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Barren County African-American Church Histories


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


Little Blue Spring Church

Barren County


                “Little Blue Spring Church was organized in the year 1868 at Brother Bluford Wilcoxson’s by Rev. Peter Murrell and Rev. Tolbert Rogers. Rev. Rogers was the pastor from the time the church was organized until his death in 1887.


                “The first deacons were Brother Henry Taylor and Brother Hudson Davis. We believe that Brother Nep Watkins was the first secretary. The church at that time was a hickory log house daubed with red mud. It had one window on each side. The window which gave light for the minister was a small space cut in the logs and had a rough board shutter. Rev. N. P. Pierson is our pastor at present and has been since 1888. We now have a very fair house. It is weatherboarded, partly papered and partly painted on the inside. Brother Peter Helm and Brother R. E. Siddens are the deacons and Cora L. Rowe is secretary.


Loving Springs Baptist Church

Barren County


                “The Loving Springs Baptist Church was organized July 23rd, 1914, with seven members, whose names are as follows: N. Y. Edmond, Zachariah Duvall, Frank Francis, Sisters Ida Shannon and Mary J. Smith.


                “Rev. N. P. Pierson was the moderator of the council: Rev. A. L. Webb the first secretary; Rev. G. R. Ford, the catechiser; Rev. J. Garnett gave the covenant; Rev. C. M. Dunn gave the chares; Rev. C. H. Green prayed the ordination prayer.


                “Rev. J. Francis was the first pastor of the church and Rev. W. H. Duvall the firse secretary. Rev. J. Francis pastored the new church for three years and proved a successful pastor, the church increasing in membership and in spiritual power. The second pastor, Rev. T. B. Fant has charge and the church is in a very healthy state. They have lost three members by death, and the present membership numbers 39.


                “This church is the latest organized in the association, and at the present time there are but few that have a better building. It is a nice weatherboarded building with new pews, which cost about $250.00. The church and property are valued at $1,500.00. Rev. T. B. Fant, Pastor, Brother Logan Burton, Secretary.”


Mt. Olla Baptist Church

 Barren County


                “Mt. Olla Baptist Church was organized in 1872 by Rev. Ben Rogers, who served as its pastor for 22 years. The oldest deacon is Bro. Noah Franklin. In 1986 Bro. Y. W. Stark was chosen pastor and served for a year. The deacons at that time were: Brothers W. M. Strange, Mason Crow, Thos. Dunn and Henry Hunt.  Rev. Thomas Swan was chosen pastor in 1987 and served as pastor for one year. Rev. J. Ingram was pastor for 4 years and in 1901 Rev. Ben Vant was selected as Pastor and served for 8years. Rev. N. P. Pierson was pastor for 4 years, beginning in 1912. Rev. Logan Starks was pastor, beginning in 1916. The deacons at present are C. A. Cosby and Thomas Dunn.


                “Mt. Olla has been built five times since she was organized 46 years ago.


Poplar Grove Baptist Church

Barren County


                “The Poplar Grove Baptist Church was organized in AD 1877, under care of Rev. J. F. Lewis, the first pastor. The deacons were Bros. Dick Bush, Nelse Wilkerson and Ben Fortune.


                “The church was organized with forty members. The first building was a log house worth about $50.00. The secretary was James Martin.


                “The church has had seven pastors, namely: Rev. Elzy Lewis, G. W. Sample, J. Ingram, J. W. Willis, T. B. Fant, Y. W. Start, J. Murrell, and L. Shobe, the present pastor of 1918.


                “The present deacons are S. M. Whitney, J. M. Neal and C. G. Mansfield. The membership now numbers 127 members and the church is a frame building worth about $1,500.00. W. M. Bridges is secretary.”


Queen’s Chapel Baptist Church

Barren County


                “The Queen’s Chapel Baptist Church was organized in the month of July, AD 1874, by the following brethren: Rev. Daniel Wilson, who became the first pastor; Bros. James Freeman and Logan Martin, the first deacons; and Morgan Douglas, clerk. There were in all about eighteen members.


                “This church under the guidance of the Master, was located one mile east of Hiseville, Ky. The names of those in the organization were Rev. Daniel Wilson, Peter Murrell and Ben Rogers; deacons, Robert Everett, Jackson Whitney and other members in all about eighteen.


                “R. C. W. Bransford is the present pastor. The church is prospering spiritually and financially, with church and property valued at $1,800.00.”


Rocky Hill Baptist Church

Barren County


                “The Rocky Hill Church, near Game, Ky., in Barren County, Ky., was organized in 1870 with the following members: Bros. Jim Hudson, Edd Hudson, Walter Hudson, Huber Davidson, Alex Hudson, Revs. B. Rogers and J. F. Lewis, and Sisters Julie Hudson, Adeline Martin, Dicey Hudson, Louise Edmond and Nancy Lewis.


                “The church was organized at Old Rocky Hill, taking the name of Steam Mill.


                “Rev. B. Rogers was the first pastor and moderator. He served from 1870 to 1897. Rev. L. Shobe was the second pastor; he served from 1887 to 1902. The third pastor was Rev. C. Dunn, who served from 1902 to 1903. They were without a pastor in 1905. Rev. T. B. Fant, the fifth pastor, served during 1906. The sixth pastor, Rev. L. Shobe, served from, 1907 to 1915. Rev. G. R. Ford, the seventh pastor, has served since 1916, and is the present pastor.


                “The deacons who have served since its organization are as follows: Bros. Herbert Davidson, Preston Lewis, Gilbert Dodd, Thomas Page, Levi Rhodes, Jim Hudson, Richard Houchin, Sam Starks, Rob Rogers, Sam Hibbitt, Sam Duvall, John Whitney, T. B. Barkley and Lewis Edmond.


                “The preachers that started out from this church are as follows: Elders B. Rogers, J. F. Lewis, E. Lewis, Will Page, C. C. Davidson (pictured at right), Jack Lewis, J. P. Hudson, S. W. Rhodes, J. B. Daugherty, S. W. Duvall, L. G. Starks, W. T. Lewis, Cal Page, C. V. Landrum, T. B. Fant, Eugene Rogers, Lafayette Stone. Clerks: Ed Hudson, Mitchell Edmond, J. W. Stovall, J. P. Cosby, J. P. Hudson, A. B. Barkley, J. B. Daugherty, W. T. Lewis and Reubin Hibbitt.


                “The church has been rebuilt three times; the present building is valued at $3,000.00.”



Courtesy Barren’s Black Roots, Volume 3, Michelle Gorin Burris, Gorin Genealogical Publishing, (c) May 1993. The following written in 1992, citation at end.


History of First Baptist Church

Glasgow KY


                The First Baptist Church, in Glasgow – Barren County, was organized under the leadership of Rev. Peter Murrell in April 1867 with sixty-nine (69) members. This small group of members were once worshipers at the Glasgow Baptist Church, which was white. After the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Reconstruction Period, a committee was formed in the Glasgow Baptist Church to make plans for the segregation of the former Negro slave worshipers.


                The Rev. N. G. Terry, then pastor of Glasgow Baptist Church, officiated in the organization of this group of Negro worshippers. Rev. Terry ordained Peter Murrell for the gospel ministry to lead the members in the completion of their organization. In the middle of April, on the second Saturday of said month 1867, this little band of devout and desirous ex-slaves met for the first time in a house. This was the first organized Negro church in Barren County. With the help of the interested white church men, Pastor Terry’s plans were then put into execution to erect a place of worship for this group of Negro members who had been set apart for them. The first edifice was erected and worship continued in the first church building on this plot of ground until the second edifice was erected. The second edifice was begun under the leadership of Rev. Nathan (Pap)_ Pearson and was completed under the leadership of Rev. N. Starks. This church celebrated its anniversary on the second Sunday in May. The church anniversary was later moved to the fourth Sunday in May.


                Some chartered members are Brother & Sister Tom Page; Brother Reese Childress; Brother &  Sister Howard; Brother & Sister Armstead Lewis; Brother & Sister Bob Everett; Sister Marcia Terry; Sister Ann Garnett; Brother & Sister Bill Edmunds; Brother & Sister George Scrivener; and Sister Jane Landrum.


                Some early deacons were Clay Everett, R. H. Button, Robert Everett, Alex Martin, Tom Page, Ras Hatfield, Hugh Lee, Dennis Gillenwater, Carl P. Bridges, C. D. Murrell, G. V. Curry, Amos Childress, L. J. Twyman, and James Bailey. The present deacons are John Paul Childress, J. D. Bush, Herschel Caudle, Horace Greer, Jr., Theodore Ellis, and Thelbert Grainger, Jr.


                Some of the early trustees were Jim Depp, Steve Landrum, Emma Mansfield, Lewis Matthews, Tom Childress, William Maupins, Oscar Craft, Charles Parrish, William Parker, Joe W. Shirley, William Quinn, Guy Gillenwater, Orville Stockton, Early Dickey, and Luther Yates (Emeritus). The present trustees are Fred Bailey, Eddie Lee Chambers, Ervin Edmonds, Andy Hayes, Jr., Joe Wayne Shirley, Tony Shirley, Erron Trigg and Sherman Webster.


                The first clerk was Henry Ritter. Others clerks wee Charlie Smith, S. C. Murrell, Pearl Wilson, Nellie Murrel, Susie L. Curry, James M. Bransford, Lucille S. Wood, G. V. Curry, C. P. Bridges, Minnie L. Boles, and Estelle B. Lasley. The present clerk is Carrie L-Hayes Thornton.


                The first treasurer was Bob Everett. The present treasurer is Sherman Webster.


                Some of the Sunday School superintendents were Rev. John Garnett, Garrett Mansfield, C. L. Smith, S. C. Murrell, H. C. Mitchell, Ernest Byrd, R. P. Lewis, Nellie Murrell, and Estelle B. Lasley. The present superintendent is Deacon J. D. Bush. We also have bestowed the title of Emeritus” (1991) on Sister Lucille S. Wood for two positions: Senior Missionary President and Sunday School teacher.


                The pastors of this church in succession were Peter Murrell, Nathan (Pap) Pearson, T. M. Duff, N. Starks, C. W. Bransford, W. B. Wood, G. H. Murrell (acting), C. H. Thomas, T. P. Richardson, and C. W. Bransford. Our pastor for the last 41 years is James M. Bransford. This year (1992) we have taken an assistant to the pastor, Rev. Raymond Crenshaw.


                Ministers produced from this church are John Garnett, Paul Lewis, Marshall Gardner, G. H. Green, G. H. Murrell, H. C. Mitchell, R. P. Lewis, R. B. Lewis, T. M. Duff, J. M. Bransford, Dennis Gillenwater, Carl P. Bridges, Sewell Bridges, Fred E. Gillenater, and Kenneth Turner


                This church owns a plot of ground 1 ½ miles south on 31-E in the amount of five (5) acres, more or less known as the Barlow Cemetery. This church also owns the house and lot adjoining the church and the land known as the Reed property which is used as rental property.


                In 1960, we built and furnished an Educational Annex and we redecorated and refurnished the sanctuary. During this period the church adopted the State program for Kentucky Baptist and became a member of the National Baptist Incorporated.


                In the early hours of October 27, 1972, our church was destroyed by fire. On the following Sunday, we began worship in Ralph Bunch Sixth Grade Center through the courtesy of the Glasgow Board of Education. On February 10, 1974, we returned to our new church edifice. Many renovations have been made to this edifice. In 1988 the dining room was enlarged; in 1990 the carpet was replaced; in 1991 the painting above the baptismal pool was repainted; and in 1992 we padded the pew seat (front and back). We are proud of our church. However, we are everso thankful to our Heavenly Father who doeth all things well.  Humbly submitted, Mrs. Carrie Thornton, Church Clerk



Contributed by Dr. Peter C. Murrell (abstracted):
"I am the son of Samuel C and Nellie Murrell; the grandson of Rev. Peter Murrell; was born in 1920 and spent the first twenty years of my life as a member and the donor of a portion of the land upon which the present edifice stands. As I realized how many names I recognized it became difficult for me to consider these members as being representative of the early days of the church. I realize that 80 years ago is a long time, but this is a 137 year old institution.

"The first four paragraphs are history of the Church as I remember it from my youth. However, when we get to the deacons, the picture for me changes a bit. Of the deacons mentioned I was personally acquainted with eleven of them. Raz Hatfield was a deacon during my early youth. I remember the ordination of C. D. Murrell, who was my uncle, G. V Curry & Hugh Lee, which if I remember correctly, was in the late 1930's. Of the other seven, who were ordained since I was an active member there; I remember Amos Childress, L. J. Twyman, James Bailey, and J. D. Bush as young men while Dennis GIllenwater, Carl Bridges and John Paul Childress were childhood friends of mine.

"Seven of the trustees have served in the years since I was a member there.  I find that I was acquainted with all the clerks with the exception of the first and last one. Of course two of them were my parents. Of the SS Superintendents, I am happy to say I knew all of those listed. Of course, I knew two of them better than the rest although C. L. Smith also always seemed like a member of our family. He seemed like the paternal grandfather I never knew.

"Of the pastors of the church, Peter Murrell's death preceded my birth. I am happy to say I knew all the rest to and including James Bransford who was a life long friend of mine.

"Of the ministers produced from the church, I knew all except Kenneth Turner. G. H. Murrell was my uncle.

"I remember when the church was destroyed by fire in 1972 and was present when the present structure was dedicated in 1974.

"My vague memory tells me there were three daughters from Rev. Peter Murrell [referring to his biography], but I can only remember the names of two, and therefore, can not vouch for a third. I do recall two daughters, Martha & Malinda. His second marriage produced four children: John, James, Samuel (my father) and Josephine.

"It is a pleasure to hear from someone who has a connection with Rev. Terry.  During my early childhood there was several of the elders in the Afro-American community who remembered Rev Terry and Rev Peter Murrell with great affection.  

" Rev Garnett and Mrs. Mary Wilson Reed who was my first teacher. I was also interested in the story of Uncle Steve Landrum.  I was a little too young to remember him personally, but I certainly remember the legacy of Uncle Steve and his vast land holdings. Also, the house in which I was born sets on land adjacent to that on which one of his houses was built.

"I am enclosing a photograph of two of the early deacons of the First Baptist Church that may be of interest.  The gentleman seated is Charles Smith and the one standing is my father, Samuel C. Murrell. Charlie Smith lived across Highway 31 from Samson Hospital and owned the closest thing to a library that was available to me at the time. He owned several books, dozens and dozens of National Geographic Magazines and dozens of sets of sterio-optic pictures from all over the world. He always made me welcome to use his "library", so I spent many happy hours there."