|OLIVET BAPTIST CHURCH|
OLIVET BAPTIST CHURCH
According to the old Bethel Associational minutes, Olivet was accepted into the Bethel Association in 1833. The date commonly accepted for the church is 1827. However, it is quite likely that the nucleus of the church was formed as early as 1820, and members met in private homes until a meeting house was erected.
Among the early members were Burgess Poole, Mrs. Betty Poindexter, Col. William Atkinson and wife, John Clardy and wife, Jesse Giles, Samuel White, Birch White, and Mrs. Sophia Reeves.
In the minutes of the Bethel Association of 1899, a historical sketch of Olivet was written by Mrs. Mary E. Bacon. The first meeting house was located at Noah’s Spring on the Tennessee line. A log house of worship was built upon a lot belonging to Miss Betsy Davis.
In a few years Alexander Campbell reached that part of the country, and the church was divided and the followers of Campbell gained control of the building. In 1832, the few members who had remained faithful to Baptist beliefs met at the house of James Chalson and reorganized. After a brief period of time the group built a small meeting house northwest of Garrettsburg on the King-Wills farm. The articles of faith adopted stated, “We the members wish to be designated as the Baptist Church of Christ at Olivet, Christian County, Kentucky”. This was signed by Jacob Chester, James Burke, John L. Willis, Susan E. Mallory, Ann Rives, Martha Wills and Eliza Gray. This would indicate that only seven members took part in the reorganization in
In 1855, finding the church was inconveniently located, it was decided to relocate the church building on another part of the Fleming farm. The new church building, the present one, was erected on the Palmyra Road, half-mile north of Garrettsburg. The old building was sold to John Fleming, Sr. In December, 1856, the new building was dedicated by Rev. A. W. Meacham who was elected pastor and served the church for many years.
From Mrs. Bacon’s sketch of Olivet Church, we learn that a provision of the King-Wills deed to the original lot was that no Campbellite was ever to preach at the church under the penalty of a forfeiture of the deed. It must be remembered, however, that this was but a few years after the trouble at Noah’s Spring, and while the little church was struggling for its very existence.
In 1905, a parsonage was erected on a lot in Howell.
The lot was donated by Mr. & Mrs. W.W. Radford, and the deed made to the trustees and their successors. The cost of the house was about $1,800.00. The old house stood until 1971 when it was dismantled after the erection of a new home.
In September, 1954, an annex was added to the building at Olivet to provide Sunday School class space.
In November, 1954, a branch Sunday School was begun at Oak Grove, Kentucky. This Sunday School was planned for the children of the personnel at Fort Campbell. Olivet gave of her members, money and territory. Several of the members from Olivet became charter members in the newly formed Oak Grove Church. In December of 1964, the Mission at Oak Grove became independent of Olivet Church.
Olivet voted to build a new parsonage which was completed in October, 1970. The final payment was made on the house in March, 1972. The total cost was $21,500.
Olivet grew in membership of 54 in 1845 to 164 members in 1861. At this time there were 108 black and 56 white members. The lowest known membership was 46 in 1879. There were 57 excluded in 1870. The peak number of baptisms came in 1839 with 29 people being baptized into the fellowship of the church.
On July 29, 1956, Donald Long and William L. Hancock, two young men from Olivet Church were ordained to the Gospel Ministry.
Since Olivet was organized into a church, there have been thirty-five pastors who have served in the church. The following is a list of pastors who have served Olivet in its 155 years.
William Warfield, Robert Williams, John L. Wilson, R. T. Anderson, R. Woodward, William Walker, A. Taylor, John White, A. W. Meacham, J. J. Greer, W. B. Walker, W. H. Ryal, J. G. Kendall, S. B. Withers, W. H. Vaughn 1894- 1902, H. C. McGill 1903-1906, C. E. Hutchinson 1907-1908, J. H. Moore 1908-1909, J. F. Norris 1909-19 10, F. M. Wilson 1910-1912, 1 F. Griffith 1913-1915, M. M. McFarland 1916-1918, L. J. Lewis 1919-1926, E. L. Pendley 1926-1935, A. A. Thacker 1935-1942, James Gary 1942-1943, Paul 0. Hale 1943-1949, T. A. Purcell 1950-1953, Louis Shepherd 1954-1955, Sam Thomas 1956-1959, Bobby Bell 1959-1964, James Stivers 1965-May, 1977, H. R. Wise Dec., 1977-Oct.,
1979, Bill Pearce June, 1980-July, 1983, John Haynes Dec. 1983-
Family Histories of Christian County 1797-1986
Reprinted with permission ©1986 Christian County Genealogical Society
©William Turner ©Jim Killibrew
All rights reserved.