Barren County Church Biographies

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Barren County Church Biographies


Courtesy Barren’s Black Roots Volume 3, Michelle Gorin Burris, Gorin Genealogical Publishing, (c) May 1993 and shown originally in The Jubilee History and Biographical Sketches of Liberty Association, G. R. Ford, Times Publishing Company of Smiths Grove, KY, 1916.


Mrs. Alice Austin, the daughter of Rev. Will Page and Sister Martha Page was born September 3, 1874 and was reared by Bro. Sam and Sister Nora Stark. She professed a hope in Christ in1891 and joined the Rocky Hill Baptist Church. She was united in marriage to Mr. Charlie Austin, October 21, 1897. To this union one child was born, Ruby May, who is dead. Sister Alice is now secretary of the Sunday School and has been for 21 years. She is also the financial secretary of the Rocky Hill Baptist Church. Her home is near Glasgow, Ky.”



Katie D. Baker, the first daughter of Bro. David and Sister Irene Baker, was born and reared in Barren County. She entered school in 1887 and attended the Glasgow Normal and Theological Institute under Prof. J. W. Howard and Prof. H. E. Murrell. She began teaching in 1900 at Gum Spring where she taught seven years. She has been teaching constantly for 18 years. She embraced a hope in Christ March 27, 1897, joined Pleasant Union Church (Barren) and was baptized by Rev. J. Garnett April 15, 1897, and has ever since been a faithful member of that body and a lover of Sunday School. She entered into wedlock with Rev. Duvall, now Katie Duvall.”


Mrs. Mary Emma Anna Pearl Britt, but better known as Polly Baker, of Glasgow, Ky., is the daughter of Mr. Jack and Mrs. Leanna Baker. She professed a hope in Christ March 11, 1917, in a revival conducted by Reverends J.Francis and G. R. Ford. She went into wedlock with Mr. Robert Britt June 18, 1914. She is a member of the Loving Spring Baptist Church. In this union, thee is one child, little Otanzie Britt.”




Miss Jewell Bybee of Glasgow, Ky., daughter of Mr. Willa and Mrs. Bell Bybee  was born April 28, 1896. Miss Bybee professed a hope in Christ the fourth Saturday in October 1914 and was baptized by Rev. J. Francis. She is a lover of all Christian work and has been attending Sunday School about 8 years. She is a member of the Loving Springs Baptist Church.”




Mr. and Ms. Jacob Coats. In loving remembrance of my dear father, Mr. Jacob Coats, who departed this life April 18, 1890, leaving a wife and one daughter, a son-in-law and seven grandchildren, relatives, and a host of friends to mourn his loss. He professed a hope in Christ in early life and joined the white Baptist church in Glasgow, Ky. He became a life member of the General Association, Bowling Green, Ky. He was born four miles east of Glasgow, Ky. He lived an honorable life. He was a blacksmith by trade and was one of the largest landholders of color in Edmonson County.

“Sad and sudden was the call for you, dear father; loved by all, I never thought in that day that you would be called away. I could hardly realize that you were really dead.


“In loving remembrance of my dear mother, Mrs. Jane Coats, God, who loved you best, has taken you from your home to rest. Wife of Jacob Coats, who fell asleep in Jesus September 6, 1916, leaving one daughter; Mrs. Fannie Preston, eight grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, relatives, and a host of friends to mourn her loss. She was born in Richmond, Va. and came to this country when fourteen years old. She professed a hope in Christ at the age of sixteen and joined the Elk Springs Church in Warren County, Ky. Rev. Billy Skaggs as her pastor. After being a member of that church for several years she joined the Glasgow Junction Baptist Church for convenience. She was one among the members that helped to organize the church. She lived an honorable life to her death. Whenever you would meet her, either colored or white, she was anxious to know whether you had professed a hope in Christ. If not, she would instruct you to get ready to meet your God. “ Your voice is silent, Your face we see no more, But we hope to meet you mother, On the golden shore.” Her Daughter, Fannie Preston, Glasgow Junction, Ky.”


John P. Cosby, of Old Rocky Hill, now known as Game, Ky., was born in 1855. He embraced a hope in the Lord when a young man and united with the Rocky Hill Baptist Church of which he is a member now, and has always proven an honor to the church and county in which he has lived. He has most of the time been a leader for his race in some position. He has served as superintendent of the Rocky Hill Sunday School for 23 years and is now the present superintendent. He served as President for the Sunday School Convention three years and left the office with the Convention in a prosperous condition.”


Rev. Murrey Davidson, the well-known son of Mrs. Emma Davidson, was born Aril 13, 1874, at Becton, Barren County, Ky., and was reared at Old Rocky Hill, in Barren county, Ky., now known as Game. He attended school at that place professed a hope in Christ at the age of 13 years. He went from this state to Indianapolis, Ind. There he joined the Missionary Baptist church and began preaching the gospel at the age of 30. He was called from thee to take charge of a church at Rockville, Ind., and from there to Crawfordsville, In., and from there to Columbus, Ind., where he is at present. He has been very useful since joining the church in Rocky Hill. Before leaving this state he served as secretary for the Sunday School for some time.”

SAM DICKINSON Another beloved African American of Barren County was Sam Dickinson. He was the very last slave to be sold from the slave auction block in Glasgow. He had come from the south with his master (thought to be Mr. Buck Maupin) as a child and sold. Mr. Mike Dickinson or his father, Tom Dickinson, was the purchaser and Mr. Dickinson used him as his body guard. He had been called Sambo before, but took on the name of Sam Dickinson. He was thought to be about 90 years old when he died and was the janitor of the First National Bank for a time.

OLD BOB (EUBANK) In 1854, Glasgow was almost wiped from the map by a cholera epidemic. The people were running out of food and no city would send help. Except Old Bob Eubank.


Quotation from late historian Cyrus Edwards: “One of the key players in the citizen’s fight for survival was “Old Bob”. He was an old Negro who bravely volunteered to take a wagon out to the mill near Beaver Creek where a miller was willing to furnish meal and flour. The miller would bring the goods only to the edge of town, fearful of being exposed if he came any closer. “Old Bob” drove a six-horse team out to pick up the food every day, day after day. The miller stated that he would not compel any one to go on his wagon – that “Old Bob” with heroic spirit, wanted to do this and insisted that he be allowed to make these trips.” Old Bob kept the town from starving and when the epidemic was ended, it is said that over ½ of the population of Glasgow had died.


Mrs. Tennessee Fortune, of Glasgow, Ky., was born in Nashville, Tenn., February 15, 1862. She is the daughter of Mrs. Susan Ralston. Mrs. Fortune came to Glasgow at an early age of ten and was reared there. She embraced a hope in Christ at the age of 13 years and has lived a consistent member for 43 years. She went into wedlock with Mr. Stape Boyd and to this union there are 6 children, Viz, J. E., E. L. and Fountain E. Boyd, Sarah S., Mary M., and Bell Boyd. After the death of Mr. Stape Boyd, Mrs. Boyd went into wedlock with Bro. John Fortune and remained with him until his death in June 1914.”




“Rev. John Garnett was born at Glasgow, Ky., February 29, 1836. He made the Bible a close study for fifty years, was clerk of the Liberty Association ten years, was a plasterer, and paper hanger by trade, a farmer and superintendent of Sunday School for forty years. He went into the ministry in 1880 and was pastor of seven churches as follows: Icy Sink, 4 years; Blue Spring, 4 years; Caney Fork, 27 years; Jimtown, 28 years; Woodsonville, 28 years; Pleasant Union, 29 years; Glasgow Junct. 18 months and also at Munfordville. He baptized and added to churches over 1,500 souls. He preached more funerals and married more people than any minister in the Liberty Association. He also built 5 churches.”


“Mr. Ben Hatfield, of Glasgow, Barren county, Ky., was born in A. D. 1844. He fought to free the Negro in the time of the Civil War and enlisted at the age of 16. When 30 years of age he professed a hope in Christ and joined the Oak Grove Missionary Baptist church, the church then chose him for a deacon and he faithfully served in that office for 40 years. He is a well known citizen of Barren county, owning a farm on the Scottsville pike, three miles west of Glasgow, worth about eight to nine thousand dollars.”



“Miss Flossie M. Hibbitt, is the daughter of Bro. Will and Mary S. Hibbitt. Miss Hibbitt is a well known girl of Game, Ky., and was born and reared at that place. At twelve years of age she professed a hope in Christ and  joined the Rocky Hill church and has made a faithful soldier for Him.


“She completed the common school course and attended the State Normal at Frankfort, Ky. By hard study and perseverance she made a teacher and taught two terms at Lucas, Ky.”



Nora B. Hibbitt, the daughter of Sister Mary Susan and Bro. William Hibbitt was born and reared in Barren county, Ky.


“She has finished the common school course and holds two first class certificates, one in Barren county and one in Monroe county. She has been teaching school three years, having begun in 1915.”



Mr. Rice Hibbitt, of Game, Barren county, Ky., is the son of deacon Sam and is 32 years of age. He professed a hope in Christ and joined the Rocky Hill Baptist Church. Mr. Hibbitt is a farmer and owns a farm worth three thousand dollars. He is an honor to his race along financial lines.”




“Bro. Samuel Hibbitt, Old Rocky Hill, now known as Game, Ky., was born November 3, 18l57 in Monroe County, Ky. He entered into wedlock with Miss Mollie Barracks on March 7, 1880. To this union were born eight children. Mrs. Hibbitt died on September 7, 1895. In about 18months after her death he again entered wedlock with Miss Pernie Cole February 22, 1897. To this union were born four children, viz: Sam Robertson, Taylor, Isaiah and Fannie. Bro. Sam was ordained for a deacon of the Rocky Hill Church on the 2nd day of April, 1915. He has been a member for 30 years.”


Alice Hunter, the first and only daughter of W. F. and Rosa Hunter, was born and reared in Barren County. She entered school at Gum Spring, in 1885 and attended school ten sessions of three and four months. She embraced a hope in Christ, December 1893, at Glasgow Junction and joined the church at that place and was baptized by Rev. L. Shobe and remained a faithful member of that body until November 1914, when she moved her membership to Loving Spring. She was a Sunday School secretary at Gum Spring several years before her marriage with Oscar Irwin in December 1903. To this union are two boys, Ocee Sam, the younger, is 4 years, the other son’s name is Ed Council Irwin.”


Mrs. Hattie Lewis, of Glasgow, Ky., the daughter of  Mr. Harry and Mrs. Mary Smith, was born June 25, 1894. She professed a hope in Christ at Glasgow Junction in January 1914 and joined the Loving Springs Baptist Church by letter in March 1916. She went into wedlock with Mr. Luther Lewis, May 3, 1916. Mr. Lewis was born April 9, 1892.”




Rev. Elzy Lewis, the subject of the sketch, was born a slave in 1856, in Barren County, Ky., on the farm owned by Mr. Jack Lewis, near Barren river. He was the third child and next to the youngest of four children of Mrs. Frances Lewis. He professed a hope in Christ in 1876, during a revival that was being conducted by Rocky Hill by Rev. Ben Rogers and was baptized and united with that church. It seemed almost from the first he felt the call of God to the ministry, for within six months after his baptism he was in active service of his Master, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to a sinful world. He died during the summer of 1900 at Summer Shade, Ky., while in the discharge of his pastoral duties, being a valiant worker and a soldier of the cross, he died on the firing line. A Christian gentleman, a fearless advocate of right, a loving husband and father, a potent factor of the church.”


Rev. James Ford Lewis, of Pageville, Barren county, Ky. Was born August 10, 1843. He was converted under Rev. Tolbert Rogers and joined the Pleasant Union Baptist church at Mammoth Cave, Edmonson county, Ky. There he began to preach the gospel. He taught school two years and after the Rock Hill church was organized he moved his membership to that place where he remained until his death. On September 8, 1869 he went into wedlock with Miss Nancy Drane and to that union four children were born, viz: Mrs. Mary B. Greer, who is the wife of the late Hayden Greer, Messrs. J. H. T., R. T. M. and J. W. Lewis. He was ordained and was pastor of the Caney Fork Church. The churches he was pastor of at his death were: Glasgow Junction, Scottsville, Horse Cave and Poplar Grove. He died November 23, 1881.”


Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Jackson Lynn and Granddaughter. Mr. Lynn was born July 15, 1864, in Barren county, Ky., and has lived a pious, gentlemanly life and is in all respects a moral citizen Miss Amanda Stark, daughter of Mrs. Mary Frances Duncan, as born in Allen County, Ky., April 18 1873. She professed hope in Christ at the age of fourteen years, and joined the Greensville Baptist Church, where she is still a willing member to do her part in helping to life any burden of the church. Mr. Lynn went into wedlock with Miss Amanda Start September 5, 1894. To this union there were four children, namely, Mrs. Tilla Thomas, Edward Lynn, Margia Lynn and Coral Lynn. Mr. and Mrs. Lynn’s little grandchild appears between them. She is the daughter of Mr. Virgil and Mrs. Tilla Thomas. Mrs. Mary Frances Duncan, the mother of Mrs. Lynn, was born in Barren county, August 12, 1833, and is 85 years old. (Photographs of children): No. 1 is Mrs. Tilla Thomas, who was born May 16, 1893, in Allen County. She professed faith in Christ. She went into wedlock with Mr. Virgil Thomas in 1912. To this union there is one child, Ethel Willard, who was born November 19, 1913. No. 2 is Edward Lynn, who was born in Warren County June 9, 1895. He professed a hope in Christ in 1907. He enlisted for the Philippines in 1913 and is now in Columbus, N.M. No. 3 is Margia Lynn, who was born February 11, 1897, in Warren County. She professed a hope in Christ in 1910. Her presentments to gain friends are very lovely and her way to show kindness is appreciated by all. No. 4 is Coral Lynn who was born March 20, 1900, in Allen County. He professed a hope in Christ in 1913 and is a very intelligent young man. These four children are sociable in all their dealings and to know them is to love them. They are all members of the Greensville Church.”


Mr. Payton Martin, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Press Martin, was born in Barren county, Ky., October 4, 1876. He professed a hope in Christ and joined the Rocky Hill Church in 1898. He is a loyal member, always willing to do his part. Mr. martin first married Miss Annie Edmond, and to that union were born two children, living Christians. After the death of Mr. Martin, he went into marriage union with Miss Annie Young, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Young, at sweet sixteen. She was born in Warren county, Ky., and professed a hope in Christ at the age of twelve. To this union are three children, Fannie Porter, the oldest, four years; one dead; and C. P., the youngest, eleven months. Mrs. Martin is a member of the Mt Ollie Baptist Church. In January 1915, she was elected secretary of the church and is still serving in that office. She is a true lover of all Christian work and always does her work without worrying or murmuring. She is intellectually strong and morally worthy.”


Mamie Bell Leanor Mosby, of Glasgow, Ky., professed a hope in Christ, Marc h 17, 1914. Miss Mamie is a fine young lady 24 years of age and a lover of virtue and good morals. She is intellectually able to master most any profession.”


Rev. Peter Murrell, of Glasgow, Barren county, Ky. was born in AD 1823. He professed a hope in Christ in the time of slavery under the white people’s revival, conducted by Rev. N. G. Terry. He remained in that church some years and on the fourth Saturday in May, 1843, a committee was chosen to investigate about “branching off” the Negroes. In June of the same year the committee reported that it did not consider it advisable. This question was brought up and discussed a number of times, but nothing definite was done until April, 1867, when Peter Murrell, of color, was ordained for the ministry, N. G. Terry delivered the charge, then the “branch off” took place and “uncle” Rev. P. Murrell’s church was organized and began with 69 members. Rev. Murrell was the greater cause of the Liberty Association being organized and was a Moderator of it until his death, with the exception of one year. For his intellectual ability concerning the Bible, his equal as hard to find any where in any race, therefore, he may be called the Bible key. The greater number of churches of the Liberty Association were partly organized by him, therefore he may be called the father of the Association. He was married twice and was the father of at least five children to my knowledge, namely, Bell, John, James, Sammy and Josephine. Sammy is now the secretary of the Sunday School Convention. He was pastor of three churches at his death, Glasgow, Bearwallow and Cave City.”


Rev. Will Page, of Rocky Hill, Ky., was one of the early pastors of the Liberty Association and was pastor of several churches. He died in full triumph of faith in 1881, leaving two children, Lela and Alice, to mourn his loss. Since his death Lela has dine, but Alice is still living and the wife of the late Charlie Austin.




Anna L. Parrish, the daughter of John Parrish and Mary B. Parrish, was born in Kentucky and is a girl well known of this place. At the age of twelve she began to want to do something for the Lord but opportunities did not permit. Later in the year 1913 she professed a hope in Christ and joined the Baptist church. She has made a faithful soldier. When in school she was very industrious and to this day has a great love for education.”



Thessalonies Parrish, teacher and soldier, was born 14 miles south of Glasgow near Rocky Hill, Ky., January 4, 1886. He enlisted in the U. S. Army for service in the Philippine Islands. On his tour around the world in 1909 he visited the Holy Land. He married Miss Pattie Thelma Baker, June 14, 1911. He professed hope in Christ November 16, 1915, through the preaching of Reverends Tom Brown and Luther Shobe. He is living a consistent member of the Rocky Hill Missionary Baptist Church.”


Pattie Thelma Baker Parrish born in Barren county, northeast of Glasgow, Ky., on June 12, 1886. She was converted and baptized through the preaching of Rev. John Garnett, of Glasgow, Ky., November 16, 1903, and united with the Pleasant Union Missionary Baptist Church. After teaching for several years she was married to Mr. Thessalonies Parrish, a non-commissioned officer of the U. S. Army on June 14, 1911.”





“In loving memory of the dear one, Benton Preston, who departed this life, June 30, 1909, leaving a wife, eight children, seven grand children, relatives and a host of friends to mourn his loss. He was born in Richmond, Va., June 4, 1844 and came to Kentucky when he was 3 years old, lived here a few years and then was married to Miss Fannie Coats, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Coats, Sept. 20, 1873. He professed a hope in early life and was an honor to the churches to which he belonged. He joined the Stony Point Baptist Church first and was a member several years, then he joined the Glasgow Junction Baptist Church for convenience and served as a deacon at that place. His occupation was smithing and farming. A dear one from our live has gone, the voice we love is stilled. We shed our tears of tender love, our hearts are filled with pain. O, smile upon us from above, ask God to lead us through the walks of life that we some day, may find our way to you. Wife and children.”


Rev. Ben F. Rogers, of Rocky Hill, Barren county, Ky., was born in AD 1847 and professed a hope in Christ when very young. He married Miss Harriet Martin and to this union were a large number of children all of which are dead except two: Peter M. Rogers and John Rogers. Rev. Rogers began his ministry when a young man and was always one of the greatest preachers in the Liberty Association. He was full of good church work and gospel power, a great church organizer and pastor. He served as assistant Moderator for one year. He was first a member of the Mammoth Cave Church but joined the Rocky Hill church when very young in the cause and remained there until his death, which came on August 19, 1897. At that time he was pastor of three churches: Greensville, Rocky Hill and Mt. Union.”


Bro. Robin Rogers. Born in Barren county, Ky., April 1863. At the age of 15 he professed a hope in Christ and has been a faithful worker for Him ever since. He is a deacon of the Rocky Hill church and has been an ordained deacon of said church for about 28 years. He is an earnest worker in the Liberty Association. He has been a treasurer of the convention for 18 years and has always been able to account for every penny of money entrusted to his care. In his youth he never had the opportunity of attending school as does the youth of today, but he is a great educational worker and believer, as well as a church and Sunday School worker. He has been Sunday School Superintendent for a number of years. It is now and has always been his policy to help in the uplift of  humanity.”


Willie Belle Smith was born July 9, 1883. He professed a hope in Christ at the age of 16 and united with the Pleasant Union Baptist church, Barren County, Ky. He attended the common schools, the Glasgow Theological and Normal Institute. He is intellectual, moral and spiritually alive to every Christian call. He taught several years in the common schools of Kentucky, afterwards retiring to take up other labors. In 1908 he was elected recording secretary of the Liberty Association of the Missionary Baptists, which office he still holds and the delegation feels greatly honored to have a young man of his ability to do their work.”




Rev. G. B. Stark, the son of Bro. G. W. Stark and sister Georgan Stark, was born January 3, 1870. He professed a hope in Christ in 1883, attended the Normal School of Ridelton, Smith county, Tenn., acquired a common school education and taught school twelve years. He was united to Miss Bettie W. Stark in 1898, to this union are four children, viz: S. F. Stark, Elouie, Voil and Lorena. He was licensed to preach in 1908. God made choice of Bro. Stark’s wife, August 26, 1917, calling her from labor to reward. A wife and mother is gone, but I commit all things in the things well.”




Garland Stark, the son of Mr. John and Mrs. Georganna Stark, as born in Barren county, Ky., March 21, 1878. He professed a hope in Christ in 1891. In 1902 he went into wedlock with Miss Lora Hays and to this union there were three children, as follows: Jessie, Earie and Maggie. After ten years of wedded life with his wife, Mrs. Lora Stark, she died, in the triumph of faith, being a faithful member of the Greensville church. She was later laid to rest in the Greensville Cemetery. A few years later he went into wedlock with Miss Bertha Landers. He is a member of the Rocky Hill Missionary Baptist Church.”



Mr. Sam Stark was born at Game, Ky. in Barren County, December 25, 1841. He professed a hope in Christ in 1870. In 1887 he was united in marriage to Miss Nora Page. In 1904 he was chosen and ordained a deacon of Rocky Hill Baptist Church, has served as trustee of the Glasgow Normal and Theological Institute, for fifteen years and is now chairman of the Executive Board.”





Philis Webb with Oakley and Bertha Howard, children of Dr. C. C. Howard of Glasgow KY. Philis was a beloved nanny for Dr Howard's children for many years. He operated Howard Clinic on West Washington Street until his death.

Correction: Oakley and Bertha were children of Dr. Carl Clifford Howard's father, Dr. Thomas Scrivener Howard 1858 - 1894. His children in the picture: Bertha b. 1883 & Oakley b. 1885. Philis Webb was born in 1863. Picture probably taken about 1887. The caption should read, children of Dr. T. S. Howard. Dr. C.C. Howard, son of Dr. T. S. Howard operated Howard Clinic.  (Correction courtesy of Laura Stewart Civey, [email protected])

Mrs. Ednie Rally Stark Underwood, the daughter of Mr. Eliot and Mrs. Mary T. Stark, was born July 27, 1885. She professed a hope in Christ at the age of twelve in 1897. She went into wedlock with Mr. Bassey Underwood, who was born May 28, 1906. Mrs. Ednie R. Underwood has served as secretary and teacher of Sunday School several times and is a lover of all Christian work and willing to perform any duty the church deems necessary to enjoin upon her. She is now serving the church as recording secretary and does her work willingly and well.” (No photograph available).


Jackson Whitney was born about AD 1841. He professed a hope in the Lord Jesus, in the time of slavery, and has served the Oak Grove Baptist church in Barren county as a deacon from the organization up to present time and has proven himself an ardent Christian since his profession.  He has always been found at his post of duty as to the service of a deacon, which has purchased to him a good report from those who know him.”




Evelyn Mary Wilson, daughter of James and Sallie Wilson was born at Glasgow Junction, Ky., December 1, 1882. She entered the public school of Glasgow at the age of 7 and finished said school at the age of fourteen. Afterwards she attended the Glasgow and State Normal Schools. When thirteen years of age she professed a hope in Christ and became a member of the First Baptist Church of Glasgow. She taught Sunday School for a number of years in said church and served as assistant clerk of the church, also as secretary of the Liberty Baptist Sunday School Convention and of the Third Congressional District Teachers Association for four years or more. At the age of fifteen she began to teach school and for the past twenty years in succession, has taught successfully in the schools of Barren County.”