- Special Sections
- Public Notices
I must offer my apology to Don and Clay Crupper and their families. Several weeks ago I introduced you to the Crupper brothers, who are caretakers of the Smith Cemetery in Breck.
However, I misspelled their last name, listing it as Crugger instead of Crupper. I had written it correctly in my notes, but somehow in transmitting the name from my hand written copy to my fingertips to my computer, the “p’s” turned into “g’s” and went to press. So I ask the Crupper families to please accept my sincere apology; and again I want to thank Don and Clay Crupper for all the work they do to preserve a piece of Owen County history.
The churches of Owen County are inextricably linked to its history. In 1800, the Great Revival swept the entire country from the Atlantic coast to the frontier settlements in the West.
Before that time, it was reported by one traveling preacher that anyone could “hear songs of the drunkard, loud swearing and obscenity of crowds around taverns, and the bold, blasphemous infidels in every village and hamlet.”
In no other locality was the Great Revival so deep and powerful as in Kentucky. J.H. Spencer, who wrote “A History of Kentucky Baptists,” stated that “if a traveler returned to Kentucky in 1801, he would have heard the proclamation of the gospel to awed multitudes, earnest prayers in the groves and forests, and songs of praise to God, along all the public thoroughfares.”
Even before the Owen County was formed, people in the area began building their places of worship. While churches were being constructed, communities would gather in homes to worship. Many early churches could not support a full-time preacher, and would have services at the church one Sunday a month.
The formation of Squiresville Baptist Church can be traced to August 1900 when Tom Ellis and R.E. Cornwright held an old-fashioned barn meeting in the tobacco barn on the Thomas place.
During that meeting 20 conversions took place, and by November of the same year, a meeting in an old schoolhouse resulted in Squiresville Baptist being formally created. The first structure for Old Cedar Baptist Church, originally known as the Mouth of Cedar Meeting House, was a log cabin on the land of Harbin H.Ford, and it sat about two miles north of the current church.
The six earliest churches of Owen county were: New Liberty 1801, Mountain Island 1802, Clay Lick 1816, Mouth of Cedar 1816, Mussel Shoals 1817 and Emmaus 1821. Some early churches, such as Greenup Fork Baptist, were rough structures hewn from logs.
In 1822, the Greenup’s Fork Baptist Church was constituted and organized. In 1919 the apostrophe “s” was dropped, thus resulting in its current name - Greenup Fork Baptist Church. In 1833, the present church was built with a balcony gracing its sanctuary and two potbellied stoves diligently spreading warmth in the cold winter months.
We can learn much of a church’s history by reading minutes written by industrious church clerks. These notes are a treasure of information which give us insight into the character of the church and its congregation. Some excerpts from early Mussel Shoals minutes include:
April 1819 - Brother Thos. Morgan came forward and gave such satisfaction that church agree to bare with him. Brother John Cobb enters a complaint against Brother Jejou Holebrook for rioting ... Thomas Cobb enters a complaint against sister Polly Holebrook for joining of the Methodist. Brother John Osburn and John Cobb appointed to sight her to our next church meeting.
Owen County church histories have also been kept alive by the contributions of several authors. Mrs. Ira Arnold and Mrs. Lindsey (Margaret) Murphy wrote “ A History of Owen County Baptist Association and its Churches.” Margaret Murphy has written and published other books on the history of several Owen County churches. Margaret and her cousin, Lela Maude Hawkins wrote “The History Of Historic Old Cedar Baptist Church and Community 1816-2004,” and Margaret also wrote “History of The Monterey Baptist Church and Community.” Her second book on Monterey Baptist titled “ History of The Monterey Baptist Church and Community of Old Monterey 1819-2011” is due to be released in December. This would make a wonderful gift for anyone interested in Owen County history or the history of churches. A $20 deposit is required and to reserve a copy contact Shirley Hardin 484-2140 or Margaret Murphy 484-3932.
The Owen County Historical Society will hold its annual Christmas party Dec. 8 at the I.O.O.F. Hall. Everyone is asked to bring a finger food. If you want to join in the games, please bring a $3 ornament and a $1 gift. Mark your calendars and join us as we celebrate a year filled with accomplishments and historic significance.