Flagg Spring Baptist Church History

Flagg Spring Baptist Church History

By Elizabeth T Clough and Mrs. Ora W Clough of Paris, Kentucky

Information on the ministers and the Campbell County Association is taken from J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists front 1769 to 1885. (Cincinnati: 1885) Vol. II.

The Flagg Spring Baptist Church was organized Dec. 7, 1833 by Rev. W. T. Jolly, pastor. The covenant of the church was recorded in a small book now in the possession of Mrs. Harry Alford, Alexandria, Kentucky. The book was preserved by Mrs. Alford's mother, Mrs. Harley Carnes, many years ago.

A program of the one hundred and seventh annual session of the Campbell County Baptist Association held at Flagg Spring in August 1933 has been preserved, also. It records that the original church was of log, and that three meeting houses have been used in the intervening years. Another piece of history preserved is a very interesting church letter for Amanda Ship, who was dismissed from. New Zion Babtus Church, Pendleton County, Ky., in good standing, dated February 1881, and signed by W. R. Thornbery and J. M. Sharp, Clerk.

It was to this small country church graveyard that two men who faced a firing squad May 15, 1863 for recruiting Confederate soldiers within the lines of the Union forces were brought for burial. They were Lt. Thomas Jefferson McGraw, C. S. A. and William Frances Corbin. (Note: Corbin was buried in the Corbin Family Cemetery in California.)

The 1864 membership list is incomplete, several pages being missing from the record book, but the 1875 list is complete. Minutes of the Church meetings are the source of information for most of the listings. A partial record of the cemetery has been published in the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society Vol. 45, #153. A short article on the church was also published in Kentucky Ancestors Vol. 5, No. 3, Jan. 1970.

The Campbell County Association was constituted at Brush Creek, on Friday, 21 September 1827, by eight churches which had been dismissed from North Bend Association. It was first called Campbell Association, but in 1831 it assumed its present title. The names of the churches that entered into the constitution were Licking, Four Mile, Bank Lick, Wilmington, Brush Creek, Twelve Mile, Alexandria and Flower Creek. The covenant of Flagg Spring Baptist Church of Jesus Christ was constituted at their meeting house on 7 December 1833.

Among ministers who served the Campbell County Association, and who either held "protracted meetings" or were regularly employed as ministers at Flagg Spring were:

JOHN STEPHENS who was one of the early preachers, first in North Bend, and afterwards, in the Campbell County Association. His membership was in Twelve Mile Church, where he was probably raised to the ministry, some time previous to the year 1820. He was the first moderator of Campbell County Association, and continued to act as presiding officer of that body, with the exception of one year, until he was succeeded by James Vickers, in 1840.

ELAM GRIZZLE, was a native of Virginia, and was born of Baptist parents July 23, 1778. Losing his father in early childhood, he was committed to the care of a Baptist family named Hampton, who afterward moved to Kentucky, and settled on Elkhorn. Here young Grizzle professed religion and united with a Baptist church in his youth. He subsequently moved with his foster parents to Gallatin county, where he united with Ten Mile Church. Having married Ann McCullum, he settled in Kenton County, where he united with Bank Lick Church, about 1808. In 1817 he was ordained a deacon in that church, and on 9 May 1818, was ordained to the ministry, by Moses Vickers and others. He was soon chosen pastor of Bank Lick Church, and continued to fill that position for about 25 years. He was also pastor of Decoursey's Creek Church from its constitution, in 1844, till about 1850. He died in 1862.

JAMES SPILLMAN was one of the most active and useful preachers that have labored in Campbell County Association. He was born of Presbyterian parents in Campbell Co., Ky. Oct. 29, 1796, and was christened and catechized according to the custom of his fathers. Notwithstanding his poor advantages he succeeded in acquiring a fair education and devoted some years to reading medicine. After spending some time in close study of the Bible, he united with the Baptist church at Four Mile, and was immersed by Christopher Wilson. In 1820, he entered into the constitution of a church at Alexandria, in his native county, and in December of that year was licensed to preach. He married Rachel Martin of Hamilton Co., Ohio in 1832. In October 1833 he was ordained to the ministry, in the house of his mother, where the church of Alexandria was accustomed to meet. After this time, great excitement on the subject of benevolent institutions prevailed among the churches. Mr. Spillman warmly espoused the cause of missions, and for some years traveled and preached almost constantly in the counties of Bourbon, Pendleton, Campbell, Kenton and Harrison, and in the adjacent region of Ohio. By the time this controversy had closed, in the schism of 1840, Mr. Spillman had become the leading preacher of his Association, and was regarded as such during the remainder of his ministry. He was pastor of the church of Alexandria 25 years, Licking Valley Church 14 years, and at different periods of nearly all the churches of his Association. He died Sept. 19, 1872. James Spillman was the son of Frank and Rebecca Erskine Spillman.

GEORGE GRADEN was the son of a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War, and is supposed to have been born in Campbell County, Ky. about 1794. In February 1803 George Graden "a poor orphan of 8 years last September" was apprenticed to Frank Spilman. (Court Order Book A, p. 308, Newport, Kentucky.) He obtained a fair education and a good general reading, and became especially familiar with the sacred scriptures. He united with Four Mile Church about 1812. Here he was licensed to preach, about 1822, and was ordained about 1824. For many years he made it a rule annually to visit and preach to every church in his Association. At different periods he served the churches at Willow Creek, in Bracken county (14 years), Indian Creek, in Harrison county (15 years) Union, Harris Creek, Oak Island, Short Creek, Falmouth, Decourseys Creek, Dayton, Twelve Mile and Bank Lick. He also held protracted meetings at many other churches. He died Sept. 13, 1870.

FERGUS GERMAN was born in Campbell County, Ky., September 22, 1802. He was baptized by John Stephens into the fellowship of Licking Church, April 1820. He afterwards moved his membership to Second Twelve Mile where he was licensed to preach Sept. 1.8, 1841, and was ordained to the Ministry January 1843 by John Stephens, William Morin and James Spillman. He preached at Second Twelve Mile Church for four years. He aided in gathering Harris Creek Church in Pendleton county, to which he ministered for a time. He was also pastor of Falmouth Church eleven years and Holes Creek and North Fork for shorter periods. In 1855, he moved to Jackson County, Missouri, while there, he was pastor of Line Hill, Sibley, Union and Fishing River Churches. In 1863 he moved back to Campbell County, Ky. where he was pastor to Licking, Oak Island and Grassy Creek Churches. He died in 1879.

HENRY E. SPILLMAN was born in Alexandria, Campbell County, Ky. July 14,1835, son of Henry Erskine Spillman and Mary Morin Spilanan. He was ordained to the ministry in the fall of 1866, and was pastor of the Dayton Church about ten years, for three Sundays a month, preaching at Union Church, Harrison County on the fourth Sunday. He was married 10 Feb. 1859 to Fannie Walker, daughter of Deacon Henry Walker of Dayton Ky. (Issue: Henry Erskine Spillman m. Elizabeth Stevens); Sue d. unm.; Carrie (m. Mark Collard) and Mayme, (m. C. L. Garnett of Cynthiana, Ky.) Henry E. Spillman d. Aug. 20, 1878.

JAMES MONROE JOLLY, born in Lewis County, Ky. Dec. 13, 1817, trained as brick-layer, moved with his parents to Clermont county, Ohio 1826 and to Campbell County 1833. Baptized at Licking Church 1842 and licensed to preach soon after. Gave most of his attention to the practice of law, as he was a justice of the peace for several years. On March 24, 1854, he was ordained to the ministry, and served the following churches: Second Twelve Mile, for 11 years, Flagg Spring for 15 years, Persimmon Grave for 8 years, Florence for two years, Bank Lick 9 years, Pleasant Ridge 16 years, Grants Lick four years, Grassy Creek, Demossville, Licking Valley one year each. His son William T. Jolly was educated at Georgetown College and preached in Indiana 1870 and several years following, returned to Kentucky and located at Ashland, Kentucky.

ROBERT WARE was the youngest son of Deacon Issac Ware and was born in Lexington, Ky. 1792. Migrating to Campbell County in his youth. With Uriah Edwards he was licensed to preach in 1821, and was ordained to the care of Licking Church, in 1823. About 1827 he moved to Mississippi.

WILLIAM GRIZZLE was a son of Elder Elam Grizzle, and was born in what is now Kenton County, Ky., March 31, 1813. He united with Bank Lick Church, and Was baptized by his father October 1832. In 1846 he was licensed to exercise "a public gift" and was ordained to the ministry by Robert Kirtley,  J. A. Kirtley, Elam Grizzle, A. W. Mullins and Robert Vickers, March 13, 1853. Aided by Jesse Beagle, he raised up Grants Lick Church near his home in Campbell County and served it as pastor the remainder of his brief ministry. He also served the Church at Pleasant Ridge, for a time, and was pastor of DeCourseys Creek, Bowmans (now Oak Island) and Grants Lick, at the time of his death Nov. 3, 1867.

JESSE BEAGLE, was born in Campbell County, Ky. October 17, 1812. He was ordained to the ministry May 1, 1852. He served Campbell County Association as a missionary. He also filled the pastoral office in some of the leading churches in that fraternity, among others, that of Second Twelve Mile. He died Feb. 24, 1876.

ALEXANDER WEBB MULLINS, was born in what is now Kenton County, Kentucky Dec. 5, 1822. Fie was baptized by James Spillman, into the fellowship at Wilmington Church about 1.846. Shortly thereafter he was ordained to the ministry- by James Spillman, Thomas Lummis and Martin Lummis, Nov. 25, 1849.

Information on the ministers and the Campbell County Association is taken from J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists front 1769 to 1885. (Cincinnati: 1885) Vol. II.

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