Hazel Creek Baptist Church History
Contributed by Donald Hauser
Source History of Kentucky Baptists by J. H. Spencer
In 1898, Wm. J. Johnson published a “History of Hazel Creek Baptist Church.” He searched all the old records and verified his statements by using them. We quote from his work:
Hazel Creek Church was organized Dec. 3, 1798 with five members, viz.:
Original Five Members
- Benjamin Tolbart,
- John Keith,
- Hannah Keith,
- Mahetable Morton
- and George Brown.
The old “Creed” reads as follows: “We, the United Baptist Church of Christ, on Hazel Fork of Muddy River, after giving ourselves to the Lord and one another, think it fit to draw up a catalogue of our faith; for mutual satisfaction.”
Under the articles of their confession of faith the 10th article states: “We believe feet washing to be a command, to be complied with whenever opportunity serves.”
This body was organized near the grounds where Ward's school house now stands, yet had no house of worship, as the records show, and met at the members' houses alternatively for nearly three years. In June, 1800, it met in the “meeting house on Hazel Creek.” This is the first mention of a house of worship. Tradition has it that this house was at, or near, the place of organization, near where Mud River Union church now stands. We are told this was a log building. The second house, also a log structure, was begun April 4, 1807, on ground ceded by Wm. Bell, Sr., just back of the present one. None of the old building is to be found now, except the corner stone; yet the spot is still sacred in the hearts of the members of the old body, whether they ever worship in it or not. All the many precious souls who gave themselves to God at this sacred spot, or nearly all, have gone to their reward. The third and present house was dedicated in October 1859.
Arms of Hazel Creek
In 1799, twelve members were authorized to “constitute an arm at George Clarks, on the west side of Pond Creek,” which doubtless led to the formation of Nelson Creek Church, June 10, 1803. June 1, 1805, eighteen members were dismissed from this church to form Midway Church, now Monticello. August 2, 1806, eighteen members were dismissed to form what is now Cave Spring, near Pond River, on the road from Greenville to Hopkinsville. Cypress Church, McLean County, was formed from this church in 1808. Antioch, Todd County, was formed from this church, and Whippoorwill Church in the year 1819. May 6, 1820, the arm known as Hebron (now Mt. Vernon) was made a constituted body. In 1840, thirteen members from this church formed New Hebron Church (Muhlenburg). Ebenezer was organized with twenty-six members from this church, January 3, 1851. Macedonia was formed from this church in 1856. New Hope Church (Muhlenburg) was formed of material mostly from this church, in 1858; but is now extinct. Sugar Grove was constituted with twenty-nine members, mostly from this church, in January, 1873.
We have no knowledge of any union of churches with this earlier than 1799. At a church meeting “at George Brown's” July 3, 1799, after divine services, the church proceeded to business, and elected three delegates to the association on the Cumberland (Mero Association); viz.: Benjamin Tolbart; John Keith and Henry Keith.
In 1808, Thos. Downs and Henry Keith were appointed to go to Union Association. In November 1810 an advisory council of brethren from Providence, Head of Muddy River and West Fork of Red River, were invited to determine the standing of the church, that she might be admitted into a general Union with other churches. Accordingly a delegation of seven brethren from the above named churches met with this church in December, with Lewis Moore moderator and Asher Shelton clerk. The constitution and abstract of principles of Red River Association read, to which this church acceded. At this time the word, three in office, in article 1, of the Declaration of Faith, were changed to make it read: “We believe in the Holy Trinity - Father, Word and Holy Ghost.” The churches Sandy Creek, Lick Creek and Nelson Creek acceded to the same propositions as did this church.
The council advised Beaver Dam to accede to the same propositions, and Cypress Church to organize anew. Thus a connection was formed with that association.
In 1811, the church was accepted into the Green River Association. In 1812, Hazel Creek Church went into the organization of the Gasper River Association, when that body was dismissed from the Green River Association for convenience sake.