African-American Church Histories

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African-American Church Histories


Courtesy Barren’s Black Roots Volume 3, Michelle Gorin Burris, Gorin Genealogical Publishing, (c) May 1993. Source: The Jubilee History and Biographical Sketches of Liberty Association, by G. RE. Ford, Printed and Published by Times Publishing Company of Smiths Grove, Ky., 1916.


Bearwallow Baptist Church

Hart County


     “Bearwallow Church was organized in AD 1867 by Rev. Nat Terry (white). They held their meetings in the white people’s church at Bearwallow until they could build them a church for themselves. The church was constituted with nine members.


      “The church has had only three pastors. The first was Rev. P. Murrell; he was the pastor of the church until his death. The second pastor was Rev. E. W. Strange, who held the church until his death. The third pastor is Rev. C. W. Bransford, who has charage of the church at present.


      “The church from its organization to the present has had nine deacons. The first board of directors was composed of Edmond Wilson, Wesley Green, Oliver Parrish and Jesse Garvin. The second board is composed of Lafayette Nuckles, Peter Smith, L. TG. Davis, Pompey Vaughn and C. T. Garnett.


      “The church has never had to call a council to settle any of its troubles. She always kept peace among her members. The church is located on the L & N Pike, eight miles east of Horse Cave, Ky., and has property valued at $1,500.00. The church has had three buildings; the first was composed of logs with puncheon seats, worth about $5.00. The second building was a frame, 26 x 30 feet, valued at $50.00, this burned in 1902; the third is a weather-boarded house 26 x 36 feet, built in the latest design, valued at $1,800.00, with a present membership of 105.”


Horse Cave Baptist Church

Hart County


      “The Horse Cave First Baptist Church was organized in the year 1878 by Rev. Spot Underwood. Members of the organization were: Lucy Beard, Amanda Dinnis, Phil Dunn, Bill Dunn, George Esters, Lizzie Duke, Liza Nunnelly, Ben Heiois, Ned Massey, John Wheeler and Ellen Wheeler. These are the pastors as they succeeded each other: first, Rev. Tolbert Rogers, Daniel Wilson, Isaac Owens, Elzy Lewis, Jimmie Lewis, Ben Rogers, William Page, Wash Sample, and Ben Fant. These are all death [sic] with the exception of Rev. Fant, the present pastor. From this body the following ministers have gone: Reverends Alec White, Wash Sample, Edd Palmore, John Thomas Barlow and Charlie Stiffy. The deacons were: A. Hurndon, J. F. Beard and G. W. Mills. The present membership is 150. The above photo and church history was paid for by Rev. J. T. Barlow and Bro. Lewis Parrish.”


Munfordville Baptist Church

Hart County


      “This church was organized by Rev. Wallis, of Ohio, about the year 1867. The first members were drawn from the white church, namely: Tom Bloxman and wife, Jim Sanders and wife, Uncle John Perry, Aunt Mariah Wood, Rev. Gaddie and wife, Bell Gaddie, Bill McDougal and wife, Bill Harper, John Dudley.


      “After Rev. Wallis organized the church he stayed with it about a year and the first deacons were: John Perry, Jim Sanders and Bill McDougal.


      “The next preacher was Rev. Tolbert Rogers. The deacon that came in under him was bill Harper. Brothers Rogers served two years as pastor. Our next pastor was Armstead Gaddie, serving a little over a year. The next pastor was Ike Owens, serving until his death. The next pastor, Rev. Elgie Lewis, served until death. After him Rev. J. E. Wood served a very short time. After him Rev. Pierson served us about seventeen years. Our next pastor, Rev. C. W. Bransford, served a short time. After him, Rev. Garnett served a short term, or about two years. After him came Rev. Fant, then Rev. C. H. Coakley, of Campbellsville served one year.


                “The present ordained deacons are Bros. Clobrom Garvin and C. Wagner. Brother Green Wilcox served until his death.”


Oak Ridge Missionary Baptist Church

Hart County


      “The Oak Ridge Missionary Baptist Church, of Horse Cave, was organized on Monday, August 9, 1875, in Barren County, Ky., with a council composed of Rev. John James, Will J. Edwards, J. B. Edwards, deacons (white) members were as follows: Brothers George Watson, Ralph Wood, Ben Garnett and George Payton also Sister Candace Wood. After constituting, the doors of the church were opened and the following joined on the credit of their letters: Richard Wilson, Adam Garnett, Elyza Wilson, Rachel Wilson, Dinie Garnett, Jane Wilson and Mary Wilson. The church then agreed to chose a deacon and the vote was cast in favor of Bro. Ralph Wood for deacon and was ordained the same day by a council composed of Reverends John James, W. J. And John B. Edwards. In January 1876 Rev. Elvie Lewis, the pastor of the church, was ordained by a council composed of Rev. P. Murrell and others in the ordination. In December 1892 a council convened for the purpose of ordaining Brothers Ralph Wood and C. M. Pemberton (whose picture appears) by a council composed of: Reverends J. Garnett, N. P. Pierson, J. Ingram, L. Shobe and others. Rev. L. Shobe took charge of this church in November 1891 and has been pastor ever since. The last council convened for the purpose of ordaining brothers V. B. Garnett and Tobe Terry, with a council composed of Reverend L. Shobe, Brothers Peter Smith, L. G. Davis, Alexander Hurndon, G. W. Mills, Frank Willis and others. The present church building is of the latest design, well built, neatly seated and in a beautiful location. It is valued at about $1,600.00 and has had only two treasure holders, brothers Ralph Wood, Sr., and G. G. Garnett. W. W. Garnett, secretary, R. G. Lasley, assistant Rev. L. Shobe, pastor and moderator.”


Woodsonville Missionary Baptist Church

Hart County


      “The Woodsonville Missionary Baptist Church was organized December 3, 1870 with 22 members, by Rev. Tolbert Rogers and others. There are only 3 living, as follows: Brothers Robert Rowletts, Sam P. Dixon, Sister Sallie Rowlett and James G. Hardy (white) was the moderator of the organization. Rev. Tolbert Rogers preached here 2 or 3 years before the church was established and was the first pastor called after the organization. Bro. Harve Barlow was the first deacon and Bro. Bailey Williams was the next, he served a number of years and died. Bro. Jacob Rowlett served a number of years and was called by death. Bro. Robert Rowlett, who was in the organization is one of the deacons who is now presiding and Bro. F. D. Best (picture at right) is also one of the present deacon, the only two living. Rev. Tolbert Rogers was pastor until he died; Rev. Elzie Lewis succeeded him and was pastor until he died; he was succeeded by Rev. J. E Wood, who staid only a short time, then resigned. In 1890 the church called Rev. J. Garnett, who was pastor 27 years and resigned. The church then called Rev C. W. Bransford who is the present pastor. The church started with 22 members and now it has 160.”