Newport Methodist Episcopal Church History

by Margaret Strubel Hartman-Campbell County Historian

In 1806 a small class of Methodists was formed in Newport at the home of Jonathan Huling, the tavern located at the southeast corner of Fourth and Columbia streets.  The members were:

Dr. Thomas Hinde
Mary Todd Hinde
Patsey Hinde
Nancy Southgate
Maria Lindsey
Clarissa Hulin,
Eliza Butler
Susanna Butler
Rachel Ritterhouse
Margaret Martin
Anna R S Martin
Susannah W Martin

The Methodist class at Newport remained the same until 1812, at which time John Lindsey, Mary Mayo, Jane Fowler, Esther Daniels, Dolly Gordon and Mrs. Gordon joined the church.  Not only the class meetings, but preaching also, was kept up at the house of Mr. Huling until 1814, when the log court house was occasionally used for these purposes.  On some occasions, however, previous to 1814,there was preaching at the United States Barracks.  In 1815,the class was again strengthened by the addition of Hezekiah and Hester Hayman.

In the month of May 1818, the Methodists held a camp meeting about six miles south of Newport, on the land owned by Stacy Reeves, which was called Reeve's Camping-ground.  This was the first camp meeting ever held in this section of the state.  At this meeting, Isaiah Hayman joined the church and became the leader of the class.

The members of the church in 1820, according to Benjamin P Hills, a resident of Newport who is 1897, at age 87, gave from memory the following persons:

Mr. and Mrs. David Lewis
Dr. Thomas and Mary Hinde
Nancy Southgate
Mrs. Craig
Mrs. George Perry
Mrs. Cole
Mr. and Mrs. J B Lindsey
Mary T McKinney
Mrs. Martin
Mrs. Helm
Mr. Butler
Mrs. Elijah Pierce
Alice Berry
Alice Taliaferro
Mrs. Richard Mullin
May Marshall
Jane Fowler
Sarah Downard
Mrs. Daniel Cost
Mrs. Huling
Mrs. Nancy Berry {wife of Joel}
Senator and Mrs. Taliaferro

On May 17, 1827 an agreement with William Bryan, was recorded for the erection of a "Methodist Meeting House 30x40 feet constructed of brick, with side walls 11 feet high".  It was signed by John B Lindsey, Thomas S Hinde and Lemuel H Wilson, trustees.  The name of Isaiah Hayman, the fourth trustee does not appear at the end of the document, but in a prefatory statement.  The time given for the completion of the building "on or before August next".  This became the first Methodist Episcopal Church in Newport, built on the lot where St. Paul's Episcopal Church now stands, Court Place, opposite the Court House.

"The Church was lighted with home dipped candles brought by the different worshipers.  The services began at 'early candle light'.  In the front of the interior of the building there was a low gallery, without handrails, for the use of slaves, who came to meetings with their masters."

In 1883, members of the Presbyterian Church put up a church wall.  These Presbyterians were a company of Yankees who had come to Newport to work in a bagging factory on the river front.  When the business failed, the employees moved away and the Methodists purchased the building.  On July 28, 1840, James H McClure for $5000 transferred by deed, the property to Isaiah T Hayman, John B Lindsey, George C Tarvin, James Wall and Edward Southgate, trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Newport. The upper room of the building was not then finished.

There were no public schools in those days and the basement room of the church was rented between Sundays for a subscription school.  The lot deeded by McClure to the trustees was all of lot 129 and ten feet on the west side of lot 128, being "76 feet front on Taylor street {now Third Street} and running through the same width 129 feet to market space".

An old newspaper clipping tells that the church, when purchased "had a magnificant broad, open front with tall, plastered columns, and was said to be the finest church in all Northern Kentucky".  In 1859 Dr. J W Cunningham was sent to Newport as pastor.  He removed the columns and added the front, which gave the vestibule and four additional rooms.  It soon became known as the Taylor Street Methodist Church.

The first pastor under the Presbyterians was Henry Ward Beecher.  The first Methodist pastor was Rev. Jonathan Stamper in 1807. Others include:
Dr. W F Taylor
Dr. Charles Taylor
Dr. S X Hall
Dr. H P Walker
Dr. T W Barker-resigned August 29, 1915

Rev. Redford in 1868 wrote that "as many as nine of Dr. Thomas and Mary Hinde's descendants have taken rank in the ministry of the Methodist Church, to wit:

Thomas S Hinde, their son
Leroy H Kavanaugh-their grandson
Edward L Southgate Sr.-their grandson
Hubbard Hinde Kavanaugh-Bishop of the ME Church South
Benjamin Taylor Kavanaugh-pastor of the ME Church South, Houston Texas
Williams Barbour Kavanaugh-preacher in charge of Alexandria Circuit
Peter E Kavangugh-preacher in charge of Orangeburg Circuit, Kentucky
Hubbard Hinde Kavanaugh Jr.-preacher in charge of Oddville Circuit, Kentucky
Edward L Southgate Jr.-preacher in charge of Richmond and Providence Station, Kentucky

The 1937 Flood damaged the Taylor Street Methodist Church building so extensively that it was torn down.

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