Sunday, March 31, 2013

Claude Stevens


Hartford Herald
July 26, 1899

DEATH BENEATH THE WAVE

Rough River Claims Another Victim in the Person of Young
Claude Stevens

Another young man has met death beneath the treacherous waters of Rough river. Its rough waves have closed over a number of young men within the last ten or twelve years and borne their bodies down to rise no more in life, but there has been none of these deaths more heartrending than that of young Claude Stevens, who was drowned while bathing about midway between the Hartford bridge and the water mill dam last Wednesday afternoon at 5 o'clock.

Young Stevens, in company with Messrs. J. A. Fitzhugh, Guy Williams, Alva Taylor and his brother Chester Stevens, all young men and only two of whom were over twenty years old, had repaired to the river to take a bath at a favorite place. Little Cecil Stevens, also a brother of the deceased, together with three or four other little fellows, was already in the water. Claude was not a good swimmer, but he seemed determined to learn the art, and was very fearless in his efforts. He disrobed and plunged into the water and was about the first - though with some effort - to reach the opposite shore. He was immediately joined by two of his companions, and they rested a few minutes before starting back. Claude again plunged into the water to swim back to the starting place. He paddled along with some effort, as new swimmers generally do, and the other young men took no particular notice of him. Presently his companions heard him call, "Boys, come and get me," which was the first sign that called attention to him. His brother Chester and Guy Williams were the first to reach the drowning boy, and they made desperate efforts to raise him to the surface. Messrs. Fitzhugh and Taylor came up at this moment, and the former succeeded in grasping Claude by the hair as he went down the second time. He was apparently not struggling, but his body seemed a dead weight, and the best efforts of the boys failed to bring him to the surface again. None of the other young men was an extra good swimmer, and being inexperienced in life-saving they were compelled to see the young man drown before their eyes without being able to save him. He seemed to struggle very little, and the last seen of him was a despairing hand held above the water, then he quickly went to the bottom to rise no more.

The alarm was quickly given, and as usual, a large number of the citizens of Hartford hurried to the rescue. A big snagboat was at once brought to the place of drowning. This contained a number of men with poles and long ice books, used to locate the body. Men experienced in diving plunged at once into the water and made repeated efforts to find the body of the drowned boy. After an hour's search the body was located with a pole in the hands of Mr. Henry Field. This was about twenty feet from where Claude was last seen and the water at this spot was about ten feet deep. Young Will Aultmire at once swam to the place and diving, brought the body to the surface.

Loud exclamations of distress and sorrow went up from the large crowd at sight of the form of young Stevens. The body was at once placed across a barrel, over which it was rolled for quite awhile, but without the desired success. The spark of life had fled. Claude's body was at once conveyed to the family residence upon a stretcher, followed by a number of sympathizing friends. It was a sad sight to see the little cortege, alongside of which walked a young man with the hat and clothing of his unfortunate companion.

The funeral the occurred next day from the home place, and there was a very large crowd in attendance. Interment took place at Liberty cemetery. The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. R. E. Smith, and was a touching tribute to the worth and character of the drowned boy. The procession was joined at Beaver Dam by another line of vehicles and horses, bearing sorrowing relatives and friends. In regard to numbers, it was one of the largest funerals that ever occurred in that section.

Claude A. Stevens was the oldest son of Sheriff and Mrs. S. T. Stevens and was 19 years of age. Three brothers and a little sister also survive him. He was a zealous member of the Baptist church and a most exemplary young man. In a large measure he enjoyed in life the tribute which we would now fain pay him, for he was greatly beloved by all his acquaintances, who were open in their appreciation of his splendid character. He was a noble-hearted boy, a dutiful and affectionate brother, and his life was an exposition of traits of heart and mind which greatly endeared him to those with whom he was thrown in contact. There is not a soul in Hartford who does not join us in paying this tribute of love to his memory.

Friday, March 29, 2013

THREE DROWNED IN WILD FLOOD


Hartford Herald
March 2, 1910

THREE DROWNED IN WILD FLOOD
Dashed to Death in Dingey - One Escaped
THE PARTY WENT FOR A RIDE
On the Surging Waters at Hites Falls - A Rough River Tragedy

THE DEAD

Wilson Autrey
Miss Nell Autrey
Mrs. Jessie Autrey

Wilson Autrey, his Sister Nell Autrey, aged 19, and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Jessie Autrey, were drowned Sunday, Feb 20, at Hite’s Falls this, county. Will Autrey, who was in the party, escaped by swimming ashore.

Hite’s Falls are a series of rapids in Rough river about 10 miles east of Fordsvllle. The total fall is about 10 feet in less than half a mile with a whirlpool below in which nothing can live when the tide is rising.

The Autrey’s lived near the falls and on Sunday afternoon hearing the roar of the water which was rapidly rising on account of the melting snow the four walked to the river to watch the swelling tide. Will Autrey had recently married the daughter of Mr. Robert Bratcher, a prominent farmer and a member of one of Ohio county’s oldest and best families.

After watching the wild flood for a short time the party walked up the river intending to call upon a neighbor. A short distance above the falls they saw a dingy boat in a drift a few feet from the shore, a paddle lying in the bottom. Crawling out on a drift, Robert Autrey secured the boat and dragged it to the shore. It was then hauled out and turned over to let the water out, after which it was launched and the party got in for a ride, the young women objecting and the men assuring them that there was no danger.

The crazy craft was pushed out in the stream but being water-logged it was found impossible to manage it. It was quickly swept out into the swift current and despite all that could be done, it started madly for the falls. The women screamed and while one of the men plied the paddle with all of his strength, the other jumped overboard and tried by swimming in the water, which was filled with floating ice, to assist it to the shore.

Not an inch of headway could be made against the angry flood, and faster and faster the boat flew to destruction. When the first fall was reached the dingy was headed straight across the river and in the first foot of its descent its lower edge dipped in the water, which checked it for an instant, and then it was whirled over, catching all three of the occupants beneath it and breaking the hold of Will Autrey, who was swimming at one end.

Not one of the three was seen again as the boat raced down the rapids. Will Autrey was swept along with it, but could never reach it, and finally he was thrown in the brush on the shore. He was exhausted and more than half drowned, and could only hold to the branches and wait for his returning strength. Finally he was able to pull himself on shore, but he was too weak to give the alarm, and it was some time before he could raise his voice for that purpose. His cries were heard but no attention was paid to them at first, and when they had continued for a long time some men went to him and learned of the awful tragedy.

By that time it was late in the afternoon and before a searching party could be organized it was night. The news spread rapidly through the neighborhood and a crowd thronged the banks of the river. Far into the night the watch was kept up, but to no purpose. By morning the river had risen 10 feet, and all day Monday it continued to come up until the lowest banks were overflowed, making all efforts to recover the bodies useless. They still rest beneath the flood and slowly the little community is recovering from the shock, hoping that the dead may be recovered when the waters subside, or that they will be thrown on shore by the fierce current in which hope the river is being watched for miles

Hite’s Falls are in a remote section of the county, with no telephone nearer than Fordsville, and with roads practically impassable, which accounts for the length of time it took the news of the tragedy to reach the outside world.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bascom Cundiff


Hartford Herald
June 30, 1875

SHOCKING CASUALTY.

A Promising Young Man Drowned
in the waters of Rough.

On Thursday last, immediately after dinner, our community was inexpressibly shocked by the intelligence, which spread rapidly through the town, that young Bascom Cundiff, the eldest son of Rev. Dr. Cundiff, pastor of the M. E. church, South, of this place, was drowned in Rough creek while bathing. But a few minutes before he had been seen upon the streets, and was in our office, and at first the rumor of his death was received by many with incredulity. But all doubts were soon put to rest. It appears that when he left our office, on his way to school, he met two schoolmates, Clinton Field and Henry McHenry, who proposed going down to the creek for a bath. He went with them, .and they entered the creek near the mouth of the slough back of Mrs. Bettie Rowe's house, and above the saw-mill of Potter & Condict. Young Field and McHenry swam across the stream, and Cundiff, who could not swim, dropped himself into the water at the head of a raft of logs, holding on to the latter with his hands. The water was very swift, and, at that point, more than twenty feet in depth. From the appearance of the body, the position of his limbs when found, it is very evident that he was seized with cramp, as his arms and legs were both contracted as with spasm, and had to he straightened and tied to keep them in place. He made no outcry, and his companions were not aware of his peril until they looked around and saw his hands above the water making motions as though clutching for something. He was swept under the raft, and when they swam as quickly as they could to the place of course no vestige of the unfortunate young man was to be seen anywhere. Many persons engaged unsuccessfully in the search for the body up to nightfall. Early Friday morning the search was again resumed, and about half past ten o'clock Messrs. Jesse Potter, Al. Nail, Wm. Mauzy and Wm. Griffin (of color) found the body, about fifty yards below where the drowning occurred. Mr. Potter made the discovery, feeling it with a stick, and the colored man dived down and brought it up. The funeral and burial occurred at five o'clock that evening.

This was a deplorable event, and the bereaved parents have the heartfelt sympathies of the entire community. Bascom was some eighteen or nineteen years of age, and was one of the most promising young men of our acquaintance. Gifted by nature with rare intelligence, a splendid scholar for his age, modest as a girl, and gentle in his deportment, conspicuous for his morality and uprightness, he was a favorite with every one, and bade fair in after years of becoming an honor to the State as well as an ornament to society. But it was fated that he should be cut off in the morning of life, and Death, remorseless and insatiate, passed over half a dozen men in the community whom we could have spared and suffered no loss, to strike down the youngest, fairest and most promising vine in the vineyard.

Comment by webmaster

I have previously posted two articles from the Hartford Herald concerning drownings in Ohio County. I was quite surprised that there have been so many drownings in Ohio County over the years, but Ohio County does have two rivers and numerous bodies of water, so perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised.  In any event, I'm posting these articles for their historical interest and for their genealogical interest.  I hope you don't find them too sad or morbid.  There are about twenty articles in all and I plan to post a new article about every second day.

Monday, March 25, 2013

C. S. McLean


Hartford Herald
March 29, 1893

DEATH IN THE WAVE

Caught in the Current and Drawn Under the Dam

Young C. S. McLean, a Student of
Hartford College, Drowned at the Mill.

The town was shocked Sunday after noon at 2:30 o'clock, by the intelligence that a boat had just capsized and a young man been drowned near the Water Mill. Many people who heard the news, hurried to the scene, only to have the sad intelligence confirmed.

At a point where the large mills of J. W. Ford & Co. stand, a dam spans the creek, and over this dam a largo volume of water pours a distance of four to six feet. It is the custom of many of the boys to go boating on the creek below the dam, and shortly after noon on Sunday young McLean, in company with a friend, Mr. W. A. Stewart, of Hawesville, got into a skiff and rowed up near the dam. A fish trap is situated near the middle of the dam and extends ten feet below it. The young men undertook to approach this trap and when within a few feet of it, their skiff was caught by a current and thrown immediately beneath the huge stream which pours over the dam. The skiff was capsized, and both young men thrown beneath the icy water. Both could swim and upon rising to the surface, caught hold of the boat, but were again thrown into the waves by the sinking of the now overturned craft. Both then started on a race for life against the powerful current, which forced them toward the fearful waterfall. They battled side by side until they had made a distance of fifty yards down stream, when Stewart succeeded in reaching the bank. He was almost frozen and was exhausted from his fearful effort against the current. Turning to look for McLean, he saw him floating on the water, where he lingered for a moment and then sank, to rise no more. Stewart had reached the bank on the far side from town and was obliged to travel half a mile down stream before reaching the bridge. He called to parties across the creek, however, and the alarm was given. Search was at once begun for the body, which was recovered near the scene of the drowning, after two hours of grappling in the creek.

The remains were brought to Mr. G. B. Williams', where every effort was made to resuscitate the body, but in vain. Young McLean was a splendid student and very popular here. His home was at Rome, Daviess county, to which place the remains were taken Monday by President Alexander and the following young gentlemen, who were selected from the Adelphian Society as pall-bearers: Messrs. Wallace Stewart, H. L. White, Henry Osborne, Floyd Crafton, R. Nelson and Silas Griffin. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Miss Prudie Ford


Hartford Herald
March 28, 1906


MET DEATH IN A WATERY GRAVE

RATHER THAN BE ACCUSED OF THEFT

Pitiful Suicide of a Pretty College Girl in Rough River Here

LEFT LETTERS TO PARENTS AND LOVER

            Hartford perhaps never went through more tragic time of excitement and heartfelt interest than during last week. Some excitement was caused Thursday morning by the fact that Miss Prudie Ford, a pretty young college student, could not be found. She was last seen sitting on the south bank of Rough river near the old water mill apparently writing in a tablet. The natural inquiry then came up as to why she should leave or absent herself. She had been boarding at the residence of Mrs. J. F. Collins, and it was learned on Monday Mrs. Collins had turned the girl away for the alleged reason that she had been wearing her grand-daughters clothes and suspicion that had appropriated money and other articles about the house for her own use.

            When the young lady left Mrs. Col1ins house she went to board with Jailer Midkiff, taking her trunk with her. Jailer Midkiff says that on Wednesday morning Mrs. Collins called him by telephone to her residence and told him she had learned that Miss Ford had gone to board with him and that she considered it her duty to tell him what kind of a girl she was. Mr. Midkiff says that Mrs. Collins told him several things about the young woman, among her remarks saying that Miss Ford had stolen enough money and other properly from her to send her to the penitentiary a dozen times. Jailer Midkiff then came back down town and discussed the matter with County Attorney Woodward and Supt DeWeese. The young lady passing by at the time, they called her into DeWeese’s office and informed her of the rumor that was afloat against her. She said that she had heard it before and declared her innocence in the most positive terms. She told them to go over to the jail and search her trunk if they wanted to. They assured her that it was only through a kind interest in her behalf that they had questioned her.

            She left them apparently on her way to school, but stopped at a drug store and bought a penny pencil and two drachms of arsenic - 5c worth. That was Wednesday morning. About two o’clock in the afternoon of that day she asked permission from her teacher to go home. This was granted and she left but did not go to her boarding house at the jail. Instead she walked along up the bank of Rough river and sat down at the month of a slough that empties into the river. Ex-Sheriff Cal P. Keown, who was duck hunting across the river saw her sitting there, apparently reading or writing and one or two others saw her but did not think anything especially strange of it, as the river banks being near the college form a favorite haunt for the students.

            Thursday morning excitement began to grow because no trace of the girl could be found. Miss Ford had a lover named Lawrence Gary and he, after much search here, mounted a horse and went to the residence of her parents at Horse Branch a distance of fifteen miles. He returned without information, reaching here at night of the same day. In the meantime searching parties found two letters at the spot where the girl was last seen. One was addressed to her lover and the other to her parents The one to her parents was as follows:

MY DEAR, DEAR PARENTS:

            Today as I was returning from school Mr. DeWeese and Woodward and Mr. Midkiff called me to the court house and told me that Mrs. Collins was accusing me of stealing property and money amounting to $40 and that they should prosecute me. I will end my life rather than have a false charge brought against me. I am innocent and God being my Judge, I have resolved to end my life. I have been a loyal girl since I entered school here and have I been true to my God. I die with this sentiment ringing from my lips: “God is merciful and just.” When this reaches you I will be in the bottom of Rough creek. That is, my body – but my soul shall be with Jesus. Live so as to meet me there. Death is sweet at this hour and on each an occasion. With love and prayers – I am dying.

Yours a short time.    Prudie

 The following is a copy of the letter addressed to her lover:

LAWRENCE DARLING:

            Since I left Mrs. Collins she has accused me of stealing some things from her and God knows I am innocent. She says she will have me prosecuted but I hardly think she will. I am now at the water mill and ready to jump in.  I love you but rather than to have my name mingled with any such as this, will bid you Godspeed and adieu. May this life be happy, but Oh! remember me. I shall await your coming in the next world. You have always said that should you commit suicide you would rather drown. I said I would rather poison myself, but to be sure and certain of ending my life I will take a dose of both. Be a good boy and meet me in the better world.   

PRUDIE


            Mrs. J. F. Collins called the editors of THE HERALD up and they in company with Col. C. M. Barnett, went to her residence to interview her. Mrs. Collins repeatedly denied that she had ever accused Miss Ford or stealing, but said that she had missed money and articles of clothing which she could account for in no other way than that Miss Ford had gotten them. It seems that Miss Ford was using a room which Mrs. Collins grand-daughters – who are away in college now - had formerly occupied, and that their clothing had consequently got mixed. It appears that everything has been recovered except the alleged cash. Mrs. Collins says that Miss Ford was always willing to deliver up anything it was intimated did not belong to her. Mrs. Collins asserts that she always treated the girl as well as she knew how - granting her special privileges.

            The search of the river was begun Thursday night and continued until midnight. All day Friday the search was continued. On Saturday morning at 11 o’clock the body was recovered with a hook-pole, about 150 yards from where she jumped in, by young Connor Ford. A public meeting was held at the court house Saturday afternoon in order to adopt suitable resolutions and raise money sufficient to give her a nice burial. The amount of $87.75 was quickly raised which was amply sufficient. Prof. Gray, President of Hartford College, was unanimously elected chairman of the meeting and R. B. Martin was made secretary. Several touching speeches were made, the most effective perhaps being that of the uncle of the dead girl, Mr. Will Ford. He said that he and her family deeply appreciated the kindness of the people of Hartford towards them, especially their poor dead relative. Mr. Rowan Holbrook, in a short talk suggested that an advisory or confidential committee be appointed for Hartford College, whose duty it shall be to advise and help strange students who come here to attend college. Prof. Gray admitted the value of the suggestion and said he would attend to it. There was a large crowd present and the deepest sympathy evinced for the unfortunate young lady.

            The following resolutions were adopted by a unanimous rising vote:

Resolved, by the citizens of Hartford in mass meeting assembled, that we are shocked beyond expression by the terrible calamity which has befallen our town and school in the tragic death of Miss Prudie Ford.

Resolved, that we extend to the bereaved family our heartfelt sympathy in this their hour of sad bereavement, and that we testify to her high character and beautiful Christian life since she has been among us as a citizen.

Resolved, further, that we as citizens of the town of Hartford believe in her integrity, purity of character and lofty spirit as exemplified by her daily associations in this community.

Resolved, that a copy of these resolutions be furnished to the family of the deceased and each of the county papers.

MRS. S. J. WEDDING
MRS. S. K. COX
F. L. FELIX
H. P. TAYLOR
C. M. BARNETT
Committee

After the meeting adjourned, the public was permitted to view the remains of the drowned girl at the undertaking establishment of Jas. H. Thomas.

As soon as the body of Miss Ford was found it was brought up in town and a coroners jury was summoned, who returned the following report:

We, the jury, being duly summoned by Jerome Allen, the Coroner of Ohio county, to inquire into the death of Prudie Ford, find from the evidence that said Prudie Ford came to her death by drowning in Rough river on March 21, 1906, and from the evidence that she came to her death by her own hand. This March 24, 1906

J. W .ROBERTSON
W. H. MAUZY
L. F. BENNETT
R. E. HAYNES
J. S. CECIL
J. A. HOCKER

            At an early hour Sunday morning a large party of the friends of Miss Ford accompanied the remains to Beaver Dam, where they were put on board a train and shipped to Horse Branch. A short funeral service was held here at the undertaking establishment Saturday evening by Rev. Gardner, of the Baptist church, Miss Ford having long been a member of that denomination. She was a beautiful girl, just 22 years old and was engaged to be married next fall. She was a young lady of high culture and attainments.

            Funeral services were held at the residence of her parents Sunday at noon after which her remains were laid to rest in Cane Run cemetery. Messrs. H. P. Taylor, Rowan Holbrook and Dr. A. F. Stanley, who were appointed at the public meeting here as a committee to secure flowers, telephoned to Louisville and secured some very beautiful floral designs to mark the last resting place of the unfortunate girl. There was a large crowd at the funeral services which were conducted by Rev. H. D. Burch.

            It has been a long time since Hartford was steeped in sorrow to such an extent as Miss Ford’s tragic death has caused. The sympathy of everybody seemed to be with the poor girl and nobody seemed to put any faith in the rumors of the charges of theft brought against her. Her death and the manner of it seemed like a personal blow to every citizen. There will be many days of mourning for this unfortunate girl and many will long remember her pretty face and winsome ways. It was certainly a sad, unfortunate affair for all concerned.

Monday, March 18, 2013

JONATHAN ROGERS


JONATHAN ROGERS, the son of Baptist Minister James Rogers (1742-1828), was born in Jefferson (now Nelson) County, Virginia (now Kentucky), on September 7, 1781, two months after his parents had become Charter Members of the old Cedar Creek Baptist Church (on July 4, 1781), the second to be organized in what is now the State of Kentucky. James Rogers and his brothers had built "Rogers Fort" near Bardstown in 1780 as a protection from Indian raids. Jonathan Rogers' mother was Martha (Blackburn) Rogers (1741-1818). His father was a native of Ireland, probably born in Virginia; while his mother was a native of Augusta County, Virginia. They had married on May 21, 1766, in West Augusta County, Virginia. After her death, on April 30, 1818, and burial in Nelson County, he removed to Mercer County, where he met and married Nancy Flournoy (a widow), on September 12, 1820. He died in Mercer County, on March 24, 1828, and is thought to be buried in that County. 

Jonathan Rogers married ELIZABETH RAY, in Washington County, Kentucky, on January 31st, 1803, the daughter of Joseph Ray and Mary (Sheckles) Ray. She was born on May 4, 1782, in Maryland. They lived in Washington County until 1807, when they removed to Ohio County, Kentucky, where they became members of the historic Beaver Dam (1798) Baptist Church. In the period 1828-1836, he served as the Clerk of that Church. 

Jonathan and Elizabeth (Ray) Rogers became the parents of ten children: Samuel Ray Rogers (b. January 8, 1804); Matilda Rogers (b. May 8, 1805-d. May 21, 1805); Elizabeth Rogers (b. May 16, 1806); James Madison Rogers (b. December 4, 1808); Joseph Blackburn Rogers (b. January 13, 1811); Martha B. "Patsy" Rogers (b. June 12, 1813); Mary Ann "Polly" Rogers (b. May 8, 1815); Cinderella (spelled mostly Cindrilla) Rogers (b. September 5th, 1817); Nancy Ray Rogers (b. April 3, 1820); and William Lloyd Rogers (b. January 4, 1824). The first three children were born in Washington County, Kentucky; while the remaining seven were born in Ohio County, Kentucky. One notes that nine of the ten children reached adulthood. 

Jonathan Rogers served as the first Clerk of the new Church, from July, 1836, through February, 1840. He died on May 28, 1844, and his body was laid to rest in the Green River Church Cemetery. His wife, Elizabeth (Ray) Rogers, continued in the Church's fellowship until her death, on July 22, 1862. Her body was laid to rest beside that of her late husband. Monuments were erected over their graves shortly after their respective deaths. By 1978, it was noted by Lon Rogers that the Jonathan Rogers' gravestone was broken up and beyond repair. It was replaced by him and others in the family. It appears that after her husband's death she lived with her son, William Lloyd Rogers, until her death, since she was living in his household in the 1850 and 1860 Censuses of Ohio County, Kentucky. 

Information on four of the children:

JAMES MADISON ROGERS (b. December 4, 1808) married SEANNA BORAH in Butler County, Kentucky, on January 2, 1832. She was the daughter of George E. Borah and Mary Jane (Traester) Borah. They were married in the Borah home. The Borahs were long-time residents of Butler County, where Seanna Borah was born on May 6, 1810. Both became Charter Members of the Green River Church, coming from the Beaver Dam Church by letter on July 16, 1836. Their four children were: Joseph Noah Rogers (b. December 4, 1832); Elizabeth "Betsey" Rogers (b. November 6, 1834); George Washington Rogers (b. May 16, 1837); and, Jonathan Judson Rogers (b. November 28, 1839). All of them were born in Butler County, Kentucky. All of them, except the daughter, moved to Texas in 1858. But prior to this, on September 11, 1852, Brother and Mrs. Rogers had been lettered out from the Church's membership. 

MARY ANN "POLLY" ROGERS, a daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Ray) Rogers, became a Constituent (Charter) Member, too, by letter from the Beaver Dam Church. On November 2, 1837, she married Sanford Preston, and was lettered out on the following November 18th. They returned to the Church by letter on June 20th, 1840. Her untimely death occurred on September 12, 1843. She had become the mother of three sons; James Robert Preston (b. August 17, 1838); Samuel Berry Preston (b. April 12, 1840) and Jonathan Lloyd Preston (b. February 18th, 1842. 

CINDERELLA ROGERS, another daughter of the Jonathan Rogers [sic], also became a Charter Member of the Church. On October 10, 1837, she was united in marriage to Simeon Wilson. They became the parents of five children: James Rogers Wilson (b. October 11, 1838); Joseph Ellis Wilson (b. June 18, 1841); Mary Ann Wilson (b. c. 1844); Jonathan Berry Wilson (b. February 6, 1846); and Eliza Wilson (b. February 26, 1842). She was lettered out on November 18th, 1837, shortly after her marriage. Mr. Wilson died before 1860, for she is listed as the wife of Thomas Jefferson Cox that year in the Ohio County Census. She had returned to the Church by letter in May, 1858, under the name of Wilson. Both she and Mr. Cox were lettered out to become Charter Members of the Slaty Creek Church, in January, 1871. They returned to the Church by letter in 1883. Mr. Cox died in September, 1892, and she died in August, 1905. She was the last of the Charter Members to die. Her remains were interred in the Green River Cemetery. 

JOSEPH BLACKBURN ROGERS, was the third son and fifth child born to Jonathan and Elizabeth (Ray) Rogers. He was born in Ohio County on January 13, 1811; and died at Cromwell, in the same county, on March 29, 1864, during the Civil War. On May 31, 1841, in Ohio County, Kentucky, he married Mary E. Milton (b. August 25, 1818-d. October 1, 1871). She, too, died in Cromwell, Kentucky. He was a noted gunsmith by profession, making those of the muzzle-loading type. Among his identifying marks were eight-sided barrels with six-pointed stars on the sides. His Will is recorded in the Ohio County Clerk's Office, Book D, Page 9. He became a member of the Green River Church by Christian experience and baptism during the great revival of 1838, continuing as such until his death. He served as the Church Clerk from January, 1847, through August, 1851; and, in the years 1844-1845, 1847, 1849-1950, 1852, 1854, 1856-1857, 1859, and 1861-1862 he served as a Messenger from the Church to the Gasper River Association. Having been elected by the Church to the office on June 9th, he was ordained as a Deacon on August 5, 1855, by Baptist Ministers J. S. Coleman, Alfred Taylor and E. P. O'Bannon. He continued to fill the office well until his death.

A Sesquicentennial History of the Green River Missionary Baptist Church 1836 - 1986, Written and Compiled by Wendell Holmes Rone, Sr., For the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Church, 1987.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Train Wreck - 1888


Hartford Herald
June 20, 1888

AN AWFUL PLUNGE.
A Train Goes Though the Railroad
Bridge at Rockport Into Green
River Below -- Description of
the Horrible Scene.
List Of The Mangled And Dying

Rockport, Ky., June 18, 1888. It seldom falls to the lot of letter-writers to tell a more awful story of disaster and death than is mine today. Except in point of number of dead and wounded it is, in all respects, one of the most horrible occurring in recent years. Yet I must be brief, as even a drink of water, given to a dying man, is worth all the most thrilling and graphic description ever penned.

Last Saturday evening, precisely at nine minutes before four o'clock, the east-bound freight train, No. 16, consisting of engine and tender, two loaded coal-cars, and the caboose pulled upon the bridge across the river from the west. In the caboose were five men, in the cab two, and on the bridge, waiting for the train to pass, was one.

When the train was well on the first span, suddenly and without the least warning one hundred and eighty feet of the bridge gave away with a terrible crash, precipitating the whole train, except the caboose, which fell upon the bank, into the river a distance of nearly forty feet below. Language could not describe this horrible and distressful scene. You must see it, to fully realize such a blood-curdling disaster. The fearful noise electrified the town, although just such a calamity was not altogether unexpected to many, as the bridge was believed to have been unsafe for months and months. Down into this chasm of death, with tons on tons of wrecked timber and iron the eight men were hurled. That a single one even lived a minute afterward is miraculous. A hundred willing hands were soon at work digging mangled bodies from the wreck, and it was not long till the hotel was turned into a hospital of groaning men writhing in agony. Two were found in the water feebly clinging to floating timber, and five inside the crushed caboose. The following is a brief list of casualties: 

A colored brakeman named Coleman from New Albany, Ind., was in the cab with the fireman, and sank with the engine to the bottom of the river and was drowned. His body has not been recovered. Indeed nobody seems to have tried to recover it. He had just counted his money, $175, and was in the act of returning it to his pocket, when the crash came.

The fireman, Henrv Friz, Central City, who was running the engine at the time, held to the throttle when the reaction washed him out of the cab, and he rose to the surface when he swam to floating timber, and held on till taken out. Strange to say, his wounds are perhaps less serious than any in the wreck. He got off with a strained back, cut on right knee, and lacerated finger. He certainly held on to the throttle, however, as long as there was any earthly use of hanging.

Tom Fogle, bridge watchman, who had flagged the train over, and was waiting for it to pass, fell with the immense pile of debris into the river, and was taken out more dead than alive. His wounds are very serious as compression of the spinal cord is indicated besides a severely strained back and many bruises.

Engineer Phil Carroll, Louisville, was found in the caboose, and was carried out with a compound fracture of left leg, dislocated wrist, deep scalp wound and strained back, besides many bruises. The chances are that he will never recover, as amputation will be necessary, and he has already borne more than most men could bear.

John Compton, conductor, Louisville, was chopped out of the collapsed caboose and carried out. He is perhaps fatally injured. His face was bruised to a jelly, his thigh fractured, hips crushed, left ankle dislocated, back strained and injured internally.

John Love, yard master, Central City, who was in the caboose, was carried out almost dead. He was seriously hurt, and may not recover, though there are strong hopes this morning. His right wrist was fractured, several fearful scalp wounds, and back strained. His suffering has been most acute and distressing, but he is it man of powerful constitution, and I hope will soon recover.

S. F. Bennett, pump repairer, of this place, next to the fireman, was most fortunate. He got off with a scalp wound, which addled him for awhile, contusion on one leg and several severe bruises.

The colored brakeman, named Austin, (of) McHenry, was found to have a deep and ugly puncture in the back, which though very painful, is not supposed to be dangerous.

This completes the list, and the wonder is that it was no worse. All displayed great fortitude and seemed most grateful for aid and sympathy.

Compton, Carroll and Austin were removed to their respective homes by special train, which left here Sunday at noon.

Doctors Jackson and Maddox went promptly to work and stayed with their patients like men of skill and sympathy. Every assistance possible was rendered by our kind and anxious citizens.

A special left Louisville as soon as they got the wires, which were torn down, to work, bringing several of the higher officials, but no physicians except Dr. Slayton from Leitchfield. The latter's coolness and skill is a credit to his profession. Dr. Munnell, of Paducah, Chief Surgeon, arrived at 6 o'clock Sunday morning. Doctors Bohanan and Slayton, Greenville; Rhorer and Warren, Central City; and Smith, of McHenry, were also on hand.

Scores and scores of people from all parts of the county visited the wreck during Sunday. Ono hundred men are working night and day clearing away the wreck, and the work of rebuilding is progressing rapidly. Piles will be driven in the river upon which false work will be built, and no doubt, trains will be passing over within a week. In the mean time, regular transfers will be made across at the ferry, connecting with trains at Pain Town. Many incidents of interest might be related, had I time, but I'm too much hurried to make them entertaining.

"There's a special providence in the full of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come, if it be not to come, it will be not now, yet it will come."

Lon Milner and Monroe Herald were sent down on the western division, and were ordered to return on the fated No. 16, but owing to the fact that a train was discontinued on that end, they failed to make connection, and by this their lives were perhaps saved.

The passenger train bearing two hundred precious lives, passed over this bridge only a few hours before it fell. Very, very often ladies come over from Central City on this train for a pleasure trip, but none were on that evening.

Misses Rosine Taylor, Prentice, and Minnie Howard, and Alec Cairnes and Hiram Howard were in a skiff on the river that evening. When No. 16 whistled for the bridge, Hiram rowed the skiff right under the span that afterward fell, but on the protest of the ladies, rowed out before the train went through. Thus it is, "Heaven from all creatures hides the book of Fate."

Respectfully, Suggs.

P. S: As I mail my letter, Fogle, Love and Bennett, especially Love are much better. Bennett thinks there was another man on the train, who has not been found, but as others think not, he must have gotten off at Nelson Station. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

JOSEPH BLACKBURN ROGERS


JOSEPH BLACKBURN ROGERS, the Fifteenth Pastor of the Green River Baptist Church, served from January, 1896, through January, 1897. He was a direct descendant of Charter Members Jonathan Rogers (1781-1844) and Elizabeth (Ray) Rogers (1782-1862), his paternal great-grandparents. His paternal grandparents were: Joseph Blackburn Rogers (1811-1864) and Mary Ellen (Milton) Rogers (1818-1871). His parents were: James Milton Rogers (b. February 18, 1842 - d. June 21, 1914) and Josephine (Taylor) Rogers (b. August 16, 1843 - d. May 24, 1917). They are both buried in the Fordsville Cemetery, Ohio County, Kentucky. His father served in Company H, 3rd Regiment, Kentucky State Militia, during the Civil War. 

Brother Rogers was born on September 6th, 1867 in Cromwell, Ohio County, Kentucky, and died in Chicago, Illinois, on March 22, 1934. He married Alzien Barnett on April 9, 1890 in Ohio COunty, Kentucky. She had been born in Ohio County, Kentucky, on July 2, 1871, and died on December 6, 1951 in Champaign, Illinois. She was the daughter of Robert Emmet Barnett and Amanda Malvia (Phipps) Barnett. They became the parents of four children, as follows: Jo Barnett Rogers (b. July 19, 1891 - d. March 4, 1919); Katherine Rogers (b. December 18, 1892 in Hartford, Kentucky); Ruth Rogers; and Alexander Rogers (b. October 6th, 1899). Brother Rogers probably became a Christian by 1890 and united by Christian Experience and Believer's Immersion with the Hartford Baptist Church. By that Church he was licensed to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in October, 1895. On January 15-16, 1896, at the request of the Mt. Zion Church he was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by the Hartford Church. He began serving immediately, on a quarter-time basis, the Mt. Zion, Hartford, Green River and Slaty Creek Churches. He later served the Salem Church, in Butler County. The other Churches were in Ohio County. In the latter part of 1897 he moved to Moweaqua, Illinois, where he was still active in 1900, according to Lasher's "Baptist Ministerial Directory." He seems to have spent the remainder of his earthly life in Illinois.

A Sesquicentennial History of the Green River Missionary Baptist Church 1836 - 1986, Written and Compiled by Wendell Holmes Rone, Sr., For the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the Church, 1987.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

CROMWELL 1879


KENTUCKY 1879 GAZETTEER

CROMWELL

In the southern part of Ohio county, on the Green River, 12 miles south of Hartford, the county seat; eight miles south of Beaver Dam, on the P. & E. Railroad, the nearest station; and 120 miles southwest of Louisville. Goods should be shipped to Cromwell.  Tri-weekly mail. Population, 250. A. K. Leach, postmaster.

Business Directory

Bean, R. T. & Co., general store
Hilton Vaughn, constable
Mathily, E C, shoemaker
Mills, Jesse, sawmill
Mills, J. S., sawmill
Rings, A. J., justice
Roberson, Joseph, sawmill
Rothwell, Wm & Son, sawmill
Stacy, Samuel, justice
Wills, Abram, hotel

Mrs. Emily Stevens Ricketts


Hartford Herald
April 18, 1877

In Memorandum

Mrs. Emily Ricketts, wife of Wm. T. Ricketts, daughter or John and Deborah Stevens, was born in Ohio county, Ky., August the 10th, 1833, made a profession of religion and joined the M. E. Church South, when she was quite young, (while Brother Roads had charge of this circuit), died at the residence of her husband, in county and State, aforesaid, April 1st, 1877, leaving a kind husband, two daughters, one son and many friends, who mourn her absence. Sister Ricketts was truly a Christian lady, as a wife, true and faithful, as a mother, kind and affectionate; unostentatious and unpretending in her manner, but truly chaste and refined in her conversation and practical associations in life. Sister Ricketts was devotedly attached to her church and her brethren. Her practical piety was uniform and consistent. Her sufferings were long and severe; but faith and hope in Christ enabled her to pass through the deep waters and fear no evil. Her pastor visited her twice during her illness, found her calm and contemplative, giving evidence of strong faith in Christ and resignation to his will. A short time previous to her death she sent for her esteemed friend and brother, the Rev. G. J. Bean, and gave to understand that all was well, that her house was in order, and that she was ready to depart and be with Christ. In witnessing the death of a dear and fond one, how forcibly are we impressed with the truth that the bed of death brings everyone to his or her pure individuality to the intense contemplation of that deepest and most solemn of all relations, the relation between the creature and Creator. Here it is that all external help must fail to aid, that friend’s affection and human love and devotedness cannot succor. And yet what in man's extremity is God's opportunity to show how Jesus can make a dying bed "Feel soft as downy pillows are."

A few weeks before she died, she was apprised of the fact that her days on earth were nearly numbered, and that the nearer she drew to the chasm, the narrower apparently it became, until God gave her faith and strength to bridge it, hiding it from her view with the wings of his love; and as noiseless falls the foot of time that treads on flowers, so passed her spirit from its clayey tenement to God who gave it.
W. W. Cook
G. J. Bean

Sunday, March 10, 2013

P. W. Gillstrap


The Hartford Republican (Hartford, KY), February 22, 1907. 

Mr. P. W. Gillstrap Dies at Greenville.

A most shocking and unexpected death occurred on the street here Monday says a Greenville correspondent to the Muhlenburg Argus.  Mr. P.W. Gillstrap was walking from G.M. Dexter's store up the street when he fell death (sic) in front of (sic) G.E. Countzler saw him stagger and catch at the fencing of his store and sprang to his assistance, but before he could reach him he had fallen face forward on the street.  Dr. T.J. Slaton, Mr. Countzler and others immediately carried him into the drug store, but he had passed beyond all human aid.  He died of heart trouble.  Mr. Gillstrap was a quiet, industrious man about 60 years old and leaves a wife and six children.  He moved here from Ohio county two years ago.  He had been a consistent member of the Methodist church for many years.  His remains were taken for burial to his old home near Cromwell, Wednesday.  The widow and children have the sympathy of the entire community in their loss.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Robert Taylor Render


Hartford Republican
February 19, 1892

Robert Taylor Render

First saw the light of day on November 10, 1849. He was born near where the pleasant little city of McHenry now stands, of one of the oldest and best families of the county. His father, J. L. Render, was a son of Robert Render, one of the old pioneers of the Green River country. It is related of the old pioneer that he was once passing through a cane-brake near the mouth of Lewis Creek, armed with his hunting knife when he was attacked by a huge bear, but by skillful use of his knife he succeeded in slaying the ferocious beast without receiving any serious wound himself.

He was Moderator of the Kentucky Baptist Association for forty years. Robert T. labored on the farm during the greater part of the year as he grew up to manhood and only enjoyed such educational advantages as could he had in the old subscription school. But he was quite early distinguished for his close observation and thus he acquired a knowledge of men and things that many with better opportunities have failed to obtain. He was ever fearless and true, and early in life won the confidence of his people which he yet enjoys. On October 10, 1870, he was married to Miss Mary A. McConnell, a woman of great worth, and to them nine children have been born: Ida B., aged 19; Katie, aged 17; Moses Pendleton, aged 14; Winfield Scott, aged 12; Maude, aged 10; Roscoe, aged 7; Alvin Clarence, aged 5; Grover, aged 3, and Joshua James, aged 8 months.

Mr. Render has been a life-long farmer and is in good circumstances, owning one of the best farms about McHenry. He is a Baptist and until recent years has been a Democrat but is now claimed as a Third Party man. He was elected Justice of the Peace for the Hartford Magisterial District in August, 1886 and was reelected August, 1890. Being a man of energy, strong convictions and great tenacity of purpose, coupled with pleasing address, he commands the respect and wins the love of his fellow men.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

HISTORY OF THE METHODIST CHURCH IN OHIO COUNTY


HISTORY OF THE METHODIST CHURCH IN OHIO COUNTY

Source: “The History of Methodism in Kentucky”
By: The Rev. A. H. Redford
Southern Methodist Publishing Company - 1868

The Livingston Circuit, which had been formed in 1803, under the indefatigable labors of Jesse Walker, had so extended its boundaries previous to the Conference of 1804 as to embrace the counties of Henderson and Ohio. In the Minutes of 1804, the work in this department is recognized under the style of "Livingston and Hartford," to which Jesse Walker and Joshua Barnes were appointed.

Previous to the Conference of 1804, a quarterly meeting was held at Isham Browder's, in Hopkins (then Henderson) county, embracing the 17th and 18th days of August, at which the following official members were present: Lewis Garrett, Presiding Elder; Jesse Walker, Assistant Preacher; Miles Harper, Joshua Barnes, Thomas Taylor, James Axley, Wiley Ledbetter, Josiah Moors, John Travis, Benjamin Parker, Taylor White, Isham Browder, Pleasant Axley, Moses Shelby. At this Quarterly Conference, James Axley and Joshua Barnes were "recommended to travel." Before Mr. Walker had embraced Ohio county in the Livingston Circuit, under the efficient labors of a few local preachers, societies had been formed at Goshen, Bethel, and No Creek, in that county. "The first Church organized in Ohio county was at Goshen, two miles south of Hartford, in the year 1804. Very shortly after this, in the same year, another Church was organized at Bethel, seven miles north-east of Hartford. Next, and about the same time, in the same year, No Creek Church was organized." These Churches were established as the result of a great revival which took place in December, 1803, commenced by the Presbyterians, in connection with two or three local preachers, who had settled in this part of the country. "The first and leading local preacher connected with this work was Thomas Taylor, a man of more than ordinary ability and decisive character; and, through his influence, the masses of the converts were led into the Methodist Episcopal Church." Associated with him was Lodwick Davis, also a man of good preaching ability; also Joshua Barnes, of ordinary talents. "During the Conference-year commencing in the fall of 1804, this circuit was blessed with extensive revivals of religion. They swept, like fire in dry stubble, all over the country. The people went from far and near to attend them were awakened, and converted to God."*

These early societies were a nucleus, from which went out a fine religious influence into all the surrounding country. From the time of their first organization to the present, they have prospered, being the scenes of many revivals of religion. **

* Letter from the Rev. H. C. McQuown, of Hartford, Kentucky.
** The society at Goshen now worships in a neat and commodious frame church, numbers nearly eighty members, and enjoys an average degree of spirituality. The society at Bethel enjoyed a fine revival of religion last spring, in which thirty-five were converted, and thirty- eight added to the Church. Class-meetings are kept up by them. They have a neat frame house of worship. The society at No Creek, three miles north of Hartford, had a good revival in January. Its fruits were thirteen conversions and twenty-one additions. It numbers now about ninety. They have a new, large, frame church — the best in the country — and keep up class-meetings. There is also a society ten miles north-east of Hartford, (time organized not known.) They have a large frame church, one hundred and sixteen members, and enjoy an average degree of spirituality. A society, seven miles east of Hartford, with twenty-nine members, in good condition. They have a new frame church. Six miles north-east of Hartford is the Union society, numbering twenty-eight. They worship in a log house. In Hartford the society numbers sixty-five.  Letter to the author from the Rev. H. C. McQuown, dated Hartford, Kentucky, January 23, 1867.

We have already referred to Thomas Taylor (the father of the Hon. Harrison J. Taylor, of Hartford, Kentucky), a local preacher, to whose influence and labors the Church in Ohio and the surrounding counties was so much indebted for the organization of the early societies. He was born in Frederick county, Virginia, February 26, 1763. His parents were poor, but of high respectability, and bequeathed to him the legacy of a pure and unsullied character. His father and mother were reared in the Church of England, and endeavored to instill into their children the principles of Christianity. Independent in thought from early childhood, he became impressed with the excellency of Methodism, and at twelve years of age he was a member of the Church, and when quite young became a local preacher. In 1802, with his small family, he came to the "West, and was among the first to raise the standard of Methodism in the Green River country. Among the early local preachers in Kentucky, for his untiring devotion to the Church, he was not surpassed. The opposition to Christianity, so common among the early settlers in the State, so far from arresting his efforts to accomplish good, was
to him only an incentive to extraordinary exertion. The country being destitute of ministers, Mr. Taylor traveled extensively, having appointments at distances remote from his home, in the territory now embraced in Henderson, Hopkins, Muhlenburg (sic), Butler, Grayson, Hardin, Larue, Hancock, Daviess, and McLean counties. To promote the welfare of the Church, and to advance its interests, was one of the highest aims of his noble life. Without the advantages of early education, by close application to study he so far improved his mind as to become one of the most popular and influential preachers in the Green River country. Thoroughly versed in the Holy Scriptures, his vindication of the doctrines of Methodism was resistless, while, "with words that burn," he impressed the practical duties of religion on the minds of the hundreds who heard the gospel from his lips. Without appealing to the passions of the people, he stirred the depths of their hearts. Usually plain, yet argumentative, he sometimes " arose with his subject, and, giving utterance to his own feelings, he would dwell on the beauties of religion, the sublimity of the Divine attributes, the deep and dying love of the Saviour (sic), and the horrors of the day of retribution, when justice shall be meted out. On occasions of this kind, his language would flow with that deep, intense, native sublimity, which no art or study can equal." *

On the 25th day of April, 1836, he departed this life, at his own home, in Ohio county, Kentucky, in full assurance of a blessed immortality. To no one man is Ohio county so much indebted for the moral and religious influence they now enjoy, as to Thomas Taylor. His wife, Margaret Taylor, who had borne with her husband the privations and sacrifices of pioneer life, and had stood side by side with him in the great battle for religious truth, survived him nearly twenty years. She belonged to the representative women of Methodism in Kentucky. After a long life of usefulness, on the 25th of October, 1855, she closed her eyes in death.

* Letter to the author from Mr. H. J. Taylor.

Monday, March 4, 2013

CHURCHES – OHIO COUNTY


CHURCHES – OHIO COUNTY
 
The first denomination to reach Kentucky was the Baptist. The first Baptist preacher was Rev. William Hickman, who came to Kentucky in 1776, and the first Baptist organization in Kentucky occurred in 1781. The first Methodist minister to preach in Kentucky was Rev. Francis Clark in 1783. The first Presbyterian minister to preach in Kentucky was Rev. David Rice in 1783 and the Presbyterians first organized in Kentucky in 1786. The foregoing ministers preached in the central and eastern parts of the state, as that part was first populated.

The first Baptist Church (and the first church of any denomination) in Ohio County was started at Beaver Dam, this church being founded March 10, 1798. The first Methodist church in Ohio County was started at Goshen in 1804 (two miles south of Hartford); and shortly afterwards, also in 1804, Methodist churches were started at the communities of No Creek and Bethel (seven miles northeast of Hartford). These churches were called Methodist M. E. churches, with the M. E. standing for Methodist Episcopal, an organization officially formed in 1784 in Baltimore. Other denominations did not start churches in Ohio County for several decades following the Baptists and Methodists.
 
BAPTIST CHURCHES - OHIO COUNTY

     There are forty Baptist churches (Southern Baptist) currently located in Ohio County, many of which are historic. These churches are located at: 

Adaburg, Barnetts Creek, Beaver Dam, Bells Run, Centertown, Central Grove, Clear Run, Concord, Cool Springs, Deanefield, Dundee, East Fork, East Hartford, Fairview, Fordsville, Green River, Hartford, Independence, McGrady Creek, McHenry, Mount Carmel, Mount Zion, Narrows, New Panther Creek, New Zion, Olaton, Pleasant Grove, Pleasant Hill, Pond Run, Providence, Ridgecrest, Rockport, Second Hartford, Slaty Creek, Smallhous, Waltons Creek, West Point, West Providence, Woodwards Valley, and Zion

     Also, there is Friendship Freewill Baptist Church located in Fordsville;  eight General Baptist churches named Broadway, Cedar Grove, East Fairview, Echols, Humble Valley, Leach Chapel, Longview, and Mount Olive.; seven Independent Baptist churches named Bethesda, Bible, Emmanuel, Faith Temple, Hopewell, Newton Springs, and Sugar Grove; four Missionary Baptist churches named Fordsville, Living Faith, Pathway, and Rosine; and two United Baptist churches named Calvary Hill and Taylor Mine.


     Many thanks to Tom Shelton, Ohio County Baptist Association, for this interesting information.
 
 
History of Beaver Dam Baptist Church. Source: A History of Kentucky Baptists
By J. H. Spencer; Chapter 22. 1885

BEAVER DAM church is located in Ohio county, about four miles south of Hartford, the country-seat. It takes its name from a small tributary of Muddy creek, near which it is situated. It is, by several years, the oldest church between the Green and Ohio rivers, west of Elizabethtown, and is the mother of a large family of similar organizations in that region of the State. There was a very early settlement at Hartford, probably not far from the year 1780. Among these early settlers was a German family, bearing the name that is now spelt Coleman. After spending some time in the fort, near the present town of Hartford, Mr. Coleman moved his family about five miles south, and located on a small stream, to which he gave the name "Beaver Dam," in consequence of the beavers having built darns across it to raise the water over the entrance to their subterranean houses. "The first religious awakening of which we have any account," J. S. Coleman informs us, in his very interesting history of Beaver Dam church, "was produced in the mind of Mrs. Coleman through reading Luther's translation of the New Testament, a copy of which she had brought with her from Germany. After some time spent in reading, weeping and praying, this German woman found peace and great joy in trusting in Jesus for salvation. But now she saw that the same book, that had led her to the Savior, commanded her to be dipped in the name of the Holy Trinity; for such is the meaning of the word for baptism in Luther's translation. This much perplexed her, for there was no minister of the Gospel in all that region of country. Her conscience could not be at rest till she should have obeyed her beloved Lord. Finally, her course was resolved upon. She walked down to the little stream of Beaver Dam, and dipped herself beneath its waters. Coming up out of the water rejoicing, she met her little son who had followed her to the baptismal stream. He asked her why she dipped herself in the water. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, she preached Jesus to her little son. There the lad received his first religious impressions, and was afterwards, for many years, a valuable member of old Beaver Dam church." This little boy was the grandfather of the widely known J. S. Coleman, long the efficient pastor of Beaver Dam church.

Beaver Dam church was constituted on the 5th of March, 1798, of the following five persons: John Atherton, Sr., and his wife Sally, Aaron Atherton and his wife Christina, and James Keel. The latter was a preacher, and for a short time served the young church as pastor. But, in 1803, moved back to Mercer county, from whence he had come to this region, and was succeeded in the pastoral office at Beaver Dam by the famous old pioneer Ben Talbot. Mr. Talbot served the church with great acceptance nearly thirty years. During the year 1804, the church enjoyed a precious revival, during which fifty-two were added to her membership by baptism. During this revival, Mrs. Coleman, who had baptized herself many years before, as related above, was baptized by Mr. Talbot and received into the church. Another incident occurred just at the beginning of this revival, which J. S. Coleman relates as follows:

"The preacher arrived at the water's edge a little in advance of the Dutchman, and began preparing for the baptismal service, when, hearing a splash in the water behind him, he looked just in time to see his candidate disappear under the wave, but momentarily emerging from the water, and facing the preacher, exclaimed, in the full use of his German brogue, 'Mr. Bracher, vill dot do?' Talbot, rather abashed, hesitated to reply for a moment, when plunge went his Dutchman under again. When coming again to a perpendicular, he exclaimed, with increasing vehemence, "Mr. Bracher, me shay vill dot do?' This time Mr. Talbot made haste to reply, and was just in time to save John Inglebright from the third plunge. Coming up out of the water, he stood shivering until Talbot sang a hymn and offered prayer, and then submitting himself into the hands of the administrator, received the ordinance in due form."

The second revival which occurred in this church, was during the period of the alarming earthquakes which prevailed in the Mississippi Valley, in 1811-12. A large number was added to the church, 51 being approved for baptism, in a single day. At the close of this revival, the church numbered 175 members.

She now began to establish "arms" at different points in her extensive territory. These "arms" were small bodies of brethren, belonging to the mother church, who met statedly for worship, and were watched over by the pastor, and a committee of brethren appointed for the purpose. They exercised some of the functions of a church, but all their transactions were subject to revision by the mother church. When one of these arms was deemed competent "to keep house," or was "ripe for constitution," it was constituted in due form, and became an independent church. If an arm did not prosper, or failed to conduct itself properly, it was dissolved. The following record shows how the church dealt with an inefficient arm:

"Bro. R. Render and Henry Coleman met our arm at Vienna Falls, and found several of the members living scandalous lives. Whereupon they turned out the bad ones and brought the good ones home with them."

By this means of church extension, Beaver Dam dotted a large expanse of country with numerous churches, several of which are now among the largest and most efficient country churches in the State. This old church probably first joined Mero District Association, then Cumberland, then Union, then Green River, then Gasper River, and, finally, Daviess County Association. It continued to be a very prosperous church, until the last few years, when it fell into the pernicious habit of frequently changing pastors. Since which it has been unhappy, and appears to be in a decline. Of James Keel and Benjamin Talbot, the first and second pastors of this old mother church, something has been said elsewhere.

 
 
LATER HISTORY OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH IN OHIO COUNTY
From: A History of Kentucky Baptists
By J. H. Spencer
 - 1885 

Goshen Association. In 1817 the following Baptist churches left the Salem Association and joined (or formed) the Goshen Association: Panther Creek; Rough Creek; and Mt. Pleasant.  The entire (Goshen) association included eleven churches from Western Kentucky and included about 300 members.  The history of Rough Creek church is unknown. It was located in Ohio county, and was received into Salem Association in 1813. It was in the constitution of Goshen Association; but early disappeared from her records.

Panther Creek, in Ohio county was constituted of 18 members by Benjamin Kelley and Ancil Hall, Sep. 23, 1815. Mt. Pleasant, in Ohio county, was constituted, about 1815, and was probably gathered by Benjamin Kelley, who appears to have been its first pastor. D. J. Kelley, son of the above, was the second pastor. His son, C. J. Kelley, also served the church a short time.

Benjamin Kelley was born in Bedford county, Virginia, not far from 1763. At about the age of fifteen years, he came to Kentucky, and sheltered himself from Indian fury, with the first settlers of the country, at Boonesboro. In January 1778, while with a party of 27, headed by Daniel Boone, engaged in making salt at Blue Lick, he, with the whole party, was taken prisoner, by the Indians. He fell into the hands of the tribe of which the notorious white renegade, Simon Girty, was the Chief. An old squaw adopted him as her son, and he remained with the Indians about six years. At the expiration of this time, aided by his foster mother and an old Indian, he made his escape, and returned to his parents, in Virginia. Here he married the daughter of David Jerrell, and afterwards emigrated with his father-in-law, to Kentucky. The next information we have of him, he was pastor of Mt. Pleasant church, in Ohio county. He probably gathered this church, which was constituted in 1814, and ministered to it about ten years. His labors were greatly blessed in bringing sinners to Christ. His last sermon was preached in the midst of a great revival, during the continuance of which, about too had been added to the church. After baptizing some converts, he went home, and was taken down with a violent fever. He finally recovered from the fever, but he was bereft of reason, and so remained till about two hours before his death, which occurred, about 1824. After his reason returned, he talked freely of his hope in Christ, and departed in joyous triumph.

David Jerrell Kelley, oldest son of Elder Benjamin Kelley, was born in Amherst county, Va., Mar. 22, 1791. He was raised by his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. His grandfather being wealthy, young Kelley was raised up in idleness and self-indulgence, and became a wayward, self-willed boy. At the age of fifteen, he left his grandfather's home, in Mercer county, Ky., to visit his father in Ohio county. Arriving at Louisville, then a small village, he engaged as a laborer, in well digging. After a while, he engaged to go as a hand, on a perogue, loaded with whisky. This vessel descended the Ohio river to its mouth, and then ascended the Mississippi, to Cape Girardeau. From this point, he traveled on foot, through the territories of Illinois and Indiana, to Louisville, and thence to his grandfather's, without having visited his father. He remained with his grandfather, till his marriage to Fannie, daughter of William Carter of Ohio county, Feb. 10, 1810. After living in Ohio county a short time, he moved to Mercer county. Here he and his wife professed hope in Christ, and were baptized by Richard Shackleford, in 1812. Soon after this, he moved back to Ohio county, where he united with Mt. Pleasant church. Some years later, he became dissatisfied with the practice of "close communion," and was excluded from the church. After a time, becoming convinced of his error, he was restored to the fellowship of the church.

He was ordained to the ministry, by Thomas Downs, Ancil Hall and Simeon Buchanan, Jan. 25, 1825, and almost immediately called to the care of Mt. Pleasant church. To this congregation he administered, the remainder of his earthly life. He was also pastor of Beaver Dam, Waltons Creek, and Cane Run churches, all in Ohio county.

In 1834, he and J. H. L. Moorman were appointed collecting agents for the Executive Board of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. They assumed the duties of that office, about the first of March, and sometimes together, and sometimes apart, prosecuted their labors, till the 17th of June, when Mr. Moorman suddenly died. Mr. Kelley continued his labors, till about the 20th of July, when he was attacked with fever. This was followed by a fatal flux, of which he and six of his family died, between the 13th of August and the 5th of September, 1834.

Carter Jerrell Kelley, oldest son of Elder David J. Kelley, was born in Ohio Co., Ky., Dec. 18, 1810. He was raised on his father’s farm, and received a fair English education. On the 11th of January, 1832, he was married to Paulina, daughter of Josiah Haynes. He studied medicine, after his marriage, and commenced the practice of physic, in 1839. After practicing medicine about ten years, he was ordained to the ministry, at Mt. Pleasant church, by Simeon Buchanan, Joseph P. Ellis and J.R. Gillaspy, in July, 1849. After laboring a few years in his native county, he moved to Illinois, and settled in White county, where the Lord abundantly blessed his labors, till the Master called him home, about the beginning of the year 1883.

Hardin Haynes Ellis was born in Shelby county, Kentucky, April, 1813. In 1829, he went with his parents to Daviess county, where he grew up to manhood, and obtained a fair English education. In 1834, he united with Panther Creek church, in Ohio county; and was baptized by Ancil Hall. 

James D. Philips was a native of Ohio county, and exercised a brief ministry in Goshen Association. He was ordained to the ministry, in early manhood, about the year 1856, and was soon afterwards called to the pastoral care of a small church in the mining village of Bennettsville, in Hancock county. 

Thomas W. Pierce was an active and useful minister in this fraternity. He was a native of Ohio county, where he was born, July 30, 1842, and was raised up to the ministry, in Cane Run church. He was licensed to preach, about 1858. At the breaking out of the Civil War, he entered the Confederate Army, and shared its fortunes, till the return of peace. He was ordained to the ministry, in 1866, and soon afterwards took charge of the church at Litchfield. About 1873, he moved to Uptonsville in Hardin county, after which he was pastor of several other churches in Lynn Association. He labored with great zeal, not only in his pastoral work, but especially in protracted meetings, in which he was extraordinarily successful. He was a good preacher, and his undoubted piety gave him great influence. But his valuable labors were cut short in the noontide of his life. After lingering several months, he died of consumption, at his home near Buffalo, La Rue county, August 16, 1883. 

Andrew Jackson Miller was one of the ablest and most useful preachers that have labored in this region of the State. He was the youngest of four sons of Andrew Miller, a poor but intelligent, pious farmer, and was born in Hardin (now LaRue county), Kentucky, January 7, 1839. While he was a small boy, his parents moved to Ohio county, where they brought up their children in the nuture and admonition of the Lord. Of their four sons, William, the oldest, was an efficient deacon, Richard H., the second, was an earnest, faithful preacher in Gasper River Association, Allen B., the third, is the well known Dr. Miller of Little Rock, Ark, and A. J., the fourth, was the earnest talented and consecrated subject of this sketch.

J. Miller was raised upon a small farm in what was then regarded the backwoods of Ohio county, and, at the age of 20 years, was much better skilled in the art of hunting than in the use of books. He was converted under the preaching of his brother, A.B. Miller, then a licentiate, about 1856, and was baptized by Alfred Taylor. In 1858, he was licensed to preach by Mt. Zion church in Ohio county. Immediately after this, his brother, A B. Miller, then pastor of the church at Hickman, Kentucky, assumed the charge of his education, and, after keeping him in school for a time, sent him to Madison College in West Tennessee. On his return from College, he was ordained to the pastoral care of Cool Spring church in Ohio county, in 1861.

James B. Haynes may be regarded the father of this fraternity. He has served it as moderator from its constitution, and has generally been pastor of four of its prominent churches. He is a native of Ohio county, Ky., and a descendant of an old French Huguenot family, which settled, early, in that region of the State. His father was, early, a member of old Beaver Dam church, and was accustomed to walk twenty-five miles to his church meeting, when his was the only church in the Ohio Valley, below the mouth of Salt River. The subject of this sketch is a son of his old age, and was born, probably, about the year 1825. His early education was very limited, being obtained in the common schools of his neighborhood. At an early age, he united with Panther Creek church in his native county, where he, with David Whittinghill and D. J. Philips, was licensed to preach, in January, 1856. At the call of Bethabara church, he was ordained to the ministry, by J. P. Ellis, J. S. Taylor and J. R. Gillespie, in February, 1857. One year later, he was called to the care of Panther Creek church, to which, and to some others, he ministered, till 1861, when he was arrested by the "Home Guards," and committed to a military prison. After his release, he moved to Henderson county, where he labored, both as a missionary and a pastor, till his final settlement in Union county, not far from 1870. Since that period, he has labored with great zeal and diligence to build up the Redeemer’s Kingdom in his adopted county, and his efforts have been much blessed. It is regretted that his health has recently become feeble.