Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church History

Record of Organization of the Presbyterian Church of Mount Zion, Near Greenville.

Muhlenberg County and the town of Greenville, Kentucky, were established in the year 1800. Soon after several Presbyterian families moved from the upper counties of Kentucky and settled in the neighborhood where Mt. Zion now stands. These families were originally from Pennsylvania and other states, who came to the West in quest of land for themselves and their children. But in all their anxiety to obtain a comfortable situation and living, the cause of Christ, the glory of God, and the salvation of their children was very near to their hearts. Like David, who could not content himself to “Dwell in a house of Cedar while the Ark of God dwelleth within curtains” (Samuel II 7:2), they, when they had erected comfortable dwellings for themselves, their next effort was to build a house for the Lord. This is a plain hewed log house 24 by 42 feet, with a shingle roof, and a plain pulpit and common seats and was put up in the year ----.

Rev. Mister Nelson

The first Presbyterian minister that came was the Rev. Mr. Nelson, who supplied the Mount Zion and Greenville churches in the years 1804(?) and 1805. Mr. Nelson had some difficulties with some members at Greenville and left for Knoxville, Tennessee, where he lived and preached many years with great success, usefulness and reputation. The Rev. Mr. Nelson was a sensible, pious, and elegant preacher and much beloved, especially by the Mt. Zion church.

Rev. William Gray

The Mt. Zion church was very irregularly supplied with the gospel from 1805 to 1811, when Rev. William Gray from near Bardstown of Transylvania Presbytery came and supplied the churches of Mt. Zion and Greenville during the years of 1811 and 1812. Mr. Gray was a very modest, pious and unassuming man, and of humble pretensions in his own esteem, so that in his out-start he could not do justice to his talents. He had difficulties in passing the ordeal of Presbytery in entering the ministry, but became a very pleasing and highly agreeable speaker and a highly useful preacher. He was much esteemed and beloved in both churches and especially Mt. Zion, but some difficulties arose between him and some Greenville members and he removed to Ohio State, where he settled over two of the largest churches and became preeminently useful. The writer heard him conclude a sermon in Pine Street church, Rev. Ezra Styles Ely, D.D., and such was the harmony of his cadences, the sweetness and melody of his voice, pathos and eloquence that everything seemed to melt under him.

The Mt. Zion Church still having no regular pastor had to obtain supplies of preaching as she had opportunity, and a great part of the time when the members heard Presbyterian preaching, they had to go up to Greenville Court House. The ministers of Greenville or at Mt. Zion from 1804 to 1823 were as follows:

Isaac Bard

In the fall of 1822, the Rev. Isaac Bard visited Mount Zion and Greenville churches and preached to acceptance and was unanimously called by those churches in July 23, 1823, yet through informality it was delayed until September at the meeting of Presbytery at Russellville, where it was accepted. The Rev. Isaac Bard was at Greenville and afterwards installed over the Greenville and Mount Zion churches and the right hand of church fellowship given him by the church members. Mount Pleasant was organized afterwards in the fall of 1823 by the Rev. Isaac Bard, William Martin and John Smith were ordained elders and reported to the Presbytery by him and Mount Pleasant church was put on the list of churches in the record book of Muhlenberg Presbytery. The Rev. Isaac Bard was pastor of the three churches, Mount Zion, Greenville and Mount Pleasant for ten years and then resigned care of them. He was a supply of Mount Zion from 1823 to 1844 and very much during that time also of Greenville and Mount Pleasant. Towards the churches of his former care he entertained the liveliest feelings of interest and affection, hoping that God will bless them with his smiles and grace and give them shepherds after his own heart.

Church Roll December 1, 1823

Andrew Glenn, John Culbertson and William Young were elders and the following lay members were on the church roll, December 1, 1823:

Copies From Session Book of July 25, 1823, Isaac Bard, Mod.

Copied and presented to General Evans Shelby Chapter, D.A.R. by Beatrice Cottrell Slaughter, Historian. February 6, 1934.

This record was copied from original session books, property of Dr. E.E. Smith, Pastor of Fourth Street Presbyterian Church, Owensboro, Kentucky.