Baptist History Homepage

A History of Kentucky Baptists
By J. H. Spencer, 1885

Chapter 16 Retrospect Chenowith's Run and Sugar Creek

The year 1792 was peculiarly barren of events among the Baptists. Political excitement was at fever heat, and absorbed the attention of all classes of citizens. A convention met at Danville, in April, to form a constitution for the State. Many of the leading ministers of the different sects were opposed to African slavery, as were many other prominent citizens. David Rice, the leading Presbyterian minister in the country, wrote, with much ability against the institution, and was a member of the convention. There were also a number of Baptists in the convention, prominent among whom were Col. Robert Johnson, Thomas Lewis, Robert Fryer, George Stokes Smith,* Col. James Garrard,* William King, John Bailey,* Jacob Froman and Richard Young. However, the pro-slavery party prevailed, and Kentucky was admitted into the Union as a slave state, June 1, 1792. This checked, but did not stop the agitation of the slavery question in the churches. As shown in chapter XIII, there was confusion among the Baptists, on the subject, during nearly thirty years after this.

During this year, the Indians were troublesome in Kentucky, for the last time. "The pale faces" had, at last, become too numerous and powerful for the children of the forest. They had bravely held their ancient hunting ground as long as they were able. How long and fierce had been the struggle between them and the invaders of their ancient domain! How many hundreds of brave warriors had fallen on both sides! What scenes of carnage and cruelty had transpired! How many settlers had fled away into the deep dark forests by the light of their burning cabins; and how many had been consumed
[p. 254]
in the devouring flames! How many helpless women and children had been torn from their beds, and ruthlessly butchered by the blood-thirsty savages! Ah how the whole land had mourned over their murdered dead! But the tide of immigrants still ceaselessly rolled into the blooming valleys of the Great West, and the virgin soil was peopled with civilized men much more rapidly than the savages could depopulate it. Again and again the red men had come to endeavor to regain their lost territory, or avenge themselves on the usurpers, and had as often been repulsed. But now they visited their old hunting ground, as warriors, for the last time. They were speedily driven away. The pale-faces followed them to their homes, burned up their villages, destroyed their stores of provisions and their growing crops, and pushed them on towards the setting sun, until their vast multitudes that once spread over a broad continent have been reduced to a few thousands who hide themselves in and around the mountain fastnesses of the far west.

Happy will it be if the christian people, who occupy the ancient possessions of the red man, and plow over the graves of their fathers, shall send them the blessed gospel of Jesus Christ, that at least some of the remnant of the multitudinous nations may be redeemed from death, and brought to the enjoyment of that broad land where the millions from every kindred and tribe and tongue and nation shall sing together one everlasting song of love.

When Kentucky was admitted into the Union, June 1, 1792, it had been eleven years, lacking seventeen days, since the first church had been gathered on her soil. During that eleven years, fifty-five Baptist churches had been constituted. All of them, so far as known, except Gilbert's Creek church of Regular Baptists, were still in existence. They contained a membership of about 3,331. The number baptized during that year may be estimated, from reports made to two associations out of the three then existing in the state, at 184.

There appear on all accessible records, only two churches, constituted during this year.

CHENOWITH'S RUN was the second church organized within the present limits of Jefferson county. It was located about twelve miles southeast from Louisville. It was constituted by Joshua
[p. 255]
Morris and Joshua Carman, June 16, 1792, of the following persons: David White, Sukey White, Micajah Mayfield, John Sharp, Catharine Sharp, William Tyler, Sarah Tyler, Robert Donaldson, Masse Donaldson, Elisha Freeman, Edward Brant, Leah McCown, Elizabeth Sharp, Elizabeth Stuart, Sarah Curry, John Mundle, Jane Mundle, Punis Applegate, Rodham Seaton, and Jack, a negro. All, except the last named, who had a letter of dismission from Cedar Creek in Nelson county, had been dismissed from Brashears Creek, for the purpose of going into this constitution. The church united with Salem Association the same year it was constituted, and, on the constitution of Long Run Association, in 1803, became a member of that fraternity. The growth of the church was so slow that, in 1812, it contained but 37 members. In 1824, it enjoyed a revival which brought its membership up to 54. It continued to prosper, till 1829, when it contained 98 members. But now, under the ministry of Zacheus Carpenter, Campbellism was introduced into its pulpit, the pastor was carried away with that heresy, and the church was reduced to 20 members. In October, 1832, William P. Barnett was called to the pastorate. For a time the church prospered, and attained a membership of 38. But again it waned by the dismission of nearly half its members to form other churches. Mr. Barnett resigned, in 1839. In 1841, the church agreed to dissolve. But the old members refused to take letters, and, in 1846, called George LaPage to minister to them. The next year, George W. Robertson became their pastor. Meanwhile, in May, 1846, the church moved its location, and changed its name from Chenowiths Run toCedar Creek. By the latter name, it is still known. It has passed through many trials, and frequent changes of pastors. Its present membership is about 111.

As to the early pastor, or pastors of this old fraternity, neither the records nor reliable tradition gives any account.

SILAS GARRETT moved from Virginia, and settled near this church, about 1818, and was soon called to its pastorate. In this position he continued till he was called home. Silas Garrett was born of Baptist parents, in Louden county, Va., March 8, 1763. He received a liberal education for that time. In 1790, he married Susannah, daughter of Alderson Weeks, a Baptist preacher. After his marriage, he moved, first to Bedford,
[p. 256]
and then to Franklin county. While in the latter, he was sent to the Virginia legislature, in which he served several terms. In 1807, he lost his wife, and the next year was married to Judith, daughter of Peter Booth. In 1810, he professed conversion and united with a Baptist church. He at once abandoned his political career, and entered the christian ministry. He was ordained a few months after his baptism. After laboring in the ministry about eight years, in Virginia, he moved to Jefferson county, Ky., where he became a member, and the pastor of Chenowith's Run church. He was doctrinal and argumentative in his preaching, and was much beloved by those who knew him intimately. But the church was soon called to mourn the loss of their beloved pastor. He died, April 9, 1823. His oldest son A. H. Garrett was a prominent member with the "Old School" Baptists. He was a good citizen of Spencer county, and served one or two terms in the Kentucky legislature.

ZACHEUS CARPENTER succeeded Mr. Garrett in the pastoral office at Chenowiths Run. He was born in Spottsylvania county, Va., Jan. 20, 1774. He was taught to read and write, and then apprenticed to a house joiner, where he learned a trade. He visited Kentucky as early as 1796, and four years afterward settled in Woodford county of that State, where he married Nancy, daughter of Francis W. Lea, Dec. 21, 1800. The next year he was baptized into the fellowship of Clear Creek church, in Woodford county, by Richard Cave. In 1805, he moved to Shelby county, and united with South Long Run church, about two miles south of the present site of Simpsonville. Here he was ordained to the ministry by Henson Hobbs and others, about the year 1815. On the death of Henson Hobbs, Aug. 14, 1821, Mr. Carpenter succeeded him in the pastorate of South Long Run church, and, two years afterwards was called to Chenowiths Run. He had a fair degree of success in these two churches, till 1829, when he was accused of teaching Campbellism. He induced Chenowiths Run to abolish her confession of faith. About twenty members protested against this action, and were acknowledged by Long Run Association, as the lawful church. The majority was recognized by the Campbellites, and, for atime, seemed to flourish under the ministry of Mr. Carpenter; but it is believed the faction finally dissolved. The Carpenter party at South Long Run being rejected
[p. 257]
by Long Run Association, and Mr. Carpenter, consequently denied a seat in that body, built a new meetinghouse, near Mr. Carpenter's residence, and called their church Liberty. But discord got in among them, the church withered, Mr. Carpenter fell into disrepute and was excluded from the church he had built up, or, rather perverted to Campbellism, was after a time restored again, and the church finally dissolved. Most of the Baptist party at South Long Run had foreseen the approaching troubles, and had withdrawn and constituted a church at Simpsonville; and after the formal division, the remnant of the Baptists united with that body.

After Mr. Carpenter's restoration to the fellowship of his brethren, he continued to preach among the Campbellites, till he became too feeble to travel. In 1852, he wrote a sketch of his life and doctrinal views, but his children did not see fit to publish it. In 1854 his wife died. Concerning her, he wrote: "Her life was very lonesome and laborious during my protracted ministerial life; but she never said to me: 'You must not go.' Truly she was faithful unto death. But . . . . I will not complain. The Lord gave her to me a long time. He has now taken her. Blessed be his holy name." He did not long survive his aged companion. He died Jan. 2, 1863. Mr. Carpenter was a respectable citizen, and it is believed an honest, sincere man. He possessed a good native intellect, but his acquirements were limited, and his preaching talent very moderate. He was so self-willed as to be regarded stubborn. He seems to have had no settled system of doctrine, but was always vascillating. That eminently faithful and useful man of God, Wm. P. Barnett, was the next pastor of Chenowiths Run church, but some account of his life will be more appropriately given in connection with King's church.

GEORGE LAPAGE accepted the pastorate of this church, in 1846. He lived in Spencer county, and was a young preacher of some promise, but he soon fell into disgrace and was deposed from the ministry.

GEORGE W. ROBERTSON succeeded LaPage in the pastorate of this church, in 1847. He was an active, energetic man, and a good preacher. He was quite successful, both as a pastor
[p. 258]
and an evangelist. In 1856 he was appointed general agent for the General Association of Kentucky Baptists. In this workhe succeeded well. But chronic sore throat forced him to vacate the pulpit. He then established a book and publishing house in Louisville, which he conducted with good success a number of years. After this he moved to Bardstown, and thence to a farm in its vicinity, where he still resides. He has been pastor of several country churches at different times since he left Louisville, and is an enthusiastic Sunday-school man. The greatest drawback to his usefulness in the ministry has been an excessive fondness for money-making. He has, however, maintained a character for unimpeachable morals and business integrity.

RICHARD C. NASH was several years pastor of this old church, after it changed its name to Cedar Creek. He was an active, zealous preacher, and was quite successful as a revivalist. He spent the early years of his ministry in Indiana.

He was born in Jefferson county, Ky., Feb. 23, 1810. At the age of sixteen, he united with the church at Flat Rock in his native county, and was baptized by Ben. Allen. In 1845, he was licensed at the Fourth Baptist church in Louisville, and the following year was ordained to the ministry at Jeffersonville, Ind. About the beginning of 1852, he moved back to his native county, and settled near Cedar Creek church to which he ministered a number of years. After this he moved to Hardin county. In 1861, he accepted a chaplaincy in the 10th Kentucky Volunteers (Union) and served in that capacity three years. Returning to his farm in Hardin county, he died Feb. 4, 1865.

RICHARD A. BEAUCHAMP was the next pastor of Cedar Creek church. He is a native of Spencer county. At an early age he united with Plum Creek church, then under the pastoral care of W.G. Hobbs, in October, 1850. In July, 1851, he was licensed to preach, and in the following November was invited to preach once a month to his home church. In December, 1852, he was ordained to the ministry by William Vaughan, Wm. P. Barnett, Wm. Stout and others. He preached to the churches at Mt. Washington, Cedar Creek and perhaps some others, a few years, and then moved to Obion county, Tennessee, where he still lives and labors in the ministry. He is a good
[p. 259]
preacher, an excellent pastor, and is justly held in very high esteem. Several others have been pastors of this old church.

SUGAR CREEK church in Garrard county was first constituted in 1792, and united with Elkhorn Association the same year. It contained twelve members. It was represented in the Association only four years when it embraced only eleven members. It then disappears from the list of Kentucky churches, till 1801. Whether it had been dissolved and was now constituted a-new, or was reorganized under the old constitution, does not appear. Upon its reorganization Randolph Hall became its pastor, and, from this time, it was amember of South District Association. In 1806, it was numerically the third church in that body, and contained 96 members. It continued to prosper till it reached a membership of 111. After this, it gradually declined till it ceased to represent itself in the Association, and is now very weak, if it has not been dissolved. Of the preachers who built up this old church and nurtured it during its days of prosperity, as Hall, Higgins and Kemper, sketches have been given in connection with Forks of Dix River church.
_____________________

Note


* Preachers.

===================
[John Henderson Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1885; rpt. CHR&A, 1984. jrd]


Chapter 17
Kentucky Baptist Church Histories
Baptist History Homepage 1