The following article is from the September 1993 issue of the Letcher Heritage News (Page 46 & 47) and has been slightly reformated for this Web Page. The information was obtained from Mabel Mullins of Partridge, KY.
Oven Fork Church
Oven Fork Church org. 1820 Harlan Co., KY.
One hundred sixty eight plus years ago, a small band of Baptists who had settled in the headwaters of the Cumberland River met at the home of Mathias Kelly and there organized themselves into a church. It took the name of Oven Fork from the nearby Oven Fork of the Poor Fork of the Cumberland River.
These were settlers who had built cabins, cleared land had come to stay. Some of these families had come from North Carolina where they had been members of churches established under the preaching of Daniel Marshall, Shubal Stearns, John Garrad and others who had come from the Keocton and Philadelphia Associations. Others came from the Holstein River and Lee County, Virginia. Those from the Holstein River knew John Flannery as a visiting minister and he was also well known by the people from Lee County, this is probably the reason he was called the first preacher from Deep Springs Church in Lee County Virginia.
In 1821 Oven Fork lettered the Burning Springs Association. In 1825 it lettered to a new Association, The New Saltlick [Sandlick] Association, which later became the Indian Bottom Association. Though initially organized in what was then Harlan County, this location is now at Mayking in Letcher County, KY.
Minutes of the first meeting of Oven Fork Church
"The Ovenfork members were constituted a church on Oct. 21 1820 by the following persons to wit: Elders John Flannery, William Wells and Daniel Duff. Then the church set before us Brother James Webb for a lay elder, and from examination we received him and then set before us William Caudill and William Pennington for deacons and after the examination we received them and appointed to ordain them tomorrow, Sunday being agreeable to appointment we ordained James Webb, Elder and William Pennington and William Caudill Deacons, and appointed our church to be held at the home of Mathias Kelly on the fourth Saturday in November and the church to be called Oven Fork Church."
The charter members that were constituted were James Webb Elder, William Pennington and William Caudill Deacons, Abigail Pennington, Nancy Caudill and Rebecca Pennington as Deaconesses.
Members: Jeremiah Boling, Zachariah Morgan, Samuel Maggard, David Maggard, Sarah Boling, James Caudill, Davis Fields, Mathias Kelly, Henry Back, Henry Maggard. From the time the church was constituted in 1820 to 1823 the records are indistinct and cannot be read.
Members in 1823: Samuel Back, Elizabeth Back, Mealy Back, Henry Back, Katy Back, John Back, Easter Blair, Jessie Jenkins, Effie Fields, Jennie Fields, William Fields, Benjamin Holbrook, Nancy Holbrook, Rachel Hays, Lisha Day, Elizabeth Pennington, Henry Maggard, Suzanna Maggard, David Maggard, Sarah Maggard, Rebecca Maggard, Rudolph Maggard, John Maggard, Jesse Morgan, Nancy Morgan, Louisa Morgan, Elizabeth Morgan.
Some Clerks of Oven Fork Church have been: James Webb, Nathan Hays, W. R. Collier, John Mullins, John R. Boggs, W. R. Boggs, E. H. Stidham, I. N. Lewis, W. C. Mullins, Silas Fouts, H. L. Raleigh.
The Pastors of Oven Fork Church: James Webb, Elder, 1820; David Maggard, 1832; Samuel Maggard, 1849; Henry Caudill, 1852; John Caudill, 1860; Wilson Church, 1867; Henry Day, 1867; James Maggard, 1867; James Dixon, 1867; David M. Maggard, 1872; Elija Creech, 1874; Ira Hall, 1880; Charles Blair, 1883; William R. Boggs, 1897; Sam Boggs, 1914. Bill Sparks, 1990.
Rules and Regulations of Ovenfork Baptist Church:
1. No school shall be kept in the meeting house.
2. Don't get drunk or play cards.
3. You shall be cited for non-attendance, Excluted for 2nd offense.
4. Any man who sayeth that he will ,doeth it not to be excluded.
5. Hard speeches against the church or members, not to be permitted.
6. July 1838, we shall take up foot washing, as a practice.
7. Offense against the church is called a stumble, they may be taken up.
8. No horse racing or shooting matches permitted.
9. Frolics not permitted in the home of members of the church.
10. Pitching quoits or flipping dollars must be avoided.
Notes of interests
John Bach and his wife moved to Quicksand, KY, Sept 1836.
David Maggard Ordained to preach 10 October 1841.
Elizabeth Bach took her letter back to Oven Fork Sept 1841.
John Bach born 19 November 17 1774 son of Henry Bach Sr. came from Madison County Virginia.
Catherine (Kathy) Robinson born 7 April 1780, Wife of John Bach.
Joseph Bach born 7 March 1802 son of John and Kathy Bach.
Permilia (Mealy) Hogg born 5 March 1803, daughter of Stephen Hogg wife of Joseph Bach.
Henry Bach born 6 February 1785 son of Henry Bach Sr. came from Madison County Virginia.
Susanna Maggard born 2 May 1798 daughter of Samuel Maggard married Henry Bach Jr.
William Caudill was the son of the pioneer James (Jimmie) Caudill.
Nancy Craft married William Caudill, Deacon of Oven Fork.
Abigail Caudill daughter of James Caudill, married William Pennington who was Deacon of Oven Fork.
Rebecca Robinson was the wife of Samuel Maggard.
Easter Robinson was the wife of Charles Blair Sr.
Catherine Robinson Bach, Rebecca Robinson Maggard and Easter Robinson Blair, were all sisters & daughters of Benjamin and Celia Robertson.
Oven Fork members who moved to Quicksand, Brethitt Co, KY, to form the Quicksand Baptist church: Joseph Bach Sr.and his wife Permelia Hogg Bach.
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