This Association was constituted at Brush Creek (now Persimmon Grove) Church on September 21, 1827, of eight churches, which had been dismissed from North Bend Association.
It was first called Campbell Association, but in 1831 it assumed its present title. The names of the churches that entered in the constitution were: Licking, Four Mile, Bank Lick, Wilmington, Brush Creek, Twelve Mile, Alexandria, and Flower Creek. The ordained ministers were: Robert Ware, Elam Grizzle, George Vice, William Gosney, John Stephens, George Graden and John Taylor.
After its organization the Association adopted an abstract of principles consisting of six articles and agreed to correspond with Bracken, North Bend, Union and Eagle Creek (Ohio) Associations. The eight churches of which it was constituted aggregated only 374 members, and it was so unhappy, in consequence of a continuous spirit of discord, that it increased very little during the first twelve years of its existence.
It was first annoyed by Campbellite Schism, by which it lost, between 1829 and 1833, nearly all it had gained from its constitution to the latter date. After that it was paralyzed by determined opposition to missions on the part of a large majority of its members. In 1829 it recommended the organization of Bible Societies, but this appeared to have been a mere compliment to an agent of the American Bible Society, who happened to be present. In 1830 it appointed four "yearly meetings" to be held within its bounds during the succeeding year. In 1835 the subject of employing one or more preachers to labor among the destitute within the bounds of the Association was discussed in the body, and it was agreed to appoint a meeting to be held at Brush Creek the following October "to consider the propriety or impropriety of setting at liberty one or two ministering brethren to devote their time to preaching" within the bounds of the Association, "for which they shall be paid." This meeting was held and it was agreed to
let the matter rest. Nothing more appears to have been said on the subject until 1839, when Bank Lick Church, fearing that some remains of the missionary leaven were still fermenting in the body, sent up a query as to whether or not the Association were "missionary in spirit" and would "support the board?" The Association, conscious of the existence of an excitable anti-missionary element in the churches, and desiring to maintain peace among them, answered: "We have had nothing to do with the missionary question, whether home or foreign, since the meeting at Brush Creek (in 1835) where it was agreed to let the matter rest. We are not connected with or known as auxiliary to the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. As to what we are in spirit is known between us and our Master."
In 1839 a revival prevaded the churches and continued to prevail more than a year. The Association increased from eight churches, with 370 members in 1838, to ten churches with 757 members in 1840. The revival spirit prevaded the meetings of the Association in 1839 with such power that a number in attendance professed conversion; and after the close of business the members of the body indulged in a season of fervent worship and joyous devotion. A number of persons who had been converted were baptized. For these disorders North Bend Association dropped correspondence with Campbell County. This act, however, was reconsidered the next year and the correspondence was restored.
The policy pursued towards the anti-mission element for the sake of peace did not avail. Shortly after the meeting of the Association in 1840, the more violent of the anti-missionaries split off from the churches, and united with larger numbers that had severed themselves from the churches of North Bend, embodied the several factions under the style of "Salem Association of Predestinarian Baptists." This Schism did not entirely relieve the Association of the anti-missionary spirit. In 1840 the body ventured very closely to recommend the churches to acquaint themselves with the object of Indian Mission Association, and act as Christian duty and prudence might dictate. The same year some "lay brethren," having written a letter to the Association, suggesting the propriety of employing one or more ministers to labor within the bounds of the Association, the churches were requested to send one member each to meet at Alexandria on a given day in the succeeding October, to consult and act as the church might direct. This meeting appears to have resulted like that held at Brush Creek in 1835, in agreeing to let the matter rest. However, the spirit of the body began manifestly to improve. In 1848 the Georgetown College and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Institute were recommended; in 1849 a collection of $12.40 was taken for the benefit of two aged and indigent preachers, and in 1851 the sum of $23.50 was contributed to the General Association. This is the first notice of a contribution to any missionary enterprise on the records of the organization. Since this period the Association has occupied the grounds of a Missionary body.
We find that, after they had considered the obligation and learned the practice of the first churches, that they, came forward with their means, personally to engage in spreading the gospel and to consecrate themselves to the work.
The first Campbell County Sunday School Convention met at Alexandria March 13, 1869. The following Schools reported: Walnut Hill, Alexandria, Licking Valley, Flagg Spring, Pleasant Ridge, Brush Creek and Grant's Lick. In 1876 the Association employed a missionary to visit the destitute Churches and Sunday Schools. His report for the first year was: traveled 870 miles, vfsited 700 families, held 18
public and 60 family prayer meetings, distributed 560 English and 425 German tracts and visited 14 Sabbath Schools.
In the early history of the Association the business included a few things that the Association of today are slow to consider.
1. Immoral conduct, whether in the minister or member.
2. Reconciling differences between members; also between churches.
There were many revivals of religion held in which there were active and efficient men converted.
There have been few changes since the early Association. The Associational meetings are much more formal now than they were in the beginning. The minutes are now largely statistical. The circular letter that used to appear at each annual Association is omitted. Very little is said in the letters of today about the spiritual conditions of the churches. The greater part of the meetings now are devoted to the denominational affairs. The sessions used to last three days, but now there is such a rush to get through and get away.
In 1912 F. P. Gates was elected by the District Mission Board as Field Worker and served one year. During this time he served Alexandria as pastor. In 1914 the Board employed Rev. W. A. M. Wood as Field Worker. He organized Silver Grove Church and a house of worship was built under the direction of the District Board. He also organized and built a church at Demossville. He served this Association five years and resigned to accept the work in North Bend Association. In 1923, Rev. J. M. Rogers, a returned Missionary from China, was elected and served four months. In July, 1923, Rev. F. L. Huddleston was elected and served nine months. In 1915 the Silver Grove and Ft. Thomas churches were received into the Association and Demossville Church in 1916. In 1920 Brighton Street Church was received into the Association. In 1924 the Association withdrew fellowship from this church, on recommendation of the District Mission Board, because they refused to withdraw the hand of fellowship from L. R. Brauntz, who was teaching the doctrine of Divine Healing. In 1924 Immanuel Baptist Church, Bellevue, made application and was received into the Association.In 1850 it numbered 14 churches with 1047 members. In 1860 15 churches with 1823 members In 1870 15 churches with 1847 members. In 1880 17 churches with 1780 members. In 1890 14 churches with 1996 members. In 1895 14 churches with 2127 members. In 1905 15 churches with 2516 members. In 1915 17 churches with 2805 members. In 1925 19 churches with 3672 members.
From the constitution in 1827 to its meeting in 1895 there were baptized into the fellowship of the churches 6,434 converts, and from 1895 to 1925, 4,717 baptisms, total of 11,151 baptisms.
The first introductory sermon was preached by Rev. Wm. Montague; text, 1st Peter, 2nd Chapter, 5th Verse. The first Moderator was Rev. John Stevens, who served from its constitution until 1840. Rev. James Vickers was then chosen and served until 1850. Rev. James Spilman was elected and served two or three years, when Rev. Vickers was again chosen and served until 1859. Rev. A. W. Mullins was elected and served until 1864. Rev. Spilman was again chosen and served two years. In 1867 Rev. James Jolly was elected and served until 1900, a period of thirty-three years, except the year 1873, when, not being named a delegate from his church, could not hold office and Rev. Jesse Beagle was chosen and served that year.
In 1901 Rev. C. J. Bagby was elected and served 11 years.
In 1912 Rev. N. F. Jones was elected and served 5 years.
In 1917 Rev. A. L. Crawley was elected and served 1 year
In 1918 D. B. Jolly was elected and served 4 years.
In 1922 J. J. Wooten was elected and served 1 year.
In 1923 Hubbard Schwartz was elected and served 2 years.
In 1925 Rev. R. H. Tolle was elected and served until the present time.
Louis Klette was elected Clerk at its constitution and served until 1836, except two years that Win. Decoursey served; in 1836 Win. J. Morin was elected and served until 1855, then N. C. Petit was elected and served 20 years. In 1875 Wm. A. Morin was elected and served two years, after which Win. Barnard served one year. In 1878 J. J. Wright was elected and served three years. In 1881 John B. Qtten was elected and served three years. J. G. Ellis served one year. S. G. Mullins was elected and served seven years. In 1892 James I. Ware was elected and served fifteen years. C. E. Baker served a period of seven years from 1908. E. C. Hutton was elected in 1915 and served until the present time.
The Licking Church is the oldest church in the Association, constituted in 1794.
At this time, August 1926, there are 19 churches in the Association with a membership of 3707: Alexandria, Bellevue First, Dayton, Demoss-ville, First Twelve Mile, Flagg Spring, Ft. Thomas, Grant's Lick, Immanuel, Dayton, Licking, Licking Valley, Mentor.
[Campbell County Baptist Association Minutes, 1926, p. 27-30. This document is from the Northern Kentucky Baptist Association office, Erlanger, ky. — Jim Duvall]
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