agreed to, so far as the preaching was concerned. The result was, that on the 13th day of December, 1842, a Church was constituted at Burlington, with an aggregate of 21 members, who had been dismissed from Middle Creek for that purpose.
There was another important point of destitution to which the attention of the Church was called, which was in the vicinity of Big Bone Springs, eight or ten miles distant. They commenced holding meetings at a school-house, known at that time as "Wallace's school-house." The people turned out to hear the Gospel preached; "an arm of the church was extended;" a sufficient number of the members went with the pastor (Robert Kirtley) to his appointments to sit as a Church to receive members. God so abundantly blessed their labors that on the 25th day of May, 1843, a Church was constituted at that place with an aggregate of 44 members, dismissed from Middle Creek, taking the name of "Big Bone [Baptist] Church," and which is one of the most prosperous churches in North Bend Association.
During this revival of from August, 1842, to 1843, one hundred and thirty-one were received by experience and baptism of whom nine only are members at this time. After deducting those who were dismissed for constitution and by letter, left the total membership at that time one hundred and seventy. Charles S. Carter, George H. Scott and Perryander C. Scott, who were afterwards ordained to the Gospel ministry, were some of the fruits of the revival.
In April, 1843, John Brady resigned as Clerk of the Church, having serving in that capacity a little over 22 years and S. P. Brady was appointed to that office, and has served the Church up to the writing of this article — a period of over 31 years.
On the 27th day of January, 1848, William Garnett, a Deacon of the Church, who had served acceptably in that capacity since 1818 -- a period of 36 years -- departed this life. His loss was greatly felt, as he had been an active member, a good disciplinarian, ever ready to co-operate with the Pastor in his labors to promote the interests of Christ's kingdom.
In April following David M. Scott was set apart by ordination to the office of Deacon. In 1849 sixteen [were] received by experience and baptism.
On the second Saturday in April, 1850, Charles S. Carter, who had been previously licensed to preach, was regularly set apart by ordination to the gospel ministry, and preached acceptably to the Church for several years in conjunction with the Pastor, when he was dismissed by letter, and joined the Church at East Bend, where he still labors.
In 1854 the Church was blessed with another revival of religion, when forty-one members were received and baptized, nine of whom only remain members at this time; of the others, a number have died, and the remainder, who are living, are scattered abroad holding membership in different churches.
D. M. Scott, a Deacon, having been dismissed by letter on the 11th of March, 1854, the writer of this article was ordained to that office, which office he still holds.
In June, 1865, Robert Kirtley, who had been pastor of the Church since 1825, nearly forty years, and through infirmity of age had been unable for several years to attend regularly, by request was now released, and Robert E. Kirtley was called to the pastorate to preach twice each month, for which the Church agreed to compensate him for his services. Although Elder Robert Kirtley was regarded as Pastor during this long period of time, yet, as he only occupied [the pulpit] one Sabbath in the month, a number of others were called to preach at various times, viz.: John Roe, James A. Kirtley, George H. Scott, and Joseph Vickers.
In 1867 the Church had another ingathering of souls, and twenty-two were added to the Church by experience and baptism, and in 1868 six were received. In January of this year John S. Huey was ordained to the Deaconship, which office he has filled with profit and satisfaction to the Church.
In the year 1870 some one called for the "Articles of Faith" with a view of having them read, when it was ascertained that the Church had nothing in her possession in regard to that matter, but the record at the time of constituting stating "on the principles of the Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith as received by the Elkhorn Association." This same question, however, had been before the Church many years ago, in 1824, but in a different way.
An order was passed that the Clerk, in writing letters of dismission to go into distant parts, should state therein the faith of the Church, "referring to the constitution of the Church therefor," when the Clerk very naturally asked the question: "What is the faith of the Church?" They at once saw the difficulty and appointed a committee to draw up a form for the benefit of the Clerk, embodying in as few words as possible the fundamental truths as held by the Church, which was done in true laconic style. The article was adopted by the Church, but was never recorded, although its length did not exceed six lines, and this, not having been used for many years, had been misplaced.
When the matter came up in 1870, as above stated, the Church, after due consideration, decided to have their "Articles of Faith" written out, and their rules of order revised. A committee was appointed for that purpose; made their report to the Church; the report was adopted, and the Church had three hundred copies printed in pamphlet form for distribution among the membership.
On the 31st day of November of this year (1870) William Huey departed this life. He had filled the office of a Deacon well for the space of about thirty-one years. His loss was greatly felt by the Church; he was a man of good discerning judgment, safe in counsel, prompt and ever ready to bear his part in all his church relations.
In November of last year (1873) the Church took up and discussed the subject touching "Christian Benevolence" and what objects more particularly claimed their attention, and believing that as much or more money could be raised by attending to their own business in their own way than could be by the agency system, decided to contribute quarterly for the following objects in the order in which they are here presented: First, for Home Evangelization in the bounds of the North Bend Association; secondly, for State Missions; thirdly, for Domestic and Indian Missions; fourthly, for Foreign Missions. Three collections have been taken, the last, for Foreign Missions, to be in November of this year (1874).
We have thus imperfectly sketched the history of this Church from its organization, a period of seventy-one years. Many incidents and facts pertaining thereto might have been mentioned and so woven in as to have made the history more interesting, but from the fact of making this article too lengthy; but a few words more and we are done. Although this Church has had her dark and gloomy seasons, as well as her bright and sunny days, yet it is but due to say that she has never been divided on account of doctrine. It is true, that now and then some restless spirits, who should have been excluded long before they were, in hunting up some excuse for their delinquency, would intimate that it was one account of faith and practice. But this old Church, by the help of God, has held on her way thus far, and now stands firm on the Doctrine of Christ and his Apostles.
S. P. BRADY ============
[From Northbend Baptist Association Minutes, 1874, pp. 7-12. The records are available on microfilm at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Library, Louisville, KY. — jrd]
Boone County Baptist Index
Baptist History Homepage