Thursday, July 13, 2017

Kentucky & Virginia Baptist History Timeline

I have spent much of the past spring and early summer working on a book project on an ancestor of mine who was a Baptist pastor and church planter in Virginia and Kentucky who was persecuted for preaching without a license. His name was Lewis Craig (1737-1825). When preparing for such projects, I find it helpful to map out in timeline form the individuals biography. As I was finishing the project, my timeline grew into more than a biographical timeline of Craig, but one of both Virginia and Kentucky Baptist history. I am republishing that timeline in full below.

January 17, 1737 – Lewis Craig is born in Orange County, VA.

1743 – Elijah Craig is born in Orange County, VA.

February 4, 1747 – William Hickman born in King and Queen County, VA.

1747 – Joseph Craig is born in Orange County, VA.
October 27, 1752 – John Taylor born in Farquier County, VA.

1765 – Lewis Craig is converted under the preaching of Samuel Harris.

1766 – Lewis Craig baptized by James Reed.

1767 – John Waller baptized by James Reed.

November 20, 1767 – Upper Spotsylvania Church constituted by James Reed and Dutton Lane.

June 4, 1768 – Lewis Craig arrested along with John Waller, James Childs, and William Mash becoming the first instance of Baptist imprisonment in Virginia.

May 1769 – Daniel Boone leaves to explore Kentucky.

1769 – Lewis Craig ordained by Samuel Harris.

June 20, 1770 – John Waller ordained by Samuel Harris and Lewis Craig.

November 1770 – Lewis Craig is ordained and consecrated pastor of Upper Spotsylvania Church

May 1771 – Elijah Craig ordained and named pastor of Blue Run Church.

1772 – John Taylor baptized by James Ireland at the Baptist Church at South River.

July 19, 1771 -  Lewis Craig imprisoned in Caroline County, VA. He remained imprisoned for a month.

December 4, 1771 – Elijah Craig consecrated pastor of Blue Run Church

February 24, 1773 – William Hickman baptized by Reuben Ford.

1774 – Elijah Craig aides in the constitution of North Pamunkey Church in Virginia.

April 1776 – First sermon preached in Kentucky by Thomas Tinsley and William Hickman in Harrodsburg.

1776 – Over one hundred new members added to Upper Spotsylvania Church under Lewis Craig’s Leadership

1776 – Rev. Squire Boone performs first marriage ceremony in Kentucky.

1779 – Rev. Squire Boon moves his family to Louisville preaching the first sermon of the modern city.

Fall 1779 – John Taylor first visits Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap while Joseph Redding visits by traveling down the Ohio River.

Spring 1780 – John Craig and his oldest son, Toliver, along with Jeremiah Craig visit Dix River in Kentucky establishing Craig’s Station.

June 1781 – Severns Valley Church established becoming the first church in Kentucky.

July 1781 – Cedar Creek Church established becoming the second church in Kentucky.

September 1781 – The Traveling Church migrates to Kentucky under the leadership of Captain William Ellis and Lewis Craig.

September 28, 1781 – Providence Baptist Church constituted by Lewis Craig and John Vivion.

December 1781 – The Traveling Church arrive at Craig’s Station.

1783 – Lewis Craig constitutes South Elkhorn Church becoming its first pastor.

1783 – John Taylor emigrates to Kentucky joining Gilbert’s Creek Church and later South Elkhorn Church.

August 1783 – Silas Noel is born and becomes a major voice in promoting missions among Kentucky Baptist.

August 1784 – William Hickman and family emigrate to Kentucky and arrive in modern Garrard County at the home of George Stokes Smith.

April 1785 – The Baptist Church of Christ of Clear Creek organized (the second church north of the Kentucky River).

May 28, 1785 – Lewis Craig aides in constituting Great Crossings Church with John Taylor. Elijah Craig is named its first pastor.

June 1785 – The Elkhorn Baptist Association is formed meeting at South Elkhorn Church.

September 30, 1785 - Elkhorn Association is officially constituted at the house of John Craig on Clear Creek.

October 29, 1785 - The Salem Association established consisting of four churches: Severns Valley, Cedar Creek, Bear Grass, and Cox’s Creek.

April 16, 1786 – Lewis Craig aides in constituting Bryan’s Station Church in Lexington.

May 3, 1786 – Ambrose Dudley emigrates to Kentucky with his family becoming the pastor of Bryant’s Station shortly later.

July 1786 – Lewis Craig aides in constituting Town Fork with Ambrose Dudley, John Taylor, and Augustine Eastin.

November 1786 – Boone’s Creek Church established by John Taylor and John Tanner.

1786 – Gilbert’s Creek Church dissolves before being replanted later as Gilbert’s Creek Separatist Baptist Church.

June 1787 – Marble Creek (later East Hickman Baptist Church) is established from members of Boone’s Creek by Ambrose Dudley and George Stokes Smith.

1787 – John Gano emigrates to Kentucky from New York  becoming the pastor of Town Fork Church in Lexington.

January, 1788 – Elijah Craig opens his classical school.

June 7, 1788 – William Hickman establishes Forks of Elkhorn Church.

March 4, 1789 – The US Constitution officially comes into effect.

April 30, 1789 – George Washington inaugurated President of the United States of America.

1790 – The First African Baptist Church founded by Peter Durrett, the former slave of Joseph Craig, becoming the fist African-American Baptist church in Kentucky and the third in America.

1790 – There are now forty-two Baptist churches with sixty-one ministers (forty are ordained), and more than three thousand members.[1]

June 1, 1792 – Kentucky becomes the 15th state to join the union.

1792 – Lewis Craig moves to Bracken County.

Summer 1793 – Lewis Craig constitutes Bracken Church and becomes its first pastor.

1794 – Lewis Craig builds court house in Washington, KY.

February 5, 1795 – Toliver Craig, Sr. dies in Woodford County, KY.

September 1795 – McConnell’s Run Church (now known as Stamping Ground Baptist Church) constituted with Elijah Craig briefly serving as its first pastor and William Hickman serving as its second.

1796 – Lewis Craig constitutes Beech Creek in Shelby County.[2]

1796 – James Garrard, co-pastored with Augustine Eastin at Cooper’s Run (or Cowper’s Run) and frequent moderator of the Elkhorn Association, is elected second governor of Kentucky. He serves until 1804.

August 1799 – Elkhorn Association clerk, Augustin Eastin, laments in official minutes the poor state of “deadness and supineness in religion as were contained in our churches. The 31 churches had only baptized 29 people that year.

Spring 1800 – John Taylor preaches in the home of Benjamin Craig (brother of Lewis, Elijah, and Joseph) sparking the Great Revival among Kentucky Baptists and resulting in the planting of Ghent Baptist Church.

June 1800 – The Red River Presbyterian meeting house in Logan County takes place sparking revival.

Spring 1801 – Elijah Craig publishes the controversial pamphlet A Few Remarks on the Errors That Are Maintained in the Christian Churches of the Present Day which condemns financially supporting ministers.

August 1801 – Revival breaks out at the Cane Ridge Presbyterian meeting house near Paris, KY under the leadership of Barton W. Stone.

August 1801 – Elkhorn Association reports 3,011 baptism from their 36 churches. Membership nearly tripled.

August 1801 – John Young, a member of South Elkhorn, ordained and appointed as the first missionary to Native Americans living near the Great Lakes of Michigan, Superior, and Huron..

1802 – Augustin Eastin begins to embrace Arianism. John Gano preaches the annual associational sermon on the deity of Christ in August of the following year.

August 1804 – John Gano dies. The Elkhorn Association minutes record, “he lived and died an ornament to Religion.”

1805 – Elijah Craig publishes the bitter and controversial pamphlet A Portrait of Jacob Creath.

1808 – Elijah Craig dies.

August 1810 – Licking Association formed breaking off of the Elkhorn Association.

1813 – The Elkhorn Association sends financial support to William Carey after a fire destroyed the Baptist printing house in India.

1815 – Luther Rice speaks at the annual meeting of the Elkhorn Association promoting the cause of missions.

1815 – Franklin Baptist Association established.

January 4, 1817 – The First Baptist church of Lexington is organized by Jacob Creath, Jeremiah Vardeman, and Henry Toler.

1820 – John Taylor publishes Thoughts on Missions strongly criticizing the missions movement.

1823 – John Taylor publishes A History of Ten Baptist Churches (revised in 1827).

1823 – Alexander Campbell makes first visit to Kentucky.

1825 – Lewis Craig dies in Mason County, KY.

January 24, 1830 – William Hickman dies in Frankfort, KY.

April 12, 1835 – John Taylor dies

[1] This is according to Asplund, The Annual Register of the Baptist Denomination in North America (Baptist Banner, 1791).
[2] Spencer notes in his history that this is based on reliable tradition. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptist, 328.
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