This is not an organized essay; it is a collection of statements from various sources that mention the slavery issues in the Kentucky Baptist churches during the late 18th and the 19th century. The most recent item is placed at the top of this collection.
This entire document is posted here as it is the history of the first Black Baptist church in Lexington, KY, constituted in 1790. It deals with many issues the church had before their Emancipation.
A Brief History of the First Baptist Church (Black), Lexington, Kentucky, by H. E. Nutter, 1940 - [posted 7.3.07]
The following is from: Ray M. and Elsie Southwood Wright, History of Cox's Creek Baptist Church, 1935, pp. 2 & 3.
Among those who have gone from the Church as special ministers of the Gospel are . . . and Lewis, a "black brother" slave. . . . . The licensing of the slave, Lewis, in July 1853, was not considered an uncommon procedure.
Another cause for this decrease in membership after the freeing of the slaves was the gradual withdrawal of Negro members to churches of their own color. Many withdrew to Fairfield, though as late as 1913 we read of the exclusion of a Negro member, possibly the last, because, for a number of years, he had not communicated with the Church. . During these early years the Negro membership of the Church was considerable, sometimes approaching half. In 1860, when the roll was revised, one hundred thirty-five colored members were reported. The story is told that in 1881 a colored man being baptized in the creek where the ice had been broken, was frightened when, as Brother Sallee started to immerse him, his foot came up through the ice. Breaking away, he started running down the creek, and it was necessary to bring him back to complete his baptism.
Sometimes families would come for miles and camp with their slaves on the Church grounds.
Some of the causes for exclusion follow: . . . selling a Negro on the Sabbath. - [posted 6.29.07]
The following is the only reference to a black member in the history of this church:
"History of Bank Lick Baptist Church, From 1842 to 1886" - Kenton County, North Bend Baptist Association Minutes, 1887.
December 25, 1853, the record reads: "Received a black woman for baptism." From this time on until February 1, 1854, the church enjoyed a season of refreshing from the hand of the Lord, and was greatly revived, 35 persons were received into fellowship, 33 being by experience and baptism. - [posted 6.20.07]
The following is from David Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America, 1813.
This society is composed of ministers and churches, who have separated from their former connection on account of slavery, and who differ in nothing except this article from the main body of the Calvinistic Baptists. They denominate themselves "Friends to Humanity; " but they are generally known by the name of "Emancipators," which name they are by no means unwilling to receive. The people, who composed this body, belonged formerly to the Elkhorn, the North District, and Bracken Associations, from which they separated in the year 1805; some of their own choice, and others by the expulsory measures of the respective churches and associations to which they belonged.
The people whose history we now have in view, have taken a decided stand against slavery, in every branch of it, both in principle and practice, as being a sinful and abominable system, fraught with peculiar evils and misteries, which every good man ought to abandon and bear his testimony against. These are, in substance, their sentiments respecting slavery; and their desires and endeavors are, to effect, as soon as it can be done, and in the most prudent and advantageous manner both to the slaves and their owners, the general and complete emancipation of this numerous race of enslaved, ignorant, and degraded beings, who are now, by the laws and customs of the land, exposed to hereditary and perpetual bondage. And with sentiments so noble and humane, one would think they must certainly meet the approbation of every benevolent man. But truth may be unskilfully defended, and the noblest sentiments may become suspicious, by the unseasonable and intemperate zeal with which they are propagated. To declaim against slavery and slave-holders, in the hearing of a multitude of ignorant negroes, who will pervert the most proper reasonings to improper purposes, is certainly an imprudent conduct. Of this, the Emancipators were continually accused, and not without some grounds; and the perversion of their discourses by the negroes was laid to their charge as a peculiar evil. It is altogether probable that in this thing the Emancipators were much to blame. Some of them, however, ought to be excused from these charges. They have not dwelt upon slavery in their public discourses, but their principal object has been to devise plans in a prudent way for the execution of their noble purposes. The advocates for slavery oppose the Emancipators with such arguments as these: What can a few individuals do in this business? Government has sanctioned the holding of slaves; and unless they interpose their influence, nothing effectual can be done towards setting them free. This may be true; but "what measure of great public utility was ever executed by church or State, which was not first proposed by individuals? which was not first resisted by the great body, and perhaps defeated for a time?
According to Tarrant's History of the Emancipators, Elders Dodge and Carmen with their congregations, were the first who separated from the Baptists in Kentucky, on account of slavery. These men were settled in Nelson county, the next minister who made much noise in Kentucky on this subject, was Elder John Sutton, a native of New-Jersey. In the course of a few years, Donald Holmes, David Barrow, Carter Tarrant, Jacob Grigg, George Smith, and a number of other minister’s, some Europeans and some native Americans, moved into the State, and propagated the doctrine of the emancipation of slaves. Most, if not all these ministers, officiated as pastors of churches where slavery was tolerated; and the Emancipators generally, who were scattered throughout the State, traveled in fellowship and communion with their brethren who held slaves, until the year 1805. The occasion of their separating from them and uniting in a body by themselves, has been related in the history of the Elkhorn Association. The first meeting of the Emancipators as a body, was in August, 1807, when they convened in conference, to deliberate on the mode of their future proceedings. At this meeting, eleven ministers and nineteen private brethren entered their names as advocates for emancipating principles. Eleven queries were presented to this Conference, and most of their time appears to have been taken up in discussing and resolving them. One query was, Can any person be admitted a member of this meeting, whose practice appears friendly to perpetual slavery?
Answer. We think not. Another was, Is there any case in which persons holding slaves may be admitted to membership into a church of Christ? Answer. No; except in the following, viz. -- 1st. In the case of a person holding young slaves, and recording a deed of their emancipation at such an age as the church to which they offer may agree to. -- 2d. In the case of persons who have purchased in their ignorance, and are willing that the church shall say when the slaves or slave shall be free. -- 3d. In the case of women, whose husbands are opposed to emancipation. -- 4th. In the case of a widow, who has it not in her power to liberate them. -- 6th In the case of idiots, old age, or any debility of body that prevents such slave from procuring a sufficient support; and some other cases, which we would wish the churches to be at liberty to judge of, agreeably to the principles of humanity. The 5th query was, Shall members in union with us be at liberty in any case to purchase slaves? Answer. No, except it be with a view to ransom them from perpetual slavery, in such a way as the church may approve of. The last query which we shall notice, was, Have our ideas of slavery occasioned any alteration in our view, of the doctrine of the gospel? Answer. No.
The September following, these people met, and reduced their fraternity into an organized body, under the name of "The Baptized Licking-Locust Association, Friend to Humanity." The Association received its name from that of a church called Licking-Locust, which is in the north part of the State, near the Ohio River, and is considered a mother establishment to the emancipating interest in Kentucky.
At the next meeting of the Emancipators, they resolved, "That the present mode of Associations or confederation of churches was unscriptural, and ought to be laid aside." They then proceeded to form themselves into an Abolition Society. This was innovation without improvement. It would be as difficult to find Abolition Societies in the Scriptures, as Associations. The reasons for this change are not stated in the Minutes; it is probable, however, that they had become disgusted with Associations, on account of the rough manner in which many had been handled by them.
About this time David Barrow published a pamphlet with this title-page, "Involuntary, Unmerited, Perpetual, Absolute, Hereditary Slavery, examined, on the principles of Nature, Reason, Justice, Policy, and Scripture." This piece is written in a grave and manly style, and with those nice discriminations, those candid and weighty reasons, which certainly deserve the attention of all who are concerned in slavery, and is worth the perusal of those who are desirous of making inquiries on the subject. Mr. Barrow is doubtless the most distinguished minister amongst the Emancipators. The pamphlet above mentioned shows him to be a man by no means deficient in abilities, either natural or acquired. He is a native of Virginia, where he commenced his ministry in 1771; in the early part of which he suffered much by the insolence and persecuting rage of his rude countrymen.1 He also early imbibed his emancipating principles, and in consequence of which freed a considerable number of slaves. Having long been distinguished in his native State for piety and abilities, he removed to Kentucky in 1798, and settled in Montgomery county. In Virginia and Kentucky, until the stir about emancipation, Mr. Barrow traveled in fellowship with his brethren, who were the holders of slaves. When this dispute came on, they appear to have fixed on him as the object of their peculiar resentment, and carried their opposition to him to such an extreme, that the North-District Association to which he belonged, and which professes to be nothing more than "An Advisory Council," put forth its horns, and publicly expelled their brother from his seat "for preaching emancipation, and sent a committee to take him under dealings in the church at Mount Sterling, of which he was a member." How ardent and blind must have been that zeal, which hurried a large and respectable body into such overbearing and inconsistent measures! The reader will discover from this circumstance the spirit with which the emancipating dispute was conducted. But for the honor of this Association, we are happy to be able to state, that at their next session they "voted to reconsider and revoke all the acts, which they had passed respecting Mr. Barrow." But he had now united with the Emancipators, and chose not to return.
The zeal of the Emancipators has in some measure abated, and of course they are less opposed; and it is hardly probable that any lasting effects will be produced by their means. Their leading maxims are approved of by many who have not united with them, but who still hold slaves with many scruples respecting its propriety. But there is such a strong current against the emancipation of slaves, and custom, covetousness, indolence, and ambition, find so many arguments in favor of slavery, that there seems but little prospect, that any material change will at present be effected, in the condition of this numerous race of enslaved and degraded beings.
[In Mr. Barrow's piece against slavery, we find the following note: "To see a man (a Christian) in the most serious period of all his life -- making his last will and testament -- and in the most solemn manner addressing the Judge of all the earth -- In the name of God, Amen -- Hearken to him -- he certainly must be in earnest! -- He is closing all his concerns here below! -- He will very shortly appear before the Judge, where kings and slaves have equal thrones! -- He proceeds: Item. I give and bequeath to my son -- , a negro maid named -- , a negro woman named -- , with five of her youngest children. Item. I give and bequeath to my daughter -- , a negro man named, also a negro woman named -- , with her three children. Item. All my other slaves, whether men, women or children, with all my stock of horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs, I direct to be sold to the highest bidder, and the monies arising therefrom (after paying my just debts) to be equally divided between my two above-named children! The above specimen is not exaggerated; the like of it often turns up. And what can a real lover of the rights of man say in vindication thereof? Suppose for a moment, that the testator, or if the owner, dies intestate, (which is often the case) was ever so humane a person, who can vouch for their heirs and successors? This consideration, if nothing else, ought to make all slave-holders take heed what they do, "For they must give an account of themselves to God."] [posted 6.9.07]
The following is from J. M. Pendleton, Reminiscences of a Long Life, 1891:
It is appropriate for me in closing this chapter to
say something of slavery as I saw it in Kentucky and Tennessee before the war. No doubt it existed in these States, particularly in Kentucky, in its mildest form. I knew slaveholders who sustained this relation for the good of their slaves rather than for any personal profit. They were willing to set their slaves free if it would improve their condition, but on this point they doubted. They did not see that the free colored people were any better off than the slaves. In addition to this, there was, as the result of the Abolition excitement, a law passed in Kentucky forbidding emancipation. This was, I think, between 1850 and 1860.
As to the sinfulness of slavery in itself, Southern slaveholders did not believe the doctrine. They generally held the view expressed by Dr. Richard Fuller in his discussion with Dr. Francis Wayland, though some thought that view too moderate. Dr. Fuller showed very clearly that a distinction was to be made between slavery and the abuses of slavery.
This distinction was certainly recognized in Kentucky. The law gave the master the right to separate husband and wife, but no master did this without injury to his reputation; for it was considered an abuse of slavery. There was a class of men called by the odious designation, "negro traders," but they were not received in the best circle of society. They bought slaves, conveyed them farther South, and sold them to cotton and sugar planters. They were an odious class.
The opinion of slaveholders generally was that
they were not responsible for the existence of slavery, because it was introduced into the country before they were born. For its introduction the North was as accountable as the South, and the South felt that it must adjust itself to the circumstances of the case. There was always an Emancipation party in Kentucky, and if in making the second Constitution in 1799, the sagacious policy of Henry Clay had been carried out, the State would have been free before the war.
As to the negroes, I saw among them in the days of slavery as pious Christians as I ever saw anywhere. They attended church, occupied the place assigned them in the meeting-house, and partook of the Lord's Supper with their white brethren. I take pleasure in testifying that slavery in Kentucky and Tennessee, and I was not acquainted with it elsewhere, was of the mild type. When I went North nothing surprised me more than to see laborers at work in the rain and snow. In such weather, slaves in Kentucky and Tennessee would have been under shelter. It will astonish some of my friends to learn that at the death of my mother in 1863, I by the will of my father became a slave-holder. In the distribution of the estate a young girl was assigned to me. The law did not permit me to emancipate her, and the best I could do was to hire her out. I paid her the amount for which she hired and added to it ten per cent. When slavery was abolished I rejoiced in the severance of the relation I had sustained to her. I was not a
slave-holder morally, but legally. My children may be interested in knowing these facts, and the additional fact that my conscience is clear.
There is hope for the African race in this country. Its improvement, since the abolition of slavery, has been, all things considered, wonderful. The improvement has not of course been universal, but history records no such progress as has been made by the race since the war. In proof of this I may refer to a volume before me, styled, "The Negro Baptist Pulpit," containing sermons of which no white preacher need be ashamed. These preachers were slaves till the Emancipation Proclamation gave them liberty. The elevation to which they have risen is "the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes." - [posted 3.5.07]
The following is from the Long Run Baptist Association Minutes.
Reports from the Churches of the Long Run Baptist Association, 1848
Louisville, First Baptist
The colored portion of this church, worship in a separate house, where they have stated preach ing by George Wells. This body has a fine Sabbath school of 50 or 60 scholars, conducted by its pastor.
Shelbyville Baptist Church
The colored portion of this church, have a house of their own, in which Simon Grigsby, preaches statedly. Also a good Sabbath school and Bible class.
Louisville Colored Baptist Church, is in a flourishing condition, under the pastoral care of Henry Adams. Has received large accessions during the past year, and numbers 690. S. Patterson, Clerk. - [posted 2.05.07]
From an "Abstract of Church Letters" sent to the Association in 1863:
First Colored, Louisville — This is, perhaps, the largest church in Kentucky, numbering near one thousand members. Rev. H. Adams is pastor. They have a large and flourishing Sabbath-school, and pastor and church are laboring faithfully in advancing the spiritual interest of the colored people in the city.
Green Street, Colored, Louisville — Rev. B. Sucthen is pastor of this church. He enjoys the confidence of his congregation, the aflairs of which seem to flourish under his administration. They have a Sunday-school.
York Street, Colored, Louisville — Rev. Broady is the pastor of this church, and is regarded as doing a good work. They have a Sunday-school, speak of peace among themselves, and hope for better times. - [posted 2.03.07]
Early Black Baptists in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
Many pre-Civil War church members in Muhlenberg County owned Negro slaves. These Negroes, when converted, joined the same church that their masters belonged to. Unity in 1815 listed seven Negro members by first name only: Ben, Charity, Ester, Plato, Pompey, etc. In 1840, there were eleven listed by full name: Fillis Eades, Caroline Moore, Henry Oates, Rebecca Oates, etc. Johnson in his history of Hazel Creek lists 39 colored people who had been on that church roll. Other early churches also mention them - some of them in the list of charter members.
The Negroes were given all the privileges of church membership but that of voting in the business meetings. That was to prevent masters from voting their slaves. They usually had a special section of the church reserved for them.
After the Civil War freed the slaves, the white brethren assisted colored members to organize churches of their own. p. 27.
Hazel Creek Baptist Church
Johnson in "Part Second" of the Hazel Creek History has a list of the members who belonged to the church during the first hundred years (1797-1897). 1265 names are listed; 39 were colored. - p. 152.
Macedonia Baptist Church
During the time of 1862 and 1864 the members of this church proved to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. At a time when our nation was divided by war these God loving people found that God's love has no barriers. There were two colored sisters received by experience and letter. They also received three colored brothers, John and Wesley Tetterton and Benjamin Craig. - p. 154.
Oak Grove Baptist Church was constituted on September 19, 1846.
Chapter members were Barnet Eades, Thomas Terry, William P. Hancock, Fielding Foster, Thomas C. Eades, Green B. Eades, Wyatt Gates, George W. Terry, Elizabeth Dillingham, Elizabeth Eades, Delilah Foster, Nancy Hancock, Mary Gates, Elizabeth Terry, Huldah Sims, and Fillas (a woman of color). - p. 177.
South Carrollton Baptist Church
For a number of years before and after the Civil War the church had many colored people in her membership. Brother Wendell Rone says, "In February, 1869, twenty-four members of this race were added to the membership of the church by baptism. After the Civil War the colored members were organized into a church of their own with the assistance of the white brethren." - p. 185-186.
Unity Baptist Church, established in 1813.
This church like many of the early ones, had a number of negro members. It seems that they were involved in a large proportion of the charges.
This is an example:
"Brother ______ exhibited charges against Brother _____ , first for drinking three glasses of whiskey three parts full, and second for giving the lie several times. The church appointed a committee to try to settle the matter between the two black brethren, and the committee reported to the church a reconciliation between the two black brethren." - p. 190.
No reference is made in the church minutes to the Mexican War, the Civil War, the question of slavery (many of the Unity members were slave holders), or to any of the allied topics of the time. - p. 191.
A new church house was built in 1875. The old house was then turned over to the negroes who had been separated from the congregation in 1867. The negroes continued to use the old house until it was too dilapidated for repairs. Unity then helped their colored brethren to erect a new building. p. 191.
A list dated 1815 which appears in the first minute book contains the names of 62 white persons and (one name only) 7 negroes. A list headed "1840" contains 121 names of white persons and 11 negroes. - p. 191.
[From William L. Winebarger, A History Of The Muhlenberg County Baptist Association, 1966. - [posted 1.31.07]
Editor's note: I basically listed these items in chronological order until the beginning of 2007, when I began listing the last-posted item at the top. That way you can see the newer stuff without searching the entire list. - jrd
The following took place in 1785 and indicates that the blacks had a vote in the church as well as the whites at that time. John Taylor wrote of his call to the pastorate of the Clear Creek Baptist Church, Woodford County and how it was conducted: "I think it was at our March Monthly Meeting the helps came -- perhaps six or eight. Lewis Craig acted as the Moderator. His mode was to ask every members of the church, male or female, bond or free -- 'Who do you choose for your pastor?'" John Taylor was chosen as pastor of the church.
[John Taylor, A History of Ten Baptist Church, Frankfort, KY, 1823; reprint, 1968. P. 51.]
The following is J. H. Spencer's comment on early customs of Kentucky Baptists: "Slavery was by far the most fruitful of mischief of all the questions that agitated the Baptist churches of Kentucky from 1788 till 1820. Opposition to slavery extended to every part of the territory, and engaged the talents of some of the ablest ministers of the denomination. Cornelius Duese, John Murphy, John H. Owen, Elijah Davidson, and Carter Tarrant, all men of piety and influence, openly opposed slavery in Green River Association from the constitution of its first churches. Joshua Carman, Josiah Dodge and Thomas Whitman, disturbed the churches of Salem Association, by preaching against slavery until that fraternity was threatened with dissolution. The opposers of slavery, in Elkhom and Bracken Associations, were among the ablest men in those bodies. Among them were William Hickman, John Sutton, William Buckley, Donald Holmes, George Smith, George Stokes Smith and David Barrow. But this subject has been sufficiently presented in detail in the former pages. It is only necessary in this place to group it among the causes that disturbed the churches, and retarded the growth of the Baptist denomination in the West in its infancy."
[From Spencer's A History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 1, p. 484.]
About this time the subject of slavery began to be much agitated, among its churches. Donald Holmes had established an Emancipation church in 1802, not far from Mayslick. Bracken church had also adopted Emancipation principles. In 1805, these churches, with Elders Donald Holmes, James Thompson and Joseph Morris were dropped from the Association.
[From Spencer's A History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 1, p. 97.]
The body [Bracken Association] continued to enjoy peace, and a good degree of prosperity, till 1862, when it numbered 26 churches, with 2,575 members. This is the largest number of members it has ever reported. It lost about 1,000 members by the severance of the colored people from its churches, at the close of the War. [From Spencer's A History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 1, p. 100.]
The following is from a paper entitled "The Early Baptist Churches in Kentucky" and delivered at Louisville at the 50th Anniversary of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, by William M. Pratt, 1887:
Another trouble in the churches was respecting the institution of slavery.
The Baptists in Virginia, as well as many of its most distinguished citizens, had their misgivings in reference to its continued existence at the time of the adoption of the Federal Constitution. The Baptists had contended for religious liberty as well as political, and it was natural for them to carry the principle to that of personal liberty of the enslaved. Dr. Spencer gives a very full account of the agitation of this matter, from which we lean this historic fact (Vol. I, p. 182): "The subject of abolishing slavery was first introduced in the Baptist General Committee at their general meeting at Williams' meeting-house, in Goochland County, Va., March 7, 1788. The subject was regarded of such importance as to demand calm deliberation. It was deferred, in order for deliberation by the churches and the expression of their sentiments, until the meeting of the committee in Richmond, August 8, 1789. 'The propriety of hereditary slavery was taken up at this session,' says Mr. Semple, and after some time employed in the consideration of the subject, the following resolution was offered by Mr. John Leland, and adopted:'Resolved', That slavery is a violent deprivation of the rights of nature, and inconsistent with a republican government, and therefore recommend it to our brethren to make use of every legal measure to extirpate this horrid evil from the land, and pray Almighty God that our honorable legislature may have it in their power to proclaim the great jubilee, consistent with the principles of good policy."The Baptists of Kentucky were too intimately connected with those of Virginia not to sustain with them a general harmony of sentiment, and so a like agitation pervaded the churches in Kentucky.
In October, 1789, the subject was introduced into Salem Association by a query: "Is it lawful in the sight of God for a member of Christ's Church to keep his fellow-creature in perpetual slavery?" The Association declined to "enter into so important and critical a matter at present." Two other churches of the Association were in part or as a whole possessed of the same sentiment. Members of three churches, Cox's Creek, Cedar Creek, and Lick Creek, withdrew, and constituted an emancipation church six miles northwest of Bardstown. Elders Joshua Carman and Josiah Dodge headed this movement.
In 1791 Elkhorn Association appointed a committee of three, to wit, Augustine Eastin, James Garrard, and Ambrose Dudley, to draw up a memorial to the Convention to be held on the third day of April next, requesting that body to take up the subjects of Religious Liberty and Perpetual Slavery, in the formation of the Constitution of the District, and to report at the Crossings on the 8th of September. At the meeting at the Great Crossings, the memorial of this committee favorable to emancipation was read and approved. The sentiments in reference to emancipation were not approved by the churches, so, at a meeting at Bryant's, in December, the action of the September meeting was reconsidered and rejected. In 1805 the Association passed the following resolution:"This Association judges it improper for ministers, churches, and Associations to meddle with emancipation from slavery, or any other political subject, and, as such, we advise ministers and churches to have nothing to do therewith in their religious capacities."
"Slavery," says Spencer (Vol. I, p. 484), "was by far the most fruitful of mischief of all the questions that agitated the Baptist churches of Kentucky from 1788 to 1820. Opposition to slavery extended to every part of the territory, and engaged the talents of some of the ablest ministers of the denomination."
The principal agitators were Cornelius Duese, John Murphy, John H. Owen, Elijah Davidson, and Carter Tarrent, in the Green River Association; Joshua Carman, Josiah Dodge, and Thomas Whitman, in the Salem Association; William Hickman, John Satton, William Buckley, Donald Holmes, George Smith, George Stokes Smith, and David Barrow, in Elkhorn and Bracken Associations.
[Taken from Memorial Volume Containing the Papers and Addresses that were Delivered at the Jubilee of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, October, 1887, pp. 49-50.
The Fifth Session of Salem Baptist Association met at Cox's Creek, October 3, 1789.
Query: from Rolling Fork. "Is it lawful for a member of Christ's church to keep his fellow creature in perpetual slavery?"
Answer: "The association judge it improper to enter into so important and critical a matter, at present."
The association was much agitated on this subject, for a number of years. Two of her preachers, Joshua Carman and Josiah Dodge, became irreconcilable Emancipationists, and finally broke oft from the association, and set up an Emancipation church.
[From Spencer's A History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 2, p. 47.]
Ninth Session. (place of meeting unknown) 1793. The subject of slavery continues to agitate the churches.
[From Spencer's A History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 2, p. 48.]
Salem Association 1795.
Query: Mill Creek, Jefferson county, inquires if it is right for professing heads of families to raise up their servants without teaching them to read the word of God, and giving them sufficient food, raiment and lodging. The association thought it improper to interpose in domestic concerns. The same church inquires if a black slave has a right to a seat in the association.
The answer was: Yes, provided he be sent as a messenger from a church.
[From Spencer's A History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 2, p. 48.]
1796. Rolling Fork church, except three members, had withdrawn from the association, on account of its tolerating slavery. The church at Mill Creek, Jefferson county, had also withdrawn for the same reason.
[From Spencer's A History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 2, p. 49.]
Salem Association, 1802. The country began to be settled more rapidly, and, what was still more important to the prosperity of the churches, the long continued agitation of the slavery question had measurably ceased.
1803. The following churches were received into the association at the dates indicated, between the year 1803 and the second division of the body, in 1817:
In 1803, Severns Valley, (which had left the association, on account of its tolerating slavery, and joined Green River Association....
[From Spencer's A History of Kentucky Baptists, Vol. 2, p. 51.]
1804. At the meeting of the [Miami - OH] association of this year, a letter and messengers were received from the North Bend Association, Kentucky, requesting correspondence, but this was declined, and a letter and messenger sent to them to inform them of the reasons for refusing correspondence. Though the minutes do not state the reasons, they were, doubtless, founded on the practice of slavery.
[From A. H. Dunlevy, History of the Miami Baptist Association, 1869, p. 37.]
-----------------------From John M. Peck's Journal, 1817, describing his first journey through Kentucky. Peck was from Connecticut. "Friday 17th - A severe frost again last night, but weather pleasant. Attended meeting at David's Fork, and heard Rev. Mr. Vardeman preach from John 8:56: 'Abraham rejoiced to see my day,' &c. After sermon, two colored people related their experience, and were baptized, with one white woman. The examination of candidates is not half as strict as in the northern States."
[Samuel H. Ford, editor, The Christian Repository, April, 1859, "Rev. John M. Peck's First Journey Through Kentucky in 1817.", p. 260.]
Slaves in the Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church
Agreable to an order of Our Last Church meating the Committey have Exammened the Church Book and find the amount of members as following To Wit 25 White Males and 54 White fealmales and 47 Slaves and Persons of Culler the whole amounting to 126 members - - - - - -
[From the Churchbook the 2nd Saturday in December 1817]
From the Shelbyville Baptist Churchbook, October, 6, 1842.Number of white members 189 Number of black members 243 Total 432
[A. G. Curry, "A History of Shelbyville Baptist Church," The Christian Repository, March, 1859, p. 197.]
From the Long Run Association:
Query -- from Salt River Church. Is it consistent with good order for the Baptist churches of our Union to invite those preachers to preach among us who have withdrawn from us on account of slavery?
Answer. It is considered imprudent, (under the present state of things) to intermeddle therewith.
Query -- from Burk's Branch Church. What shall be done with a black member, having his wife taken from him, and removed to a distant part, in case he marries another.
Answer. We advise that churches in such cases should act prudently and tenderly towards that afflicted people.
1842 -- Admitted the East Baptist Church of Louisville, constituted January 1st, 1842, and the colored Baptist Church of Louisville, constituted in April, 1842, with four hundred and seventy-five members.
1843 -- The request of the colored church in Louisville that their pastor to be received as a messenger to the Association, decided without debate. Yeas 30; nays 35.
H. Adams, pastor of the colored church, requested permission to make remarks, and asked whether the Association considered the colored church a member of their body. Motion made and seconded that we do consider it a member, in consequence of its acceptance of the proposition made last year in regard to being represented by letter and delegates chosen from the First Church. The motion was carried, and an affirmative answer returned.
1845 -- Resolved, That the situation in which Covington Institution is, on account of the suspicion respecting its president upon the subject of slavery, this Association deems it an unsafe place to educate its rising ministry.
[Long Run Baptist Association Minutes.]
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