[North District -- pp. 118-127; South District -- pp. 127-138;
South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists, No. 2 -- pp. 138-143 and North Bend Associations-- pp. 144-150 ]
North District Association
North District Association resulted from a division of the Old South Kentucky fraternity, in August, 1801. Of the origin of the mother body, the minutes of North District, for 1831, say: "On the first Friday in October, 1787, at Tates Creek meetinghouse, in Madison county, eleven churches, who were called Separate Baptists, were constituted an association, on the Bible, and were called South Kentucky Association." This organization continued to prosper about fifteen years, when its territory became inconveniently large, and a division was deemed expedient. It held its last meeting, at the same house in which it was constituted, on the third Friday in August, and the day following, in 1801. This was the meeting at which the "terms of general union" were ratified, by this body. Her last act was to divide her territory. The line of division began at the head of Paint Lick creek, ran down that stream to its mouth, and thence down the Kentucky river to its junction with the Ohio. The churches north of this line formed the fraternity now to be considered.
North District Association held its first meeting at Unity meetinghouse in Clark county, on the first Friday in October, 1802. Messengers were present from 24 churches, which aggregated 1,928 members. The churches were Spencer Creek, Lulbegrud, Bethel, and Sycamore, in Montgomery county; Providence, Unity, Red River, Upper Howards Creek, and East Fork, in Clark; Boffmans Fork, in Fayette; Salt Lick and Bald Eagle, in
Bath; Mt. Pleasant, in Franklin; Tates Creek, in Madison; Salem, and Station Camp, in Estill; Jessamine, in Jessamine; Griers Creek, and Hopewell, in Woodford; and Locust Creek, Johnsons Fork, Brush Creek, Long Branch, and State Union,whose localities are unknown. The preachers in the body; were David Scott, Robert Elkin, Leonard Turley, James Quesenberry, Joseph Craig, Isaac Crutcher, Moses Bledsoe, Mahalaleel Shakle, Charles Finnell, Daniel Williams, John Davis, Edward Kindred, Henry Blackgrove, and James Haggard.
This Association embraced all the churches north of the line described above, from the east borders of Elkhorn and Bracken Associations, to the waters of Big Sandy river, from the time of its constitution, till Burning Spring Association was taken from it, in 1814. The churches of which it was constituted, had all been Separate Baptists, and although they had taken the name of United Baptists, this Association, like Tates Creek and South District, both of which had emanated from the same source, still kept up some customs that were not in accord with Regular Baptist usages. In 1804, Thomas J. Chilton, from a party of South District Association, which afterwards took the name of South Kentucky Association, presented to North District, charges against Jeremiah Vardeman and John Rice. As the party represented by Mr. Chilton, was not recognized by the Association, the charges were not entertained. But the next year, the same body entertained five charges against David Barrow, the ablest preacher in their body. These charges were presented by the messengers from Bracken Association, and pertained to Mr. Barrow's sentiments on the subject of slavery. The Association, after hearing him, in his own defense, decided that his explanations and apologies were sufficient. Some of the churches, however, were determined to get rid of him; and new provisions were made for his expulsion. "Providence and Boones Creek churches inquire how a church shall deal with a minister who propagates doctrines that are unsound or pernicious to peace and good order? The Association advises that a church, in such case, withdraw all the power they gave such preacher; and [that] two preachers may suspend, or stop such preacher from preaching, until he can be tried by a council of five ministers, whose decision, in such case, ought to be obeyed, until reversed by the Association." This rule, however unbaptistic,
was applied to Mr. Barrow, almost immediately after the Association adjourned. At the next meeting of the body, in 1806, the following proceedings were entered on its minutes:
"A committee or council of five ministers reported: That, agreeable to provision made last Association, for the trial of ministers, they had been dealing with brother David Barrow, for preaching the doctrine of Emancipation, to the hurt and injury of the brotherhood. And the Association, after considering the foregoing report, and hearing what brother Barrow had to say, in justification of his conduct, on that subject, and brother Barrow manifesting no disposition to alter his mode of preaching, as to the aforesaiddoctrine, they proceeded to expel him from his seat in this Association." They also "appointed a committee to deal with brother Barrow, in the church at Mt. Sterling, at their next monthly meeting, and report to next Association."
Immediately after Mr. Barrow's expulsion from North District Association, he commenced arranging for the constitution of an Emancipation association. A meeting was called to convene at New Hope, in Woodford county, on the 29th of August, 1807. Eleven preachers and nineteen other messengers, were enrolled as members of the meeting. Preliminary steps were taken, for the organization of an association, which was constituted of nine churches, aggregating 190 members, the following September. This Association, which took the name of Licking Locust, will be noticed in its appropriate place.
North District Association saw the injustice of her rash act, when it was too late to counteract its evil effects. At her annual meeting, in 1807: "The Association proceeded to annul and revoke the act of last Association, in expelling Elder David Barrow from his seat in the Association. But she had already lost at least three churches and two preachers by the transaction; and they did not now choose to return. The subject of slavery continued to be agitated, in the bounds of the Association, nearly twenty years."
In 1811 and 1812, an extraordinary revival prevailed within the bounds of this Association, and, within these two years, 1,078 converts were baptized into the fellowship of its churches. At the last named date, it numbered 28 churches, aggregating 2,383 members. This was the largest membership it has ever
attained. In 1814, about ten churches were dismissed to form Burning Spring Association. In 1815, the body expressed the opinion, that "buying lottery tickets is a species of gambling." The subject of foreign missions was introduced in the Association, the following year; and it agreed to correspond with the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. But on complaint of several of the churches, the correspondence was dropped, the following year. This was the only missionary movement this old fraternity has ever made; and that consisted merely in a correspondence with a missionary board, during a single year. During the same year, the Association decided that it is not "right for members of the Baptist church to sit in Free Mason lodges." In 1823, the Association was again reduced, by the dismissal of six churches, to go into the constitution of Boones Creek Association. After this, it continued to decrease till 1827, when it numbered 19 churches, with 1,265 members.
Campbellism took root early, in North District Association. Mr. Campbell visited Mount Sterling as early as 1824, and preached three sermons there. John Smith, commonly known as Raccoon John Smith, the most attractive preacher, and the shrewdest manager, in the Association, was speedily converted to his views. Several other preachers, of less note, soon followed him. The churches withered under the constant disputations, for two or three years. But suddenly, about the close of the year 1827, a powerful religious excitement began to move the people here, as well as all over the northern part of the State. Multitudes professed conversion, and were baptized. The Campbellite preachers were by far the most active, in this work. John Smith's Biographer avers that Smith immersed most of the converts. Of course, they were "baptized for the remission of sins." This meeting has been called, not inappropriately, "John Smith's Revival." During the two years, 1828 and 1829, the churches of North District reported 1,059 baptisms, while five new churches were constituted, "on the Bible." The Association now numbered 24 churches, with 2,265 members. But it was no longer a Baptist association. The Campbellites had an overwhelming majority in the Association, as well as in most of the churches. The Association went through the ordinary routine of business, in 1829, and appointed to meet, the next year, at Spencer Creek.
Instead of attending the meeting at Spencer Creek, where they knew they would be in a hopeless minority, the Baptists called a convention, which met at Lulbegrud, in April, 1830. Only seven churches were represented. The principal business, transacted by the meeting, was the examination of the records of South Kentucky and North District Associations, to ascertain what had been the duties and customs of those bodies. The investigation showed that the established customs of North District Association, had been repeatedly and flagrantly violated, during the last three years. The report of the committee, appointed to make the investigation, embraces the following points:
1. South Kentucky Association, until it was divided into South and North District Associations, maintained a particular watch care over the principles and practices of the churches and preachers. 2. The terms of general union did not abridge the privileges of that body, or those of its offspring. 3. The constitution of North District Association makes it the duty of that body to maintain a watch care over the churches, and to withdraw from such as act disorderly. 4. North District Association exercised a watch care over the churches and preachers, previous to 1827. 5. At the meeting, in 1827, Lulbegrud complained, in her letter, of a new mode of administering the Lord’s Supper. But the Association neglected to take any notice of the offending churches. 6. Goshen church complained, in 1829, of a new formula, used in administering baptism. The Association took no notice of her complaint. 7. Lulbegrud and Cane Spring complained of disorders, in 1829. The Association refused to take cognizance of their complaint.
The report of the committee was adopted. James French was directed to take charge of the records of North District Association, and hold them subject to the call of that body, which fraternity could consist only of such churches as practice the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and administer the constitution of the Association, according to precedent, and the terms of general Union. The convention then appointed a
meeting, to convene at Goshen, 4th Saturday in June, 1830. This meeting convened according to appointment. Ten churches were represented. Two questions, presented by the committee of arrangements, were discussed and decided upon as follows:
"1. Has North District Association departed from the former administration of her constitution, by abandoning the supervisorship of the churches and preachers? Taken up and answered. — They have departed.
"2. Has a church that takes upon herself to introduce and practice usages, unknown among the churches of Elkhorn and South Kentucky Associations, at the time of their union, departed from the constitution, and gone out of the union? Taken up and answered. -- They have gone out of the union."
After giving their reasons for their conclusions, and transacting some other business, they conclude as follows: "In conclusion, we declare, that we withdraw from all churches that have departed as before alleged, considering them in disorder, and gone out of the union. But at the same time, our fellowship is not broken with such minorities, or individual members, as are content with former usages of the churches."
They append the following description of the manner in which they administer the ordinances and religious rites, in their churches:
"Ordaining Ministers: -- Not less than two ordained ministers, lay their hands on the person about to be ordained, pray for him, one at a time, give him the right hand of fellowship, solemnly exhorting him to faithfulness and perseverance in the work to which he is now separated and set apart. A testimonial is given him, signed by the officiating ministers, stating the time of his ordination, his name, and whatever more they think proper, to identify and recommend the brother to the confidence and approbation of the society.
"Ordaining Deacons: -- Two ordained preachers, or more, lay their hands on him, pray for him, one at a time, giving him the right hand of fellowship, and give him an encouraging address to the due performance of his official duties.
"Constituting Churches: -- Two ordained ministers, at least, attend on them who are to be constituted a church; a constitution, covenant or creed, (whichever you please), being a compendium
of gospel principles and duties, is unanimously assented to, and adopted by all included in the newconstitution. The officiating ministers pray for them, and lovingly exhort, advise, and admonish them, give them the right hand of fellowship, and they to one another.
"Subjects of Baptism: -- All those who know, not only by education, theory, or credence of others, but by heart impressions also, too deep and indelible ever to be effaced; that they are undone, ruined, and guilty before the Lord, and are without strength, or hope of deliverance from the wrath to come; save only, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Words of Baptism: -- In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
"Mode of Baptism: -- The administrator, an ordained preacher, and the person to be baptized, standing in water of suitable depth, the minister, in an audible voice, pronounces the baptismal words; then lays the person to be baptized, backwards into the water, until the body is covered, or overwhelmed with water; then raising the person to his or her feet.
"Manner of eating the Lord's Supper: -- The administrator, an ordained preacher, standing at the table, after singing a hymn of praise, implores the blessing of the Lord [and] breaks the bread into pieces small enough to be readily taken into the mouth. The deacons receive the bread, thus broken, and laid on plates or some other like convenience, at the table, and present it to the communicants, that every one may take a piece. All being served with the bread, the administrator invokes a blessing, pours the wine into vessels of the cup kind, and the deacons bear it from the table to the communicants: a song of thanksgiving closes the solemnity."
North District Association held its first meeting, after the Campbellite schism, at Howards Upper Creek, in Clark county, on the 4th Saturday in July, 1831. It embraced 11 churches, with 950 members. Thomas Boone, David Chenault and James Edmonson were the only preachers left in the Association. Small as the body was then, it has never been so large since. It was acknowledged and encouraged by all the surrounding associations; but it gradually declined in numbers. The Antimissionary complexion of the body was manifested by its dropping correspondence with all the neighboring associations, except
Burning Spring, between the years 1837 and 1842. In 1859, it assumed the name of "Old Baptists," which it still bears. At that time, it numbered 9 churches, aggregating 337 members. It has had but little variation in numbers, from that time to the present. In 1880, it numbered 9 churches, with 417 members. From its organization, in 1802, to the Campbellite schism, in 1829, there were baptized into its churches, 4,075 members. During the 39 years of which we have reports, since the Campbellite schism, there have been baptized into its churches, 513 members. Its name, "Old Baptists," indicates that it is an Antimissionary body.
This Association has had but few ministers of note, especially since "the fathers" passed away. Sketches of its most prominent deceased preachers have been given. A few other names are added here.
Mahalaleel Shackle was in the organization of North District Association, in 1802. From whence he came to Kentucky is unknown. He was an elderly man of very moderate gifts, it appears. He was the minister at Locust Creek church, a few years. But when David Barrow was expelled from the Association, in 1806, on account of his Emancipation principles, Mr. Shackle adhered to his party, and became a member of Licking Locust church, and of the Association bearing that name. He continued to preach among the Emancipationists to a good old age.
Wingate Jackson was regarded a useful preacher in North District Association for a number of years. He was an ordained minister in Cane Creek church, from 1807 to 1818. About the latter date, he moved to Missouri, where he was active in raising up the churches of Bethel Association, among which he was a faithful and valuable laborer, many years.
Ninian Ridgeway appears to have been raised up to the ministry, in Friendship church, in Clark county. He was ordained about 1818, in which year he moved his membership to Old Goshen church. After preaching here some four or five years, he moved to Missouri, and settled within the bounds of Salem Association. It is known that he was among the ministers of that body as late as 1830.
Abner D. Landrum spent a few years within the bounds of North District Association. His membership was at Grassy Lick, in Montgomery county, as early as 1834. During that
year, he was called to the care of Providence church, which he served four years. He was a preacher of considerable ability, and doubtless would have been very useful in that region, if he had remained there. He moved to Missouri, about 1839, and settled in the Boones Lick country. He was chosen pastor of Ramseys Creek, the largest church in Salt River Association. Of his labors in that region, Dr. Benedict says: "Rev. A.D. Landrum is said to have done much in this community and region in stirring up the churches in the business of ministerial support, which is but imperfectly attended to at present (1847), but was formerly almost wholly neglected."
William Rupard is the most prominent minister now laboring among the churches of North District Association. He was born in Clark county, Ky., Feb. 4, 1825. He was educated in the common schools of his native county, commenced teaching, at the age of 18, and followed that occupation about 12 years.He made a profession of religion, about 1841, and was baptized into the fellowship of Goshen church, by Thomas Boone. About 1851, he commenced exercising in public prayer and exhortation, and was ordained to the ministry, by Thomas Boone and James Edmonson, in 1852. He immediately took charge of Log Lick and Liberty churches, for whose benefit he had been ordained. In January, 1855, he moved to Scott county, Illinois, where he labored in the ministry about a year, and baptized a number of converts. In 1856, he was called back to Kentucky to fill the place made vacant by the death of the venerable Thomas Boone. He immediately took charge of Goshen, Lulbegrud, Liberty and Cane Spring churches, all belonging to North District Association. To these churches he has ministered, about 33 years. Lulbegrud has not prospered; the other three have more than doubled their membership. Besides the four churches named, Mr. Rupard has generally served two or three others, preaching to them on week days. He has also traveled and preached much in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. He was elected Clerk of North District Association, in 1852, and generally served in that capacity, till 1859. Since the latter date, he has acted as Moderator of that Association.
Mr. Rupard is a man of high respectability and of spotless christian character. He possesses fair preaching gifts, and has used them with much zeal and diligence, and with a good degree
of success. It seems a pity that his fine talents and extensive influence should be used against the cause of missions.
South District Association
This fraternity was formed of the churches, located south of Paint Lick creek and Kentucky river, which had belonged to the Old South Kentucky Association. It held its first meeting at Salt River church, in what is now Anderson county, in 1802. The body, at its organization, was in correspondence with all the Baptist associations in the State, except Tates Creek. On motion to admit Tates Creek to correspondence, a heated debate arose, John Rice and Jeremiah Vardeman advocating the measure with great zeal. The motion was carried by a vote of 27 for, and 26 against it. The minority submitted for the present; but, averring that Jacob Lock and James Hill, corresponding messengers from Green River Association, and Joel Noel, from Tates Creek, had voted in the affirmative, and that, therefore, the motion was not legally carried, they resolved to bring the matter up at the next meeting of the body.
In 1803, the Association met at McCormacks, in Lincoln county. The venerable Joseph Bledsoe was chosen Moderator, and Thomas J. Chilton, Clerk. Mr Chilton also preached the introductory sermon. There were represented 24 churches, aggregating 1,468 members. When the correspondingletter from Tates Creek Association was presented, objections were made to its being received, and again a warm debate ensued. John Bailey, Thomas J. Chilton and Joseph Bledsoe opposing, and Jeremiah Vardeman and John Rice favoring the reception of the correspondence. The motion to receive the letter was lost, by a considerable majority. Jeremiah Vardeman and John Rice immediately withdrew from the house, followed by their adherents, and organized the minority, under the style of South District Association. The majority also claimed the name and prerogatives of that fraternity. The minority was received into correspondence, by all the associations in the State, and the majority was rejected; after which the latter assumed the name of South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists.
The next meeting of South District Association, of which the records have been preserved, convened at Cartwrights Creek, in what is now Marion county, on the 4th Saturday in September, 1806. There were represented 15 churches, aggregating 937 members. The churches were: Forks of Dix River, Gilberts Creek and Sugar Creek, in Garrard county; Deep Creek, Stony Point, Shawnee Run and Unity, in Mercer; Salt River, in Anderson; Rush Branch and McCormacks, in Lincoln; Doctors Fork and Hanging Fork (now Providence), in Boyle; Pleasant Run and Buffalo Creek, in Washington; and Cartwrights Creek (now Lebanon), in Marion. The ministers of the body were Randolph Hall, James Keel, John Rice, Jeremiah Vardeman, James Rogers and Owen Owens.
The Association increased very slowly, from this period till 1817. At the latter date, a revival commenced in its churches, and continued about four years: So that, in 1820, the body comprised 21 churches, with 1,703 members. In 1812, the Association recommended the churches to furnish Jeremiah Vardeman and Silas M. Noel with such information as would aid them in accomplishing their purpose to write "a comprehensive history of the Baptist Society.” Unfortunately, this laudable purpose was never carried into effect. In 1818, one M. Smith proposed to write "a history of the Baptists in the Western Country"; the Association discouraged the enterprise, on account of Mr. Smith's supposed incompetency.
In 1820, Cartwrights Creek church inquired of the Association if baptism, administered by a sect calling themselves Christians, should be received as valid? The sect referred to comprised the followers of Barton W. Stone, and were popularly known as Newlights, as they still are in some of the northwestern states, where they exist in considerable numbers. In Kentucky, they united with the Campbellites, soon after the origin of that sect. They practice immersion, and baptize only adult believers, but deny the Godhead of Jesus Christ. The Association answered the question from Cartwrights as follows: "We believe that all persons baptized by immersion, of good moral character, and sound in the faith, the administrator, himself, having been baptized by immersion, regularly ordained, and in good standing in his own society, ought to be received into any Baptist church." This was doubtless intended to be an
endorsement of alien immersion (as it is now phrased), under the restrictions specified, and, so far as known to the author, is the only instance of the kind that has occurred among the Baptist associations in Kentucky.
In 1821, the messengers from McCormacks church were denied seats in the Association, because that church had practiced open communion. But on their promising that the practice should be discontinued, they were admitted to seats, on Monday. The next year, the subject of Free Masonry was discussed in the body. The following question and answer were recorded, on the minutes of 1822: "Query, from Stony Point: Is it right for a gospel minister, or any member of the Baptist churches, composing our Association, to join himself to a lodge of Free Masons? Answer. We think the subject so intimately connected with the rights of private judgment, that every person should be left to his own conscientious determination respecting it: But from the effect it has generally had on the churches, we recommend to our brethren, believing it will have a good tendency, that they, in no case, join the Masonic lodge." This answer appears not to have been satisfactory: for, in 1824, the following question and answer were recorded: “Is it right for the members of a Baptist church to join the Masonic lodge, and [the church] hold them in fellowship? Answer. No.” During the same session, the following was adopted: "Resolved, That this Association cordially recommend to the patronage of the churches the Latter Day Luminary and the Columbian Star . . . under the superintendence of the Baptist General Convention: The former, Monthly, at $2. per annum, the latter, Weekly, at $3."
Resolved, That this Association still continue to cherish a high regard for that instrument, as a bond of union, and recommend to the churches an undeviating regard for the precepts set forth therein; as we believe them to be according to the Scriptures."
The religious excitement of 1827-29, did not reach the same height, among the churches of this fraternity, as in some of
the neighboring associations. There were only about 500 baptized, during the revival. This brought the Association up, in 1829, to a membership of 20 churches, with 1,650 members. But the Campbellite element in the churches, was larger than the gain made by the revival; and became so aggressive, not to say turbulent, that the Association, in 1830, adopted the following preamble and resolution:
"Whereas, Alexander Campbell's writings have exerted a destructive influence over many of the Baptist churches, in Kentucky; so as to produce schisms and divisions among the brethren; therefore, Resolved, That this Association advise and recommend to the churches composing this body, the propriety of discountenancing the aforesaid writings, together with such preachers as propagate the disorganizing sentiments of said Alexander Campbell."
This resolution caused much excitement among the churches, but ultimately produced the desired effect. It separated the Baptists and Campbellites. The churches at Springfield and McCormacks were dropped from the Association, and minorities were separated from most or all of the other churches. The Association was reduced, in 1831, to 18 churches, aggregating 1,260 members. In 1833, a revival began in the churches, and continued about two years, during which 505 were baptized. This gave the Association an aggregate membership of 1,661, from which it did not vary a great deal for about eight years. In 1837, the Association appointed three preachers, B. Kemper, R. P. Steenbergen, and J. S. Higgins, to preach among the churches, during the succeeding year; and recommended the churches to sustain them. The same plan was pursued next year. In 1840, John S. Higgins was appointed an agent to visit the churches, and collect funds, for the spread of the gospel. A precious revival succeeded these active missionary operations. It commenced in 1842, and continued four years, during which the churches reported to the Association 1,331 baptisms. The body now (1845) comprised 17 churches, with 2,286 members.
In 1842, an attempt was made to form a union between South District and Tates Creek Associations of United Baptists, on the one part, and South Kentucky and Nolynn Associations of Separate Baptists on the other part. For this purpose, a
convention composed of messengers from each of these four associations, met at Crab Orchard, on the first Saturday in November. The union was not consummated; but the attempt resulted in the secession of several churches from the Separate Baptist Associations. Of these churches, South Kentucky Association of United Baptists was formed. A fuller account of the transactions will be given in the history of that fraternity.
From the time of the revival last spoken of, South District Association enjoyed pretty even course of prosperity, till 1860, when it numbered 26 churches, aggregating 3,149 members. This is the largest aggregate membership the body has ever reported. The membership was much reduced during the war, by the separation of the colored people from the churches. In 1867, the Association reported 20 churches, aggregating only 1,731 members. But it has steadily increased in numbers, until it has nearly regained what it lost during the war. In 1880, it numbered 24 churches, with 2,594 members. During 60 of the first 78 years of its existence, there were baptized into its churches, according to its official reports, 9,746 converts.
South District Association has been rather an enterprising body, from an early period in its history. It adopted something like a systematic plan of home missionary operations, as early as 1837. This was three years before either Elkhorn or Salem initiated such a measure. It very early encouraged foreign missions, Bible societies and the circulation of religious periodicals, and has exhibited much of the same spirit, in each succeeding generation. Although its churches occupy parts of several counties, its territory is comparatively small, and has been so since its revolutionary division, in the second year of its existence. But it has very well illustrated the subject of its circular letter, for 1856. -- "Cultivate a small field!"
Gov. Gabriel Slaughter was a most valuable member of South District Association. He was a native of Virginia, and was born in 1767. He emigrated to Kentucky, in his youth, and settled in Mercer county, where he followed the vocation of a farmer, the remainder of his life. He was elected to the Lower House of the Kentucky Legislature, in 1799. At the close of his term, he was elected to the State Senate, where he served eight successive years. In 1808, he was elected Lieutenant Governor, under Charles Scott, and served four years. He served in the
War of 1812-15, under a colonel's commission, and commanded a regiment in the battle of New Orleans. About this period, he presided as judge of a court martial, the decision of which did not accord with the views of Gen. Jackson. On the General's ordering a reversal of the decision, Col. Slaughter peremptorily refused, saying he knew his duty and had performed it. Returning from the army, he was again elected Lieutenant Governor, in 1816, this time, under George Madison. Gov. Madison dying, Oct. 14, of the same year, Col. Slaughter, assuming the duties of Governor, filled the office to the end of the term.
Mr. Slaughter was very early a member of Shawnee Run church, if he was not in its original constitution. He was very active and zealous in religious affairs, heartily giving his time, talents and influence to the advancement of the cause of Christ. He was a messenger from his church, to the different associationswith which it was connected, “more than 30 years, and for nine years, Moderator of South District Association.” He died at his residence in Mercer county, in 1830.
Robert P. Steenbergen was raised up to the ministry, within the bounds of South District Association. He was licensed to exercise his gift, at Shawnee Run church, in 1833 but afterwards moved his membership to Brush Creek, where he was ordained to the ministry, in 1837. He was appointed, the same year, to travel and preach within the bounds of the Association. His gifts, though by no means brilliant or extraordinary, were of a popular character, and soon attracted attention. In 1848, he was chosen pastor of Bethlehem church, in Washington county. With some brief intervals, he was pastor of this church till about 1857. At this period, he was charged with the sin of adultery. If the charge was not clearly proved, it nevertheless had the effect of virtually closing his ministry, and the evening of his life was passed under a cloud. How careful ought ministers of the gospel be, to shun the appearance of evil!
David Hardisty was a preacher of more than ordinary ability, was better educated than most of his contemporaries in the Baptist ministry, and was a popular and eloquent pulpit orator. He was born in the State of Delaware, about A.D., 1773. At an early age he joined the Methodists, and soon became a traveling preacher among them. About the beginning of the present
century, he was transferred to Kentucky. A few years after his removal to this State, his wife died, and, in 1808, he married Mrs. Elizabeth Hutchens, daughter of Leonard Taylor, of Madison county. For marrying "an unawakened person," he was silenced from preaching, for a term of six months. He devoted his time to studying the Bible, and comparing with its teachings, the doctrine and discipline of his church. About the time he should have been restored to the functions of his office in the Methodist church, he and his wife united with the Baptist church at Stone meeting-house (Tates Creek), in Madison county. They were baptized by Thomas German.
Mr. Hardisty was soon ordained, and entered the pulpit as a Baptist minister. After preaching a few years, he unfortunately fell heir to a small estate. Having been quite poor, and being encumbered with a large family of children, he became ambitious to acquire property. Mistaking himself for a business man, he moved to Lexington, and entered into a mercantile establishment. His business did not prosper, and he soon became embarrassed. Meanwhile, he neglected his religious duties. He soon contracted the habit of drinking too freely, and was excluded from the church. He struggled, for a time, with fickle fortune, but he finally became bankrupt. Like the Prodigal Son, he now came to himself, repented of his sins, and was restored to the church and to the ministry.
About the year 1825, he moved to Washington county, and became a member of Springfield church. He was pastor of this church, as well as that of Bethlehem, and, perhaps, two others. He was very popular among the churches, and continued to preach, with their warm approval, till 1834, when Springfield church was dropped from the Association, on account of its having adopted Campbellism. Mr. Hardisty, though he professed not to have adopted that system himself, was, like poor Tray, found in bad company, and had to suffer the consequences. However, the Association, in 1838, advised that anyone of her churches might restore him. Accordingly, he was received into Bethlehem church, and became its pastor. He continued to serve this and some of its neighboring churches, till he became too feeble and blind to labor. In 1851, he lost his eyesight entirely. A few months before his death, he was brought to Bethlehem church, where he preached for the last time, to a large and tearful
assembly. He died at his home in Perryville, about 1855.
Richard Elliot was one of the pioneer preachers in Washington county. He was a native of Virginia, and was born about 1765. At an early age, he began his ministry as a Methodist preacher. During an extensive revival, which prevailed in Virginia, from 1785 to 1791, several Methodists joined the Baptists, in Mr. Elliot's neighborhood. Being a zealot for his church, he sent for the circuit rider to come and preach a sermon on Baptism. At the next meeting of the Baptist church, Mr. Elliot and the circuit rider being present, an influential Methodist woman offered herself for membership. Being asked to give her reason for making the change, she replied, in substance: "I have been in doubt concerning my baptism, for several months. But when I heard the arguments our preacher used, in his sermon, preached against the Baptists, and in defense of Methodism, I was fully convinced that I had never been rightly baptized." The pastor stepped up to the circuit rider, and, playfully stroking his head, said: "I have being trying to convince this woman of her error, several months; but you have accomplished it with one sermon: come and preach for us again!" This circumstance set Mr. Elliot to investigating. A few months' study convinced him that he was in error, and he decided to offer himself to the Baptist church. But wishing to be open and candid with his brethren, he went to the class-meeting, to inform them of his change of views, and to justify himself by giving his reasons. He had not proceeded far in reading and explaining the scriptures, when the circuit rider cried out: "Stop that man: he will convince everybody in the house!"
Mr. Elliot soon afterwards joined the Baptists, and was set apart to the ministry. While yet comparatively a young man he emigrated to Kentucky, and settled in what is now Marion county. Here he spent the remainder of his days, Iaboring with his hands for a support, and preaching the gospel to the poor around him. He died, in the triumph of the Christian’s hope, about the year1835. He was a man of moderate gifts; but possessing true piety and zeal, he added his quota to the sum of evangelical labors, performed in the wilderness of the Great West.
Isaac Montgomery was born of Irish parents, in what is now Garrard county. Ky., Feb., 1780. His mother was a Baptist;
but he grew up a wild, thoughtless boy, and was especially fond of playing the fiddle and dancing. He married early; and as soon as his first child was able to walk, he took much pleasure in teaching her to dance. When he was in his 26th year, an old colored man had meeting near his home. Mr. Montgomery thought this an opportunity to have some rare fun. Taking his wife and children, he went to the meeting. Soon after the old man began to preach, a new class of reflections came into the mind of the pleasure seeker. "This pious old negro," soliloquized he, "is on his way to Heaven, while I am going to Hell. Then, my poor, little children! I am teaching them to follow me. What shall I do?" An overwhelming sense of guilt and condemnation seized upon him. For several weeks, he was almost in despair. But, at last, he found peace in Jesus, and united with Forks of Dix River church. He applied himself to reading the Bible, and to prayer, as diligently as he had to "fiddling and dancing." After serving the church as a deacon, some years, he was licensed to preach.
In 1818, he moved to what is now Boyle county, and, by the hands of Joel Gordon and Joseph Whitehead, was ordained to the pastoral care of Doctors Fork church. Of this congregation, he was pastor, about 20 years. He also preached much in the surrounding country. Like many others, of his day, he conscientiously refused to receive any compensation for preaching. His preaching gift was below mediocrity. But he was a good exhorter, and was pious, zealous and faithful. His death, which occurred in October, 1840, was very triumphant. He said to a minister who visited him shortly before his departure: "Leave off your secular business, my brother, and give yourself wholly to the gospel: it is worth everything." He called on his daughters to sing the old hymn "On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,"and attempted to join them. But his voice failed, and a few moments afterward he breathed his last.
Strother Cook is perhaps the oldest living minister in South District Association. He was born of pious Baptist parents, (his father being a deacon of New Providence church), in what is now Boyle county, Ky., March 10, 1809. He finished his education at Danville, after he joined the church. He was the subject of early religious impressions, and prayed
much in secret, from his 13th year, till he obtained hope in Christ, at the age of 17. He deferred joining the church till his 21st year. He was baptized into the fellowship of Hanging Fork church (now New Providence), by John S. Higgins, in March, 1828,commenced preaching, as a licentiate, in 1833, and was ordained, in 1834. Within a year, he was pastor of Bethlehem, Hillsboro and two other churches. He preached to Unity church 24 years, and, besides those already named, he has served, for different periods, Sugar Grove, Pleasant Run, New Salem, Mt. Freedom, Union and McCormacks.
In 1838, Mr. Cook married Miss Lucy M. Jenkins, and settled near Shawnee Run church, in Mercer county, where he still lives. He has raised twelve children, ten of whom he baptized with his own hands. Burdett Kemper and John L. Smith baptized the remaining two. Mr. Cook has now been preaching the gospel fifty years. He walks erect, appears to enjoy good health, and seems to be as much interested in the cause of the Redeemer, as in the days of his youth.
Nelson C. Alspaugh was an acceptable preacher in South District and Tates Creek Associations, about 20 years. He was raised up to the ministry at Forks of Dix River church, where he was ordained in 1847. He moved to Indiana, about 1858, and was still preaching, when last heard from.
Velorious Edwin Kirtley, son of Elijah L. Kirtley, and a descendant of an old Welsh family which has produced many Baptist preachers, not less than seven of whom have lived in Kentucky, was born in what is now Taylor county Ky., April. 9, 1818. His father having lost his property, he was brought up to hard labor on a farm, and with only a few weeks' schooling. In May, 1837, he united with Pittmans Creek church, being baptized by John Harding. After he was converted, his desire for education was greatly increased. Accordingly he applied himself to study by firelight, at night, while he labored hard by day. This practice he kept up till he arrived at his 21st year. After this he went to school and taught school alternately, until February, 1839, when he entered Georgetown College. Here he worked his way through an attendance of fifteen months. Having been licensed to preach, at Pittmans Creek, in Jan. 1839, he was ordained at Frankfort, Dec. 25, 1841, by Wm. Vaughan, J. M. Frost and George C. Sedwick. He immediately took charge of Big Spring
church, in Woodford county. He was also pastor of Providence church, in Anderson county, and preached once a month to each of the churches at Hillsboro and Salvisa. In 1844, he took charge of the churches at Bardstown, Mill Creek and New Salem, all in Nelson county. He served these churches, till 1848, when he accepted a call to the church at Owensboro, to which he ministered two years. In 1851, he accepted an agency for the Kentucky and Foreign Bible Society. In this position he labored four years. In March, 1854, he took the pastoral charge of the church at Danville, and served it four years, building it up from 33 to 125 members, of whom he baptized 80. On leaving Danville, he took an agency for Indian Missions, which he prosecuted only afew months, when failing health forced him to desist from traveling. He then improved a small farm near Springfield, and remained on it during the War, preaching meanwhile, to the churches at Hillsboro, Bethlehem and Haysville, in Washington county, and Lebanon, in Marion. In 1865, he took charge of the church at Bardstown, and at the same time became Principal of the Baptist Female College, at that place. After occupying these positions three years he moved to Lebanon, where he took charge of the church, and built up a female high school, of which he continued Principal, five years. In 1874, he took the pastoral care of the churches at Stanford, in Lincoln county, and Hardins Creek, in Washington. In 1876, he accepted an agency for Domestic and Indian missions, and filled the position six years, closing in 1882.
Mr. Kirtley is an eminently practical man, in the prosecution of his religious enterprises, whether in the pastoral office, at the head of a denominational school, or prosecuting a financial agency. He possesses remarkable physical strength and powers of endurance; and few preachers in Kentucky have performed so much hard labor as he, and equally few, perhaps, have labored to better advantage. He has been engaged in almost every enterprise of the Baptist denomination in Kentucky, and has been blessed with good success in them all. In the pastoral office, he thinks he has baptized over 1,000 converts. He has raised money to aid in building several church houses, as those at Portland, Crab Orchard and Bethlehem, and to repair those at Bardstown, Mill Creek, Lebanon, Haysville and Owensboro.
He raised $8,000 to establish Danville Female Academy, the same amount for Bardstown Female College, and $10,000 to establish Lebanon Female College. He supposes he has collected for missionary and other benevolent enterprises over, $150,000. At the age of 65, he is hale and strong, and appears as zealous in the Master’s cause as in the days of his youth.
South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists, No. 2
The origin of this fraternity has been sufficiently explained, in the history of South District Association. It should not be confounded with the original South Kentucky Association, which was constituted in 1787, and dissolved in 1801. The present South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists originated in a revolutionary division of South District Association, in 1803. The immediate cause of the split, was the refusal of the majority, to receive the corresponding letter and messengers from Tates Creek Association; but the real ground of division appears to have been the heretical doctrines, held by John Bailey and others of the majority. Mr. Bailey had been excluded from Old South Kentucky Association, for advocating Universalism, or, as it was then called,Hell redemption, in 1791. But he was a brilliant and popular orator, and his influence was greatly missed. In accordance with advice, given by the same body that had expelled him, he was restored to fellowship, in Rush Branch church, without having renounced his heresy. This was a grief to the orthodox churches of the Association. Hence, when a test vote, in South District Association, in 1803, proved that the sympathizers of Mr. Bailey were in the majority, the minority withdrew from the body, and organized the present South District Association. The majority remained in the house, and transacted business, under the style of South District Association of United Baptists. One of the first items, transacted after the withdrawal of the minority, was the following: "Query: Does the Association approbate the reception of John Bailey? Answer: Upon hearing his willing submission to our association and church government; also [to] the terms of union with Elkhorn Association, they do." Upon this answer, the corresponding messengers from Elkhorn Association withdrew.
In 1804, the Association met at Rifes meetinghouse, in Lincoln county. John Bailey was chosen Moderator, and T. J. Chilton, Clerk. There were represented 22 churches, aggregating 827 members. The body assumed the name of South District Association of Separate Baptists. There were in the churches of the body, 29 public speakers, of whom 19 were ordained ministers. The following query and answer were recorded: "Query Does this Association consider the Scriptures of the New and Old Testaments a sufficient rule for both faith and practice, exclusive of all human compositions, set up as orthodox, either in associations or churches? Answer: We do." A conference was held in October, of this year; and a circular letter was issued, in which it was stated that their corresponding letters and messengers had been rejected by Elkhorn, North District and Green River Associations, while those of the party which had rent off from them, had been received.
This Association now stood alone. There was not another Association of Separate Baptists in all the South, if indeed, there was another in the whole world. Cut off from all correspondence, and having rejected all standards of faith and order, except the Bible, which their ablest and most popular preacher interpreted to teach Universalism, it would have been unreasonable to expect them to maintain a sound system, of doctrine and practice. As early as 1805, the subject of open communion was discussed, in the Association. The decision, at that time, was against this loose, unbaptistic practice; but in 1873; the body, "Resolved, That no person has the right to debar one of God's children from his table."
In 1806, the body assumed its present name, -- South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists. At the same session, messengers from Coopers Run, in Bourbon county, and some other Unitarian churches were present, seeking correspondence with this Association, whose reputation for the grossest heresies had already gone abroad. A friendly correspondence was granted; but the churches were not admitted to "a full union." This correspondence was kept up for a number of years, and no less a personage than Governor Garrard was sometimes a messenger from Coopers Run.
Unsuccessful attempts were made, at different periods, by Russells Creek and Cumberland River Associations, to draw
South Kentucky into the general union; but the dogmatical reply of the latter, was: "This Association is willing to unite with all christians, on the Old and New Testaments, as the only rule of faith and practice."
This Association has been Anti-missionary, from the beginning, both in theory and practice. In 1816, it resolved not to be a party to the Missionary Institution, meaning the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. The next year, it ordered the reports, sent from that organization, to be returned to Luther Rice, the General Agent of the Board.
In 1819, the territory of this fraternity had become so extensive as to render it inconvenient for the messengers to attend the meetings of the body. At this time, the Association comprised about 50 churches, with an aggregate membership of 2,000. This was the largest membership the body has ever attained. It was now deemed expedient to form a new association of the more westerly churches. Accordingly, T. J. Chilton, Michael Dillingham, James Prather and Richard Shackleford were appointed to meet the messengers of these churches, at Little Mount, in what is now LaRue county, for the purpose of effecting a constitution. The new fraternity was called Nolynn Association of Separate Baptists, and consisted of about 15 churches, aggregating some 800 members.
The mother fraternity was so reduced by this division that, in 1824, it embraced only 26 churches, with 1,231 members. In 1827, the Newlights sought a "union on the Bible," with this Association. The reply was: "We are well satisfied with the friendship that now exists between us and that body of people, called Christians, without entering into further correspondence." Nevertheless, the attempt resulted in the loss, to the Association, of about 311 members. The Campbellites came in for the next slice. The Association saw fit, in 1831, to advise that no letter be received, not coming from a Separate Baptist church; and, in the circular letter of the same date, the churches werewarned against a class of turbulent people who greatly disturbed public worship; and were advised to exclude such, who were members. By these disturbers of public worship, the Association lost 12 churches: so that, in 1834, the body was reduced to 16 churches, with 725 members.
For the next ten years, the body enjoyed peace, and a moderate
degree of prosperity. But in 1842, a series of movements was initiated that brought it much lower than it had hitherto been reduced. On application from Tates Creek Association, a committee of eleven was appointed to confer with a like number from that body, upon the subject of union between the two Associations. The conference was to be held at Crab Orchard, on Friday before the first Saturday in November, 1842. This meeting came to an agreement, on terms of union, and, in imitation of a meeting held at Tates Creek, in 1801, for a similar purpose, appointed a certain day, of the next year, for messengers from the churches of both Associations, and also from the churches of Nolynn and South District Associations, to meet at Mt. Salem, in Lincoln county, to ratify the proceedings. The meeting at Mt. Salem heartily agreed on the terms of union, proposed at Crab Orchard. There was nothing lacking now, to complete the union, but the favorable action of the four Associations immediately concerned. There was a bright prospect for the name, Separate Baptist, to be dropped, and for these associations to travel together, under the style of United Baptists. But the sanguine hopes of the friends of union were doomed to disappointment. South Kentucky Association met, the same year, at Green River church, in Casey county. The year had been a prosperous one. Letters from 18 churches, reported 207 baptisms, and an aggregate membership of 1,209. But instead of accepting the terms of union, as was almost universally expected, the Association hesitated, and finally compromised the matter, by styling themselves "South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists, agreeing to the terms of union, as entered into at Mt. Salem, in 1843." Correspondence was received from Tates Creek, South District, Cumberland River and Nolynn Associations. The following was adopted: "Resolved, that we recommend the churches to head their letters 'The Baptist church of Christ, agreeing to the terms of union, agreed upon at Crab Orchard;' and that they direct them to the South Kentucky Association of Baptists, of said union." The next year was a season of prosperity to the churches. The Association met, in 1844, at Tabernacle, in Adair county. Letters from 18 churches reported 1,374 members -- a larger number than has been reported since. After considerable debate, it was resolved to retain the old name, but to add the words: "Agreeing
to the terms of union, ratified at Mt. Salem, in 1843." In1845, the Association met at Caney Fork, in Russell county. Three years of unwonted prosperity appears to have made the body arrogant. The first important transaction was to resolve to drop correspondence with the United Baptists for this year.” Green River and Caseys Creek churches handed in two letters each: whereupon the Association agreed to receive no letter, unless it was styled Separate Baptists. After this decision, the messengers from seven churches, styling themselves Baptists, withdrew from the Association. These churches were Green River, Concord, Caseys Creek, Drakes Creek, Gilberts Creek, Greasy Creek and Union. It was agreed that the caption of the minutes, hereafter, be: "Minutes of the South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists, taking the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments for the only rule of faith and practice."
The seven seceding churches, formed a new fraternity, under the style of "South Kentucky Association of United Baptists." The old fraternity was reduced, in 1850, to 11 churches, with 526 members. It now determined to seek correspondence with the United Baptists, again. In order to do this, it assumed the following style: "South Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists, agreeing to the terms fixed upon at Crab Orchard, in 1842, and ratified at Mt. Salem, in 1843." From this period, the Association held an irregular correspondence with some of the neighboring associations, for a number of years. During this time, its growth was very slow and irregular, till about 1868, when it began to increase quite rapidly. In 1867, it reported only 9 churches, with 573 members; in 1874, it comprised 29 churches, with 1,312 members. In 1876, several churches were dismissed to form a new Association, which took the name of East Kentucky Association of Separate Baptists. This again reduced the mother fraternity, so that, when last heard from, in 1879, it comprised 16 churches, with 860 members. The records of the body are so defective, that nothing like exact statistics can be obtained. The number of baptisms has been reported, for 30 of the first 76 years of the body's existence, from which it is estimated that there have been baptized into its churches, from its origin, in 1803, till 1880, about 4,375.
The body, having resumed its ancient title, corresponds only with Nolynn and East Kentucky Associations of Separate Baptists.
In the absence of any written creed, abstract of principles or constitution, the following resolutions, adopted in 1873, give some idea of what the Separate Baptists hold and teach:
"That true believers are the only fit subjects for baptism, and that immersion is the only gospel mode.
"That no person has the right to debar one of God's children from his table.
"That the church is the highest ecclesiastical authority known to man on earth.
"That we, as the followers of Christ, deny any right to be governed by any discipline, rules of decorum, creeds or confessions of faith, set up by men, aside from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
"That Baptism, the Lord's Supper and washing of the saints' feet are ordinances of the gospel, that should be kept up until the coming of our Lord and Master."
Michael Dillingham was among the prominent preachers of South Kentucky Association. From whence he came to Kentucky, is not known; but he was an early settler in what is now Garrard county. He was a member of Gilbert's Creek church, and succeeded the venerable Joseph Bledsoe, as pastor of that congregation, at least as early as 1804. He was a prominent member of the Association, acting as its Moderator some five years, and serving on most of its important committees. He remained in the Association till about 1820.
Elijah Jeffries commenced his ministry among the churches of this Association, not far from 1832, and, for many years, was one of the most influential preachers of the body. He was Moderator of the Association from 1842 to 1847. At first, he favored the proposed union with the United Baptists, in 1842, but afterwards strenuously opposed it. It was thought to be his influence that prevented the union, and came so near destroying the Association. He labored something near twenty years in that region. The author has no account of him, at a later date.
Jacob Warriner was raised up to the ministry in this Association, and was a preacher of considerable prominence and influence. After laboring acceptably among its churches some twelve or fifteen years, he joined the Campbellites, about 1831. He afterwards moved to Ray county Missouri, where he died, September 12, 1845. ________________
North Bend Association
This small fraternity was constituted at Dry Creek meetinghouse, in what is now Kenton county, on Friday, July 29, 1803. The following 9 churches, which aggregated 429 members, were in the constitution: Bullittsburg, Mouth of Licking (now Licking), Forks of Licking (now Falmouth), Flower Creek, Bank Lick, Dry Creek, Middle Creek, Twelve Mile and Brush Creek (now Persimmon Grove). Among the early ministers of the organization, were Alexander Munroe, Lewis Deweese, Josiah Herbert, William Cave, Moses Vickers and Thomas Griffin. The course of the Association was very even; and its growth was so slow, that, in seven years from its constitution, it gained only 75 members. But, in 1811, its churches enjoyed a revival, and 277 converts were baptized. Again, in 1817, a revival commenced, and continued two years, during which 728 were baptized, bringing up the membership of theAssociation to 16 churches, with 1,453 members. From this time till 1825, the body enjoyed a season of continual prosperity. At the last named date, it comprised 25 churches, with an aggregate membership of 1,656. This was the largest membership the body has ever attained.
There were several queries proposed and answered, during the early history of the Association. The following were from Bullittsburg, in 1804: "Whether a lay member may properly assist in constituting a church?” “Whether a church when sent to, may properly send lay members as help to judge of the gift and qualifications of a minister who is set forward for ordination?" Both questions were answered in the affirmative. In answer to query from Dry Creek, in 1808, "the Association advise all churches in future to dismiss their members in full fellowship, or not dismiss them at all." Another query is answered, at the same session, by quoting the fourth section of the constitution, as follows: "The Association thus formed, shall be an advisory council, and not an authoritative body." In 1822: "Query from Licking: Whether that is gospel baptism which is not administered by an ordained Baptist minister, to a believer, by immersion? Answer: We believe that baptism, only, a gospel one, which is received by immersion, on profession of faith, and administered by one who has been so baptized, himself, believing that
to be the only scriptural mode, and duly authorized to administer that ordinance." This Association manifested a decided missionary spirit, from the first introduction of the subject, before it. In 1815, it opened correspondence with the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. The same year, it appointed five brethren to solicit means to send the gospel to the Indians, requiring them to report to the next Association. They reported that they had received $78.87 1/2. In 1818, the Treasurer was directed to pay to the Kentucky Mission Society $130. In 1829, a resolution was adopted, recommending the organization of Bible societies throughout the State of Kentucky.
In 1827, the Association was much reduced in numbers by the dismission of the following churches to form a new association: Licking, Four-Mile, Bank Lick, Wilmington, Brush Creek, Twelve-Mile, Alexandria and Flower Creek. The new fraternity, when formed, was styled Campbell Association; but, in 1830, the word "county" was added to its name. North Bend Association was now (1828) reduced to 17 churches, with 1,194 members. In 1831, it was further reduced by the dismission of Ten-Mile, Lick Creek, Providence and Mt. Zion churches, to go into the constitution of Ten-Mile Association. This left it only 12 churches, with 985 members. The churches were in a state of great coldness, and continued to decrease in numbers, for several years. Meanwhile the Anti-mission leaven began to work in some of the churches. John Taylor, who had been active in gathering some of the oldest churches in the Association, and still had great influence in the body, had published a scathingly bitter and sarcastic pamphlet against missionary and Bible societies and theological schools. Licking Association had endorsed the production, and recommended its perusal; and her ministers advocated its teachings with great zeal, and too much in the style and spirit in which it was written, not only among the churches of their own Association, but, with equal vehemence, among those of the neighboring fraternities. Such planting and watering did not fail to produce its legitimate fruits.
In the annual letter from Forks of Gunpowder church to North Bend Association, in 1833, the following passage occurred: "Since our last, we have taken into consideration the propriety of our members uniting with, or having anything to do with the
societies as follows, viz: Missionary societies, Bible societies, Tract societies, Sunday school or temperance societies, State Convention, American Bible Society. After the matter was taken up and some investigation had on the subject, the church agreed that her members should have no connection with said societies. And we wish, also, the counsel of the Association to be given on that decision, and advise the churches accordingly. We have no difference of sentiment on that subject, with the exception of two of our members, who are friendly to the Bible Society." The Association answered. -- "We are willing to leave the whole subject of those societies, with the brethren who compose the churches, trusting that each one will act in the matter so as to have a conscience void of offense towards God, and that they will bear with one another in love."
This answer quieted the murmurings for awhile, but the leaven continued to ferment in the churches. In 1839, a letter was received from the First Baptist church at Covington, asking admission into North Bend Association. The church was rejected, on the ground that her constitution contained the following heretical expressions: "That man was originally created holy" and, "That all who hear the gospel are called upon to repent and believe it; and that their guilt consists principally in their unbelief and opposition to the plan of grace which the gospel reveals." Correspondence was withdrawn from Campbell County Association, on the grounds that said fraternity encouraged preaching which was contrary to the Scriptures and her own constitution; and that she permitted disorder before the close of her meetings, and after the close of the business of the Association, received and baptized persons in an unusual manner. Both of these acts were concessions to the Anti-missionary element in the Association. The grounds of objection, in both cases, appear to have been too trifling for serious consideration. The missionary element in the Association, which was still largely in the majority, reflected on the injusticeof the transactions, and, the next year, received Covington church into the body, and reestablished correspondence with Campbell County Association.
The Antimissionaries, seeing that they could no longer control the Association, and despairing of being able to convert the obstinate majority to their views, resolved to withdraw from the body, and organize a more orthodox fraternity. Accordingly,
shortly after the adjournment of the Association, in 1840, messengers from Forks of Gunpowder, Crews Creek, Salem, Mud Lick, Bethel and Four-Mile, and perhaps, from factions of some other churches, met, and formed what they styled "Salem Association of Predestination Baptists." As North Bend Association had appointed to meet at Forks of Gunpowder, in 1841, and as that church had now left the body, it was deemed expedient to call a convention of such churches as adhered to the old fraternity. This meeting convened at Bullittsburg, in Boone county, April, 2, 1841. Only six churches were represented. It was agreed to hold the annual meeting of that year, at East Bend, where it accordingly met, on the 20th of August. Robert Kirtley preached from the text: "Then had the churches rest:" Acts 9:31. During ten years of coldness, strife and schism, the Association was much reduced, in numbers: so that, in 1842, it numbered only seven churches, aggregating 614 members. But it was now free from the spirit of contention which had so long marred its peace. The next year, the Lord granted its churches a gracious revival, during which, within a year, 364 were added to them by experience and baptism. From this period, the Association has experienced but few remarkable changes. Its increase has been slow, but it has been forward in all the leading enterprises of the denomination. In 1851, it established a home mission board, under the style of an Executive Committee, which has been very efficient in having the gospel preached among the destitute within the bounds of the Association. A number of the best preachers in the body have been employed in this work. Among the first employees of the Executive Committee were James A. Kirtley, Robert Vickers and James Vickers.
The Association sustained a loss of about 200 members, by the changes wrought during the War. In 1867, it numbered 12 churches, with 886 members. From that time to the present, it has had a regular, though not very rapid increase. In 1880, it comprised thirteen churches, aggregating 1,412 members. During 62 of the first 77 years of its existence, its churches reported 4,549 baptisms.
Thomas Griffin was one of the early preachers in North Bend Association. He was Moderator of that body, in 1806, and on two occasions afterwards. He also preached the introductory sermon before it, in 1807, and in 1811. He was held
in high esteem, both for piety, and his usefulness. But his ministry was cutshort by his death, which occurred in the forty-sixth year of his age. March 2, 18 16.
William Montague was baptized into the fellowship of Bullittsburg church during the revival of 1800-1. He remained a private member of the church, till 1814, when he was encouraged to exercise a preaching gift. He vas ordained to the ministry, in 1817. Two years later, he went into the constitution of Sand Run church. He labored acceptably among the churches of North Bend Association, about thirteen years. But, in 1830, he was accused of teaching Campbellism. Sand Run church investigated the charge, and acquitted him. Not long afterwards however, he obtained a letter of dismission, and joined the Campbellites. The church, deeming this proceeding more politic than honest, withdrew fellowship from hint.
Robert Garnett was among the early preachers of North Bend Association. He is believed to have been a native of Virginia, whence he moved to Boone county, Ky., about 1800. He joined Bullittsburg church by letter, and was "encouraged to exercise his gift," in 1803. He soon afterwards moved his membership to Middle Creek church, where he was ordained to the ministry, in 1812. Here he preached till 1825. His gift was small; but he set a good example before a numerous posterity.
William Whitaker was born in Scott county, Ky., March 25, 1793. In his youth, he went to Boone county, where he united with Bullittsburg church, during the remarkable revival of 1811. From thence he took a letter, and joined Sand Run church, in July, 1820. Here he was ordained to the ministry, by Robert Kirtley, Lewis Conner and William Montague, October 29 1826. In his early ministry, he preached among many of the churches of North Bend Association. But later in life, he confined his labors principally within the bounds of Sand Run church, of which he was pastor 40 years. He was highly esteemed in the Association, acting as its Moderator at least on one occasion, and frequently preaching the introductory sermon before its annual meetings. He died, August 2, 1872.
Perryander C. Scott was a young man of brilliant talents and superior attainments. He united with the church at Middle creek, in Boone county, and was baptized by Robert Kirtley, August 31, 1842. In December of the same year, he went into the
constitution of the church at Burlington, in the same county, where he was licensed to preach, March 18. 1843. After he was licensed, he went to Georgetown College, where he graduated with the highest honors of his class. He was ordained to the work of the ministry, at Burlington, by John L. Waller, Robert Kirtley, William Whitaker, J.M. Frost and James A. Kirtley, August 23, 1847. Soon after his ordination, he entered the Theological Institute of Covington, Ky. He preached as he could make opportunity, and nota few were converted under his ministry. He baptized about 30, the last of whom was at Carrollton. On the 3d of April, 1852, he was killed instantly, by the explosion on the steamer Redstone, near Carrollton. "Had he lived till the following June," said Dr. D. R. Campbell, in a funeral discourse, "he would have taken the highest distinction in the Theological Institute." Few young ministers, in Kentucky, have ever been more lamented. But God's ways are not always ours.
Cave Johnson was a prominent citizen of Boone county, and a highly esteemed and enterprising church member. He was born in Orange county, Va., November 15, 1760. After a term of service in the Revolutionary War, he came to Kentucky, in April, 1779. He remained, for a time, in Bryant's Station, in Fayette county. In 1784, he married and settled in Woodford county. He was one of the trustees appointed to lay off the town of Versailles, in 1792. In 1796, he moved to what is now Boone county, which county he represented in the Legislature, in 1817. He united with Bullittsburg church, by letter, soon after he moved to Boone county. In 1819, he went into the constitution of Sand Run church of him, Elder Robert E. Kirtley says: "He was a man of strong, vigorous intellect, with enlightened views of christian character, and enlightened views of christian benevolence, * * * and hence was in the lead of his time for educating the ministry." He contributed $500 for the endowment of Georgetown College, under the Presidency of Dr. Giddings. He labored and contributed for the endowment of a Theological seminary at Covington, Ky. He considered it a privilege and pleasure to give for the enlargement and glory of the Kingdom of Christ. He died January 19, 1850, in the ninetieth year of his age.
Robert E. Kirtley is one of the oldest ministers now living within the bounds of North Bend Association. He is a son of
the late Elder Robert Kirtley, and a brother of the highly esteemed James A. Kirtley, D.D. He united with Bullittsburg church, in October, 1839. He afterwards moved to Missouri, where he was set apart to the ministry. He returned to Boone county, Ky., about 1865, where he has since been actively engaged in his holy calling.
[ J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists,Volume II, 1885, pp. 118-150. -- jrd]
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