The above picture is not the Harris Creek Baptist Church
Dr. Bradford's History Of Harris Creek
Church At Boston, This County
The Falmouth Outlook - Friday, December 28, 1834
Transcribed with permission by Bonnie Snow
The Outlook published a few weeks ago the history of Butler Baptist Church, in which I was much interested from the fact that my father and mother were charter members and I also was a member for a number of years. The history will not be completer without the history of the old Harris Creek Baptist Church at Boston Station, which was organized on Oct. 21, 1843, ninety-one years ago last October. The old minutes of the church are in my possession and contain much information that is interesting. It existed forty-one years, disbanding in July, 1884. The Butler church was organized in November, 1884, so it is a continuation of the old church.
Six of the charter members, Hugh Bradford and wife, my father and mother, W. L. Barton and wife, Mrs. Howe and Mrs. A. Hensley (nee Addie Benton) had been former members of the Harris Creek Church. Immediately after the organization of the Butler Church a number who had obtained letters from the old church united with the Butler church, making up a large part of the congregation.
Those who called for letters the day the old church was disbanded are as follows: James W. Huff, Mary A. Huff, Mary J. Johnson, T. J. McKee, Sarah M. McKee, J. L. Johnson, Jennie Johnson, W. G. Williams, Delia Williams, Maggie Ellis, Velia A. Huff, Mollie Hathaway, Elizabeth Beckett, Ira F. Shannon, Jane A. Shannon, John A. Shannon and S. A. Huff.
The old church was organized in the old hewed log school house that stood on Harris Creek. The farm is now owned by J. C. Kirby, and was built in 1812 or 1815, size about 20x30, with a big stone fireplace in one end of the building. I have a very distinct recollection of the old house, for it was there that I first attended school.
I am quoting from the minutes the call for the organization
of the church: Be it recorded that on the 21st day of October, 1842, the
following named persons met at the Harris Creek school house, agreeable to
previous notice, for the purpose of constituting themselves into a regular
Baptist Church: "Matthew Wright, William Wright, Elizabeth Wright,
Jaily Ducker, Colored Jane, Sarah Stewart, Elizabeth Wright and Martha
Wright. Brother Morin being invited, preached a sermon on the occasion
from the 133rd Psalm, 1st verse: 'Behold how good and how pleasant it is
for brethern to dwell together in unity.' Thomas Waggoner was chosen
Moderator and W. J. Morin, Clerk.
The following churches having been sent to for help, sent their delegates, as follows: From Falmouth, Thomas Waggoner, B. L. Minor and P. L. G. Watson; from Second Twelve-Mile, Forgus German, Charles Dickens, John C. Chutter, William Dawson, David Lewis and H. W. Ellis. Bro. Wm. J. Morin and Edward Nelson from Flagg Spring being present, were invited and took seats with them, also Brother Thomas Logan from Second Twelve-Mile and Brother Wm. Lancaster from Short Creek, being invited, took seats with them.
"Thereupon the Article of Faith and Rules of Decorum being read, the above named members were asked if they subscribed to them and they all answered in the affirmative. Council unanimously concurred, whereupon they sang a hymn and gave each other the right hand of fellowship, the brother Moderator announcing them a duly constituted church of Jesus Christ. Amen. Thomas Waggoner, Moderator. W. J. Morin, Clerk.
"After the constitution was adopted the church sit in order to do business and chose unanimously Bro. Forgus German to the pastoral charge of the church, to which he consented, and William Wright was appointed Clerk." The membership of this old church was made up of some of the pioneers of that section of Pendleton County, but largely of their sons and daughters. Many fine meetings were held during its 41 years of existence, and for a country church it had a large membership.
The first pastor was Forgus German, who served seven years; Alexander W. Mullins, seven years; J. R. Barbee, seven years; and other pastors from one to three years.
One of the characteristics of the old church was its faithfulness in having its regular monthly meetings almost always on the third Saturday before the third Sunday. The business of the church was transacted on Saturday.
Although this church was organized six years before I was born, I can distinctly remember three of the charter members, Matthew Wright, Jaily Ducker and Colored Jane. Matthew Wright was appointed Clerk at its organization and served until the first of March, 1855. As I can remember him, he was a fine type of the old pioneer, with strong convictions and uncompromising integrity. He owned a large farm on Licking River and was known as one of the fine citizens of Pendleton County. The farm is now owned by Judge Leslie T. Applegate. Jaily Ducker, or Aunt Ducker, as she was known by everybody when I was a child, was the grand old woman of this section of the county, loved by everybody, with a wide influence in the church. When there was trouble of any kind it was taken to Aunt Jaily for settling. She was the mother of Jackson Ducker, Richard Ducker, William Ducker, Mrs. Fryer, Mrs. Savassa Kirby and Mrs. W. W. Cowles. There are a number of grandsons and granddaughters, great-grandsons and great-granddaughters now living in Butler and vicinity. The memory of this loveable old woman will never be forgotten. Colored Jane, a Negro woman, belonged to my grandfather, John Bradford, who was a strong Methodist, Aunt Jennie, as we children always called her, was a staunch Baptist, and long and many where their arguments over the Bible, but neither could be convinced. I can see her today with her black face and white hair. When she died she was buried in a little graveyard near grandfather's house. These were the types of the foundation stock of this old church.
Soon after its organization, the church joined the Union Association and remained as such until they disbanded. They worshiped in the old log school house until about 1858 or 1859, when it became necessary to build a new school house near the center of the district. It was located near Boston Station on the Lloyd Kirby farm, a part of the old Ducker farm. When it was compleded they held their services there under the name of Harris Creek Baptist Church.
The old minutes are in a very good state of preservation, considering the handling they have gone through and the fading of some inks. They contain many things of interest as to dates, etc. The old church made its contribution to the building up of the moral character and Christian influence in the community where it was located.
There were some very active and influential members in this old church that I can remember well whom I would like to comment on but it would make this article entirely too long. I will give some of the names on the church roll, but as families only: Bonars, Duckers, Becketts, Bradfords, Bartons, Shoemakers, Ellises, Kirbys, Wrights, Marshalls, Hendricks, Burlews, Bylands, Williamses, and Mullinses. It was from this old stock that the church was built.
During its existence of 41 years it had only three Clerks, probably a record: Matthew Wright, from organization to March 1, 1855; Hugh Bradford, my father, from March 1, 1855, to Oct. 1, 1870; Ira F. Shannon, until disbanded, 1884.
The denominations in Pendleton County at its organization in 1799 consisted only of Baptist and Methodists, Falmouth and Short Creek being the two oldest Baptist Churches in the county. Spencer's history of the early Baptist Churches of Kentucky says there was a Baptist Church organized at Flour Creek in 1790 to 1800 and continued as such until in the decade 1830 to 1840. A Mr. Taylor was the first pastor when the reformation swept over Kentucky, led by Alexander Campbell and others, causing many divisions of churches, but some went over to the reformation in a body and the Flour Creek Church was one of these, and it is now known as the Flour Creek Christian Church. I suppose the Mr. Taylor spoken of was one of the pioneer Taylors of that section of the county.
These old churches of Pendleton County are something to be proud of. They have always been loyal to Jesus Christ and His teachings, standing for good citizenship in county and state. Their influence over men has spread far and wide over many states where their members have gone.
This is just my recollection of the old Harris Creek Baptist Church. To write its complete history would take to much time and space.
Dr. W. A. Bradford
Lakeland, Fla., Dec. 20, 1834.
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