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to advocate its claims—while the man who holds its sentiments in public and social life is avoided as a monster.

It is natural that we should look for a large increase in the membership in Kentucky during this year. Emigration from Kentucky, however, had set in to the North-western Territory with resistless tide, and whole communities were now seeking settlements within its bounds. Our net increase, however, was far larger than in any previous year. In the white membership we had an increase of eight hundred and ten, and in the colored sixty-eight. Total, eight hundred and seventy-eight.

VOL. I.—13



OF 1803.

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The Western Conference—The early centers of Methodism in Ken

tucky-Clarke's Station - Ferguson's Chapel - Level WoodsChaplin-Brick Chapel-Ebenezer-Grassy Lick-Muddy CreekFoxtown - Mount Gerizim-Thomas's Meeting-house - Sandusky Station- The Conference of 1801 held at Ebenezer-Bishop Asbury present-Nicholas Snethen-Lewis Garrett-Large increase in membership—The Conference of 1802 held at Strother's, in Tennessee—Bishop Asbury present—Samuel Douthet-William Crutchfield-Ralph Lotspeich—James Gwin-Jacob Young-Jesse Walker - Red River Circuit- Barren Circuit - Winn MaloneWayne Circuit-Increase of membership.

At the Conference of 1801, the western division of the work bears, for the first time, the style of the “ Western Conference." This Conference embraced two districts—the Kentucky, and the Holston. The Kentucky District, of which William McKendree was the Presiding Elder, included Natchez, in Mississippi; the Scioto and Miami Circuit, in the North-western Territory; the Cumberland Circuit, in Middle Tennessee, and all the State of Kentucky. The Holston District embraced the Green, Holston, Russell, and New River Circuits—the first lying in Tennessee, and the three latter in Virginia. At this period Methodism, notwithstanding the opposition with which it had met, began to assume a more commanding position. Under the labors of

the pious men who had devoted their energies to the advancement of the Church, it had spread until societies were formed in almost every community in the northern and central portions of the State.

While it would be beyond the range of our present work to mention the name of every society that had been formed up to this date, it is proper to allude to those points that, at this early period, constituted the great centers of Methodism in Kentucky, and from which it was promulgated into the regions around.

The society at Clarke's Station, in Mercer county, the first formed in the District of Kentucky, and afterward known for many years as Durham's Chapel, was one of the most prosperous in the State. John Durham, the first class-leader in Kentucky, with his excellent and pious wife, held his membership here. He was a remarkable man; and, under his guidance, and the faithful instruction and godly example of Francis Clarke, the society prospered ; and from it a holy influence was sent out into all the surrounding counties. Through many years, camp-meetings were regularly held at this point, at which hundreds were converted and saved.*

We have already referred to the society organized in Nelson county, at Ferguson’s Chapel; also, to the organization in 1796, by John Watson, known as the Level-woods society. These were

* This society continued until about 1858, when, after the revival of that year in Perryville, under the labors of the Revs. J. C. C. Thompson, L. G. Hicks, and others, in consequence of its contiguity, it was merged into the society at Perryville.

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blessings to the communities in which they were planted, and still continue as great religious lights through all the contiguous counties.

“ The society, the descendants and successors of whom now worship at Chaplintown, is one of the oldest in the State. In fact, it is said that the first Methodist sermon ever preached in Nelson county, was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Ogden, upon the farm of Capt. Jesse Davis, of the Revolutionary army, which farm lay some half-mile from the present site of the village. The Captain had collected a quantity of logs for the raising of a house, and upon these, extemporized into seats, the “forefathers of the hamlet' sat, listening to the gospel as proclaimed, for the first time, with that zeal and clearness for which the pioneers of Methodism were so distinguished. How long, after this sermon, before there was a class organized, and regular circuit-preaching instituted, cannot now be ascertained; but evidently it was no great length of time. The first church - building was an old - fashioned log edifice, and was erected for this society during the year 1792. Some of the oldest inhabitants have a recollection of attending Divine service in this building, when they were so small that, becoming weary of the exercises, they would climb from the gallery through a crack in the wall, and then descend to the ground by means of a walnut-sapling that grew thereby. In this building preached such men as Wilson Lee, Williamson Portis, (or Daddy Portis, as he was called,) and men of that day. In 1816, a brick church was erected at the same place,

and regular circuit-preaching continued; but the prosperity of the Church did not continue. It gradually waned until, in 1822, a few old people, representing eight or a dozen families, constituted its sole membership. Some time during this year, Jesse Davis, Jr., son of the Captain before mentioned, a man of influence and position in society, came to his death by tetanus, resulting from the sticking of a corn-stalk in his foot. Before he died, he was converted, and preached Jesus to all who came to his bedside. So triumphant and glorious was his death, that it made a most wonderful impression upon the community. This, taken in connection with his funeral-sermon by Jonathan Stamper, and a protracted meeting conducted by the Rev. Messrs. Medley and Ferguson, resulted in the awakening, conversion, and accession to the Church of over a hundred souls. From that time, the Church has remained in a flourishing condition, a light and power in the community. In 1845, the house proving too small, the present commodious and elegant building was erected in the village, some mile and a half from where the former stood; and now the grass-grown grave and the marble slab, proclaiming the city of the dead, alone mark the spot first consecrated to God by the erection of the old log meeting-house.

“Between the years 1795 and 1800, a society was formed in Shelby county, about four miles north


* Letter to the author from the Rev. George T. Gould, of the Kentucky Conference.

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