Kentucky Genealogy and History

Shelby County, Kentucky



History of Shelby County, Kentucky

Source: Written, Compiled & Edited by Geo. L. Willis, Sr. (1929)

Part III

Churches and Schools


Shelby County Baptists

Coincident with the very first settlement in Shelby County was the organization of religious bodies and providing for places of worship. The predominance of the Baptist Church as to numbers has been in about the same proportion in the County as in the State and Nation. There seems little doubt that they, the Baptists, were also the first denomination to organize and have a place of worship in the County.*

Back in the last part of the first half of the Eighteenth Century, William Taylor, a native of New Jersey, was growing into manhood and soon became to the "regular Baptists" of the southern settlements what Louis Craig** was to the north. He not only collected the settlers together in the region immediately around him and preached to them, but like Paul, visited the little churches, preached, wrote to them and encouraged them.

The Mother Church

After various activities in Nelson and other surrounding counties, he, with John Whitaker, seems to have organized in 1785, the Brashear's Creek Church in  Owen's Fort, where seven years later the County itself was born. It was constituted of eight members, seven of whom were: Martha Whitaker, Col. Aquila Whitaker and wife, Mary, Peggy Garrot, Nathan Garrot, Col. James Ballard and Rebecca, a colored woman. The Indians kept its members from meeting for two years soon after their organization, and in 1787, at the time it joined the Salem Association it still contained only seven members, and the next records found of it, was in 1803, when it united with other churches in forming the Long Run Association at which time it had grown to 101 members.

William Hickman, its pioneer visiting minister was succeeded by Joshua Morris, and he, it is said, by James McQuade, Sr., and the church continued to grow for the following forty- five years until in 1843, when it had a membership of 123, changed its name to Clear Creek, after which the neighborhood churches and the large church at Shelbyville gradually absorbed its members until 1858, it ceased to exist. It was the mother church in this region of the State and from it sprang in some numbers the early churches of Shelby County.

Beech Creek

Beech Creek Church , of "Regular Old School Baptists" was organized in 1796. It was "constituted in the same faith as the Elkhorn Association and Salem Association constituted both in 1785. The church was located in the southeastern part of the County, two miles south of Waddy, and its activities for 130 years form no small part of the history of that section. It has had three different buildings during the years. Its first pastor was John Penny, its second, Warren Cash, who was succeeded in turn by Moses Scott, James McQuade, Abraham Cook, John Holland, Geo. Bristo, Caleb Guthrie, Garland William, W. D. Ball, John Knight, N. A. Humston, John F. Johnston, James E. Newkirk, J. W. Hardesty, and the late Elder P. W. Sawin.

Salem {Beech Creek)

The church historians of the County have devoted more detail authentic work to Salem than to a Mother Church. It is regretted that all that has been written about it cannot be re-produced here. Salem was organized on January 19, 1811, by Moses Scott, pastor of Beech Creek Church, and by James Mc-Quade, pioneer circuit writer at the home of Mrs. Sarah Dugan, in the old brick house formerly owned by John Hedden and later by James Radcliff and was temporarily called Beech Ridge, probably because the nineteen charter members were largely from the original Beech Creek Church. Their names were: James M. Leodocy, Mary P., Ann and John Holland, William, Mary and Lydia Collins, Samuel and Catharine Gray, Betsy, John, Jane and Edmon Graves, James M, Judith and Polly Burnett, and Mary Firguson.

Thomas Martin was the first pastor. There have been several separate buildings, the third or brick building having been destroyed by fire in 1894, when the present building was erected on the lot originally donated by the Slaughter heirs. The church and its great growth and wide usefulness celebrated its anniversary in 1911. John Holland, the charter member baptized by Rev. John Rice, said to have been the first preacher in Kentucky, was long the pastor of Salem and at his request his body was buried under the pulpit of the old church and a monument to him was unveiled at the centennial celebration mentioned above.He had been succeeded by Elder Geo. Bristol, in 1841; by Nimrod Beckham, from 1846- 1851; W. G. Hobbs, 1851-1861 ; T. M. Vaughan, 1861-1870; V. M. Hungerford, 1870-1883; O. L. Haley, 1883-1884; J. B. Tharpe, 1885-1888; H. C. Davis, 1888-1901; W. S. Thomas, 1902-1904; A. J. Foster, 1904-1906; J. S. Wilson, 1906-1907; A. R. Willit, 1908-.

Buffalo Lick

Somewhere about 1804, Tarlton Lee and Martin Basket donated each an acre of ground upon which to build a church at Buffalo Lick, where a church still stands and has so long been the center of the "Buffalo Lick neighborhood, between Peytona and Bagdad in the eastern portion of the County, taking its name from the lick, found at Peytona by the first settlers. The first meeting was held at the house of Thos. Basket, Sr., and the constituents were members given up by the "Tick Creek" Church and were: Phillip Weber, I. Underwood, Benj. Boyd, Martin Basket, Thos. Basket, Sr., Roderick Perry, John Yount and Chas. Michel. The first meeting in .the new church was held on June 15, 1805, with the selection of Phillip Weber, as moderator and Chas. Michel, clerk and the adoption of the new name. They, like the Salem and Long Run Associations, agreed on the "Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith" excepting something contained in the third and fifth article, if construed so as to make God the author of sin, and also in the thirty-first article, laying hands on newly baptized persons that the using or non-using of that ceremony be no bar to fellowship, and that an oath before a magistrate be not considered a part of real worship as contained in the twenty-fourth article of the same." The membership rolls of this church early became one of the longest in the County because of the fertile territory surrounding it and the rapidity with which it was settled and peopled

Buck Creek Church

The church of this name, still a historic spot and burial ground in the southwest section of the County, was organized in 1799, but for the first three years was called Plum Creek Church, when it became "Plum and Buck Creek Church" which name was four years later, or in 1807, contracted to simply "Buck Creek." William Edmund Waller, the distinguished Virginian, who had already been a resident of Shelby for some ten years seems to have been the moving spirit in the organization of the church of which there were only eight charter members: John Patterson, Geo. Davis, Sarah Patterson, Johnston Patterson, Theodore Davis, Priscella May, Elizabeth Breedon and William Mocensen. Rev. Waller was pastor for four years when upon the death of his wife he returned to his home in Spottsylvania, Virginia, where a few years later he, too, died. His son, Geo. Waller, who married Mary Ware, a daughter of Ruben Ware, of that neighborhood succeeded his father as pastor for the almost record-breaking length of time of forty years, and at the end of that service in 1842, had helped to build up a membership of from eight to 342. It is said that for the nine years preceding 1842, an almost continuous revival was in progress and 289 members were added to the church. In 1849, there arose some trouble between the new pastor and the public which resulted in a strange dismemberment of the church. One hundred and forty adhered to the pastor while seventy-two formed a new organization, but the two factions continued to worship in the same building for .more than ten years or until 1860, when they reunited and continued as Buck Creek Church.

The church was a plain substantial brick about a mile from the present town of Finchville until 1891, when it was razed and its material used in the erection of a handsome edifice which now stands near the center of the village itself. 

Buck Creek Burial Ground

Just a little way from where the old church building stood, on a beautiful spot, was the "Burying Ground," and there rest many of those intrepid men and women who fought the arduous battles of the pioneer life, and assisted in building the sure and strong foundations of our present peace and quiet and prosperity. The fence which once enclosed this hallowed spot has been removed and the cattle permitted to roam at will over the graves, and fell the stones and destroy them, until now it is not possible to know the names of those who were buried there.

About the graves of the beloved pastor, the Rev. Geo. Waller and his family and kindred there has recently been placed a high and substantial wire fence which bids to protect them from intrusion for many years. Of the great number who appear to have been buried in these grounds, many graves are without stones and others so broken and mutilated as not to be read at all. Herewith is presented the epitaphs on those stones which have been preserved, in this once large city of the dead:

Eld. George Waller, B. Sept. 12, 1777; D. July 17, 1860.
Geo. W. Kenney, B. Dec. 25, 1794.; D. Nov. 25, 1854.
Ann J., wife of Geo. W. Kenney, B. Oct. 7, 18003 D. March 21, 1872.

Douglas Cowherd, B. March 1, 1817; D. Dec. 13, 1892; aged 75 years, 9 months, 6 days.
Mariah, wife of Douglas Cowherd, B. April 28, 1818; D. April 5, 1870.

Sarah Catherine Cowherd, B. Oct. 21, 18395 D. July 20, 1841.
Lucinda, wife of Douglas Cowherd, B. April 15, 18075 ; D. Sept. 9, 1876.

Gertrude, Daughter of Waller and Mattie Cowherd, B. Dec.11, 1890 and D. aged 11 years, 10 months, 13 days.

Ann Lucinda, daughter of D. C. and M. M. Cowherd, B. Sept.12, 1849, D. Feb. 25, 1854.

Polly Waller, wife of Geo. Waller, B. Dec. 19,1775; D. Oct 24, 1849

Sacred to the Memory of Wm. E. Waller, husband of Belle R.

Waller, B. Nov. 17, 1845; D. Nov. 10, 1878.
Mary A., daughter of A. D. and G. Waller, B. Dec. 15, 1856; D. April 10, 1874.
Sarah D., daughter of A. D. and G. Waller, B. April 12,1842; D. Feb. 5, 1874.
John Overton, son of A. D. and G. Waller, B. Sept. 6, 1843; D. Dec. 22, 1853.

Mary G., daughter of A. D. and G. Waller, B. Feb. 28} D. April 6,1855.

Kate A., daughter of A. D. and G. Waller, B. Sept. 28, 1854; D. Oct. 5,1856.

These names which follow are outside of the enclosure.
Frances M. Allen, B. July 4, 1817, D. Jan. 2, 1837.
Hiram Melone, B. Feb. 9, 1803; D. May 4, 1838.
Catherine, wife of A. D. Waller, Sr., B.?; D. April 17,1891, aged 76 years, 5 days.
Sarah Brashears White, D. June 15, 1849; aged 33 years, 11 months, 20 days.

Fox Run

The church by the name of "Fox Run" was organized also by John Whitaker and Joshua Morris at the house of James Hogland, January 26,1794, with the following persons charter members: Jesse Buzan, Eliza Buzan, James Hogland, Mary Hogland, William Metcalfe, Hester Metcalfe, James Metcalfe, Thomas Metcalfe, Mary Teague, Milly Long, Robert and Jane London, Joseph and Margaret Ervin and one other. William Marshall was the first pastor of the church. He preached "Eternal Justification" and refused to preach the gospel to sinners. The church would not receive this doctrine and this irritated him, bitter differences ensued and Spencer, the Baptist Historian says, that this minister "who had been so wonderfully successful in Virginia was excluded from fellowship and remained out of the church until his death."

This church, it is thought, joined the Salem Association the same year it was constituted and remained therein until it entered into "the Constitution of Long Run Association of 1803." Its membership of twenty-seven at that time had increased to sixty-five in 1812, and to one hundred and fifty-three in 1826
or '27, when as Spencer describes "during the Campbellite disturbance* reduced from one hundred and fifty-three to about ninety" (as explained in the history of the Christian Church in Shelby County the many members left churches like the Fox Run Baptist Church to become members of the new "reform" or "Campbcllite church" during the several years of revival beginning with 1823).

Fox Run in 1839, joined the Sulphur Fork Association to which it reported a membership of seventy-eight. This membership was slowly increased up to 1880, when it reported one hundred and fifty-six members. The church for some reason was removed to Eminence, in Henry County, a good many years ago. William Ford, a member and deacon of Fox Run Church was one of the early settlers of what is now Henry County.

John Penny was the first pastor, but Warren Cash, a member, developing a gift for preaching was called and in 1799, was ordained their pastor. A revival started under his ministry and a large number were baptized, and the handful of members under him increased in four years to one hundred and fifty-one, then the largest membership in the Long Run Association.

In 1817, it took a letter and united with the Franklin Association; it continued prosperous until 1836, when it went into the Constitution of the Middle District Association where it remained for some years and then joined Mt. Pleasant Association of Anti-Missionary Baptists and, in the language of Spencer, has "of course since been withering away."

Pin Hook or Chestnut Grove**

The Pin Hook Church, about eight miles north of Shelbyville, at the intersection of the Christianburg-Ballardsville Road with the Smithfield Road, was organized about 1846, and held its meetings in a store room previously occupied by  Thomas Denny, who sold general merchandise. This store was a hundred yards or more west of the church building in a small grove of chestnut trees. (Hence the name, Chestnut Grove, by which name also a Christian Church located several miles nearer Shelbyville was known in more recent years.) The church held meetings in this storeroom for six or seven years during which period it prospered so that it was decided to build a new house of worship. The new church was built in the angle of the cross roads near the creek. The logs from which the lumber was sawed to build the new church house were cut from the old Williams farm and sawed in the old mill on the creek just back of the Williams' barn. A historian writes that, "Henry Williams helped to haul the lumber from the mill to the church site, where Tommie Williams and Garland Williams superintended the construction of the building."

Elder Caleb Guthrie and wife deeded the land on which the church was built. The Articles of Faith and rules of decorum were in accord with the London Confession of Faith published in 1628. The charter members were: Gilson Yates and wife, Micajah Williams and wife, Martha and Jane Williams, Elijah Woods and wife, James Baskett, Nathaniel Dowden and wife, Elder Caleb Guthrie and wife, Hiram Morton and wife, William Royster and wife, Allen Kinkead and wife, Garland Williams and wife, Jonathan Woods and wife, John Tinsley and wife (parents of Dr. TinslevV Elder Guthrie was the first pastor, Garland Williams was the first clerk and served in this capacity until his ordination to the work of the ministry about the year 1850. He served as pastor from his ordination until broken in health early in the seventies. He was followed by Elder Gardner Berry, he by W. W. Foree. He in turn by Doctor I. N. Porter, who was succeeded by Elder John Freeman, the last regular pastor of the church to its dissolution about 1878. John Robinson was the last clerk. After the dissolution of the church, the members cast their lots with the Dover, Smithfield, and Eminence Baptist Churches. The old church building stood idle a number of years being used occasionally for a school entertainment. Horace Hopkins bought the old church, tore it down and used the lumber for building a barn about 1886.

Tick Creek?Bethel Church

Bethel Church so frequently referred to as Old Bethel and formerly called Tick Creek was originally located on a small stream, from which it derived its old name, five miles from Shelbyville and not far from where Tyler's Station was first settled. It, too, seems to have been organized or "gathered" by Joshua Morris or James Dupuy and was constructed in 1797. It first united with Elkhorn Association to which it reported a membership of 16. In 1799, it joined the Salem Association with twenty-four members, and in the division of the latter fraternity in 1803, it fell into Long Run Association with 107 members. Five years later when the famous Geo. Waller became the pastor, it had dropped again to forty-five members, but during the twenty-three years under his pastor-ship was trebled in number of members. About this time the split on account of the Missionary and Anti-Missionary divided not only the congregation, but the ministers, Rev. Holland having temporarily succeeded Waller in the pastor-ship. Out of the two hundred and fifty-nine members a large majority of the missionary party withdrew and went to Clay Village nearby and built a church, whereas the old, greatly reduced membership which advocated the Anti-Missionary idea remained in charge of the old building which for many years has been only a building and burial ground. The fact that it was the place of worship and burying ground for the Cross Keys families and many distinguished early families of that section has added to the fame of Old Bethel.

Shelbyville Baptist Church

The Baptist people of Shelby County instead of originating at the largest center and multiplying there from into the County reversed the procedure and the first organization in, and worshiping at the County Seat appear, not to have been by those alone from the town but from seed planted in the rural early churches.

The first church building of any kind in Shelbyville was undenominational. It was erected in 1814, and was called the Shelbyville "meeting house," being used by all three of the then existing Protestant denominations.

It was the property of the Methodists and the meetings of the other denominations were not allowed to conflict with those of the owners. The Shelbyville Baptists used it until 1819, when their new church on the corner of Eighth and Clay Streets was complete. It was used also by the Presbyterians until 1820. The new church was occupied by the Baptists until the year before the outbreak of the Civil War or for more than forty years when a newer, more imposing structure, used until recent years, was erected facing the southwestern part or quarter of the old Shannon acre of public grounds.

Other Organizations

Early Baptist organizations of no less historic interest, perhaps, but about whom the records furnish less data were: Long Run, 1796; Indian Fork Church, organized as early, it is believed, as 1806. Six-Mile Church, not far from Christianburg, organized in 1799. Blue Stone Church near the south line of Shelby County, in 1805, Simpsonville and Mt. Pleasant. 


Christian Churches

While not the next largest denomination in the County, the Christian Church, also known as the Church of the Disciples, the Church of Christ and formerly more often called the "Campbellite" or the " Reform Church " has been prominently in the forefront of the County's civilization for one hundred years.

As is generally known it was largely the offspring of the Baptist and Presbyterian denominations. Alexander Campbell was himself first a Presbyterian and then a Baptist. He was a native of Ireland , the son of a Presbyterian Minister and was educated at the University of Glasgow. He came to the U. S. in 1809, and was a minister in good standing in the Pennsylvania Presbyteries, but soon announced that his faith in creeds was shaken and after much debate joined the Baptist Church. At that time he lived near Bethany, Virginia, (later West Virginia), where he farmed and taught school. In 1823, he began the publication of a paper called the "Christian Baptist." It had a wide circulation and influence. In 1827, an extensive religious revival was begun in that section and throughout Central Kentucky, including Shelby County, which lasted three years and "greatly favored the reformation" viz.: That is the forming of a church or denomination with "no creed but the Bible."

Into New Faith

Baptist churches which belonged in the Long Run Association, lost numerous members who united with the new denomination and included such men as Phillip Fall, Zachius Carpenter, and Benj. Allen among their leaders. Sixteen hundred and seventy-eight people were baptized "into the Christian Church" this first year in Shelby, and already more than ten thousand in Kentucky followed Elder Campbell, who spoke many times in Shelby County. In 1830, a congregation was formed in Shelbyville, of which .Major James Whitaker's family, the families of William Standiford, William Smith, Doctor G. W. Nuchols, Travis Wilson, Achilles Chinn, Thomas Chiles, Hamilton Frazier, Thomas B. Caldwell and a number of others were members from the beginning.

Several years later, Joseph L. Fore, sold to the congregation a lot on which to build the church. The lot was fifty feet square and fronted on Fourth Street, the southern side of the lot running with the alley between Fourth and Fifth Streets and Main and Clay. At the corner of Fourth and Main and between the church and Main Street Abraham Smith owned a lot fifty by twenty-five feet on which he conducted a gunsmith business. There was a vacant lot immediately west of the lot purchased for the church, and the lot owned by Mr. Smith. On this lot fifty feet square, which is covered by a part of the present Christian Church, was built the first church, which was called in those days the Campbellite, the Reform, and the Church of the Disciples of Christ.

It was a brick church and fronted on Fourth Street. It was back from Main Street fifty feet, and Smith's gun shop was on the corner and between it and Main Street. It was necessary, to climb several steps to get to the main floor. There were two doors fronting Fourth Street and the pulpit was between those doors, making it necessary for those who had occasion to go to the farthest end of the building to walk down the aisle with their backs to the pulpit. This was the first Christian Church in Shelbyville or Shelby County, and it served the purpose for which it was constructed for over thirty years. 

Still Another New Church

The church prospered, the membership grew in numbers, and in 1863, there being a number of wealthy citizens affiliated with the congregation, it was determined to build a larger and more attractive edifice. In December, of that year, the lot belonging to Mr. Smith was purchased and a few months later, the vacant lot adjoining. This gave the congregation a lot fronting Main Street sixty-seven feet, and extending from Main Street to the alley, a distance of 100 feet.

During 1864, the plans were agreed on and contracts were let. James McCarthy built the foundation; "Big Frank" McMahon and "Bob" Rogers did the brick work; Herman Deiss did the cut stone work; and R. M. and Jeptha Layson were the carpenters. The church was completed in 1865. The first service conducted in the church was the funeral of Richard Whitaker, a son of Major James Whitaker. The dedicatory sermon was preached the next day, after Mr. Whitaker's funeral. The church was later enlarged by the addition of an annex, which connects with the main auditorium.

Clear Creek

Two other churches of this denomination were organized in Shelby County, only a few years after the church in Shelbyville had been built. These were Clear Creek Church, in 1835, and Antioch. in 1819. Many left Fox Run Baptist Church and joined these congregations. Among them were Jeptha and Emma Bright, James H. and Nancy Drane, Oswald and Mary Thomas, and these, with John, Preston, Lindsay and Wilson Thomas, William Crawford, Pauline Crawford, (nee Thomas), and John Donaldson and wife, joined the Clear Creek Church. For a time the members met at the house of Harvey Stone, one of the progenitors of the Helm, Maddox and Bright families. Clear Creek Church was built on a lot donated by Lindsay Thomas, near the headwaters of Clear Creek. Two of the first preachers of Clear Creek were "Billy" Crawford and Robert Rice. On May 5, 1844, a church was organized one mile east of Eminence, in Henry County, called "Congregation of Christ at Macedonia." twenty-five members of Clear Creek joining that church. Among those who changed their membership, at that time, were the Brights, Dranes, Hopkins, McCarms, Donaldsons, Yates, Allisons, Fords, Joneses and Sadlers. Other members of Clear Creek changed their membership to Cropper or Shelbyville, and services were discontinued at Clear Creek.


In 1839, Gilbert Jarvis donated a small tract of land two miles north of Simpsonville, on which to build a church which was called Antioch. That piece of land is on the corner of a farm later owned by Miller Wilhoit and his successors. The charter members of Antioch, were thirteen in number. Robert Long and wife,* James Young and wife, John Crosby and wife, Robert Elkin and wife, Nancy Brown, Frances Whitington, Margaret Long, and Mr. and Mrs. James L. Long. Shortly after the organization of the church, J. S. Willis, a young minister, from Madison County, married Mary J. Long, a youthful member of Antioch and came to the County to live. When the log church was remodeled in 1848, he became the pastor and remained such, for many years. He preached the dedicatory sermon, and the last services in the church on January 21, 1883, were his funeral services. He, several of his family, a few strangers, and a host of the Long, Tarvis. CampbelL Crosby, and other families and relatives of the first members are buried there in the neatly kept little cemetery that overruns the site of where the old church stood. The church was torn away shortly after Elder Willis' death. A cemetery company was formed, money from the sale of the church and from several small bequests was constituted into a fund, the interest of which is used in keeping up the burial
grounds, the land of which may never be sold.

"Flat Rock," on the edge of the County, near both Oldham and Jefferson, one of the pioneer churches in which Elder Willis and a long line of successors preached is still standing, though abandoned; and the Masonic Lodge at Simpsonville, where the congregation of that name early worshipped, remains a land-mark of that section. Reverend Willis and other pioneers of this church preached a number of years at "Plum Creek," a little church supported by the Bairds, Beards, et al., on the edge of Spencer County, until the building was moved to the town of Waterford, where it became a dwelling, after being superseded by a larger building.


Methodist Church

In the spring of 1790, was held the first annual conference of the Methodist Church in Kentucky. The conference commenced at Masterson's Station, about five miles northwest of Lexington, where the first Methodist Church, in Kentucky, was erected. The first mention of Salt River Circuit found is in 1791. It included Jefferson, Nelson and Shelby Counties, and all the settlements from the Kentucky River to the mouth of Salt River. It is probable that Barnabus McHenry, who served the Danville and Madison circuits, in 1789 and 1790, was the first Methodist minister who ever preached the gospel in Shelby County, and this prepared the way for the Salt River circuit in 1796.

At the conference of 1796, the Shelby Circuit was formed, but the appointment of preachers was still made at times to "Salt River and Shelby" combined. In 1796, Jeremiah Dawson was in charge. In 1797, William Kavanaugh, the father of the later celebrated Bishop Kavanaugh, was pastor.

First Shelby Church*

The first Methodist Church in Shelby County was organized in the Cardwell neighborhood, on what was then known as the Fielding Neel farm on the Rockbridge pike. It used a log house, and was given the name of Rockbridge by some of the charter members, who came from Rockbridge County, Virginia. The charter members included: Samuel Ratcliffe, Mrs. Susan Ratcliffe, James Figg, Susan Figg, Lemuel McCormick, Sarah McCormick, Joseph Hite, Sarah McCormick Wright and John McCormick.

*From paper by Mrs. Edwin II. Davis.

Shelbyville Methodists

About 1804, a Brick Chapel was erected (and this was said to have been the first brick church for Methodists in Kentucky it was located about four miles northeast of Shelbyville and about one fourth of a mile east of the Walker Daniel farm.

The Methodist people who lived in Shelbyville held their membership at the "Brick Chapel" and worshipped there, with an occasional service in the court house, and in private residences, where prayer and class-meetings were also held.

Own the "Meeting House"*

The Methodists built probably the first place of worship in Shelbyville, on a lot given them by John Bradshaw, on the back corner of what then was Lot 9, and would now be the rear of a lot facing south on Washington Street and east on Fourth. This was somewhere about 1810 or 12. They soon turned over this building to colored people; for in 18x6, they bought parts of Lots 10 and 11 (about midway between Fourth and Fifth on North side of Washington) from John Bradshaw and Jos. Willett, and built a church that was called "the meeting house," and, while owned by the Methodists, was used for a time by all Protestant denominations. As elsewhere told, the Baptist Church held services in this building until they erected a house of worship on the corner of Eighth and Clay Streets, where the colored Baptist Church now stands, and the Presbyterians, until 1820, when their church was built. The name of "Meeting House" was then changed to the Methodist Church. Richard Corwine was pastor, from 1823 to 1824. In 1824, the Kentucky Conference, presided over by Bishops McKendree and Roberts, met in Shelbyville and in that year the church building was enlarged. Shelbyville and Brick Chapel were detached from the circuit and for a number of years united as one charge, and were served by ministers whose names are prominent in church history; from 1824-25. by Richard Nealj 1825-27, by John Tevis; 1827-28, by George C. Light; 1828-29, by Edward Stevenson; 1830-32, by Johnathan Stamper.

As officers in the church, the records name William Owen, George Robinson, John Bradshaw, Isaac Pomeroy, William Cardwell, Jacob Cardwell, Robert Bull, Edward Talbot, Nathaniel Talbot, Hardin Magruder, Adam Winlock, Richard Waters, and Robert McGrath, at whose house for many years services were held every Christmas morning at five o'clock.

Another New Building

In 1857, during the pastorate of Rev. J. W. Cunningham, a new church was erected on the site where the present now stands at the corner of Fifth and Main Streets. The church built in 1817-18, was torn down in 1859, after having been used for two years as a school house by Professor J. W. Dodd. The
first board of stewards in the church of which this takes the place, was composed of William Winlock, Jacob Owen, John Robinson, John R. Beckley, Fielding Neel, Daniel Polk, and Doctor B. P.. Tevis, Judge Thomas Wilson, T. B. Cochran, Doctor Robt. Winlock and Judge Martin D. McHenry, son of Rev. Barnabas McHenry. The present church was erected in 1897, when Doctor W. T. Taylor was pastor.

Olive Branch*

For nearly a century there stood a little frame building on the banks of Brashears Creek, about nine miles south of Shelbyville and two miles from Finchville, on a branch road of the Finchville and Taylorsville turnpike. It was used as a place of worship by members of the Methodist-Episcopal church. It was built on the land of Mrs. Barriger, a short distance from a big spring from which flowed a stream, that divided into two branches, running on either side of the little church building and so nearly surrounding it by water that, taking the story of the Dove and the Ark, and the branch from the stream itself, the church was christened "Olive Branch."

It is said, that a meeting held in the open near that church in i860, and then called a "Woods meeting" was the first camp meeting held in the County, and that it resulted in a very large number of new members for the church. A large colony of relatives of the Figgs, Boswells, and Taylors had come from Culpeper Court House, in 1800, and had settled around and near the little church. Many of them were charter members, and a descendant, Warren T. Figg, a wealthy landowner, when the little church became old and dilapidated, donated an acre in a more desirable location two miles nearer the County Seat, on the Zaring Mill pike and gave liberally toward the building of the new church. His wife Lucinda Taylor, also was a descendant of those who came in the first colony, and their large and prosperous family helped fill the church membership, and offices, as well as its coffers, for many years. Descendants of others of that first colony burned the brick and built the building that was at that day considered a beautiful bit of architecture. John and Younger Ford were the contractors for the wood or frame work, and the building begun in 1861, was completed in 1862.

Taylor Boswell, who helped burn the brick and build the church had three sons, Chas., Everett, and Geo. W., who became consecrated ministers and served many Methodist Churches in the Kentucky conference. The largest member-ship of any county church known at that time, was acquired by Olive Branch, in 1885, with a total of several hundred members. The charter members of the church were: William Taylor, Mary Taylor, Mary Taylor, Jr., Zurilduer Taylor, Doctor Taylor, James Taylor, Martha Taylor, Stokeley Lawson,  Sarah Snyder, Absolom Campbell, Sallie Campbell, Doctor Blankenbaker, John Clark, Bell Clark, John Clark, John Bos- well, Doctor Boswell and Wife, James Boswell, Madison T. Boswell, George G. Boswell,  Warren Figg, Lucinda Figg, Bushrod Figg, James Figg, Margaret Figg, Jennie Boswell, Georgia Doyle, Bettie Jessie, James Harrison, Eleanor Harrison, Thomas Smith, Bettie Smith, Edwin Dorsey, Eliza Dorsey, D. O. Fisher, Angeline Fisher, Doctor Alexandria, Doctor William Wilson, and John Spangler.

Many of the church's ablest ministers have served this church, among them: Revs. J. E. Strother, Minor, W. H. Winter, Robert Hiner, W. F. Vaughn, J. A. Henderson, D. B. Cooper, T. B. Cooke, T. J. Mclntyre, George Frok, J. J. Johnson, T. J. Godbey, W. S. Grinstead, T. W. Barker, T. Chandler, J. W. Simpson, E. K. Pike, P. J. Ross, J. E. Wright, C H. Caswell, and R. R. Rose.  Stanley Smith, E. V. Dorsey, and Marvin Figg (grandson of Warren T. Figg, who donated land for church) were stewards as late at 1923.

*Data furnished by Mrs. Reuben Smith.

*Mr. Camden W. Ballard, to whom the author is indebted for other courtesies, has among his wealth of historic data, the maps, plats, etc., of the lots mentioned and abstracts of title for all that section. These are the authority for the locations given and the dates fixed as to these buildings

*The Robert Long was a first cousin of J. L. and S. C. Long, and of Mrs. J. S. Willis. His brother, Saml., later, was one of the deacons of the church for many years following its organization and was a prosperous farmer of the neighborhood, interested in all public enterprises, and reared a large family of reputable, useful citizens. One noted among these was Robert A. Long, the lumber magnate, who was baptized into this church of his fathers, several years before be left to become a citizen of Kansas City; from which point. in later years he was the first known citizen of the United States to give as much as a million dollars to a church of one denomination at one time. And that gift has been but one of his nation-wide activities on behalf of the Church of the Disciples.

*Mr. Spencer (J. H.) the Baptist historian quoted above frequently in his writings permitted it to creep out that his prejudice was as strong against the anti-missionary Baptist as it was against those to whom he contemptuously referred always as "Campbellites" and it is to he assumed that he believed that they, as much as the "reforraeis'* injured the "Regular Baptist*' of this and other counties.  "Information gathered and contributed by Miss Lyle Booker.


*The history of the Baptist church in Kentucky by Spencer fills two large volumes of several hundred pages each. A really complete history of that denomination's activities in Shelby County for 140 years would easily fill a volume as large as this history of the entire county. The same is true of the material we have before us concerning the Christian and Methodist churches in this county, and is true in a smaller degree of the Presbyterian, the  Episcopalians and the Catholic churches in the same territory. No one would be able to group and intelligently condense the history in a manner any way satisfactory to all concerned, until each denomination raised up some man capable of, and inclined to write its story, with proper records of each church in his particular denomination, in a county where its churches have ever led the hope of civilization.

""With Squire Boone, enough of a minister to perform marriage ceremonies, and Other God-fearing men and women in the station, it is fair to presume that they early and often had religious services, but the first sermon known to have been preached in the County, was by the indefatigable Louis Craig, in the fall of 1782, at the Squire Boone Station of the Painted Stone. Craig was busy organizing new churches?one on Dick's (Dix) River near the mouth of Gilbert's Creek, in what is now Garrard County, Ky., and came down into Shelby to preach to, and pray with, the survivors of the Long Run massacre and the other hardships of those first years.


Episcopalians in Shelby

In his History of Kentucky Baptists, J. H. Spencer, in Volume I, says: "In 1810, there was one Episcopal Church in Kentucky, It was organized in Lexington in 1794, and was under the pastoral charge of James Moore, who was its first rector." 

The first register of St. James Church was not found, but the present register gives the date of organizing as 1858. Before the erection of the present church, the Episcopalians held their services in the Chapel of the Episcopal Theological Seminary, then on College Street, between Eighth and Ninth Streets, now a city school. At this time they had a large congregation and baptism in the chapel with confirmations by Bishop Smith, in the Masonic Building when they held  their services there. The only record of service held there is a "Certificate of Baptism of Julia Bonney, April 1, 1866," A. F. Freeman, Rector. In the Court Records is a letter of "Association" as follows: "The undersigned Wardens and Vestry of St. James Church, Shelbyville, Kentucky, of the Protestant Episcopal of the United States, hereby, voluntarily associate together for the purpose of maintaining and erecting a place of public worship for said Church and, to perform such other duties as may be assigned to us, and our successors as Wardens and Vestry of said Church by the Cannons of the convention of the Diocese of the State of Kentucky. The conditions of membership of the said Vestry, shall be, the election of its members according to the Cannons of the convention of the State of Kentucky, and shall do all other things and exercise all the rights and privileges belonging to the Wardens and Vestry of a Church in said Diocese.

"J. M. Bullock, G. W., "S. H. Ellenwood, Jr. W., J. Baker, $1.00 U. S. S. "Geo. Rowden." Kentucky, Shelby County:

I, John T. Ballard, Clerk of the County Court of the County aforesaid, do certify that this letter of association between the members of the Protestant Episcopal Church of St. James, at Shelbyville, was this day filed in my office by S. H. Ellenwood, stamped with a one dollar United States revenue stamp and recorded at his request. Given under my hand this Twenty-second day of March, 1865.

J. T. Ballard, Clerk,
Shelby County Court.
Deed to Lot No. 163.

An Old Deed

E. H. Tubman, to Vestry of St. James Church. "Know till men, that E. H. Tubman, of the city of Augusta, and the state of Georgia, for and in consideration of five hundred dollars, cash in hand paid, hath sold, and by these presents doth convey unto S. H. Ellenwood, J. Baker, M. C. Taylor, G. M. Bright, H. H. Malone, and A. Hollenback, Wardens and Vestry of St. James Church, Shelbyville, Kentucky, and their successors, heirs and assigns, the following described real estate, to-wit:

"Part of Lot No. 163, situated on Main Street , Shelbyville , Kentucky. Beginning at the northwest corner of said lot, and running east sixty feet, south one hundred feet, west sixty feet, north one hundred feet to the beginning, together with the privilege and appurtenances to the same belonging, to have and to hold unto the said grantees and their successors, heirs and assigns forever; and the said grantor hereby covenants with the said grantees and their successors, heir and assigns that she being seized of an estate in fee simple in said premises, that her title thereto is unencumbered and that she will warrant  and defend them the same against all claim payment of part of the purchase money. Witness the hand of the grantor this Twenty-first day of September, 1867.

E. H. Tubman.

(50 cents U. S. S.)
E. H. T.

Sept. 21st., 1867).

Mrs. Emily H. Tubman, the above grantor, was a sister of Mrs. Whitaker and Mrs. Standiford, (of the Christian church). Rectors of St. James Church from 1865 to 1923, were:
A. F. Freeman, 1865; Doctor Chapman, Doctor George Mc-Cready, Doctor Flowers, M. M. Benton, Milton Worsham, April, 1908-1909; Clinton Quinn, November 1, 1909-March 1, 1911; Middleton Barnwell, June 21, 19083 Edw. C. Mc-Allister, May 1, 1911-May 9, 19155 Frances M. Adams, May 16, 1915-December 1, 19163 Edw. C. McAllister, May 1, 1919-March 13, 1921; George Dow, April, 1921. 

St. James Church was built in 1867, or 1868, the members at that time were: George Bright, Miss Minnie Bright, Miss Hannah Bright, Mr. Graham Bright, Horatio Bright, Judge James M. Bullock and Mrs. Bullock, Sam H. Ellenwood. Doctor T. Baker, H. C. Malone and Mrs. Emma Bonney Malone, Mrs. Thos. Todd, M. C. Taylor, Miss Julia Bonney, Charles Kinkle and Mrs. Kinkle, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hollenbach, Mr. George Rowden and family, Mr.
Pierce Noland.


Presbyterians in Shelby County

In a yellowed, musty old "Deacon's Record," the property of Mr. J. A. Logan, of Christiansburg, the cover of which bears dates of 1796, 1819 and 1839, under the head of "A Sketch of Presbyterian Church History in Shelby County," is the following:*

"In the spring of A. D. 1796, Archibald Cameron received a call from a people who wished to be congregated and enjoy the regular ministry of the gospel, both in the counties of Shelby and Nelson?two-thirds of his time in Shelby and the other part to be at the Big Spring meeting house in Nelson County. The friends of the Presbyterian Church were scattered in different directions around Shelbyville; but most of them were living on Bull Skin and Tick Creek and of course their first places of meeting were on these creeks and that summer the preacher, whom they called being only a licentiate, was ordained and installed among them. The first administration of the Lord's Supper was in the fall of 1796, and all the communicants were about thirty-five. The great part of them were received upon examination and not by certificate. Mr. Cameron soon found it expedient to disengage himself from the people of the Big Spring congregation in Nelson County and confined his ministry wholly to the people of Shelby . In a short process of time the communicants increased to nearly a hundred and it was thought proper upon consultation for convenience of assembling together to change the place of meeting. A people in this Presbyterian connection called the low Dutch congregation suffered considerable diminution by dereliction to the Shakers and removals to the Indiana
State. "The congregation of Tick Creek by deaths and removals of families and individuals to the Indiana and Ohio States was reduced likewise to a few. It was found then expedient for them and the remaining part of the "low Dutch,' to build a meeting house on the head of Mulberry Creek, which place lies between the two settlements. The stated preaching was then established at the Mulberry meeting house and the name of the church was changed from that of Tick Creek to Mulberry. Preaching was occasionally continued among the low Dutch at a commodious school house until they had a good meeting house called the Six Mile Meeting House, but the communicants were still few owing to the opening which the rising families have for the obtainment of lands in the Indiana State and consequently the occasion which it gives for a change of situation.

"The Presbyterian connection in the vicinity of Shelbyville had then a general place of meeting for preaching and public worship on Fox Run. The people up Bull Skin above that agreeing to hold meetings there for the sake of general convenience?after some time it was thought proper by the same general connection of Presbyterians to establish a part of the public service of the gospel at Shelbyville. The main places of public and stated assembling for the service of the Sabbaths among the connected Presbyterians were Mulberry, Shelbyville and Fox Run. In the meantime the Presbytery of Transylvania, presuming that congregations, whether single or being several and united, were entitled to a representation or an elder as member of Presbytery only when they were able and willing to support a preacher required of all the congregations to make an exhibit in Presbytery which would give evidence of that fact. In compliance with the requisition of Presbytery the congregations mentioned of Shelbyville, Mulberry and Fox Run made their representation to Presbytery by a written instrument in which they recognized the Reverend Archibald Cameron as their regular pastor which had formerly been installed at his ordination and in consequence of which their Elder was received to membership. Thus continued these people under the ministry of the Reverend Archibald Cameron, and though different vicissitudes took place as we have seen above peace and harmony prevailed between them and their minister from the beginning.

"It may indeed be remarked that individuals at different times endeavored to create discord, but their efforts never had much effect. "Presbytery thought proper to dissolve the connections between the congregations of Fox Run and the Shelbyville Church in October, 1819. The vicinity of Fox Run meeting
house at that time afforded a more numerous population attached to the Presbyterian Church than any other part of Shelby County . They were freed from the interference of other denominations and growing families were in steadier habits of regular attention to public worship. The plan of constructing two meeting houses within three miles of one another which took place among this people seems not to have been rightly considered. Had they been at greater distance they would embrace a larger number of people who would frequent them, but as it is one central place of meeting would serve as well for the whole.

"The old Transylvania Presbytery was not in the habit of calling up and examining sessional records. This may be assigned as some reason why we were not particular in keeping a full register of our church transactions. Though we had occasion to inflict church censure in some few instances there never were any complaints or appeals made to Presbytery respecting our decision, and we at this distance of time think it not expedient to trouble the new Presbytery of Louisville with reviews of all our ancient transactions committed to record.

"In April, 1807, our list of names who were in the full communion of our church belonging to the congregation of Tick Creek (now Mulberry), Shelbyville, including also Six Mile, were the following numbers:

Tick Creek.......................................................................... 52

Shelbyville .......................................................................... 25

Six Mile.............................................................................. 18

Total............................................................................ 95

"Of this number there remain only at the present time (viz. October, 1827), 37 persons, some have removed to Indiana State and some to the State of the dead." A. D. 1828.

"From this time forward we keep an account of the State and doings of Mulberry Creek Church separate from Shelbyville and Six Mile congregation." The indistinctly written names of the members of the Shelbyville part of the joint churches in 1819, are given in the same book as follows: 

Robert, Deborah, Anne, Jane_Allen, Singleton, Wilson, Mr. Cull, Mrs. Cull, Mr. Montgomery, Mrs. Montgomery, Mrs. Scott, John Reily, Mrs. Reily, Mrs. Middleton, Mrs. Knose, Betsy Hardin, Mrs. Killpatrick, Mrs. Steele, Mrs. Bullock, Robert Brooky, Sam Harbison, John McCampbell, Mrs. Mc- Campbell, Mrs. Hall, Moses Hall, Rebecca-, Mrs. McDavid, Mr. Craig, Mrs. Craig, Mr. Long, Polly Paterson, Annie King, Arthur Paterson, Mrs. J. Venable, Alexander Logan, Mrs. Logan, Elson Wilson, Wm. Allen, W. Boyd, Mrs. Boyd, Nancy Logan, Mr. Lemam. 

Mulberry Creek Church

Thorn King, Ann King, William Graham, Patsy Graham, James Graham, Caleb Shilidray, Charles Baird, Caty Baird, Caty Shiliday, Wm. Johnstone, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. D. Swearnger, James Venable, Betsy Venable, Sam Graham, George Pearcy, Margaret Smith, John Demaree, Nancy Demaree, David Harbison, Mr. Miles, Mr. George Smith, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Edward. Smith.

Six Mile Creek Church

Peter Banta, Albert Voz-His, Andrew Carnine, Mrs. Mitchell, Leah Voz-His, Caty Voz-His, Poly Shugh, Isaac Voz-His, Mr. Shugh, Mrs. Cameron, George Lyst, Poly Polyne, Mr. Polyne, Massy Voz-His, Anne Voz-His, Polly Turchum, Tunis Voz-His, Sam. Demaree, George King, Nelly King, Rachael Demaree, Polly Bip, another woman, Mip Carnine, Peter Banta.

To Mulberry and Shelbyville Added

Mr. Muelin, Mrs. Bowen, David Van Cleave, Rachael Van Cleave, Mr. Moore, Mrs. Graham from the creek, Patsy . Harbison, Mrs. Thomson, Mrs. Hannah Steele, Moses Hall, Betsy Hate, Betsy Vetch, one black woman.

Shelbyville Church

The Shelbyville congregation separated from and worshipped, until 1820, in the Shelbyville "meeting house' which was used for a time by all the congregations of the town and in that year built a church on the rear half of the lot where the old grave yard and library now are. This church was blown down a few years later during a severe storm and temporarily rebuilt at the same place and used until 1846, when a brick church was built on the lot at Seventh and Main Streets, and remained the worshipping place for the Shelbyville congregation until 1888, when remodeled into the more commodious building now used there. In the meantime the war had caused in this church and congregation the same sort of schism that afflicted the Methodist and other
Presbyterian churches in Kentucky, and a pretentious new building was erected two blocks further west on Main Street, and was used for many years by the "Northern" Church, and until the congregation was reunited about the beginning of the Twentieth century.

Shiloh Olivet Church

. The churches jointly, known as the Fox Run-Shiloh and Bull Skin-Olivet seem to have been organized in 1815 or 16, with the Rev. A. Cameron preaching for both for about five years. The records show that on November 5, 1819, the two united to support a pastor, Rev. John F. Crow and Jacob Fullenwider and James Allen, Alex Logan, Aaron Van Cleave, John Van Cleave, James White, ruling Elders, and ninety-four members. Two years later Rev. Henry L. Price became pastor and succeeding him in 1825, was James L. Marshall. 1828^, witnessed a great revival in which seventy-seven persons were added and twenty-nine baptized. Then came not only in this church, but in all the churches of this denomination in the County what seems to have been a season of strangely rigid discipline, where men and women, including blacks, were tried for every known crime or sin and the records of whose trials on these minute books all over the County furnish unique examples of the Weaknesses of the flesh and the intolerance of those who sat in high places. In four years in the little congregation under description there were eighty-five members dismissed from the church and in the next two years thirty more were dismissed. In 1833, the name of the church was changed to Shiloh and Olivet, and Rev. D. S. Russell succeeded Rev. Marshall, deceased, as pastor. Successive pastors were: D. T. Stuart, pastor for sixteen years following 1837, and Rev. Tames H. Densmore, G. L. Reid, T. P. McMillan, who served until 1867, when the pastoral relations of Shiloh and Olivet Church dissolved. William Crawford, of Augusta County , Virginia , who married Margaret Dean, came to Shelby County in 1806. He settled in Olivet neighborhood and is buried in the old church yard at that place. He was a Revolutionary Soldier and had a grant of land for service. 

^From data contributed by Mrs. William Fitch.

*Records contributed by Mrs. Mary Middelton Nicholas


Catholics in Shelby

In his History of Kentucky Baptists, J. H. Spencer, in Volume I, says:

"Two Roman Catholic families, those of Doctor Hart and William Coomes, settled in Harrodsburg in 1775, where Doctor Hart began at once to practice medicine, and Mrs. Coomes to teach school. After a few years, these, with other Catholic families, settled near Bardstown. In 1785, a large colony of Catholics from Maryland , settled on Pottengers Creek in Nelson County . By 1787, there were about fifty Catholic families in Kentucky. During this year, Mr. Whelan, an Irish priest, came to the new Country and ministered to the Catholics about three years. Mr. Baden, who came out in 1793, was their next priest. At this date, the number of Catholic families in the State was estimated at 300. From that time we have no estimate of their number until 1846, when there was supposed to be 6,000 families.

This substantiates, in part, the generally believed contention, that the first Catholic Diocese west of the Alleghenies was in Kentucky, but that church, however, with all its growth and power for good was slow in taking root in Shelby, where the only church it has ever had was only a mission up until the year 1860. 

The Church of the Annunciation was the first and is the only Catholic Church ever in Shelby . It was built and dedicated in 1860, and while the members of the first churches of other denominations built in the County suffered many privations and encountered many obstacles in getting the funds necessary to construct their houses of worship, none labored harder or had so much to contend with as the handful of Catholics. The first Catholic priest in Shelbyville, was Father James Quinn, 1842. He came at the request of Mrs. James McLaughlin to give spiritual advice to her husband who had been brought to Shelbyville for trial on a charge of murder.

Pat Higgins was the first Catholic in Shelbyville and Wm. Shinnick, who came to this country in 1849, was the next. In 1853, Bishop Spaulding, of the diocese (afterwards Arch Bishop of Baltimore) went to Europe to obtain more priests for Kentucky. He succeeded in getting five, one of whom was Rev. John H. Bekkers, a native of Holland . To him is due the establishment of a church in Shelbyville. In 1855, he made his first trip to Shelbyville. His presence
soon became known to the handful of Catholics here and the next morning after his arrival the first mass ever celebrated in Shelbyville was celebrated at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Shinnick.

Subscriptions for the establishment of a Catholic Church was headed by Mr. John Tevis for two hundred dollars, signed by Lud Fore, Marion C. Taylor, G. A. Armstrong, Culvin Fore, each giving one hundred dollars. Other donations from non-Catholics put the sum total up to nine hundred dollars. This with several hundred accumulated among the few Catholics themselves, encouraged Father Bekkers in his ambition to build a church here.

Mrs. Jane Campbell donated the lot on which to build the church. Prior to her first marriage, Mrs. Campbell was a Catholic and lived in Baltimore . She married Mr. Peter Crapster and the grandfather of the former assistant postmaster. After Mr. Crapster's death she married William F. Campbell, also a Protestant. The lot was located on east Main Street, corner of First. The deed from W. F. Campbell's wife, Jane, was dated December, 1859. The lot was seventy-eight by two hundred and twenty-four feet.

Excavation for the foundation was made in the spring of  1860. The brick for the building were made by Ed. and John Brady.The foundation was laid under the direction of James McCarthy and he was assisted by Peter Lee, David Boyle, Thomas Fox, Thos. Gernert, John and Michael Harris, Joseph McGann, Will McFadden and John Lyons, for which work they received no pay. Carpenterman's work was done by Watts and Wells; the bricklaying by a man named Campion; plastering by Nolan, and stone work by Herman Deiss and Michael Brown.

The Church of the Annunciation was dedicated by Rt. Rev. M. J. Spaulding. Two years later a rectory was built and then the priest (who had lived in a boarding house) had a home of his own. After Father Bekkers, Father Lawrence Bax and Polydore Fermont, a missionary priest, attended the spiritual wants of the congregation until 1861, when Rev. M. D. Lawler was appointed regular pastor. Rev. D. F. Crane, afterward Chaplin St. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital, came in 1868.

In the early `66's a pipe organ was purchased and given by Mrs. Chas. Harwood. The first organist was Miss Lizzie Deiss, then came Miss Maggie McQuillan, Miss Mary Shinnick, Alyce Dubourg, W. S. Kaltenbacher, Miss Mary Meade and Mrs. Ed. Shinnick. The first marriage ceremony in the church was that of Michael Brown and Miss Kate O'Connor, on January 8, 1861



Shelby County Schools

The very first "place of learning," of which tradition tells, in Shelby County, was a little school located on Clear Creek, two miles south of Shelbyville on land owned by William Shannon, and on what was later the farm of Doctor Elliott. The teacher's name was Dillon. He was succeeded by Moses Cook, and they taught for short terms intermittently, between the arrival of the first settlers and the early nineties of 1700. The second school of which any record is found, was taught in a Presbyterian Church, built in 1798, on Dry Run, the teacher being Godfrey Ragsdale. Among his pupils were the children of Benj. Logan, later General Logan, James Shannon, John Williamson, Dan Colgan, Bland Ballard, Aquilla Whitaker and Samuel Shannon. The church in which the school was taught was three miles southwest of the town and near what was later known as the Samuel Henderson farm. After the school taught by Professor Ragsdale, at Dry Run, possibly the next was taught by David Lock, at the west end of Shelbyville and antidated the one to the north of the town. Some of the patrons that sent pupils to this school bore the family names of: Cull, Wilson , Lively, Bruner, Bullock, Craig, Glenn, Shipman , Elam , Thrusby, McGaughey, Perkins, Carson , Hall, Collier, Whitaker, A. Owens, Joseph Owens, McCurham, Boyd, Maddox, Williamson, Steele. About the same time there was taught a school one mile' east of Shelbyville by James Herndon. The patrons of this school were: the Scott, Wells, George Carr, Trudle, Parker, Guinn families.

First Shelbyville School

The first school in Shelbyville was taught on the lower floor of the building known as the Masons' lodge, erected and owned by Solomon Lodge F, and A. M. No. 5, for many years the pioneer Masonic building and organization in this section of the State. The lodge building then adjoined the Rogers home on Washington Street, between Sixth and Seventh, and the lower portion was used as the school until the Shelbyville Academy was built, one block west, in 1798. The first trustees of the Shelbyville academy were: Joseph Hornsby, Benj. Logan, Bland Ballard, Ben Roberts, Thos. Guin, Simon Adams, James
Logan, John Allen, Jos. Winlock, John Pope, Nicholas Merriweather, Dan McClelland, Aquilla Whitaker. The modest beginnings of the Shelbyville Academy remained such for many years, and it was not until 1816, that the academy had as many as fifty pupils and two teachers. By 1821, it had grown
gratifyingly and in the County's next to the first newspaper, The Impartial Compiler, printed in 1821, on March 17, was a notice by the trustees of Shelbyville Academy that the "Senior Annual Examinations of the pupils of this Institution will take place on Friday, the Thirtieth instant," and that the "parents and guardians of the pupils and the friends of literature are requested to attend and that, the summer season will start on Monday the Twenty-second of April and will continue with-out any vacation until the first of August." The Shelbyville Academy, through lotteries and other enterprises, grew sufficiently to move a block farther northwest, on the site of what is now the graded school building of the town, and which from the Shelbyville Academy (afterward Shelbyville College) was changed to the St. James (Episcopal) School. 

Schools less old than Science Hill and the Shelbyville Academy, but well nigh as well known in the history of the town and County as they were: St. James College, opened in 1842, with Rev. R. B. Drane as president and Joseph Sweet and W. F. Roe, teachers. This college was really the successor of Shelbyville Academy and Shelbyville College and built the splendid building located on the block between Eighth and Ninth Streets north of College and occupied it until 1871. The cupola upon the top of what was then one of the finest buildings in Central Kentucky, was erected, and the telescope (through which distinguished astronomers viewed the eclipse of 1869;  and other astronomical phenomenons), was brought from a distance by the early officers of St. James College.

In 1846, Samuel V. Womack began the teaching of a classical and mathematical school which lived for several years and along about the same time, Professor Knott taught a private school, which like all the others drew largely from the surrounding counties and states, and enjoyed wide influence and
reputation beyond the bounds of the County for many years. in 1890. It became nationally known as "Stuart's Female College *" acquiescing in the Presbyterian name attached to it in the minds and conversations of all who knew of it. It drew girls from the first families of many states in the south, and reunions of its alumnae, of comparatively recent years, drew charming women of advanced years from many sections of the west and the south.


Stuart's College

It was about the same time that Professor Hill opened his school in the big new brick building that so long stood between Seventh and Eighth on Main  Street, and was later known as "Stuart's Female College." The latter was for many years a real, if friendly rival, except for a much shorter life, of famous
old Science Hill. The purchase of the building and good will of Professor Hill, was by a syndicate of Shelbyville men, who importuned the Reverend Doctor David Todd Stuart, then a young Presbyterian minister in charge of Olivet and Shiloh Churches , to take charge. He did so; finally became the owner of the
property and changed the name to "Stuart's Female College", and successfully conducted it until his death in 1868. A little later his widow called their son, Winchester Hall Stuart* to be the principal, and he was in charge until he sold the property he school continued and prospered under the Stuarts for more than a half century but in the 1890's, passed into the hands of Professor J. E. Nunn, a minister of the Baptist Church . He continued it for some years as a girls' school, under the auspices of the Baptist denomination, but he finally sold the property to Mrs. L. C. Willis, in 1912; and she in turn, to the Federal Government, who had the old building torn away and the Federal Post Office erected thereon. Doctor Hill, it seems, continued to teach school for years after parting with the old school to the Stuarts, there being a record to the effect that he bought and rebuilt the burned building of Doctor Broaddus' Baptist Female College, at Second and Main Streets, in 1850.

*Mrs. Stuart, the wife of Prof. W. H. Stuart, and the mother of the large family of fine young men and women they sent out into the world was Miss Martinette Chiner, a descendant of Benj. Logan, a progenitor of the Bells. Hardins, Logans and other families of distinction, and who is referred to in different chapters of the book, particularly in the sketch of his son, William Logan, in Part V.

Science Hill

Science Hill School which celebrated its hundredth anniversary in 1925, and with the exception of the Shelby Fair, is the only institution that lived and flourished throughout
even war times, has a history that is as familiar to Shelbyians, and to many in other states as is the history of the County itself. As elsewhere mentioned it was founded in 1825, by Mrs. Julia A. Tevis, the wife of Rev. John Tevis, a Methodist minister, with whom she had come, as a bride to Shelby County , from Tennessee, though she was a native of Clark County , Ky. The life of Mrs. Tevis (and in a measure that of her husband), is of as much general interest throughout the southern states as in Shelby County alone, for Science Hill has never been an exclusively local institution, having drawn from the beginning upon most of the states in the Union and particularly the south for its patronage. At the end of the first fifty years of the school's existence under Mrs. Tevis* management (1875), the semi-centennial anniversary was celebrated by a reunion of its former pupils, and it is told that even that early in its history, nearly all states of the south were represented and in some instances as many as three generations in one family returned as former pupils. Mrs. Tevis' control and management of the school continued until her death in 1880, at which time the school became the property of the late Doctor W. T. Poynter of the Methodist-Episcopalian Church* and, since his death in 1896, has been not only kept up to its former fine standard, but annually improved by his widow, Mrs. Clara M. Poynter, and his daughters, Misses Julia and Harriett Poynter, sending out to the best institutions of higher education throughout the Union, not only many Shelby County girls, but daughters of practically all the states in the Union. There are in the local' public and private libraries volumes written, by Mrs. Tevis and others, that go as much into the details of the history of Science Hill and its proprietors as it is possible to do, into those of the whole County in this book.

Mrs. Tevis* book "Sixty Years in a School Room," a volume of five hundred pages, is not only an interesting intimate story of her life and of Science Hill for its first sixty years, but is prefaced by an autobiography of her husband, Reverend John Tevis, and with much relating to the whole Tevis family and so vitally connected with the County's first years. At the first session of the Science Hill School in March, 1825,

the pupils enrolled were:

 Elizabeth Hall, Maria Rouse, Agnes Bradshaw, Harriett Ann Tennison, America Pomeroy, Luanda Johnson, Margaret Smith, Margaret Waters, Priscilla Logan, Mary Hardin, Louisa Adams, Amanda McGaughey, Lucinda Shelburn, Susan
Taylor, Sarah Ann Davis, Jane A. Logan, Sarah Crawford, Anna Craig, Martha Jane Edwards, Miss Fields. 

Pupils enrolled at the second session:

Priscilla Jane Logan, Margaret Lynch, Margaret Waters, Margaret Hall, Juliet Crawford, Matilda Smith, Lucinda Johnson, Margaret Gorley, Susan Taylor, Mary Hardin,
Louisa Adams, Maria Rouse, Agnes Bradshaw, Luanda Fullenwider, Elizabeth Fullenwider, America Greathouse, Susan Ashby, Eliza Dalton, Carolina Rankin, Pamelia Cheek, Martha I. Hanna, Maria Good, Joany Bean, Camilla Brashear, Lydia A. E. Wickliffe, Elizabeth Anderson, Margaret Sproole.

Other Private and Public Schools

The long list of institutions like "Professor Dodd's school," Professor Fulton's, the later institutions taught by Professor Russell B. McCreary, by Professors Geo. Sampson, and Geo. Scearce and other men of learning and character, were probably short-lived because of the large program of the public school system in which enterprise Kentucky was a pioneer. A complete, exhaustive history of the schools of the County-would include those of Professor John W. Adams, near Simpsonville in the 1850's; the "East Cedar Hill" school for girls by Mrs. Cleo. Clark Coon, near Clark's Station in 1860-70-80, " Jordans " Fairview Academy at Simpsonville, between 1868 and 1880, and other early substitutions for high schools, at Bagdad, Waddy, Mt. Eden and Finchville. There is an unauthenticated legend to the effect that Theodore O'Hara taught a small school in Shelby County for a time; and the story of the Red Brick School in the Finchville neighborhood where the pupils of the name of all the pioneer families of that section were taught flourished long and of much later years.

A school that flourished and is yet of historic interest in the western portion of the County was Woodland Seminary, founded in 1847, near Simpsonville, at the homestead of
Leonidus Webb, and his ancestors. The first teachers were, in turn: Miss Selia A. Bell, who later became Mrs. John Scott and was succeeded by Mrs. Mary L. Ferris, Miss Rucker, Miss Ewing, Miss Lizzie McCormick, V. A. Dale, and G. A. Webb. Among the roster of pupils for the first four or five years is to be found the names of nearly
every family that lived in that part of the County during the Nineteenth century, including, Allen, Cowherd, Dedman Finley, Newland, Pemberton, Waller, Webb, Wilson , Stout, Young, Hope, Shouse, Melone, Collins, Kirk, Dugan, Botts, Fisher and Pearce.

Public Schools

Shelby County's public schools have taken a lead among the rural county schools of the State in much the same proportion and manner as her churches, her press and her political leaders have done. There has hardly ever been a time in the past century when there has not been a high school and graded school in Shelbyville, which grew in strength and excellence until early in the Twentieth century they began to spread to new and larger buildings, one of which is now one of the boasted ornaments of the County Seat. In the outlying towns of Waddy, Bagdad, Finchville, Clay village and Simpsonville are also excellent high schools, the outgrowth and up-growth of the little one-room school houses that early dotted the County at every cross road and under the shadow of every prosperous county church. These, too, with the coming of the motor bus concentrated into the model consolidated schools and where whole country-sides of school children of all ages are taught in grades and prepared for higher education in the high schools and colleges




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