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the ambitious, who came to carve out their homes from the kingly forests of the fresh and untouched wilderness.
The settlement of Kentucky by the AngloAmerican pioneer was no easy task. The fierce and merciless savage stubbornly disputed the right to the soil. The attempt to locate upon these rich and fertile lands was a proclamation of war-of war whose conflict should be more cruel than had been known in all the bloody pages of the past. On his captive the Indian inflicted the most relentless torture. Neither the innocence of infancy, the tears of beauty, nor the decrepitude of age, could awaken his sympathy or touch his heart. The tomahawk and the stake were the instruments of his cruelty. But notwithstanding the dangers that constantly imperiled the settlers, attracted by the glowing accounts of the beauty of the country and the fertility of the soil, brave hearts were found that were willing to leave their patrimonial homes in Carolina and Virginia, and hazard their lives amid the frowning forests of the West. Thus valuable accessions were continually received by the first emigrants.
In the winter of 1776, Kentucky was formed into a county. Although this act invested the people with the right to a separate county court, to justices of the peace, a sheriff, constable, coroner, and militia officers, but few instances occurred in which it was necessary for the law to assert its supremacy. Banded together by the ties of a common interest, and alike exposed to suffering and to peril, it was but seldom that any disposition was evinced to encroach upon the rights of another. For mutual comfort, as well as for mutual protection, the people dwelt principally in forts, by which means they were the better prepared for a defense from the frequent attacks of the Indians.
It would be impossible to describe the sufferings of the first settlers in Kentucky—they are beyond description; yet we may imagine the anguish of heart endured by the husband and father, whose wife and children had become a prey to savage vigilance and cruelty, or to the tortures, worse than death, inflicted upon the Indian's helpless captive; or we may attempt to realize the grief, whose deepest shades had fallen upon the breaking heart of the wife and mother, as the shadows of the evening gather around her lonely home, and she listens in vain for the familiar footstep of him on whose strong arm she had trusted for protection, or for the return of those little ones that had been the light of her home and the joy of her heart. Words cannot express, nor mind can scarce conceive, the pain that bardy race endured. A lifetime of suffering is sometimes crowded into a single hour. It was so with them. The hostility of the Indian never slumbered; and during this period, capture, torture, and death inflicted in the most cruel manner that savage malignity could invent, were of common occurrence. On one hand were instances of shocking barbarities; and on the other of long captivities, of untold sufferings, of deeds of daring, and of heroic achievements, which seem more like romance than reality. These noble men, so patient under all the pangs of
war, and want, and wretchedness, were the benefactors of the West; and though no marble pillar may mark the spot where many of them rest, yet they live embalmed in the affections of a grateful peoplea monument far more enduring.
It was during this period and amid these dangers that James Haw and Benjamin Ogden were appointed missionaries to the District of Kentucky. Previous to this time Methodism had been established in the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and in portions of South Carolina and Georgia; but up to this date the General Minutes report no Church under its auspices in Kentucky. Baptist ministers were the first to proclaim the truths of Christianity here. As early as 1776, the Rev. William Hickman, a man of piety, came from Virginia on a tour of observation, and during his stay devoted much of his time to preaching the gospel. He was perhaps the first preacher of any denomination who lifted the standard of the cross on “the dark and bloody ground.” Other Baptist ministers soon followed, among whom were James Smith, Elijah, Lewis, and Joseph Craig, and Messrs. Tanner, Bailey, and Bled
The Baptist Church, however, was not organized until the year 1781. Their first organization was known as the Gilbert's Creek Church, located on Gilbert's Creek, a few miles from where the town of Lancaster now stands.*
* When Lewis Craig left Spottsylvania county, Virginia, most of his large Church there came with him. They were constituted when
The Presbyterian Church was organized at a later period. The first Presbyterian preacher who came to Kentucky was the Rev. David Rice. He immi. grated to Kentucky from Virginia in 1783, and settled in Mercer county. Previous to this date small bodies of Presbyterians had settled in the neighborhoods of Danville, Cane Run, and the forks of Dick's River.
These were gathered into regular congregations by Mr. Rice, and as he had opportunity "he ministered to them in holy things.” In the meantime other Presbyterian ministers followed Mr. Rice, among whom were Messrs. James Blythe, John Lyle,* Welch, McNamar, Stone, Reynolds, and Stewart; and in the year 1786, the first Presbytery was organized, under the name of the Presbytery of Transylvania. †
It was in this year that, at the hands of Bishop Asbury, James Haw and Benjamin Ogden received their appointment to Kentucky. The Conference from whence they were sent was held in the city of Baltimore. A long and perilous journey through a pathless and untrodden wilderness lay before them, and at the termination a dense forest, inhabited by savage beasts and the no less savage Indian; while they started, and were an organized Church on the road. Wherever they stopped they could transact Church-business. They settled at Craig's Station, on Gilbert's Creek, a few miles east of where the town of Lancaster, Garrard county, is now situated.-History of Ten Churches, p. 42.
* Bishop Kavanaugh lived several years, when a youth, with Mr. Lyle, and was traveling with him when converted.
Collins's Kentucky, p. 132.
no official board to hold out the generous hand of welcome, no church-edifice, no comfortable home, awaited their arrival. James Haw was admitted on trial at the Conference held at Ellis's Preachinghouse, in Sussex county, Virginia, April 17, 1782, and had traveled the South Branch, Amelia, Bedford, and Brunswick Circuits, all lying in the State of Virginia. Mr. Haw was familiar with the sacrifices incident to the life of an itinerant Methodist preacher in his day. He was inured to hardship. Kentucky was Mr. Ogden's first appointment, yet he was no stranger to privations. Though only twenty-two years of age when he came to Kentucky, he had participated in the American struggle for independence. He had followed the fortunes of the American arms when only a youth, during the years of the Revolution, amid assault, pursuit, and slaughter. He knew what privations meant.
In his soldier-life he had pitched his tent on the cold, damp ground, and slept beneath the moonlit sky. He had passed days together without sufficient food; had breasted the storm of battle, and stood undaunted and unmoved amid its leaden hail. The quick, discerning eye of Bishop Asbury detected in these men the qualifications requisite for a life of toil, of sacrifice, of suffering; and their deep devotion to their Heavenly Master's cause eminently fitted them to become pioneer preachers in this faroff Western country. Theirs was a noble design, It was not to engage in speculation, or to seek for worldly opulence. No; they were impelled by higher motives. Men were perishing, and they