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History of the Alexandria Baptist Church
(Now First Baptist Church of Alexandria)
By J. White, 1880

     Alexandria Church was constituted April 17th, 1820. A number of persons living in and about Alexandria having obtained permission from the chuch at Four Mile, met at the house of Wm. DeCoursey, on the day above named, and organized a Church. On the night following, the Church meet for worship at the house of H. E. Spilman, and several were received into full fellowship. On the 29th of the same month, the Church met at Wm. Decoursey's, and Rev. Absalom Graves acted as Moderator. So we presume he might be considered the first pastor of the Alexandria Church. How long he has served is not known, as it appears the pastors were not called for any certain length of time -- only solicited to preach for the Church as often as convenient.

     Among those who preached for and gave aid to the Church, we would not forget to name Revs. Jas. Dicken, Wm. Hume, Jno. Stevens, Jas. vickers, Wm. Gosney and R. Ware.

     George Graden was ordained to the ministry November, 1823, making a faithful gospel mninister, liivng an examplary life and preaching for this Church and others, without a reward other than that of a clear conscience of having discharged his duty. He lived to a good old age, loved and respected by all who knew him

     The Church met for many years to worship at private houses. Finally they resolved to build a house, and did build one of bricks, which was used for many years, but was never entirely finished, and it was finally abandoned, and the Church worshiped in the Court-house, some times one place and some times another.

     From the constitution of the Church up to November, 1832, a number of preaching brethren gave us all the aid possible. They were men seeking labor, not wages.

     From 1832 to 1838, we have no record of the Church. From 1838 to 1860, the record of the Church is not clear as to the exact time each pastor served. In that time, no one served so long as James Spilman.

     In the year 1850, Rev. W. Stilwell preached for the Church, and received $12; and in 1857, Rev. A. McGlothin received the same for one year's service.

     In 1852, A Drury served the Church on the fourth Sunday. In 1858, N. C. Pettit served the Church on the fourth Sunday.

     In 1860, the Church resolved to build a house, but, alas, such hopes were often blasted. Rev. J. Spilman having served as pastor for anumber of years and being much afflicted, had often said to the Church that it would be better to call on some other brother to take charge. The Church resolved to do so, first placing on record their reason for so doing, and showing the great love they had for him who had served them so long and faithfully. We will give it in the language of the Church:

     "The Baptist Church at Alexandria, Campbell County, Ky., at their meeting on the 28th of January, 1860, having in comtemplation the calling of a preacher to take the pastoral care of the Church the ensuing year, would say, and with no small degree of gratitude, that they have been favored with having Bro. James Spilman's services and pastoral care of the Church for many years, and the pittance he has received for his labors has been very small. Nevertheless, under his care the Church has enjoyed many revivals and refreshing seasons. And as the Church for the last two or three years has imposed upon him a burthen which, thorugh the infirmity of age and physical inability, he was scarcely able to bear up under, and he has said at various times, both in public and private, that the Church might in all probability do better to call another preacher; still he has dicharged his duty faithfully. Weighing all these circumstances, the Church thinks it better to relieve him of the burthen and call some one else to take charge of the Church the ensuing year. Nevertheless, it is the wish of the Church that Bro. Spilman should visit us, preach and exort [sic] for us, and especially at our protracted meetings, when he is able to do so; and when he retires from this charge, he may feel assured that he has the kind sympathy of this Church, and we can say thus: "Thou hast been faithful and watchful over the Church below, and we have strong hopes that the welcome approbation will be enter into the Church of the most High."

     So we see what a hold Bro. Spilman had upon the hearts of the members of the Church he served so long.

     Rev. W. Stilwell was now called as pastor, to attend on the second and fourth Sundays. Rev. N. C. Petti served the Church a part of 1862 and 1863. Rev. Jas. Spilman called again in 1864, to the charge of the Church. Bro. Warren Beagle preaching on the fourth Sunday in each month.

     November, 1864, made arrangements with the Trustees of the Southern Methodist Church for the use of their house until we could build. The use of the house was freely granted, for which they will ever have our best wishes. Jas. Spilman served as pastor in 1865. In 1866, H. E. Spilman, nephew of Jas. Spilman, was called to take charge of the Church. Rev. T. W. Hyanes was called to take charge of the Church in 1867, and served three years. In 1870 and 1871, N. C. Pettit served the Church; occupied and dedicated our new house. Rev. W. Stilwell served as pastor in 1872, and Rev. N. C. Pettit again in 1873. In December, 1874, Bro. J. R. Barbee was called to the pastoral care of the Church, and served for three years, when Bro. Pettit was again called in 1878, who has served us faithfully up to the present time. Bro. Pettit now leaves us, and it will be hard to fill his place. But, as God directs all for the best, not my will, but thine be done. The Church now numbers eighty members.

J. White

[Taken from Campbell County Association Minutes, 1880, pp. 13-15. - jrd]

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