Orphans Home — Theological Seminary — Sunday Schools, Etc. Statistics
At the beginning of the year 1871, the churches had recovered from the confusion caused by the results of the Civil War, and their condition was peaceful and prosperous. Their colored members had generally withdrawn peacefully and formed churches of their own. Whatever discontent had been caused among slave holding church members on account of the loss of their property, had apparently subsided, and the relation between the white and colored churches was amicable and fraternal. A general revival prevailed throughout the State, and great numbers were added to the churches, between the beginning of 1870, and the close of 1873.
The benevolent enterprises of the Kentucky Baptists were more prosperous during the first half of the decade now under review, than during any previous period. In 1873, the contributions from Kentucky to the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist convention amounted to $8,842.56; those to State Missions to $9,522.65. From this to the close of the decade, the contributions to missions, both home and foreign, gradually diminished, on account of a severe financial pressure, which commenced about this time, and continued several years, and an unusual demand on the benevolence of the Baptists in the State, to build up and endow the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and to erect and sustain the Baptist Orphans Home, both located in Louisville. The amounts contributed by Kentucky Baptists, during the ten years ending with 1880, as far as reported, were to State Missions, $71,978.29; to Foreign Missions, $55,688.98; to Domestic Missions, about 25,000, and, to the State Sunday school work, about 12,000,
THE LOUISVILLE BAPTIST ORPHANS HOME, was put in operation, in 1869, and has, from the first elicited the tenderest sympathies and the warmest support of the Baptists in the State. The institution was originated by some benevolent Baptist women in Louisville, who rented a room for the reception of orphan children, at the date above specified. The next year a comfortable house was erected for the accommodation of such orphans as should be committed to the institution. The object of the Home is to care for the children committed to its charge from all parts of the State, teaching them the elements of an English education, instructing them in useful occupations, and training them in Christian morals, until it can secure suitable homes for them, in private families. The institution is supported by the voluntary contributions of the Baptists of the State, and such other benevolent persons aschoose to aid in the good work, at a cost of about $5,000 a year. It has generally received from 40 to 50 orphans a year, and succeeded in putting about as many in homes, in private families.
MARY HOLLINGSWORTH, a native of Todd county, Ky., has been the matron and internal manager of the Orphans Home, from near the period of its establishment. She is a woman of fine culture, eminent piety, and excellent business qualities, and the Home owes much of its prosperity to her indefatigable energy. The name of this noble maiden will be held in affectionate remembrance by very many who never knew a mother’s love, or a father's protection.
J. LAWRENCE SMITH, the renowned scientist, and his excellent christian wife were the most liberal patrons of the Orphans home. Dr. Smith was a native of South Carolina, and was born Dec. 16, 1818. He finished his literary education at the University of Virginia, graduated in medicine in his native State, and studied the sciences under different teachers in Europe. After his return to America, he married a daughter of Hon. James Guthrie of Louisville, Ky., and settled in that city. Possessing a large fortune, he was able to pursue the study of science, which he did, with tireless zeal and unflagging enthusiasm, not to the exclusion, however, of the practical pursuits of life. He was professor of Chemistry in the University of Virginia, and, afterwards, filled the same chair in the University of Louisville. Subsequently he was president of the Louisville Gas Works.
His extensive researches in the various departments of science, made his name familiar to the scientists of America and Europe.
Soon after his settlement in Louisville, he professed conversion, and united with the Walnut Street Baptist church. His orderly christian walk, his devotion to the cause of Christ, and his calm, rational benevolence proved the sincerity of his profession, and demonstrated the fact that a man may be a profound scientist and a devout, sincere christian. He devoted no inconsiderable proportion of his fortune to the establishment of the Louisville Baptist Orphans Home, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and other benevolent institutions. He was called to his final reward, in 1884.
MRS. J. LAWRENCE SMITH deserves to be held in cherished remembrance by the beneficiaries of the Baptist Orphans Home, and many other benevolent institutions. She is a native of Louisville, and a daughter of Hon. James Guthrie of that city. Without ostentation, she has devoted her influence and possessions to the cause of the Redeemer. In early life, she gave her heart to the Savior, and united with the Walnut Street Baptist church, in her native city. Heiring an ample fortune from her distinguished father, she enteredheartily into the benevolent schemes of her illustrious husband, and was a joint contributor, with him, to the various charitable institutions he aided in building up. She servives her husband, and represents his charities, as well as continues her own.
THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY was located in Louisville Ky., during the decade under review. The securing of the location of this institution was regarded "the grandest achievment of Kentucky Baptists," during the period; and it is certain that no other benevolent enterprise has elicited an equal interest among them. The history of the institution is one of much interest.
Immediately after the split of the Baptist Triennial Convention, into northern and: southern divisions, the southern Baptists began to discuss the necessity of a theological seminary, in the South. During the meeting, at Augusta, Ga., in 1845, which formed the Southern Baptist Convention, a conference was held for the purpose of discussing the subject. Two years later, John L. Waller and others held a similiar conference for the same purpose, in connection with the meeting of the Indian
Mission Association, at Nashville Tenn. In 1849, the subject was agitated during the meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention, at the same place, and at its subsequent meeting, at Charleston, S. C. A committee was appointed to investigate the subject; but it failed to report, and the matter was dropped, for a time.
In June, 1854, the General Associaton of Virginia Baptists appointed a committee, which, in accordance with its instructions, called a convention of the friends of theological education, to meet in connection with the Southern Baptist Convention, at Montgomery. Ala. This convention resolved, "that it is demanded by the interests of the cause of truth that the Baptists of the South and South-west unite in establishing a theological institution of high grade." A committee was appointed to call the attention of the denomination to this subject, and all who favored the scheme were invited to meet in convention, at Augusta, Ga., on Wednesday after the fourth Sunday in April, 1856. In accordance with this call, a convention of delegates from ten States met at the appointed time and place. A lengthy and able report was adopted, and colleges and theological schools, under Baptist control, and Baptist conventions in the Southern and South-western States, were invited to send delegates, properly authenticated, to a meeting to be held in Louisville, Ky., on the 6th of May, 1857. Pursuant to this call, the "Educational Convention" met in the Walnut Street church in Louisville, during the sittings of the Southern Baptist Convention, in May, 1857. Delegates were present from ten States. The report of a committee, appointed at the Augusta Meeting, with other papers, wasreferred to a committee of fifteen. That committee reported in favor of locating the proposed seminary at Greenville, in South Carolina, the Baptist Convention of that State having agreed to raise one half of an endowment of $200.000, on condition that the seminary should be so located. The unanimous adoption of this report expressed the determination of the southern Baptists to erect a theological seminary of high grade.
The next meeting of the Educational convention was held at Greenville, S. C., April 31, 1858. A plan of organization was adopted. In accordance with a charter, obtained from the South Carolina Legislature, the control of the seminary was
vested in a Board of Trustees. This board met, for the first time, in May, 1859, and appointed a faculty, consisting of James P. Boyce, John A. Broadus, Basil Manley, Jr., and William Williams. Professor Boyce was elected chairman of the faculty, and has remained in that position to the present time (1885). The first session of the seminary was opened on the first Monday in October, 1859. Twenty-six students attended. Thirty-six attended the second session, but the breaking out of the Civil War diminished the number the third session, and the conscript act of Confederate Congress prevented any attendance the fourth session. The institution was, of necessity, suspended till after the close of the War, the disastrous results of which rendered its pledged endowment utterly worthless.
The seminary was reopened, with eight students, in October, 1865, and the small available means left it from the ravages of the War, was speedily consumed by its current expenses. In May, 1866, it, for the first time, sought the fostering care of the Southern Baptist Convention, without which it could not have survived. This appeal was made to the convention, while it was in session at Russellville, Ky. No endowment was asked for, at that time; only the means of present subsistence was sought. For this, an appeal was made through the Southern Baptist Convention. The Baptists of the South, and especially those of Kentucky, responded to the call so liberally, that the seminary was enabled to continue its sessions, from year to year, till 1871, when it became apparent that it must have an endowment, or cease to exist. This could not be procured while it remained in South Carolina. Perceiving this, the board, having secured the removal of such legal requirements as confined its location to that State, resolved, at a meeting in St. Louis, in May, 1871, that an endowment must be raised; and accompanied the resolution with an offer to receive bids for the location of the seminary at some new point.
During the session of the General Association of Kentucky Baptists, held at Georgetown, in May, 1871, it adopted a "report on schools and colleges," containing the following paragraph:
"Having ascertained that the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is subject to removal from Greenville, S.C., we recommend that A. T. Spaulding, J. S. Coleman, S. L. Helm,
W. W. Gardner, W. H. Felix, N. M. Crawford, R. M. Dudley, H. McDonald, G. Varden, G. F. Bagby and J. M. Weaver be appointed a committee to call a meeting in Louisville, as soon as practicable, to bring the subject more definitely before the denomination, in order to ascertain the desirableness and feasibility of its removal to this State."
In accordance with its instruction, this committee called a meeting, which convened in the Walnut Street meeting house in Louisville, in July, 1871. The attendance was large, and much interest was manifested. A resolution was adopted, pledging the Baptists of Kentucky to contribute $3000.000, towards endowing the seminary with $5000,000, provided that the institution be located in Kentucky, and that the remaining $200,000, necessary to complete the endowment, be raised outside of this State.
This proposal was accepted by the Board of Trustees of the seminary, in August, 1872, and it was determined to locate the institution at Louisville. James P. Boyce was appointed General Agent of the board, and, moving to Louisville, immediately commenced the prosecution of his agency with great energy and encouraging success. The board's acceptance of the proposal was reported to the General Association of Kentucky Baptists, at its meeting in Paducah, in May, 1813, and that body "recommended to the Baptists of the State to contribute liberally towards raising the sum of $300,000, the amount necessary to be raised" in the State, to secure the location of the seminary at Louisville. James P. Boyce was adopted as the Agent of General Association to collect the specified amount.
At the time Dr. Boyce commenced the prosecution of his agency for the endowment of the seminary, the financial condition of the country was in a high degree prosperous. During the first year of his labors in Kentucky, he secured, principally in notes, bonds and real estate, the sum of $111,820. It then became necesssry for him to turn aside from his agency, to collect means for the current expenses of the seminary. Meanwhile the failure of Jay Cook & Co. of New York, in 1873, caused a financial panic all over the country, and a financial pressure immediately followed. A great number of men, of whom many had possessed large fortunes, were bankrupted, and an almost unprecedented scarcity of money prevailed, for
several years. The struggle to keep the seminary open, and prosecute the raising of its endowment was severe and protracted. The work, however, was prosecuted with indomitable energy and perseverence. In May, 1877, Dr. Boyce reported that only $31,194.84 was wanting to complete Kentucky's proportion of the endowment. Encouraged by this report, the General Association resolved:
"1. That the General Association believe that the $31,000 not yet secured, can and ought to be secured at an early date. "2. That the removal of the Seminary to Louisville the coming autumn would, in the judgment of the Association, facilitate the completion of the endowment. "3. That the Association, therefore, cordially invite the trustees of the Seminary to open its next session in the city of Louisville, unless in their opinion it be against the interests of the institution."
Accordingly the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was opened at Louisville, on the first of September, 1877, with a faculty of four professors, viz.: James P. Boyce, John A. Broadus, C. H. Toy and Wm. H. Whitsitt. Ninety students were in attendance during the session. Meanwhile, according to the report of the agent, Dr. Boyce, in May, 1878, only $15.500 was wanting to complete Kentucky's part of the endowment. This was encourging to the Baptists of the State, as well as to all the friends of the Seminary. The institution opened in September, 1878, with a larger number of students than ever before. Ninety-six were in attendance during the session. But now came a period of darkness. Of this time of trial, Dr. Boyce, who had devoted 20 years of his life to building up the institution, says:
"The struggles of the Seminary, even for existence, cannot be told. The work of securing its endowment has been severe and often discouraging; but often amid the darkest hours light from some unexpected quarter has suddenly broken in, and has dispelled all the shadows of the night. Thus was it during the session of 1879-80. The delay in the endowment, and the lack of general support threatened the temporary suspension of the Seminary. It was believed by those best informed that after the close of the current session it would be impossible to continue its teachings, except after the lapse of years. Appeal after appeal had been made to those who in their poverty
had so long sustained it. Finally the only hope left seemed to be in prayer to God. Suddenly, without previous anticipation of such a gift, the hearts of all its friends were cheered by the endowment of a professorship by Gov. Joseph E. Brown of Georgia by the donation of fifty thousand dollars."
This donation placed the Seminary beyond present peril, and gave assurance that its endowment would be completed. But the Baptists of Kentucky met with a serious disappointment. When the General Association met at Owensboro, in May, 1880, it was reported to that body, by a special committee appointed at the previous meeting, that all pledges, notes, bonds, subscriptionin lands, etc., to the Kentucky endowment of the Seminary, amounted to $304,204. This was $4,204 more than was due from Kentucky. But, on investigation, it had been ascertained that over estimates of the values of lands and stocks, the forfeiture of conditional subscriptions, and the withdrawal of pledges not legally binding, bad reduced the value of Kentucky’s contributions to $237,292.38, leaving the sum of $66,911.62 still to be provided for. The report was adopted, and Dr. Boyce was solicited to continue his agency till the amount should be secured. No exact reports are at hand, but it is believed that the full amount has been secured, or, at most, only a trifle remains unprovided for.
Since its removal to Louisville, the Seminary has held its session in the Public Library buildings. Recently the Board has secured handsome lots on Broadway and Fifth streets, and purposes to commence the erection of suitable buildings, at an early period. The number of students attending the Seminary has regularly increased. During the session of 1882-83, 120 were in attendance. The only change that has been made in the faculty was the substitution of Basil Manly, Jr., for C. H. Toy, who resigned in 1879.
JAMES PETIGRU BOYCE has been prominently connected with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary during its entire history, and to him, more than to any other man, it owes its existence and present prosperity. He descended from a distinguished family, and was born of Scotch Irish parents, at Charleston, S. C., January 11, 1827. After spending two years in Charleston College, he entered Brown University, R. I., where he graduated, in 1847. In 1846, he professed faith in Christ, and
was baptized by the distinguished Richard Fuller, late of Baltimore, Md., for the 1st Baptist church in Charleston. By this church he was licensed to preach, November 14, 1847, and subsequently became editor of the Southern Baptist at Charleston. In 1849, he entered Princeton Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian, institution in New Jersey, where he remained two sessions, but did not graduate. In October, 1851, he commenced preaching to the church in Columbia, S.C., and was ordained to its pastoral charge, in December of the same year. This charge he resigned, in August, 1855, to accept a professorship of theology in Furman University, the Baptist college of South Carolina, upon the duties of which he entered, in September following. He delivered his inaugural address, en the 31st of July, 1856, his subject being: "Three Changes in Theological Education." The address was published, and is supposed to have aided in concentrating the purposes of the friends of theological education among the Southern Baptists, and to have convinced many of the propriety of such education, who had hitherto opposed it. The views set forth in this address led to the peculiarities of arrangement, which characterize the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Of the last named institution, Mr. (now Dr.) Boyce was elected professor, with the privilege of selecting his chair, in April, 1858, and again, in 1859. He was also appointed Chairman of the Faculty and General agent and Treasurer of the Seminary, and has continued to discharge the duties of all these offices, to the present time (1885).
During the suspension of the Seminary, Dr. Boyce was elected to the South Carolina Legislature, in 1862, and re-elected in 1864. He took a prominent Fart in the business of the body, and was the especial advocate of the States endorsing a definite amount of Confederate bonds. Two of his speeches on this question, and a pamphlet written by him, on the subject, were published.
In 1872, he moved from South Carolina to Louisville, Kentucky, where he has discharged the duties of his several offices with tireless energy and surprising success. His life has been far too busy a one to allow of his writing much for the press. But the few small works he has published, have won for him the reputation of a profound thinker.
JOHN ALBERT BROADUS is descended from a family distinguished for its valuable contributions to the Baptist pulpit. The family is of Welsh origin, and formerly spelt the name Broadhurst. Andrew Broadus was the most eloquent and distinguished of the Virginia Baptist ministers of his generation. Dr. Wm. F. and the younger Andrew Broadus of Virginia, were well known, not only in their native State, but throughout the South and West, as able ministers of the gospel; and George W. Broadus was a useful preacher among the Baptists of Kentucky.
John A. Broadus, whose father was a brother of Dr. Wm. F. and the younger Andrew Broadus, and, for a number of years, a prominent member of the Virginia legislature, was born in Culpeper Co. Va., Jan. 24, 1827. He was educated at the University of Virginia, where he took the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1850. From 1851 to 1853, he was assistant professor of Latin and Greek in that University, and pastor of the Baptist church at Charlottsville, Va. He continued in this pastoral charge, till 1855, when he was chosen Chaplain of the University, a position which he occupied two years, and then resumed his former pastoral charge. At the opening of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in 1859, he accepted the chair of Homiletics and New Testament Interpretation in that institution, a position he has continued to occupy to the present time (1885.)
While the Seminary was suspended, during the War, he preached as missionary in the Army of Gen. Robt. E. Lee, in Virginia, several months of the year 1863. From that date to 1865, he was Corresponding Secretary of the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, at Greenville, S.C..During this period, he published various small works, which were circulated in the States then accessible. At the close of the War, he resumed the duties of his professorship in the Seminary.
In 1870, he published his famous work on the "Preparation and Delivery of Sermons," which has been republished in England, and used extensively as a text-book in various theological seminaries of different denominations, in Europe and America. Besides review articles, sermons, and almost innumerable other newspaper articles, he published, in the Religious Herald of
Richmond, Va., in 1867-9, a series of papers, criticising the Revised version of the New Testament of the American Bible Union, and, in 1872-73, another series, entilled "Recollections of Travel," giving an account of a tour through Europe, Egypt and Palestine, made in 1870-71. In 1876, he published "Lectures on the History of Preaching."
In 1877, Dr. Broadus moved, with the Seminary, to Louisville, Ky,, where, in addition to discharging the duties of his professorship, he has acted as pastor, for a time, of one or two country churches, preached extensively in both the Northern and Southern States, and rendered Dr. Boyce most valuable aid in securing the endowment of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is hardly necessary to say, that he is regarded one of the first lecturers, preachers and writers of his generation.
BASIL MANLY, JR., a son of the famed and beloved Dr. Basil Manly, Sr., was born in Edgefield District, S.C., Dec. 19, 1825. His father was of Irish extraction, and his grand father, Basil Manly, commanded a company of volunteers in the Revolutionary War. Charles Manly, Governor of North Carolina, and Matthias E. Manly, judge of the Supreme Court of the same State, were his uncles. His father was a native of North Carolina, was several years pastor of the 1st Baptist church in Charleston S.C., and, subsequently, from 1837 to 1855, President of the State University of Alabama. Rev. Charles Manly, who was for some years President of Union University at Murfreesboro, Tenn., is a brother of Prof. Manly. The family is remarkable for its longevity, most of his ancestors having reached the age of ninety years. His mother, whose maiden name was Sarah Rudolph, was of German extraction.
Basil Manly Jr. began his education in the school of the German Friendly Society at Charleston, S.C., and graduated with the degree of A.B., in 1843, at the State University of Alabama. He afterwards attended the Theological Seminary at Newton, Mass., and subsequently graduated at Princeton (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary in New Jersey. In 1844, he was licensed to preach, atTuscaloosa, Ala., and was ordained at the same place, four years later. In 1850, he took pastoral charge of the First Baptist Church inRichmond, Va. After occupying this position about four years, he was elected Principal of Richmond Female Institute.
At the opening of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Greenville, S.C., in 1859, he was elected Professor of Old Testament Interpretation in that institution, and continued to occupy the chair, till 1871, when he accepted the Presidency of Georgetown College, in Kentucky. During the suspension of the Seminary exercises, on account of the War, he served as pastor of several country churches in the neighborhood of Greenville. When the Seminary was reopened, he assumed the task of collecting means for the support of students in the institution, who were unable to meet their own expenses, and, in addition to discharging the duties of his professorship, secured funds by which nearly loo young preachers were enabled to attend the Seminary.
Dr. Manly continued to occupy the Presidency of Georgetown College, till 1879, when, on the resignation of Prof. Toy, he was recalled to the chair he had formerly occupied in the Seminary, which position he has continued to fill to the present time (1885). He has the reputation of being very thoroughly educated, and, like his venerated father, possesses those rare qualities which readily win the affections of all who come in contact with him.
WILLIAM HETH WHITSITT was born near Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 25, 1841. In September, 1857, he entered Union University at Murfreesboro, Tenn, where he graduated in 1861. He entered the Confederate Army, as a private soldier, and served as chaplain in the 4th Tennessee Cavalry, from May, 1862, to May, 1865. Twice during the War he was captured, and was confined in different military prisons, about twelve months. After the return of peace, he entered the University of Virginia, in October 1866, and, in September of the next year, matriculated in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he remained two sessions. He studied at the Universities of Leipsic and Berlin in Germany, from August 1869 to December 1871. Returning to America, he became pastor of the Baptist church at Albany, Ga., in February, 1872, but resigned in July of the same year, to accept a professorship in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, to which he had been elected the previous May. The latter position he has continued to occupy to the present time. Among the published works of Dr. Whitsitt are an inaugural address, titled the
"Relation of Baptists to Culture," the history of the "Rise of Infant Baptism,' and the history of "Communion Among Baptists."
THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL work has been greatly advanced since 1870, notwithstanding it had been much forwarded during the latter half of the previous decade. In May, 1871, the General Association created "a separate Board to control the Sunday-school interests" of that body. This Board consisted of nine members, and was located at Georgetown. J. J. Rucker was elected Chairman, J. N. Bradley, Clerk, and D. Thomas, Treasurer. L. B. Fish was appointed State Superintendent of the Sunday-school work. The plan of operations adopted was to hold meetings of two or three days' continuance, under the name of Sunday-school Institutes, in various localities, to organize a Sunday-school convention in each district association in the State, and to visit and encourage individual schools, when practicable. In 1872, the State Superintendent reported that there were not more than 125 schools kept open all the year, in the State, and not more than one third of the churches had then, or ever had had, Sunday-schools; that he had organized conventions in nine associations, and had instituted 19 new schools.
Mr. Fish labored in this position about two and a half years, and greatly enlarged the Sunday-school interest in the State. After his resignation, the Board employed other superintendents, one after another. But the great financial pressure rendered it difficult to support them. However, the work continued to make some progress. The churches and district associations took hold of it, and pressed it independently of the State Board. The local organizations, especially the conventions, of which 20 had been organized, became more and more efficient, from year to year. By means of them, statistic began to be collected, methods of teaching were discussed and much knowledge was diffused. In 1877, the Sunday-school Board was abolished, and the work devolved on the Executive Board of the General Association. The effort to endow the Theological Seminary, the support of the Orphans Home, and the Centennial movement, in addition to sustaining the several missions, heretofore fostered by the General Association, became a discouraging burden to the churches, and the State Sunday-school work flagged, for two or three years. In 1880,
a State Sunday-school Convention was organized, and took charge of the Sunday-school work. A General Superintendent was employed, and some good work was preformed; but it was soon felt that a separate organization was “a needless multiplication of machinery;” and, after two annual meetings, the convention was dissolved. The Sunday School work was again committed to the General Association, in 1882, and that body appointed a Sunday School and Colportage Board, consisting of twelve members, and to be located in Lexington. The Board organized on the fifteenth of June, by the election of J. J. Rucker Chairman, and Lansing Burrows, Clerk.
The organization of this new Board, with experienced Sunday School workers at its head, infused new life into the enterprise. In January 1883, W. P. Harvey was appointed General Superintendent of the work. The reports on Sunday Schools, in May, 1884, show a great advance in the Sundayschool enterprise. The Board had in its employ during the year, 27 colporteur and Sunday-school missionaries, who performed 1,914 days’ labor, organized 320 schools, preached 1,017 sermons, witnessed 458 additions to churches, made 3,728 visits to families, and distributed books to the value of $1,070,91. The reports show that there were in the State 667 Sunday Schools, with 1,373 officers and teachers and 15,770 pupils, of which 326 had professed religion during the year. The Board was out of debt, and had a considerable balance in the treasuary. At no time in the history of the Baptists in the State has their Sunday School work been nearly so prosperous as at the present time.
The subject of making provision for the support of aged ministers, engaged the attention of the denomination in the State, during the last decade. It was introduced in the General Association at Covington, by Gen. Green Clay Smith, in 1865; but did not elicit much discussion, till 1870. At that date, it was determined to organize a Ministers’ Aid Society. The attempt was made, but it proved impracticable, and the matter was dropped. It was taken up again, in 1882. A committee of seven was appointed to investigate the matter. It reported to the body, in 1883, recommending a plan for carrying out the design; but nothing further seems to have been accomplished.
THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION of Baptist operations in Kentucky, in May, 1876, was an affair of pleasing and grateful interest. The subject was brought before the General Association, in 1873, and a committee was appointed to report on the matter the following year. The report was made, in 1874, merely recommending the appointment of another committee to consider the subject, and report to the body at its next meeting. The committee was accordingly appointed, and, in 1875, reported a plan of procedure, the details of which would now be tedious and uninteresting. It was determined to ask the Baptists in the State to express their gratitude to God for his mercies and blessings, extended to them and their ancestors during the one hundred years which had elapsed since their fathers first began to preach the glorious gospel in the then wilderness of Kentucky, by contributing a “memorial fund,” to be applied to the furtherance of such benevolent objects as the contributors should elect. During the succeeding year, meetings were held in most of the churches, at which the various features and objects of the approaching centennial celebration were discussed, often with tears and rejoicings. Mass meetings were held in connection with the meetings of district associations, and on various other occasions, at which historical and other addresses were delivered, and not only the Baptists, but the people generally were much enlighted in regard to the history, doctrine, polity, and purposes of the Baptist denomination.
The exercises of the celebration were conducted in the Walnut street meeting house in Louisville, on Thursday, May 25, 1876. The house was densely packed, and the centennial address was delivered by Elder Lucian B. Woolfolk, and the audience was moved to tears and enthusiasm. It was a timeof thrilling joy, of grateful praise, of glad remembrances, and of hope-inspiring anticipations.
The memorial fund, according to the final report of the centennial committee, amounted to $12,664.65, besides a much larger sum, which was invested in educational and other local benevolent enterprises, without passing through the hands of the committee. But the greatest value of the centennial movement was not in the money collected. As stated in the report of the Executive Board of the General Association: "If we had not collected a dollar for the centennial, the effect produced by
the discussion of our history would more than pay for all the time and labor spent."
The subject of temperance reform continued to enlist the sympathies and engage the efforts of the churches. Nearly all the district associations passed resolutions in favor of prohibition, from year to year. The following declaration of the General Association, during its annual meeting, in 1883, expresses the general sentiment of the Baptists of Kentucky:
Whereas, the signs of the times indicate a more positive and earnest feeling for outspoken and unmistakable views of moral and religious truth, and all Christian bodies ought to declare, in no uncertain sound, their position on any and all vital principles. Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, By the General Association of the Baptists of the State of Kentucky, That we reaffim our adherence to the temperance cause with the view of destroying the use of all alcoholic liquors as a beverage, and we will continue to labor for the prohibition of its sale, manufacture and drinking.
"Resolved, That every Baptist minister of the State be requested to preach as often as practicable on this subject during the present associational year."
The first general expression of the Baptists in Kentucky in favor of female missionary societies, was in the adoption of the report on State Missions, by the General Association, in 1876. The report contained the following sentence: “To further this work we would recommend to our churches the formation of female missionary societies, or the employment of such other means as shall enlist the sisters.” Two years previous to this a female missionary society had been formed in the church at Russelville; another was formed, at Elkton, in 1899, and, in accordance with the advice of the Southern Baptist Convention, such societieswere formed in five of the churches in Louisville, and in that at Frankfort, in 1878. The next year ten societies were organized in different parts of the State. In May, 1884, sixty-six societies of the kind were reported to the General Association, as having contributed to foreign missions, during the preceding year, $1,032.97, and, since their organization, $4,541.07.
The numerical growth of the denomination in the State was greater during the decade under consideration, than during any
other similar period since the Campbellite schism. In 1880, there were, of Missionary Baptists, fifty-one associations, 1,170 churches, and 106,619 members; of Anti-missionary United Baptists, ten associations, 154 churches, and 8,965 members; of Hyper-Calvinistic Baptists, twenty associations, 235 churches, and 6,710 members; of Separate Baptists, three associations, thirty churches, and 1,613 members; of General Baptists two associations, forty-one churches, and 1,978 members: Total number of white Baptists in the State, in 1880, eighty-six associations, 1,630 churches, and 125,882 members. Of colored Baptists, in 1880, there were twelve associations, 443 churches, and 50,368 members. Grand total of Baptists in Kentucky, in 1880, ninety eight associations. 2,073 churches, and 176,250 members. The population of the State in 1880, was 1,648,690. This gave, in round numbers, one Baptist to every nine of the population.
END OF VOLUME I.
[John Henderson Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, 1885; rpt. CHR&A, 1984.]
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