Friday, May 2, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 10

New Bethel Baptist Church
By Odell Walker

[picture on this page: “New Bethel Baptist stands at the entrance to the correctional complex.”]

New Bethel Baptist Church is one of the oldest, and perhaps THE oldest, organized religious group[s] in present-day Lyon County. Before the formal establishment of churches, in the early days people met in private homes for religious services.

The Methodist Circuit Riders were making inroads into this area as early as 1803. Jesse Walker was a preacher in the Livingston Circuit, 1803-1806. The entire Livingston Circuit had a membership of 103 members. There are no established records showing the establishment of a Methodist Church in present day Lyon County until Circa 1815.

The New Bethel Baptist Church was organized April 4, 1812 at the home of John Cammack. The preachers taking part in this organization were the Revs. Daniel Brown, James Rucker and Washington Thurman. The following people became charter members of this newly established church.

John Stone, Moses Arnold, John Duncan, Stephen Bennett, John McElroy, Andrew Jones, Elizabeth Jones, Nancy Stone, Morning Stone, Martha Sullivant, John Stone Jr., George Owens, Samuel Hill, Patty Hill, Joseph Cobb, Ann Cobb, William Jones, William Bennett, John Aldridge, William Chandler, Nancy Arnold and Mr. and Mrs. Pertle – 21 in all.

It is fair to assume that this new church met in homes from the time of its establishment until 1824. In 1824 a small church was built on land given by Larkin Bennett. This building is located about one mile southeast of the present building – near the old Jones Cemetery.

The first church building burnt in 1831. A new church building was built at the present location in 1832 on land given by Leasil Stone, father of Capt. William J. Stone. The new church building withstood the storms of time for 120 years.

This building was torn down and the third and present, meeting house was constructed in 1952.

In 1828, the Rev. James W. Mansfield came as pastor of New Bethel and served for 25 years. The Rev. Robert W. Morehead served from 1874 to 1900 for a total of 26 years.

Over the years, New Bethel has provided leadership in the establishment of seven other churches. New Bethel was also influential in getting the Baptist Theological Seminary moved from South Carolina to Louisville.

[The next two pages are “picture pages”. The captions are: 1) “Eddyville Baptist Church”, 2) “Lyon County Court House in old Eddyville where soldiers camped for 5 months.”, 3) “Old Love House, Lot 34, Eddyville”, 4) “Ferry Boat Eddyville – 1959”, 5) “Church in Eddyville 1959”, 6) “Street view old Eddyville”, 7) “House which was shot up in Feb. 1908 raid.” And 8) “Liberty School students – Oct. 23, 1901”]

The Huggans House
By Georgette Beatty

[This story includes a picture of the Huggans House along with the historical marker that stands in front of the house. ]

Located at the northern edge of Old Eddyville Historic District is the Dr. George Huggans House. Built ca 1840, the house is a one-story, five-bay Greek Revival Style.

It was Dr. Huggans who defended William Kelly against accusations of insanity from his wife and father-in-law, J. M. Gracey. Kelly’s experiments in the development of the pneumatic process for producing steel were ridiculed by many residents and local iron workers, thus leading to the charge of insanity.

The second owner of the house was Governor Charles Anderson, who gave it the name of “Sweet Home”. In 1875, for the sum of $2,000, Governor Anderson sold the house and all the property adjoining the town of Eddyville to John Espie, together with that other lot of ground, lying across the street there from and adjoining the property of Mr. Cobb and W. C. Wilcox.

(The Kentucky State Penitentiary was built on the Cobb and Wilcox property).

After the death of John Espie, “Sweet Home” was sold to Mrs. Laura Gracey, who married Finnis A. Wilson. In 1952, “Sweet Home” was sold by Mrs. Gracey’s daughter, Mrs. Laura Gracey Caldwell to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Department of Corrections.

The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and is presently used by the penitentiary as employee’s living quarters.

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