Culpeper County, VA
Churches & Bible Records
Downtown Culpeper

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A History of St. Mark's Parish, Culpeper County, Virginia
with Notes of Old Churches and Old Families
and Illustrations of the
Manners and Customs of the Olden Times

Genelogical and Historical
Notes on
Culpeper County, Virginia
Embracing a  Revised and Enlarged Edition of
History of St. Mark's Parish

Virginia State Historical Markers

Crooked Run Baptist Church
VA State Historical Marker F-21
Crooken Run Baptist Church Home Page

Crooked Run Baptist Church F-21 Crooked Run Baptist Church was organized in 1772 and is named for the stream that flows nearby. James Garnett Sr., one of the early pastors, served the congregation from 1774 until close to his death in 1830. Another member, Thomas Ammon, became a minister and was imprisoned in the Culpeper jail for preaching in the late 1700s. The first meeting of the Orange Baptist Association occurred here in 1789. At first the members met in a meetinghouse, but by 1856 they had built a brick structure. This church was destroyed by a fire in 1910 and rebuilt that same year using the remains of the brick walls.

Mitchells Presbyterian Church
VA State Historical Marker F-25

Mitchells Presbyterian Church F-25 This Gothic Revival church, built in 1879, contains an elaborate example of trompe-l'oeil fresco painting done in 1888. Joseph Dominick Phillip Oddenino, an Italian immigrant artist, painted to deceive the eye into believing that his plaster murals of Gothic arches, Renaissance-styled cornices, and embellished Corinthian columns were three dimensional. Oddenino decorated the ceilings at Mitchells Church and Hebron Lutheran Church in Madison with geometric designs.

Little Fork Church
VA State Historical Marker  G-9
and National Register Nomination

Little Fork Church G-9 One-half mile east stands Little Fork Episcopal Church, begun 1753, destroyed by fire in 1773. Present structure completed in 1776.

St. Stephens Episcopal Church
Culpeper Co., VA
National Register Nomination
Biographies of Culpeper-related Baptist Preachers
gleaned from

Thomas Ammon  [p. 208, A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume 1, by J. H. Spencer]

Thomas Ammon was probably the first and only pastor of Hickmans Creek church. He was a native of Virginia, where he was active in the gospel ministry. He was a preacher of great zeal and usefulness, and was at one time honored with a term in Culpeper jail for "preaching the gospel of the Son of God contrary to law." After the close of the Revolutionary War he came to Kentucky. Here also he verified God?s promise to the righteous. "They shall still bring forth fruit in old age." John Taylor, who labored with him in Virginia, as well as in Kentucky, speaks of him thus: "This awakening [at Clear Creek] was by the preaching of Thomas Ammon, always a mighty son of thunder. He had been a great practical sinner. His conversion was as visible as his wickedness had been. He began to preach in time of hot persecution in Virginia. He was honored, as many others were, with a place in Culpeper prison, for the testimony of his divine Master. He died some years ago in Kentucky." His death occurred not far from 1820. 5

Nimrod C. Beckham  [p. 273, A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume 1, by J. H. Spencer]

Nimrod C. Beckham, of whose life few particulars are at hand, was a good man of fair preaching gifts, and for a period of twenty years previous to 1856, performed his part in ministerial labors among the churches of Shelby, Spencer, Nelson and the neighboring counties.

He was born in Culpeper county, Va., May 28, 1802, and received a fair English education. He joined a Baptist church in early life, and was early set apart to the ministry. When he moved West, he settled in Nelson county, Ky., probably about 1825. He was for a time pastor of Mill Creek church in Nelson, and Newhope in Washington.

In 1856, he moved to Rumsey, McLean county, where he died of heart disease, August 31, 1865. Of his six children, five became Baptists.

William Bledsoe [pp. 231-232, A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer]

William Bledsoe, the first pastor of Crab Orchard church, was the son of Joseph Bledsoe, the founder and first pastor of old Gilberts Creek church of Separate Baptists. He, with his father and brothers, was among the early settlers of what is now Garrard county. He was a brother of the distinguished judge Jesse Bledsoe, who served two terms in the United States Senate from Kentucky.

William Bledsoe was a native of Culpeper county, Virginia. He was probably raised up to the ministry, under the preaching of his father, in Gilberts Creek church, after he came to Kentucky. He was the most active laborer in that wonderful revival in Lincoln and Garrard counties, in 1789, and the years following. He was in the constitution of Cedar Creek church, at Crab Orchard, in 1791, and became the first pastor of this church. During the revival just referred to, in 1789, two hen's eggs were brought to Gilberts Creek meeting-house with this sentence written on them: "The day of God's awful judgment is near." It was pretended that this writing was on the eggs when they were found in the nest. "Elder W. Bledsoe," says Mr. Boulware, "read aloud. The people were alarmed. Elder Bledsoe professed to feel alarmed, preached, exhorted, warned, invited, etc., etc. This revival lasted several months. I have seen from five to twenty come up, or led up, to be prayed for at one time. There were about 400 added to the church."5 "He" [William Bledsoe], says John M. Peck, "was a smart, rather than a pious preacher." John Bailey, who was one of the laborers in this revival, subsequently became a Universalist. Bledsoe also apostatized to Universalism, and then became indifferent to a religious life and reckless in his conduct. "Elder W. Bledsoe," says Mr. Boulware, "and many of his converts embraced the doctrine of universal salvation, and soon after he became a deist, and died a practicing horse-racer. I continued an acquaintance with these converts for eight or nine years, and then knew not of one that had not, like the dog and sow, turned to their vomit and mire again.? Such were the fruits of this shameful fraud and hypocrisy, and the end of the man who practiced them. "God is not mocked: whatsoever a man soweth that shall he reap."

William F. Broaddus [excerpts, pp. 237, "Life of Wm. F. Broaddus," by George Braxton Taylor, 1912]

William F. Broaddus was born near the village of Woodville, Culpeper County, Virginia, April 30, 1801, his father being Thomas Broaddus, of Caroline. His mother, whose maiden name was Susannah Ferguson, had first married a Mr. White. After his death she became the wife of Mr. Broaddus, and the mother of his four children. She was reared an Episcopalian, but under the preaching of Rev. John Leland made a profession of religion, and was baptized into the fellowship of the "F. T." Church. When William, the second child, was about ten years old the father died, and he was left to the care of his mother. He went to school first to one and then to another of his half-brothers, then to his own brother Edmund, and, finally, after a session under John P. Walden, in his sixteenth year, he became himself a schoolmaster with about forty scholars....

The first school which young Broaddus taught was in session from the first Monday in January until December 20th, with only brief holidays.
involving a ride of thirty-five miles across the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River. Yet he kept up his school and rarely missed his preaching appointments....

The anti-missionary controversy that raged so fiercely for some years in Northern Virginia had as its chief figure, perhaps, W. F. Broaddus. After the blight of hyper-Calvinism had been broken among Baptists, through the missionary zeal awakened by the appeal from India, of Adoniram Judson, the error had reasserted its power in this section of Virginia.

Joseph Collins  [pp. 356-357, A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer]

Joseph Collins was born in Culpeper county, Va., about 1765. In early life he professed conversion, and was baptized by the eccentric Joseph Craig. About 1785, he was married to Delilah Morse, and, in 1786, moved in company with Elijah Craig and others, to Kentucky. This company of emigrants traveled across the mountains in mid winter, journeying several hundred miles along this route without passing a single settlement. They had to "camp out" every night, sometimes in deep snow, and at other times in a cold, drenching rain. They were always surrounded by blood-thirsty savages and ferocious wild beasts. The sufferings, especially of the women and children, were very great. Towards the opening of spring, they reached the settlement, on Elkhorn. Here they met with many brethren with whom they were acquainted.

After stopping a few years near Lexington, Mr. Collins moved to the western border of Shelby county, and settled on the waters of Long Run. He probably united with Brashears Creek church, near the present site of Shelbyville. In 1797, he went into the constitution of Long Run church, near his residence. Here he was brought into the ministry, in the year 1802. Three years after this, he was called to the care of Long Run church. He was pastor, afterwards, for short periods, of two or three neighboring churches. In 1812, He was called to preach at Burks Branch, one year, in the absence of George Waller, the pastor. He died after a brief illness, in the fall of 1826.

Mr. Collins possessed but moderate ability and small attainments, but he was a man of piety and zeal, and exercised a good influence over the settlers. The Lord blessed his labors, to his own glory and the good of the people. He left a numerous and respectable posterity, many of whom have been, and still are, members of Old Long Run, and the neighboring churches.

Lewis Corban [pp. 25, 26, A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer, Volume II, 1885]

Lewis Corban, son of William Corban, was born in Culpeper county, Va., April 4, 1754. He was raised up on his father's farm, receiving a very meagre education. His father's family were all irreligious, and he gave no attention to the interest of his soul, till he was about thirty years of age. At this time, he became deeply impressed with the importance of eternal things. After a long struggle, he obtained hope in Jesus, and was baptized by John Pickett, in 1786. He began immediately to speak to the people about the blessed peace he enjoyed through the Savior, and gave such evidence of a call to the ministry, as induced his church to have him ordained the same year. Soon after his ordination, he was called to a church over the Blue Ridge, where he continued to preach till he moved to Kentucky. In 1797, he was called to the care of Grassy Lick church, located about seven miles north-east from Mt. Sterling, Ky. During the great revival of 1801-2, he baptized 127 into the fellowship of that church. Among these, were his son Samuel, and a little girl named Polly Colver only eight years old. About 1804, he moved to Bourbon county, settled near the mouth of Pretty Run, and took charge of Stony Point church. He lived at this place about twelve years, when, having lost three sons, from disease which he supposed to have been caused by an adjacent mill-pond, he moved his residence to the lower end of the county, but still retained the care of Stony Point church. His charge enjoyed a very moderate degree of prosperity. In 1825, it attained a membership of 69, after which, like most of the other churches in Licking Association, it gradually declined. Mr. Corban continued the pastor of Stony Point church till old age necessitated his resignation. Towards the close of his life, he was much afflicted with "gravel." He died from the effects of a fall, April 1, 1840.

Mr. Corban was a man of strong mind, and was well versed in the sacred Scriptures. He was very successful in his early ministry. But, becoming identified with Licking Association of Particular Baptists, the system of doctrine and practice held by that fraternity, cramped his genius and chilled his zeal, so that the remainder of his ministry was comparatively fruitless.

Elijah Craig  [pp. 87-89 A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer, Volume II, 1885]

Elijah Craig was the first pastor of the "Old Crossing" church, and, while he was not as useful to the cause of Christ in Kentucky as many others of the pioneers, he deserves to be remembered for his eminent services among the early Baptists of Virginia. He labored and suffered much amid the fiery persecution that tried men?s souls in the old mother State, and few preachers in the Old Dominion were more laborious and useful than he.

Elijah Craig was the son of Toliver Craig, and a brother of the famous Lewis and the eccentric Joseph Craig. He was born in Orange county, Virginia, about the year 1743, was raised up in his native county, and like his brothers, received but a limited education. He was awakened to a knowledge of his lost condition, under the preaching of the renowned David Thomas, in the year 1764. The next year, he and others were encouraged, by Samuel Harris, to hold meetings in his neighborhood, for the encouragement of the young converts, and their mutual edification. Elijah Craig's tobacco barn was their meeting house. Here Mr, Craig began his ministry, as did several other young men, who afterwards became valuable preachers. As has been related elsewhere, Elijah Craig traveled into North Carolina to get James Read to come and baptize the young converts, himself being one of them. Mr. Read returned with him, and baptized as many as were approved for that ordinance. Elijah Craig was among those baptized: this was in the year 1766, and a year after Mr. Craig began his ministry. He now devoted himself to preaching with great zeal. He was ordained, in May, 1771, at which time he became the pastor of Blue Run church. Some time after this, the sheriff came to where he was plowing, arrested him, and carried him before a magistrate, on the charge of having preached the gospel contrary to law. He was committed to jail, where he was fed "The Baptists are like abed of camomile; the more they are trodden the more they spread." This proved true; their preaching through prison grates enkindled their own enthusiasm, and produced a greater effect on the people than if the preachers had been at liberty. After remaining in Culpeper jail one month, Mr. Craig was released. After this he was honored with a term in Orange county jail, for a similar breach of the law. His constant labor in the ministry, and his close application to the study of the Bible, in a few years, developed the tobacco-barn exhorter into one of the most popular and influential preachers in Virginia.

During the fierce and long continued struggle for religious liberty, Mr. Craig was frequently sent by the General Association, and General Committee of the Virginia Baptists, as their delegate to the Legislature, to aid in forwarding that object.

Another, and perhaps the greatest evidence of his popularity, was evinced in electing him to a singular and exalted office, among modern Baptists. In the year 1774, the question was sprung in the General Association of Virginia Baptists, as to whether all the offices mentioned in <490411>Ephesians 4:11; were still in use in the churches of Christ. After a long and heated debate, the question was decided in the affirmative, and the Association proceeded at once to elect and consecrate two Apostles for the north side of James river; the lot fell on John Waller and Elijah Graig. Samuel Harris was appointed an Apostle for the south side of James river. These Apostles exercised no real authority, and their office was about equivalent to that of an Evangelist, appointed by our modern General Associations. It had however a pretentious name, and found so little favor among the churches, that it was discontinued at the end of one year's experience. These three men were the only Baptist Apostles who have lived since the death of the original twelve. Elijah Craig continued a career of eminent usefulness till 1786, when he removed to Kentucky. This move was unfortunate, both for the cause of Christ and himself. He was an enterprising business man. The new country offered excellent facilities for profitable speculation. The temptation was too strong. He was soon overwhelmed in worldly business. He bought one thousand acres of land, and laid off a town on it, at first called Lebanon, but afterwards, Georgetown. The speculation succeeded. He erected a saw and grist mill, then the first fulling mill, the first rope works, and the first paper mill in Kentucky. It seems that he had nointention to abandon the ministry, but vainly imagined tnat he could serve God and mammon both. He became irritable, and indulged a spirit of fault finding.

He wrote two pamphlets, one to prove that a settled pastor of a church is not entitled to any compensation for his services in that capacity. The other was titled "A Portrait of Jacob Creath." They were both written in a bad spirit, and the latter is said to have been exceedingly bitter. This not only involved him in much trouble, but threw the whole of Elkhorn Association into confusion, and resulted in much harm to the cause of Christ. But it would be unprofitable to follow him through his varied and annoying conflicts. He continued to preach till near the time of his departure. He was accused of no immorality except his petulant fault finding; and it is confidently believed that he was a child of God, and a sincere man; but he allowed satan to take advantage of the weakness of the flesh, and do him much harm. After saying he was considered the greatest preacher of the three brothers, John Taylor proceeds to speak of him as follows:
"In a very large association, in Virginia, Elijah Craig was among the most popular, for a number of years. His preaching was of the most solemn style, his appearance, as a man who had just come from the dead, of a delicate habit, a thin visage, large eyes and mouth, of great readiness of speech, the sweet melody of his voice, both in preaching and singing, bore all down before it; and when his voice was extended, it was like the loud sound of a sweet trumpet. The great favor of his preaching, commonly brought many tears from the hearers, and many, no doubt, were turned to the Lord by his preaching. He was several times a prisoner of the Lord for preaching. He came to Kentucky later than his brothers. His turn for speculation did harm every way. He was not as great a peacemaker in the church as his brother Lewis, and that brought trouble on him. But from all his troubles he was relieved by death, when perhaps he did not much exceed sixty years of age, after serving in the ministry, say forty years."  [Webmaster's note from History of the Virginia Baptists, by Robert B. Semple:  Elijah Craig was pastor of Blue Run, parent of Culpeper County's Crooked Run Baptist Church  (constituted 1772) and ministered there for two years].

Lewis Craig  [History of the Baptists in Virginia by Robert B. Semple]

Lewis Craig was an elder brother of Elijah and Joseph Craig, all of whom were prominent in the early struggles of the Baptists in Virginia and Kentucky. He was largely instrumental in the formation of Upper King and Queen and Upper Essex churches in the former State, and of the first Gilbert's Creek and South Elkhorn churches in the latter. About 1792 he removed to what is now Bracken county, and has been termed the father of the Association of the same name. His noble endurance of persecutions in several places in Virginia, and his leadership of Craig's church from Spotsylvania, Va., to Gilbert's Creek, Ky., through the vast forests of 1781, invest his sturdy character with a picturesque and stirring interest. He died about A. D. 1824, in the eighty-seventh year of his age, leaving an honored memory as an earnest and powerful exhorter, a sweet-spirited companion, a heavenly minded Christian, and a minister of the Cross who had endured "hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

Jacob Creath, Sr.  [pp. 310-312  A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer, Volume 1]

Jacob Creath, Sr., was born about the year 1770, in Nova Scotia, but was raised in Culpeper county, Va. His parents were poor, and unable to educate him. But, being a sprightly lad, he attracted the attention of Col. Carter, a wealthy man of Culpeper county, who, gaining the consent of his parents, took the boy to his home, raised him up under his roof, and gave him a fair education. When he arrived at manhood, like Jacob of old, he became greatly enamored of his benefactor?s daughter. Either thinking it would be dishonorable to make love to her, or supposing his wooing would be ineffectual, he resolved to overcome his sorrows in the wilds of the great west. He made the necessary preparations, bade the family adieu, and started on his long and lonely journey, with a heavy heart. But the young lady, who warmly reciprocated his passion, met him at the door, caught him by the lapel of the coat, avowed her love for him, and insisted that he should not go away without taking her with him. They at once laid the case before her father. He interposed no objection to their marriage. The journey was deferred, and they were soon afterwards happily united.3

Mr. Creath probably moved to Kentucky, about the year 1804. He settled near Lexington, and united with Town Fork church. On the death of the venerable John Gano, on the 9th of August of that year, Mr. Creath succeeded him in the pastoral care of Town Fork church. He was better educated than most of the preachers in Kentucky. He was just at the prime of manhood, presented a fine personal appearance, "was inclined to be foppish in his dress," was easy and elegant in his address, and was probably the first orator (if John Bailey may not be excepted in the Kentucky pulpit. He was bold, aspiring and ambitious, and possessed fine tact for carrying the populace with him. "When I came to Kentucky," said the distinguished John Bryce,4 "among the first preachers I met was Jacob Creath. I asked him how the brethren were getting on in Kentucky. He replied: 'Badly enough: all the preachers out here want to ride Ball.' I soon found," continued Mr. Bryce, ?that Jacob Creath was more anxious to ride Ball than any other of the preachers I met with."

Soon after Mr. Creath became a member, and the pastor, of Town Fork church, he proposed to exchange a negro girl he owned, for one owned by Thomas Lewis who was also a member of Town Fork church. The exchange was made, and Mr. Creath gave his note to Mr. Lewis, for the difference in the value ofthe slaves. A few months after the transaction, the girl Mr. Creath had gotten from Mr. Lewis died. When Mr. Creath?s note to Mr. Lewis became due, the former refused to pay it. The matter was brought before the church, and it was decided that, "as Mr. Lewis was rich, and Mr. Creath was poor," the latter should be released from paying the note.5 This decision greatly offended the sense of justice in a number of the wisest and best ministers of Elkhorn Association. Elijah Craig, who had been one of the most eminent and useful preachers in Virginia, a bold, blunt, out-spoken man, whose honest candor disdained all policy, and who had, in the decline of his life, become somewhat soured in his temper, expressed, not only his own feeling, but that of a number of other prominent ministers, toward Mr. Creath, in a pamphlet tilted "A portrait of Jacob Creath." The piece is said to have been written in a style of inexcusable bitterness. By this time the party spirit had extended all over the Association, and had become so intense as to be blind. Town Fork church, a majority of which was of Creath?s party, called a council to pass upon, rather than investigate the fourteen charges made against Mr. Creath, in Mr. Craig's pamphlet. Mr. Creath was acquitted. This only intensified the party spirit. The breach widened till it resulted in a division of Elkhorn Association, and the formation of Licking Association, of the churches that were opposed to Mr. Creath.

Besides Town Fork and Stamping Ground, Mr. Creath was pastor of Clear Creek, South Elkhorn and various other churches, at different periods. His pastorates were generally short, and he seems to have had much more capacity for tearing down, than for building up. He was among the first converts to Campbellism. He carried South Elkhorn church, of which he was then pastor, into the maelstrom of this fanaticism, and his name appears no more on Baptist records.

George Eve  [pp. 294-295  A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer]

George Eve was an early preacher in Bullittsburg church. He was born in Culpeper county, Va., 1748, and was raised an Episcopalian, but under the preaching of the renowned David Thomas, he was converted, and joined the Baptists in 1772. He soon began to exhort, and, in 1778, was ordained to the ministry. He took charge of F.T. church, and, after Elijah Craig's removal to Kentucky, Blue Run in Orange county. For a number of years he preached with "astonishing success" in his native State, and large numbers were led to the Savior under his ministry.

In 1797, he moved to Kentucky and settled in Boone county. Here he joined Bullittsburg church, and was a preacher in it about three years. He then moved to what is now Franklin county, and joined Great Crossing church. About this time ?the great revival? commenced. Mr. Eve was very active, giving almost his entire time to preaching. A great many were added to the churches under his ministry. May 2, 1801, he and William Hickman constituted North Fork church, of nineteen members, near Mr. Eve's residence. Of this church he became a member.

Up to this period, and for some years afterward, Mr. Eve?s life was most exemplary. His piety, meekness, amiability and great usefulness, rendered him popular and beloved, to a degree seldom surpassed. He had the care of several churches, and his popularity seemed to be greater than ever before. He was connected with some of the most distinguished families in the State. His wife was a sister of Col. Robert Johnson, and, consequently, an aunt of Col. R.M. Johnson, James Johnson, and John T. Johnson, the first of whom was VicePresident or the United States, and all of whom served in the United States Congress. But with all his exalted connections and great popularity, he was still the same meek, amiable and beloved minister of Jesus. But alas for the frailty of human nature. "Let no man count himself happy until he is dead," said an ancient philosopher. In his old age, and contrary to the expectation of all who knew him, this most lovely man fell by the use or strong drink, and was excluded from North Fork church. He was restored, and again went on preaching for a time. But the tempter overcame him, and he was expelled a second time, after which he returned to the church no more, but soon went the way of all the earth.

As a preacher Mr. Eve was below mediocrity. As an exhorter he greatly excelled, and his gift of song was marvelous.

[Webmaster's note from History of Virginia Baptists: George Eve ... coming

James Ireland  [p. 158,  History and Prinicples of Baptists, by W. Carey Crane, Columbus, MS, 1845]

James Ireland, was imprisoned for twelve months and a day, in the county jail of Culpeper, for the "crime of preaching the gospel of Christ." He was accompanied to prison amid the abuses of his persecutors, and while incarcerated in his cell, not only suffered by the extreme inclemency of the weather, but by the personal maltreatment of his foes. They attempted to blow him up with gunpowder, but the quantity obtained was only sufficient to force up some of the flooring of his prison.

Joseph Martin James  [p. 416,  A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer, Volume I, 1885]

Joseph Martin James, the third pastor of Flat Lick church was the son of Baptist parents. His father, John James, was in the constitution of Flat Lick church. He was a valuable church member, and lived to a good old age. He raised four sons and four daughters. Of the latter, Elizabeth was the first wife of the distinguished Jeremiah Vardeman. Of the sons, J. M. and Daniel became Baptist preachers.

Joseph M. James was born in Culpeper county, Va., about 1784. He came with his parents to Kentucky, about 1794, who first settled near Crab Orchard, in Lincoln county, but in 1798, moved to Pulaski county. Here their son Joseph, grew up to manhood. He was illiterate in his youth, but having a strong, active mind, and great energy of character, he made considerable attainments in general knowledge. He professed faith in Christ about 1820, and was baptizedinto the fellowship of Flat Lick church by Elijah Barnes. He commenced exercising in public prayer and exhortation, soon after he joined the church. He improved rapidly in speaking, and was soon ordained to the ministry. He became pastor of Somerset (formerly Sinking Creek), New Hope, Rock Lick, Mt. Olivet, and, at a later period, Flat Lick churches. For a number of years he was probably the ablest preacher in Cumberland River Association. But alas for the frailty of human nature! In his old age he yielded to the seductions of strong drink, and was disgraced. This led on further to the heinous crime of adultery. The poor old man became an outcast, and his sun went down in a dark cloud, about 1849.

William Mathews  [p. 448-250,  A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer]

William Mathews appears to have succeeded Lynn. He was an elderly man when he came to Kentucky. He possessed very small gifts, but his piety was so pure and constant, and he was so affectionately diligent in thework of his Master, that he exerted an excellent influence over all classes of people, and was greatly beloved by the children of God.

William Mathews was born in Culpeper county, Virginia, in 1733, and was among the early converts to the Baptist faith in that region. Like the Craigs, Wallers and others, who were converted near the same time and place, he began to exhort his neighbors to repent and turn to Christ, soon after he was converted. It was a time of violent persecution, and Mr. Matthews came in for his share of rude treatment. Elder Joel Gordon, who was intimately acquainted with him in his old age, heard him relate the following incident: "On a Sunday morning, soon after I commenced exercising in exhortation," said Mr. Matthews, "I dressed myself in a suit of speckless white cotton clothes, and started to walk to meeting alone. I was just passing an exceedingly filthy pond when I was overtaken and seized by two young men. They dragged me into the pond to a convenient depth for baptizing. Here they stopped, and one of them asked me if I believed. I remained silent, and they plunged me under the water. They raised me up, and again asked me if I believed. I was still silent, and they dipped me the second time. Raising me up again, they repeated the question as to whether I believed. I now replied: 'I believe you intend to drown me.' They then left me, but my white cotton suit was unfit to wear to meeting, so I went back home."

He relates another disaster which happened to him, after he was regularly set apart to the ministry. " was out one day, "said he, "hunting. I soon came within shooting distance of what I took to be a very large deer. At the crack of my rifle, it fell. But, on running up to it, I found I had killed, not a fine fat deer, but a poor old horse. This was the only horse in the neighborhood, and was kept principally for the people of the settlement to go to mill on, as we did not plow our land at that time, but cultivated it altogether with hoes. I was unable to pay for the animal. But on my making known the circumstances, the neighbors soon made up a sufficient sum to buy another horse."

Mr. Mathews was among the early emigrants to Green county, Kentucky. On Benjamin Lynn joining the Newlights, or Stoneites, as the religious sect, which originated about that period, was called, Mr. Mathews succeeded him in the pastoral care of Brush Creek church, about the year 1803. He was at this time, seventy years old, and had not long to serve. But he served faithfully. During the ten years he was connected with the church, one hundred were added to it by baptism, ninety of whom were received in one year, 1810. But he had now finished his course. In 1813, the Lord called for him. "Hs death was a beautiful reflection of the life he had led," said the venerable Joel Gordon. "I was present during his last hours. He lay and snored gently for about twenty-four hours, like one enjoying a sweet, refreshing sleep, after the fatiguing labors of a long summer day. He then awoke as one refreshed and invigorated. He calmly called his children and grand children around him, and gave them his dying charge. When he closed his address, he asked them if they approved of what he had said. On being answered in the affirmative, he said: 'I am now ready to go.' He again fell into a gentle sleep and slept about an hour. When he awoke he said: 'There are angels standing all around me. They are all dressed in shining white. There is brother Hawks at my head, and sister Lewis standing at my feet.16 They are waiting to carry me home. Why don?t you see them?' He then passed quietly away to join the multitude of the redeemed that had gone before."17

Daniel Parker  [pp. 576-577,  A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer, Volume II, 1885]

Daniel Parker, a son of John Parker, was born in Culpeper county, Va.. He was taken by his parents to Georgia, where he was raised up in extreme poverty, and with only education enough to enable him barely to read the New Testament. He was converted under the ministry of Moses Sanders and received into Nails Creek Baptist church in Franklin county, Georgia, where he was baptized, in January, 1802. Shortly afterwards, he received a license from the church, and began to exercise in public. Next year he moved to what is now Dixon county, Tennessee. Here, in Turnbull church, he was ordained, May 20, 1806, by Garner McConnico, John Record and John Turner. About 1806, he moved to Sumner county, Tennessee, where he united with Hopewell church. A few years afterwards, he settled on the Ridge, in the same county, and near the Kentucky line. Here he remained till 1817, when he moved to the south-eastern part of Illinois, where he did most of his life work -- in the main, if not altogether, a most mischievous one.

In 1820, he published, in a pamphlet of 38 pages, "A Public Address to the Baptist Society," in opposition to the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. This Address was republished, in 1824, with another of nearly the same length, and on the same subject, addressed to Maria Creek church. About the year 1826, he published a pamphlet, setting forth what he called the Doctrine of the Two- Seeds. It was a modification of the ancient speculative philosophy of Manicheus. He does not claim to have been the first advocate of the Two-Seeds Doctrine, but accredits this honor to an old brother in Tennessee, whom he had heard make a few remarks on the subject, about the year 1810, and whom he rebuked sharply for teaching such heresy. He does not give the name of the old brother. After studying the subject, sixteen years, he became fully convinced of the truth of the doctrine, and set it forth in the pamphlet spoken of above.

James M. Pendleton  [pp. 1 - 2:  Reminiscences of a Long Life, by James M. Pendleton, 1891]

My information concerning my ancestors goes back no farther than to my grandfathers, who were natives of Virginia and of English descent. They were worthy citizens and honorable men, on whose characters there rests no blemish. My maternal grandfather was Charles Thompson, who had a number of children, the most prominent of whom was William M. Thompson, who, for some years, filled official positions, at Washington, under the Government of the United States. He was the father of Hon. Richard W. Thompson, for many years a member of Congress from Indiana, and Secretary of the Navy under the Presidency of Mr. Hayes. He is now an old man and the most conspicuous member of the Thompson family. In his palmy days he was a captivating orator and a special friend of Hon. Henry Clay.

My paternal grandfather was Henry Pendleton, whose name is mentioned in connection with an important meeting of the freeholders of Culpeper County, Virginia. I quote as follows:

           "At a meeting of the freeholders and other inhabitants of the County of Culpeper, in Virginia, assembled at the Court House
             of the said county, on Thursday, the 7th of July, 1774, to consider of the most effective method to preserve the rights and
             liberties of America."

            "Resolved, That importing slaves and convict servants is injurious to this colony, as it obstructs the population of it with
             freemen and useful manufacturers; and that we will not buy any such slave or convict servant hereafter to be imported.
             HENRY PENDLETON, Esq., Moderator."

I make this extract, second-hand, from in the first volume, 4th Series of American Archives, published by order of Congress. "It shows that there was in Virginia, in 1774, a decided anti-slavery feeling and a purpose to oppose the policy of the British Government in the matter referred to. It is to the credit of my grandfather that he presided over the Culpeper meeting and gave his influence in condemnation of the wrong and in approval of the right.

My grandfather afterward became a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and I have before me a letter written by him, dated "Oct. 2, 1780, Guilford, North Carolina." The beginning of the letter is in these words: "My ever Dear and Loving Wife," showing that the spirit of the soldier did not interfere with the affection of the husband. He expresses his gratitude to God that while others had fallen he had been preserved, and he says to his wife, "I hope the Lord has heard your prayers for me." This is a suitable recognition of dependence on God, and there is something beautiful in the thought that while the husband was fighting in the cause of liberty the wife was at home, not only caring for small children, but praying for the success of that cause and the safe return of her husband. Many wives in times of war have done the same thing, and we shall never know our full indebtedness to their prayers. At what time my grandfather returned to his home I am not able to say, but it was an occasion of great joy to himself and family. He then devoted his attention to the pursuits of agriculture during the remainder of his life, and died an honest farmer and a devout Christian. His posterity need not blush in thinking of his name, but should strive to be like him in his patriotism and in his piety. When such men die ea'rth suffers loss, but they are infinitely better off. They are "taken from the evil to come " and enter into the blessedness of "the dead who die in the Lord." My grandfather had four children, one daughter, Mary, and three sons, Benjamin, Henry and John, the last of whom was my father. While his brothers devoted themselves to the occupation of farmers, he had literary aspirations and resolved to acquire an education. He became a pupil of the celebrated.

As the letter to which I have referred is signed Henry Pendleton, Jr., and the signature to the Culpeper meeting has not this distinction, It is possible that it was my great grandfather who presided at this meeting. It cannot certainly be known.

John Picket  [History of the Baptists in Virginia by Robert B. Semple]

Elder John Picket was born in King George county, Va., January 14, 1744. He was in early manhood a lover of pleasure and a dancing master. He was converted to Christ under Joseph Murphy's preaching in North Carolina in 1765. Returning to Fauquier county, at that time the home of his parents, in 1767, he began to exhort. Carter's Run church was originated in a large measure from his labors. He became pastor here May 12, 1772, the date of his ordination. He suffered imprisonment in the Fauquier jail, and preached to the crowds that gathered at the windows. He traveled extensively on tours of preaching, in which he was greatly blessed. Fifty were baptized at one time in the Shenandoah river as the fruits of his preaching. His zeal increased with his age, and in June, 1803, God called him to his reward. [Webmaster's note from History of the Baptists in Virginia, by Robert B. Semple:  John Pickett also served Culpeper's Gourdvine neighborhood, preached for many years at Battle Run (constituted 1773) and planted Fiery Run  (constituted 1771), Gourdvine (1771), and Battle Run (1778 with Elijah Craig and J. Waller)].

Daniel Self [p. 210,  A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer, Volume II, 1885]

Daniel Self was an early preacher in Adair county. He was born in Culpeper co., Va., about 1785. Losing his father, in his infancy, he was carried to North Carolina, where he was raised up by a widowed mother. At the age of 15 years, he united with a Baptist church. He married and moved to Adair county, Ky., not far from 1810. He served as a soldier in the War of 1812-15. At the close of the war, he returned to his home in Kentucky, and some time afterwards, was liberated to preach. His education was very meager, indeed, but he now applied himself to improving it, so earnestly, that he finally acquired a fair stock of information, including some knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages. He is said to have been warm and zealous in prayer and exhortation, but dull and prosy in his attempts to elucidate a text. He did not acquire much preaching ability, and, it is believed, was never pastor of a church; but he was regarded a good man, and he made a good impression on the people. About 1833, he moved to Logan county, where he died, in May, 1841. He was twice married, and raised fifteen children. John W. Self, his only son, by his second wife, is a very acceptable preacher, in Warren county.

Walter Stallard  [pp. 216-217,  A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer]

Walter Stallard was born in Culpeper county, Virginia, about the year 1750. In early manhood he married a Miss McClanahan, who bore him three sons and two daughters. The sons all died, unmarried. The wife died in 1782, and during the next year he came to Kentucky. He stopped a short time in a fort at the Falls of Ohio, and then moved into a fort near where Bardstownnow stands. Again, in a few months he moved to what is now Spencer county, from whence his next move was to the home above. About the year 1785 he visited Virginia, where he married a Miss Basey, first cousin to the famous old pioneer preacher, John Taylor. In 1791 he united with Simpsons Creek church by letter, and in November of the same year was appointed an elder in that church. In March, 1802, he was licensed to preach, and was ordained to the ministry by Reuben Smith, Warren Cash and William McKay, August 13, 1803. It will be observed that he was now fifty-three years of age; but late in life, as it was when he entered upon his holy calling, he did much valuable work in the Master's vineyard. He was a man of sound judgment, good business habits and of unblemished reputation. He preached the introductory sermon before Salem Association, in 1815, and was at least six years Moderator of that body. He quit the scenes of earthly toil August 15, 1827. Many of his descendants are still living in Spencer and adjoining counties.

William Stout  [pp. 179-180,  A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer, Volume II, 1885]

William Stout was born of pious Baptist parents, in Culpeper county, Virginia, in 1781. He received barely the simple elements of an English education. He came with his parents to Kentucky, and settled in what is now Spencer county, in 1797. Here, in 1807, he was married to Mary Vandyke. The marriage was blessed with a number of children, all of whom ultimately settled in Indiana. Mr. Stout professed religion in his 28th year, and was baptized into the fellowship of Elk Creek Church, by Reuben Smith. He was immediately filled with a great desire for the salvation of his neighbors, and soon began to exhort them to repent and return to God. The following year, 1810, he was licensed to exercise his gift. During the same year, Plum Creek church was constituted, in the same county. Having no preacher among its members, and being favorably impressed with Mr. Stout's efforts, it petitioned Elk Creek church to send it "a preaching gift." Elk Creek responded favorably, and induced Mr. Stout to take his letter to Plum Creek, which he did, October, 12, 1812. On the 5th of December following, he was ordained to the pastoral charge of this church, by Reuben Smith and Henson Hobbs.

He was pastor of Plum Creek church about forty years; of Taylorsville, about twenty years, and a number of other churches, during briefer periods. Hecontinued to serve several churches, until his strength failed. In 1853, he resigned all his pastoral charges, and went to Indiana to spend his few remaining days with his children. Here he preached as often as he could make opportunity. He died at the house of his son, in December, 1860.

No one supposed Mr. Stout to be a great man. He was illiterate, and his natural gifts were not above mediocrity; yet there is little difference of opinion as to his having been the most popular and useful preacher that has yet lived in Spencer county. He was a good man, and so lived as to force the conviction of this truth on even the wicked and profligate. He had so much of the spirit of his Master, that his heart yearned tenderly for the good and happiness of every body around him. In his later years, he was universally called "Uncle Billy," by those younger than himself, and was more than a welcome guest in every house. He preached the gospel of Christ in its true spirit, both in the pulpit and at the fireside, and practiced what he preached. It is not wonderful that he was universally loved, and that he exerted almost an irresistible influence.

David Tinsley  [History of the Baptists in Virginia by Robert B. Semple]

David Tinsley was born in Culpeper county in 1749, and soon afterwards was brought by his parents to Amelia. He became a preacher in early manhood, and William Hickman (afterwards" Father Hickman," of Kentucky) was one of the first trophies of his ministry. Besides Totier in Albemarle, of which he was the first pastor, he served Powhatan church for five or six years. The hand of persecution immured him for four months and sixteen days in Chesterfield jail. Through the grated window of this prison he with others of his fellow-prisoners preached to the crowd without. One who led to Christ by this preaching has testified: "All around the jail the crowded assembly would stand, some weeping and others rejoicing, as they received the of truth." In 1782 Elder Tinsley entered upon a brief pastorate with Mathew's church, in the Dover Association. In 1785 he removed to Georgia, having sailed Yorktown to Savannah. He settled with Abilene (then called Red Creek) church, in the vicinity of Augusta. He died at the age of fifty-two years, in October, 1801.

Philemon Vawter  [pp. 461-462,  A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer]

Philemon Vawter was early a preacher in this church. He was born in Orange, or Culpeper county, Va., about 1765. After he grew up and married, he moved to the Holston Valley, where he was baptized by a Mr. Kelley. From this place, he moved to Woodford county, Kentucky, and became a member of Clear Creek church. After remaining here several years, he moved to what is now Boone county, and united with Bullittsburg church, in 1795. Two years after this, he was ordained a deacon, in this church, and, in June, 1800, was licensed to preach. During the great revival that commenced about this time, he was a zealous and active laborer in the Master's vineyard. In 1804, he moved to Trimble county, and united with Corn Creek church. He was ordained to the ministry, probably in the autumn of the same year. He labored acceptably in the ministry, in Trimble county, about five years. After this, he moved to Indiana, where he died, about 1815. His preaching gifts were moderate, but he was well versed in the scriptures, and was eminent in piety, and devotion to the cause of Christ. He was much beloved by the people, and exerted all his influence for good.


Kentucky Baptist Origins in VA  [pp. 26-28,  A History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer]

Gilberts Creek Church was the third organization of the kind in Kentucky. Its history is one of thrilling interest, and must be traced from its origin in Virginia, where it was born amid the throes of a relentless persecution. In order to have a clear understanding of its history, it is necessary to glance at the early operations of the Baptists in Virginia.

At the beginning of the zealous labors of the Baptists in the colony of Virginia, the Regular Baptists, whose most active preachers were John Garrard, John Alderson and the distinguished David Thomas, occupied the northern border, while the Separate Baptists, whose first preachers were Shubal Stearns, Daniel Marshall, Dutton Lane, James Read, Joseph and William Murphy, and the renowned Samuel Harris, occupied the southern border of Virginia and the contiguous part of North Carolina. Each of these parties extended its operations toward the centre of the State, till they met in Culpeper, Orange and Spottsylvania counties. Their labors were greatly facilitated by a singular display of the divine favor, of which Mr. Semple speaks as follows:

"It is remarkable, that about the time of the rise of the gospel in Virginia, there were multiplied instances of persons, who had never heard anything like evangelical preaching, that were brought, through divine grace, to see and feel the want of vital goodness." Among these was Allen Wyley, a respectable citizen of Culpeper county. On becoming awakened to the subject of salvation, he began to call his neighbors together at his house, read the Bible to them, and exhort them to seek the Savior. After this had continued for some time, he accidentally heard of David Thomas, and soon set out to travel sixty miles to converse with him and hear him preach. On a second visit, he was baptized, after which he invited the minister to come and preach at his house. But when he reached Mr. Wyley's the mob had collected, and refused to let him preach in the county. However,he went over into Orange county, and preached several times. Many persons were awakened, among whom were some of Toliver Craig's Household. This occurred in 1765. Next year, Mr. Wyley traveled to Pittsylvania county to find Samuel Harris and induce him to come and preach at his house. Mr. Harris returned with him, and preached the first day after his arrival. But next day when he began to preach, the crowd "assailed him with whips and sticks" so violently, that he was compelled to desist. He then went over into Orange county, where he continued many days, preaching to great crowds. Many who had been awakened the year before, under the preaching of Mr. Thomas, were converted, as well as others who were alarmed under Mr. Harris' preaching. On leaving the young converts, to return home, Mr. Harris advised some of them, in whom he discovered gifts, to hold meetings. They took his advice, and chose Elijah Craig?s tobacco barn for their meeting house. Among these unbaptised young preachers were Lewis and Elijah Craig. Some time after they commenced their meetings in the tobacco barn, David Thomas, who was a man of !earning, visited the neighborhood again, and preached to the young converts, on their invitation. In his preaching, he unfortunately spoke against such weak, illiterate persons' attempting to teach. The young converts took umbrage at this, and determined to send again for Mr. Harris to come and preach and baptize. When the three messengers, one of whom was Elijah Craig, arrived at Mr. Harris', they were surprised to learn that he had not been ordained. However, he set out with the messengers, who traveled sixty miles farther, into North Carolina, to obtain the services of James Read. Mr. Read consented to go with them. They arrived in Orange county, and, having sent a messenger before them to make an appointment, they found a large crowd of people assembled. Messrs. Read and Harris preached a number of days, and the former baptized many. David Thomas and John Garrard were present on Sabbath. It will be remembered that they were both Regular Baptists, while Read and Harris were Separate Baptists. The preachers on both sides desired to unite in the work, but the people were opposed to it, the larger number adhering to the Separates. Both parties preached and baptised at the same hour, and near together. This widened the breach. From Orange, Read and Harris went into Spottsylvania, and, thence, through Hanover, Caroline and Goochland counties. So much were they encouraged by their success, that they made an appointment to return again next year. On fulfilling this appointment, they brought Dutton Lane with them. On this occasion, they constituted the first Separate Baptist church north of Rappahannock and James rivers. This took place, Nov. 20, 1767. The church was called Upper Spottsylvania, and consisted of twenty-five members. It was three years without an under shepherd; but, in November, 1770, Lewis Craig was ordained, and became its pastor.

The Craigs were so conspicuous in gathering the early churches, both in Virginia and Kentucky, that they are entitled to especial notice in this place. Toliver Craig was an only child of English parents, and was born in Virginia, about the year 1710. At the age of 22, he married Polly Hawkins, and settled in Orange county. This union was blessed with seven sons and four daughters. Their names, in the order of their ages, beginning with the oldest, were John, Joyce, Lewis, Toliver, Elijah, Jane, Joseph, Sally, Benjamin (born March 30, 1751, Jeremiah and Betsy. They all became Baptists, Lewis, Elijah and Joseph became preachers, and Betsy married Richard Cave, a pioneer preacher in Kentucky. They were probably all among the early settlers of Kentucky.

[Note by webmaster from pp. 170-173, A History of Ten Churches, Appendix, To the History of Clear Creek Church, by John Taylor, 1823]  Two females deceased. Those departed friends were Polly Rice and Hannah Graves -- these, being sisters were the daughters of Mr. Richard Cave, he lived long in the gospel ministry, and his labours at times very useful, some years past he was taken away by death; I have said something elsewhere of his biography; their mother was a sister of the old preaching Craigs; has been a Baptist more than fifty years, and now as a mother in Israel is a member at Clear Creek; her daughter Polly, both small and handsome, was married very young to Mr. Richard Rice; soon after becoming a mother, she became alarmed of her awful danger by sin; this awakening was by the preaching of Thomas Ammon, always a mighty son of thunder; he had been a great practical sinner, his conversion was as visible as his wickedness
had been; he began to preach in the time of hot persecution in Virginia, was honored as many others were, with a place in Culpeper prison for the testimony of his [D]ivine [M]aster; he died some years past in Kentucky. Mrs. Rice was long under great anguish of soul about her lost and helpless state, all her prayers and tears left her justly condemned before a just and holy God; at length concluded there was no mercy for her, for the sinfulness of her own prayers condemned her; at a night meeting at Dudley Mitchums, this text pressed on her mind; "We know that God heareth not sinners, etc." Lewis Craig being at the meeting, it occurred to her in the time of preaching, that he and myself were worshippers of God, and that He would hear our prayers for her; therefore, with great appearance of contrition she requested our prayers, and while prayer was thus offering up to God, she obtained a happy deliverance, which she openly professed, and was soon afterwards Baptized. She soon manifested her great zeal and sprightliness in the cause of religion.

It was not long, till she requested her husband, (who had been a Baptist before he married her) to worship God in his family; this being declined by her husband, she seriously proposed, with his consent, to do it herself. This was yielded to for awhile, and perhaps would have been more sufferable, if company did not come; her mode was to read the scriptures, sing and pray with her husband, little children, and servants. Whether from the reproaches of his own conscience, or some other causes, we cannot say, but it seemes [sic] he threw discouragements in her way; yet nothing could prevent her earnest prayers to God for her little children. It is said she would leave her bed, and kneel down in the dead time of night by the beds of her sleeping children, in tearful prayers to God to save them. Her oldest son, William, now an ordained preacher at Clear Creek, says when a small boy, his mother would lead him out to a secret place, to pray for his salvation. There was no visible evidence that her prayers were answered, before her death, at which time none of her children was grown, and herself, though the mother of eight children, bore the appearance of a girl not grown, or that had never been married ? her death was very unexpected, and much lamented by her acquaintances. To converse on religion, seemed to be the theme of her soul, and with the utmost freedom expressed her mind, though it might differ from all that were around. In company nothing seemed to escape her piercing eye, and in any dereliction from correctness, either in action or opinion, you might expect to hear from her, and though in great pleasantness, her reproofs would reach the quick like a sharp needle. Shortly before she breathed her last, a neighbor on a visit remarked to her friends, that he thought it improper to flatter her about a recovery, that she had but little time to stay, and he would be faithful to warn her, to use that little time the best way she could, to prepare for eternity. She overhearing what passed, calmly replied with a smile, calling him by name, I am not afraid to die, and as to preparation for eternity, it was not with her but in the Saviour, whom she had trusted long ago; and that it was rather her choice to depart and be with Christ, which was far better. No doubt she thus went to her beloved Lord and Saviour; she left eight children, an equal number of sons and daughters, her husband has since died, and left those children without living parents. The most of the children are since married, and in good families   all her children are hopefully converted, and joined the Baptist church, her prayers are answered after her death.

Hannah Graves, was baptized about the time her sister Rice was, and then about fourteen years old. She had a very intimate companion, about her own age, and both of them under deep distress of soul at the same time....


From a WILLIS/ GRANT FAMILY BIBLE found at a local Good Will in Florida by Lauren Sowa:

William Willis, born Nov. 16, 1742,
Elizabeth (Garnett) Willis, b. Nov 30, 1744

Wiliam Willis and Elizabeth Garnett were married on Thursday Nov. 25th, 1760, in Culpeper Co.

William Willis senior died May 21st, 1833 in Bullitsburg, Boone Co., KY
Betsy Willis died January 04, 1835, probably in Boone Co.

William Willis served as private in the Virginia Line in the
Revolutionary War. He was born in St Paul's Parish, King George Co., VA.

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