Goshen, Lick Creek, Harrods Creek, Long Run, Hazel Creek and Viney Fork Churches
The year 1797 was one of peace and quiet among the churches of Kentucky. The little want of confidence in the orthodoxy of Tates Creek Association of United Baptists, on the part of Elkhorn Association, was removed this year, and a fraternal correspondence has been kept up between the two bodies to the present day. Salem Association was in full accord with Elkhorn and Tates Creek Associations. South Kentucky Association with her eighteen churches and 1,300 members, stood off from the others like the Samaritans from the Jews. And as no overtures for union was made to her this year, she had no opportunity to vent her ill humor.
Very little business engaged the attention of the Associations. Elkhorn condemned parades at funerals, decided that it was proper for a minister of Christ to preach the gospel where the people assembled to inter the dead, but denied that preaching at a funeral was necessary to the decent burial of the dead. She appointed a committee to meet with some brethren in Mason county, to consider the propriety of organizing a new Association, dismissed Columbia church to go into an association about to be formed in Ohio, advised the churches to be on their guard against the imposition of one Robert Smith, who had been excluded from his church, and was preaching around over the country, and appointed a committee of her ablest preachers to guard against clerical impostors. Salem Association warned the churches against encouraging Reuben Smith, till he should put his letter into some church.
There was a manifest increase of spiritual interest among the churches. The hearts of the earnest ministers and pious church members rejoiced at the prospect of an approaching
revival. The indications were indeed slight; but "a cloud as a man's hand," rising on a brazen sky after so long a drought, afforded the eager watchmen grounds of hope. Only a few of the churches shared in the ingathering of the year; but some of these had a large blessing. Limestone church received by baptism seventy-seven, Mays Lick, forty-three, and Bracken, 157. These churches were all in Mason county. Several other churches received smaller numbers. There was just seventy churches with an aggregate membership of about 4,436, represented in the four associations, which then existed in the State. The aggregate number of baptisms was probably something near five hundred. This was much the largest ingathering the churches had enjoyed since the revival of 1789. There was also an increased activity in planting new churches, to which the attention of the reader must now be directed.
GOSHEN church is located in Clark county, some ten miles northeast from Winchester. It was probably gathered by William Payne, at whose house it was constituted by him, Ambrose Dudley and Donald Holmes, Jan. 14, 1797. William Payne preached to it about two years, when the distinguished David Barrow became its pastor. He continued in the pastoral care, till about 1802, when he resigned on account of his anti-slavery sentiments. In 1804, at which time it numbered seventy-one members, it took a letter from Elkhorn Association, and joined North District. From 1816 to 1855, good old Thomas Boone preached to this church. For many years it was a flourishing body but about 1840, it allied itself with the Anti-missionary Baptists, after which it withered, but is still a respectable church.
WILLIAM PAYNE appears to have been a preacher of very moderate ability, among the pioneers of Central Kentucky. He settled near Lexington, and was a licensed preacher in Town Fork church, as early as 1790. He was associated with Ambrose Dudley in raising up some of the early churches, as far westward as Henry county. In 1797, he went into the constitution of Goshen church, and became its pastor for a short time. In 1802, he moved to Washington in Mason county, and was for some time a preacher in the church at that village. In 1810, he went into Licking Association of Particular Baptists, among whom he remained as late as 1821, after which his name disappeared from the records.
EDWARD KINDRED was an Englishman, who was in the Bush settlement in Clark county, at an early period. He was baptized into the fellowship of old Providence church, in 1790. The following year he was chosen deacon of that body. He was afterward put into the ministry, and in 1804 was called to preach at Goshen church. He was regarded a good man, with very moderate gifts. He labored in the ministry many years, in Clark county, and died childless.
RAVENS CREEK church united with Elkhorn Association, in 1797. It embraced, at that time, sixteen members. In 1801, it received 104 by baptism, increasing its membership to 127. But was gradually reduced in numbers, till in 1808, it had thirty-eight members. In 1810 it entered into the constitution of Licking Association. It contained about the same number of members, in 1848, when it was dropped from that Association, for being in disorder. The "disorder" probably consisted in that refractory church engaging in some of the benevolent enterprises of the day.
BETHEL church, formerly called Tick Creek,1 is located on a small stream from which it derived its original name, about five miles east of Shelbyville. Itwas probably gathered by Joshua Morris, or James Dupuy, and was constituted in 1797. It first united with Elkhorn Association, to which it reported a membership of sixteen, the same year it was constituted. In 1799, it took a letter from Elkhorn, and joined Salem Association, at which time it numbered twenty-four members. In the division of the latter fraternity, in 1803, it fell into Long Run Association, at which time it numbered 107 members. Five years afterward, when George Waller took the pastoral care of it, the number of its members had been reduced to forty-five. Mr. Waller preached to the church twenty-three years, when, in 1832, he accepted an appointment to ride as missionary in the State of Kentucky, one year, under the direction of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, which had just been organized. At this time the church numbered 186 members. At Mr. Waller's solicitation, John Holland was invited to serve the church during Mr. Waller's absence. When his year expired, and Mr. Waller returned from the missionary field to resume his pastoral
charges, it was ascertained that a strong anti-missionary element had been developed in the church. It was also made to appear that Mr. Holland, although a portion of the year under the employment of the same missionary board that employed Mr. Waller, the church not knowing it, had encouraged the anti-missionary spirit. This led to unpleasant feelings between the preachers, which required several years for adjustment. In 1835 the church attained to a membership of 259. But the two elements -- missionary and anti-missionary — were irreconcilable. The church divided. The anti-missionary party was in the majority, and kept the house, the name and the records. The missionary party is the present prosperous church at Clay Village, which belongs to Shelby county Association, and in 1819, numbered 140 members. Old Bethel church united with Licking Association, and though next to the largest in that body, in. 1876, it numbered only forty-three members.
STARK DUPUY was, in its early day, raised up to the ministry in Bethel church. And, although he has been briefly spoken of elsewhere, a few words may be added here. His father, James Dupuy, was among the early Baptist preachers in Powhatan county, Va., where his son Stark was born. He was an early emigrant to Kentucky. After spending some years in Woodford county, he moved to Shelby, and settled on Tick creek. Here Stark Dupuy received, at least, a good English education for that day. He early entered the ministry, and was "a boy" of extraordinary sprightliness. He was a young man of fine energy and public spirit. In 1812, he commenced the publication of THE KENTUCKY MISSIONARY AND THEOLOGIAN, he being the sole editor. It was a quarterly magazine, four numbers of which made a volume of 244 pages. The first number was printed by the public printer, at Frankfort, in May, and the volume was completed in the following February. At the latter date, its publication was suspended, as the editor stated, till the War should close. Mr. Dupuy, who was doubtless the first Baptist editor of a religious periodical, west of theAllegheny Mountains, did not resume the publication of his journal; for soon after its suspension, Silas M. Noel commenced, in 1813, the publication of The Gospel Herald, that more than filled the place of its predecessor.
Mr. Dupuy was a man of delicate constitution. He move[d]
early to Tennessee in search of a mild climate. Here he aided in raising up the first churches in that region, and forming them into old Forked Deer Association, of which he was the first moderator. After his lungs became so much diseased as to prevent his preaching, he compiled a hymn book, known as Dupuy's HYMNS, which was, for many years, among the most popular works of the kind in the Mississippi Valley. He died in the prime of life, with that fatal malady, popularly known as consumption of the lungs.
HARRODS CREEK church is, by several years, the oldest fraternity of the kind on the northern border of the State, below Old Bullittsburg, in Boone county. It takes its name from the principal water course in Oldham county, and is located six miles from the Ohio river, and about the same distance from LaGrange, the county seat of Oldham.
It is probable that the first settlement, formed in Oldham county, was made near the present location of Harrod’s Creek church, about 1788. Among the settlers, were the Shirleys, Glores, Wilhoits, Yeagers, and a young Baptist exhorter of the name of William Kellar. Most, or all of these families, were Germans, and a number of Baptists were among them. Mr. Kellar made regular appointments, and preached to the people, at his own house, for a number of years. In 1797, he procured ministerial aid, and the Baptists in the settlement were constituted the Regular Baptist church on Harrods creek. Mr. Kellar was immediately chosen pastor, and continued to occupy that position till his death, in 1817.
Harrods Creek church was received into Salem Association the same year it was constituted, and remained in that connection six years. In 1803, it went into the constitution of Long Run Association. It numbered, at that tame, 151 members. At the death of Mr. Kellar, it contained 279 members. Benjamin Allen succeeded Mr. Kellar in the pastoral office, and preached to the church, till 1831, when it numbered 209 members. Mr. Allen has now become a zealous follower of Campbell, and, being exceedingly popular, carried about seveneighths of the church into the heresy of Campbellism. The Baptists separated themselves from the Campbellites, and called the distinguished George Waller to minister to them. In two years they had increased to 40 members, and, in 1855,
when it had united with Sulphur Fork Association, it numbered only 67 members. Its growth has been very slow, but it has been distinguished for its steadfastness in the faith, promptness in discipline, and the warm spirituality of its membership. In 1879, it reported ninety members.
WILLIAM KELLAR was the first pastor of Harrods Creek church. He was the son of Abram Kellar, a pious German, and was born in Shenandoah county, Va., about the year 1768. Although his father was a man in prosperous circumstances, the condition of the new country was such that his large family of children grew up with but little education. William was the youngest of eight children. His mother died soon after his birth, and he was left fatherless before he was grown. He was a wild, wicked youth. Just before the father’s death, he called William to his bedside, presented him a large Bible, and said to him: "My son, this is your portion." The youth received it from the dying father with a feeling of anger, mentally saying: "Is this all you mean to give me." However, the good old man willed him the valuable farm on which he lived. He continued to live in vice and folly, till sometime after the death of his father, when he was alarmed under the preaching of James Ireland, who suffered so bitterly in Culpeper jail "for preaching the gospel contrary to law." However, young Kellar soon shook off his convictions, married the daughter of Colonel John Netherton, and moved to East Tennessee. Here his convictions were soon renewed, under the preaching of John Mulky, by whom he and his young wife were shortly afterwards baptized. Soon after this, he removed to Kentucky, and, after remaining a short time near Lexington, settled on Harrods creek, where he spent the remainder of his life. In this new settlement, there were about an equal number of Methodists and Baptists, but no preacher of any kind; for Mr. Kellar was not licensed to preach for several years after this. The two sects, agreed to lay aside their differences, so far as to worship together. They held night meetings, for prayer, at the different houses in the settlement. After awhile, Mr. Kellar began to exhort at the prayer-meeting, and was soon acklowedged the leader among them. Having no opportunity of becoming a church, in legal form, about eleven Baptists gave their church letters to Mr. Kellar, agreeing to watch over each other as brethren, and chose him as
their leader and teacher. In this way they progressed, till 1797, when they were regularly constituted a church. Mr. Kellar was continued as their preacher, and in due time was ordained to the ministry. Soon after his ordination, he began to baptize, and, among others, baptized several of his old Methodist friends. This led to a debate with the Circuit rider, who was afterwards Bishop McAndrew.
Soon after Harrod's Creek church was constituted, and before his ordination, Mr. Kellar heard of a new settlement, ten or twelve miles east of him. To this he made his way on foot, through the unbroken forest. Here he found four. Baptists. He continued to visit this settlement till, in 1800, a church was constituted, which is still known as Eighteen-Mile church. To this organization, he ministered seventeen years. For a number of years, he walked to his appointments, always carrying his gun and knife. His descendants:;till tell about his killing a very large bear, while on his way to preach at Eighteen- Mile, one Sunday morning.
Two years after Eighteen-Mile church was constituted, he gathered another church, four or five miles south of the former, which was called Lick Branch (now LaGrange). To this he ministered fifteen years. Meanwhile, he had accepted a call to Beargrass church, which had been constituted in 1784. Mr. Kellar ministered to these four churches monthly, without pay, traveled and preached much among the destitute, and raised nine children, of whom eight were daughters. "And yet," says his biographer, Abram Kellar, "I know of no man whose property has increased more rapidly than his."
When the War of 1812 broke out, Mr. Kellar, who had served in some of the wars with the Southern Indians, like David, left his flocks in the wilderness, and went to see how his brethren did in the Northwestern army, He was captain of 100 mounted riflemen, in the campaign against the Indians, in Illinois. When the campaign closed, he returned to his pastoral charges, and continued his labors, with much success, till his last illness, The illness was supposed to have resulted from the bite of a bear. Having shot the animal, and supposing it to be dead, he went up with his knife to "stick it," when it seized him by the calf of his leg, mangling it fearfully. The wound never healed. His illness continued about three weeks. The
night before his death, he asked his wife if the family were together; being answered in the affirmative, he seemed to resume all his strength of reason and voice; he commenced praying for his family; then for the church, and the preachers, and finally for all mankind. He thus continued to pray till he was exhausted. Next day, November 6, 1817, he breathed his last.
Few men have been better fitted for pioneer preachers than was William Kellar. He possessed great physical strength and courage, and unflagging industry. And it added much to his popularity, that he was a skillful hunter, "a boss mechanic" — cabinetmaker, — and "the best hand in the settlement, at a log-rolling, or house-raising." He was of a cheerful temperament, and extremely easy and charming in conversation. "His doctrine was built on sovereign grace," and he was eminently practical in applying it. He was so industrious and wise in the management of his business affairs, that, without entering into speculation, he supported his family well, without any compensation for preaching. His energy and industry in preaching the gospel was not inferior to that directed to the support of his family. He would walk ten miles through a pathless forest, with a rifle on his shoulder, preach to the people, and return home again the same day.
Of him, John Taylor says: "Everything that is calculated to recommend a man to his fellow-men was summed up in Mr. Kellar. Generosity, good will and liberality, as well as justice and truth, were predominant in him. Resignation to God ornamented him as a Christian. He was once asked what was a man's best evidence, that he was a Christian. His answer was, to have no will of his own. Some years passed, his house, then lately finished, was burnt down, with all his principal furniture in it. Being from home at the time, though hearing of it before he returned, he found his companion and little children in a poor, sorrowful, naked hut. The first words he said to her, with great cheerfulness, were: 'Well wife, do you feel like job?'
"As to preaching talents, he was not above mediocrity. He had a good understanding of the scriptures and a readiness of communicating his ideas, with a peculiar method of dealing with the heart, and a most winning address. His pathos was often such that every tender feeling of the heart was in heavenly
emotion, so that his hearers would weep aloud, or loudly shout the praises of their God. His voice was naturally loud and melodious. But his singing oft-times seemed to do more than all the rest. Above that of all other men his singing seemed to come from above. At times, after preaching, he would leave the stage and strike up some heavenly song, his own eyes filled with tears of sympathy for his fellow-men; and while he sang, ranged through the assembly and reached out his hand to all who came in his way, the flax that was only smoking before, would burst into a flame, and hundreds or thousands would be weeping or rejoicing at once.
"Among men, there never was a more safe or more agreeable friend than William Kellar. Nor do I know of any man or preacher whose death could have made a greater chasm in the Baptist Society in Kentucky. Of the value of this man, a tenth part has not been told." He was moderator of Long Run Association, three years, and was filling that position at the time of his death. He also preached the introductory sermon before that body four times. His only son, Abram Kellar, was a Baptist preacher in Illinois."
BENJAMIN ALLEN was the second pastor of Harrods Creek church. He was a native of Virginia, and was born April 28, 1776. He came with his father to Kentucky, in 1785. At the age of twelve years, he was apprenticed to Elder William Kellar for the purpose of learning the trade of a carpenter and cabinet-maker. He remained with Mr. Kellar six years. During this time he learned to read and write. While serving his apprenticeship, he professed conversion, and was baptized by Mr. Kellar into the fellowship of Harrods Creek church. Shortly after his baptism, he began to exercise in prayer and exhortation. He was active and zealous, became a good, easy, fluent speaker, and ultimately one of the most pleasing and popular preachers in his region of the state. Hewas orthodox according to the Baptist standard, preached experimental religion with great warmth and zeal, and carried the hearts of the people with him as effectually as did Absalom. He became pastor of Flat Rock and Floyds Fork churches in Jefferson county, Dover in Shelby, and many were added to the churches through his ministry. John Taylor compared him to Barnas as and added, that, like Barnabas he had been carried away by dissimulation.
When Alexander Campbell began to propagate his doctrine in Kentucky, Mr. Allen speedily received it, and by preaching it guardedly, carried a large majority of Flat Rock and Harrods Creek churches with him. The former was entirely destroyed as a Baptist church. A few members that held to Baptist principles, organized what is now Pleasant Grove church in Jefferson county. The history of Harrods Creek has been given above. After the final separation between the Baptists and Campbellites, Mr. Allen continued to preach among the latter, till his death, which occurred April 6, 1838.
The immediate occasion of the split of the churches in Long Run Association, was the rejection of two churches which made application for membership in that body. Their names were Pond Creek and Goose Creek, the former in Oldham, and the latter in Jefferson. These churches had been gathered by Mr. Allen and constituted after the manner of the Separate Baptist churches, without any written creed. Mr. Allen boasted that he was the first man in Kentucky that constituted a church which from its origin, discarded all creeds and confessions of faith. This, however, was an empty boast, since there were, at that time, two associations in the State embracing more than forty churches, and a number of them among the oldest in the State — not one of which had ever had a written creed or confession. Benjamin Allen was a man of great zeal and activity, and exerted a strong influence. He brought many people into the Baptist churches, but he took many more out. The Campbellites owe him more, and the Baptists less than any other man that has labored in the bounds of Long Run Association.
A. M. RAGSDALE was pastor of Harrods Creek church a few years. He was born in Shelby county, Kentucky, August 20, 1810. He united with the church at Eallardsvile in Oldham county, in 1839. Here he was licensed to preach, in 1842, and ordained, in October, 1844. He labored principally in Trimble county, where he gathered Middle Creek church, which was constituted of twenty members, October 20, 1848, and Poplar Ridge, which was constituted in 1858. To these, Harrods Creek, Covington and perhaps some others, he ministered as pastor with a good degree of success. He died of typhoid fever, in his 52d year.
Mr. Ragsdale was a good, sound practical preacher, and
was much devoted to his holy calling. He had a stern appearance, and seldom made a favorableimpression on strangers, yet few men were more beloved where he was well acquainted. He spent most of his ministerial life in the rough, hilly country along the Ohio river, in Trimble and Oldham counties, where his labors were much blessed from first to last.
JAMES KINSOLVING was pastor of Harrods Creek and La Grange churches, a short time about 1844. He proved to be a man of a turbulent spirit. He soon became involved in difficulties with several members of his charge, and was compelled to resign. He was an elderly man at that time. He moved some where in the region of Madisonville, and died.
WILLIAM EDMUND WALLER, JR. became pastor of Harrods Creek church, in 1869. He was a son of A.D. Waller, grandson of the distinguished George Waller, and a great grandson of the noted old pioneer preacher, William Edmund Waller. In intellectual gifts, he was not surpassed by any of these ancestors. His voice and delivery were both defective. But the matter of his theoretical discourses was clear, strong and logical. He was an effective, practical preacher, and an excellent disciplinarian. It is doubted whether there was an abler preacher or better pastor of his age, than he in the State, at the time of his death.
W. E. Waller was born in Shelby county, Kentucky, November 17, 1845. While he was a child his parents moved to Louisville, where he received a fair English education, in the city schools. After his parents moved back to Shelby county, he labored on a farm till the breaking out of the war between the States, in 1861, when he became connected with the Southern Army. At one time he was arrested and condemned by a Federal court-martial to be shot as a spy. But some influential friends interfered, and procured a pardon for him. His health was so much impaired by exposure in the army, that he never recovered. At the close of the war he engaged in school teaching, for which he showed good capacity. In 1866, he professed conversion, joined Long Run church in Jefferson county, and was baptized by Walter E. Powers. A few days after his baptism, he commenced exercising in public prayer, and in less than two months, he was licensed to preach in December, 1866. In July, 1868, he was ordained to the work of the ministry. He
spent about three years from the time he was licensed, in the work of a missionary, in Jefferson, Bullitt, Shelby and Franklin counties, during which his labors were blessed to the conversion of many souls. He preached statedly to Fisherville and Cedar Creek churches, in Jefferson county, a short time. In 1869, he was chosen pastor of Harrods Creek, and afterwards, of Jeffersontown church. Between these, he divided his time, during the few remaining years of his brief life. He died of diabetis, at Jeffersontown, whither he had gone to fill his regular appointment, November 10, 1878. His physician had warned him many months before that his diseasewas incurable, and must, ere long, terminate fatally. But he was faithful to the end.
Mr. Waller was a close student, and had not only made himself familiar with the best works on theology, but had made considerable attainments in the Greek and Latin languages. With the Bible, he was remarkably familiar. His most marked characteristics were those of meekness, humility and self-depreciation. Few men were ever more beloved by those who knew him. "I am satisfied," says W. E. Power, "that he had a stronger hold on the affection of his people than any [other] man I ever knew." He was several years clerk of Long Run Association.
LONG RUN church is located on the eastern border of Jefferson county, about 18 miles from Louisville, and near a small tributary, of Floyds Fork, from which tributary it derives its name. According to the best authorities, it was constituted in 1797. At this date, it united with Salem Association, of which it remained a member, till 1803, when it entered into the constitution of Long Run Association. At this time it numbered 57 members. Who gathered it will probably rot be known. The tradition that it was gathered by W. E. Waller is not probable, as he lived, at that time, in Fayette county. Joshua Morris, William Taylor, and Reuben Smith, lived nearest to its locality, at that time, and John Penny was much nearer than Waller. It is probable, but by no means certain, that John Penny was the first pastor. In 1802, South Long Run church was constituted partly of members from Long Run. In 1804, at a log-rolling in the neighborhood, the question as to whether or not a man would be justifiable in telling a falsehood, under any circumstances, was sprung. This illustration was proposed:
"Suppose a man has five children. The Indians come and kill four of them, the fifth one being hidden near by. The savages then ask the father if he has another child. Would he be justifiable in telling them that he had not?" The dispute grew warm. Some members of the church engaged in it. It finally got into Long Run church, and split it. The "lying party" moved three or four miles west, and were constituted "Flat Rock church" of seven members, the first Monday in March, 1805. In 1812, Long Run sent out the third colony to form Dover church. This left the parent body only 62 members. From this time till 1821, her membership was reduced till she numbered only 45. That year, 24 were added by baptism. In 1827, the church enjoyed a revival, during which 162 were added to her membership by baptism. This gave her a total membership of 272.
This year Long Run church sent out her fourth colony, which joined with others in the constitution of Floyds Fork (now Fisherville) church. About 1833, John Dale was chosen pastor of Long Run, and served in that capacity nine years, during which he baptized 200, into its fellowship. Of these, he baptized 101 during a revival, in the fall of 1839. From 1842, till 1861, the church changed pastors seven times, and, of course, did not prosper. The expulsion of an old member, about 1859, for keeping a disorderly grog-shop, caused much confusion in the church for two or three years.
In 1861, S. H. Ford, who was pastor of the church at that time, went South, on account of the War, and W. E. Powers, one of its own members, who had lately been brought into the ministry, supplied the pulpit until 1862, when he was regularly called to the pastoral care of the church, a position he still occupies (1885). When Mr. Powers began to preach to the church, it numbered 213 members, but was soon afterwards reduced by a dismission of the colored members. Again, however, it greatly prospered, so that, in 1872, it numbered 230 members. It now sent out another colony to form Pewee Valley church, which was constituted, in 1873. In 1880, Long Run church numbered 183 members.
JOSEPH COLLINS was born in Culpeper county, Va., about 1765. In early life he professed conversion, and was baptized by the eccentric Joseph Craig. About 1785, he was married to
Delilah Morse, and, in 1786, moved in company with Elijah Craig and others, to Kentucky. This company of emigrants traveled across the mountains in mid winter, journeying several hundred miles along this route without passing a single settlement. They had to "camp out" every night, sometimes in deep snow, and at other times in a cold, drenching rain. They were always surrounded by blood-thirsty savages and ferocious wild beasts. The sufferings, especially of the women and children, were very great. Towards the opening of spring, they reached the settlement, on Elkhorn. Here they met with many brethren with whom they were acquainted.
After stopping a few years near Lexington, Mr. Collins moved to the western border of Shelby county, and settled on the waters of Long Run. He probably united with Brashears Creek church, near the present site of Shelbyville. In 1797, he went into the constitution of Long Run church, near his residence. Here he was brought into the ministry, in the year 1802. Three years after this, he was called to the care of Long Run church. He was pastor, afterwards, for short periods, of two or three neighboring churches. In 1812, He was called to preach at Burks Branch, one year, in the absence of George Waller, the pastor. He died after a brief illness, in the fall of 1826.
Mr. Collins possessed but moderate ability and small attainments, but he was a man of piety and zeal, and exercised a good influence over the settlers. The Lord blessed his labors, to his own glory and the good of the people. He left a numerous and respectable posterity, many of whom have been, and still are, members of Old Long Run, and the neighboring churches.
JOEL HULSY succeeded Joseph Collins as pastor of Long Run church. He was raised by very poor parents, near Little Mount church, in Spencer county. At an early age he professed the religion of Jesus. He went to Elk Creek church, and related his Christian experience. The brethren gave him the hand of Christian fellowship, but would not receive him into that church because he lived nearer to Little Mount. In April, 1816, he united with Elk Creek by letter, and was at once licensed to preach. On the 19th of October, of the same year, he was ordained to the ministry, by George Waller and William Stout.
The following year, having been called to the care of Long Run and Dover churches, he took a letter and joined the latter. After preaching to these churches some years, he was called to New Castle in Henry county. He was also called to East Fork church in the same county. He probably preached to some other churches.
Not far from 1835, he moved to Illinois, where he engaged in merchandising. He soon failed in business, and it was thought his mind became somewhat disordered before his death.
In the early part of his minstry, Joel Hulsy was regarded one of the leading ministers of his association. He was successful in leading the unconverted to the Savior, in an eminent degree. But it was said that his wife was a worldly, ambitious woman, and could not be satisfied to live within his limited income. This drove him to speculation, and destroyed his influence as a minister.
JOHN HUME STURGEON succeeded Joel Hulsy as pastor or Long Run church. He was born in Jefferson county, Kentucky, October, 1790. His parents were Presbyterians, and brought up their son in the faith of their church, having him christened in infancy, and taught to repeat the Catechism, and observe the form of religion, as he grew up. Although these parents were orderly in their conduct, they afterwards acknowledged that they had never been born again. They sought and obtained the saving grace of God, and were baptized into the fellowship of Long Run church. Thomas Sturgeon, the father, was remarkable for his piety and zeal, even in his old age. A short time before his death, he went to Long Run meeting. At the close of the services, he called all his children and grandchildren around him, and exhorted them to meet him in Heaven. He then knelt down and prayed for them. Rising from his knees, hebade farewell, one by one, and then went home. A few days afterwards, he was called to his treasures in Heaven.
John H. Sturgeon professed religion and was baptized into the fellowship of Long Run church, about the 16th year of his age. He soon began to pray in public, and, afterward to exhort sinners to repent and seek the Lord. He was licensed to preach about 1812. It was some years after this before he was ordained, by Joel Hulsy and others. He was probably pastor of
no church but Long Run, while he was in Kentucky. His gifts were quite meager. But his life was one of eminent purity, and devoted piety. In 1833, he moved to Pike county, Missouri, where he died in about a year.
JOHN DALE was the successor of J. H. Sturgeon, in the pastoral office at Long Run. He was born in Woodford county, Kentucky, November 6, 1789. He was the subject of very early religious impressions, and professed conversion at twelve years of age. He was baptized into the fellowship of Hillsboro' church, in Woodford county, by Edmund Waller, in 1801. He was married to Elenor, daughter of John Vaughan, October 31, 1809. This union was blessed with three sons and five daughters, all of whom were raised to the estate of manhood and womanhood, but they all except William preceded him to the grave. About the year 1818, he moved to Shelby county, and settled on Long Run, where he united with South Long Run church. He was an active, zealous church member, and often exhorted among the people. The church here soon discovered a gift, which had been too long overlooked at Hillsboro'. He was licensed to preach about the year 1823, and some two years afterward, was ordained by Joel Hulsy and Zacheus Carpenter. He was immediately called to the pastoral care of Long Run church. He moved his membership to Long Run, where it remained till a church was formed at Simpsonville. He then became a member, and the pastor, of that fraternity. He was also pastor of Dover and Pleasant Grove churches. At all these, he was abundantly successful. At Long Run, in fifteen years, he baptized 305; at Simpsonville, in nine years, he baptized 297. He also baptized large numbers at Dover and Pleasant Grove.
In 1849, his health which had been failing several years became so feeble that he was compelled to desist from active labor. He continued to preach occasionally, when his health would permit. He died from the effects of a tumor on his neck, March 29, 1862.
Among the many faithful ministers of the Cross that have labored to build up the cause of truth within the bounds of Long Run Association, none have beenmore suscessful than John Dale. During a period of twenty years, he labored with
tireless zeal, and was, during that period, the most popular minister in his association. As an expositor of the scriptures, he was below mediocrity. His principal gift was that of exhortation, and in this he has seldom, or never been surpassed, in Kentucky. He always drew large congregations, and never failed to rivet attention. Weeping and rejoicing commingled in every congregation he preached to. His exhortations consisted mainly in quotations from the scriptures, so forcibly applied that the effect was electrical. Although not a scholar, a profound thinker, nor a logician, he was eminently a great man. But above all, he maintained a spotless Christian character, an unabating zeal for the salvation of sinners, and a constant, living piety.
JOHN DULANEY was pastor of Long Run church a short time. He lived within the bounds of Sulphur Fork Association, and was in the ministry about twelve years. He possessed small preaching gifts, was unstable in his habits and purposes, and was not very profitable in the ministry. He died at his home in Bedford, in the 38th year of his age, about 1865.
WALTER ELLIS POWERS has held a longer pastoral term at Long Run, than any of his predecessors. He began to supply the pulpit of that church in October, 1861, was regularly induoted into the pastoral office, in July, 1862, and has served in that capacity without interruption to the present time (1885).
W. E. Powers was born in Oldham county, Kentucky, June 26, 1824. He received a fair English education, with some knowledge of the Latin language. He professed conversion at a very early age, and was baptized into the fellowship of Dover church in Shelby county, by the now venerable E.G. Berry. Perhaps in his 21st year, he was married to Mary Jane Hurstman, who has made him a most excellent wife. This marriage was blessed with six sons and five daughters, all of whom, except the eldest and the third sons, are living. Eight of them have been baptized into the fellowship of Long Run church. The other three are small children.
Soon after his marriage, Mr. Powers, who had been “a trader in produce down the Mississippi river,” several years, entered into mercantile business, at Boston in Jefferson county. After a few years, he returned to his farm in Shelby county, where he still resides. In 1858, he became aroused to a more
lively sense of his religious duty, and in a feeling talk to his brethren, told the church at Long Run to which he had moved his membership, that he would try to discharge any duty they saw fit to lay upon him. In November of that year, he was licensed to preach. His great zeal and activity in the cause of the Master soon attracted favorable attention. On the 3d of November, 1859, he was ordained to the full work of the ministry. The following year he was appointed missionary of Long Run Association. His labors in this field were crownedwith extraordinary success. He visited most of the destitute points in his field, held meetings with the weak churches, encouraged the young preachers to active labor, and gathered two new churches. The same year he was called to the pastoral care of Beechland and Knob Creek — the two churches he had gathered — and the church at Jeffersontown. About 1863, he resigned the care of Knob Creek, in Bullitt county, and took charge of Mt. Washington church in the same county. Some nine or ten years after this, he resigned the care of Jeffersontown and Mt. Washington churches to give an additional Sunday to Beechland, and take charge of Sligo church, in Henry county. Since that time he has made no change in his pastoral relations,2 except that he is at present supplying Fisherville church with monthly preaching. Besides his very successful labors as a pastor, he has held a great many protracted meetings, and it is supposed that not less than 2,000 people have joined the churches under his ministry. He is at present moderator of Long Run Association.
HAZLE CREEK church, located a few miles from Greenville in Muhlenburg county, is the oldest now existing in the State, west of the Louisville and Nashville railroad, except Severns Valley in Elizabethtown. It was the second church constituted in all that portion of Kentucky lying south of Green river. Union, in Warren county, long since dissolved, being the first. The history of the settlement from which the church was gathered is lost. There seems to have been a man of the name of [Walter?] Thomas, (father of the late judge Walter Thomas of Allen county), an emigrant from North Carolina, among the first settlers. There was also a family of Downses among these
since the above was written he has resigned the care of Beechland and accepted that of Kings. pioneers. Among the members of Mr. Thomas' family was a young Baptist preacher of the name of Benjamin Talbot, a step-son of Mr. Thomas.
In 1797. Mr. Talbot gathered four Baptists, besides himself, from among the settlers, and the five were constituted "the Regular Baptist church of Jesus Christ on the Hazle Fork of Muddy river, December 3rd." It has since been known as Hazle Creek church. The nearest church to it was at a distance of fifty miles. It seems to have grown very rapidly, under the pastoral charge of Benjamin Talbot: For, in April, 1799, it established "an arm" at George Clark's on the west side of Pond creek. This year it first sent messengers to Mero District Association, a fraternity that had been formed in the northern part of Tennessee, in 1796. It remained in this Association, till 1803. At that period, Mero District Association was dissolved, on account of the bad conduct of a notorious preacher of the name of Joseph Dorris. Dorris was a man of very considerable talents, and was a member, and the pastor, of one of the churches in this association. He was accused of grossly immoral conduct. His guilt could not be proved, but was almost unanimously believed. The association could neither get rid of him nor fellowship him. In this dilemmathey resorted to the singular expedient of dissolving the association, and forming a new one of the same churches, leaving out those which adhered to Mr. Dorris. The new fraternity was called Cumberland. Of this association, Hazle. Creek became a member. Three years after this (1806), the association became so large that it divided into two. The northern part took the name of Red River Association. Hazle Creek church either remained a member of this body or went into Green River Association where it remained till it entered into the constitution of Gasper River Association, in 1812. It still belongs to this body. In 1801, the notorious "Jo Dorris" found his way to Hazel Creek church, and was excluded from [the pulpit of] it, December 5, for preaching open communion. During this year, the pastor, with others, was sent to the settlement on Trade Water in Henderson county, to receive members into Hazle Creek church. In 1804, the church had become large enough to begin to send out colonies. Leroy Jackson was ordained to the ministry. "The arm" on the west side of Pond creek was constituted a
church now called Unity. Eighteen members were dismissed to form the church now called Midway. These churches were constituted in 1805. In 1806, 18 members were dismissed to form the church, at first called Long Creek, but since known as Cana. In 1808, a council was appointed to constitute Cypress church, and ordain Wilson Henderson for its pastor.
Hazle Creek church continued to prosper till 1834, when its first pastor died. Since that date, it has changed pastors at least seventeen times. It must have possessed great vitality to maintain an existence under such treatment. In 1876, it numbered 133 members.
BENJAMIN TALBOT is supposed to have been a native of North Carolina. He was born about 1760. At what time he moved west is not known. He was among the early settlers of what is now Muhlenburg county, Ky. So far as known, he was the first preacher that settled in the lower Green river valley. He raised up Hazle Creek church in 1797, and at once became its pastor. He was a man of great energy and dauntless courage, and, from his little spiritual fort on Hazle creek, sallied out in all directions, bearing the message of peace to the settlers in a strange land. He planted many of the oldest churches in the lower Green river valley, and ministered to them until God raised up other preachers to take care of them. There is a tradition that Mr. Talbot was in Kentucky during the Indian wars. At one time he was shot through the thigh by an Indian rifleman. It was only a flesh wound, and he soon recovered, but carried the scar to his grave. In this encounter with the savages, he was separated from his company, and remained in the woods seven days without any food, except one "Johnny cake," which he had in his haversack. It was during this period of privation and danger, according to the tradition, that hewas awakened to a sense of guilt before God. But where, or by whom, he was baptized and brought into the ministry, is unknown.
He continued to labor among the churches he had raised up, till the fall of 1834, when the Lord called him to his final reward, about the 74th year of his age. A handsome marble slab marks his resting place, near where stood his last earthly residence, in Butler county.
"Elder Talbot," writes Elder J. D. Craig, "was a man of
great decision of character. His purposes once formed were seldom changed. Heavy rains, hard winds and high waters were seldom obstacles between him and his churches. He was a man of rare talents. His gifts in exhortation and prayer were seldom equaled. He was a man of great earnestness, zeal and duration. He rarely delineated the sufferings of Christ except in tears. He traveled and preached much, and received very little compensation."
E. P. O'BANNON, a preacher of small ability, was one of the pastors of Hazle Creek church. He was raised up to the ministry in the lower Green river country, was a warm, zealous exhorter, and a very earnest worker in the cause of his Master. He labored seven years as a licensed preacher, and was ordained in 1852. He was quite useful as a missionary, and was a valuable worker in protracted meetings. The Lord was pleased to add many seals to his ministry. He died of consumption of the lungs, June 25, 1861, aged about fifty years.
VINEY FORK church is located in the eastern part of Madison county. It has, for more than fourscore years, been one of the leading churches in Tates Creek Association, and has had in its membership a number of the best citizens of Madison county. It appears to have been gathered by that famous old pioneer, Christopher Harris. It was constituted in 1797, and appears to have been first called "The United Baptist church of Christ on Muddy creek." If this appearance be correct, it united with Tates Creek Association the same year it was constituted, at which time it reported an aggregate membership of 20. It was represented in the Association, in 1799, under its present name, and numbered 45 members. The next year it was reduced to 34; but during the great revival, it received, in one year, 221, so that, in October, 1801, it numbered 255 members, and was the largest church in the Association, except Tates Creek. After this, its membership was reduced, from time to time, by dismissals to form new churches, till, in. 1825, it reported only 75 members. Again, in 1827-8, a refreshing from the Lord brought it up to 167. But now came a day of darkness and confusion. The leaven of Campbellism, so industriously and skillfully propagated by John Smith, Josiah Collins and others, had permeated all the churches in the Association. The Campbellite schism culminated, in 1830, and left
Viney Fork only 46 members. It ralliedagain, however, and enjoyed a gradual growth, till 1859, when it numbered 165. Ten years after this, the results of the War had reduced it to 50 members, since which time it has increased its membership to about 100.
CHRISTOPHER HARRIS probably gathered Viney Fork church, was in its constitution, and served it as pastor about sixteen years. He probably came from Virginia to Madison county, Kentucky, where he settled, about 1795. Here he united with Dreaming Creek (afterwards Mount Nebo) church. In May, 1796, he was chosen moderator of Tates Creek Association, and between this time and 1814, filled that position ten years. About 1816, he moved to the Green river country, and united with Mount Zion church, in Warren county. The next year, he was chosen moderator of Gasper River Association, and continued to occupy that position, till 1820, when he, with his church, entered into the constitution of Drakes Creek Association. He was moderator of the latter fraternity five years. The time and circumstances of his death are not known, but he was probably called to his reward, about 1826.
Of the seven churches constituted in Kentucky, in 1797, at least six are still in existence, and some of them are leading members in their associations. Their builders have all long since gone to their reward; but, after 88 years have passed away, their noble work still remains. How many hundreds have borne tidings from these old churches, to Talbot, Morris, Kellar, Payne, Dupuy and Harris, in their home above! ____________________
1 Both in Manley's Annals of Elkhorn Association, and Clacks History of Salem Association, the name is improperly printed "Lick Creek."
2 Since the above was written he has resigned the care of Beechland and accepted that of Kings.
[John Henderson Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1885; rpt. CHR&A, 1984. — jrd]
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