The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

January 7, 2013

Four old Madison County churches

RICHMOND — This is a brief article about four old Baptist churches ? Mt. Tabor, Owsley Fork, Peytontown and Pilot Knob.

Until 1884, Baptists in the Paint Lick area worshipped at the Community Church in the Manse Cemetery.

The Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, organized in 1884, was first called Walnutta, after a nearby college of that name. In 1886, a building went up and the church’s name was changed to Mt. Tabor. John G. Pond was the first pastor.

In case you are uncertain, Owsley’s Fork Baptist Church is located one half mile past the Big Hill post office, on a road which intersects with US 421. It was begun in 1909, and was comprised of the Kirby Knob and Pilot Knob churches.  The first pastor of this church was W.E. Honeycutt.

For many years, the Baptists in Peytontown met in the local one-room school. In 1944, W.S. Royce organized a church for the area Baptists. Royce played a significant role in the growth of the Baptists in Madison County. He organized and/or pastored a half dozen or so churches. He also served as a missionary and administrator for the Tates Creek Baptist Association.

Pilot Knob Baptist church was founded in 1865. Its surrounding area is rich in history. In 1769, a group of explorers, or “long hunters,” arrived in this area, coming from North Carolina. As best we can tell, their camp was located near the present day Pilot Knob Baptist Church. This country was originally Shawnee territory. This American Indian nation came down into Kentucky from Ohio. Daniel Boone and John Finley were among the early group white settlers coming to the Pilot Knob area.

In another twist of history, the Pilot Knob area was also a section of the route Gen. Kirby Smith’s Confederate columns followed in the invasion of Kentucky from Tennessee in 1862.

Most of the families residing in the area were Union sympathizers. And sure enough, the Southern troops marched right through this region on their way to the Battle of Richmond, the South’s most decisive victory in the whole war.

A short time after its founding in 1865, the church changed its name to Golden’s Chapel. The new name never took root in the area, and it continues to be known as Pilot Knob. It was sometimes known as United Baptist, sometimes Baptist Church of Christ.

Robert G. Taylor was pastor from 1998 until 2011. His father, Glenmore Taylor, and uncle, Gordon Taylor, and I were deacons together for some 40 years at the old First Baptist Church on Main Street. Much of this material was originally gathered by Martin Ramsey.

PUBLICATION NOTE:  Readers are reminded that a compilation of some 60 Richmond Register articles from over the last 40 years by Dr. Grise and myself are now available in the paperback book “Madison’s Heritage Rediscovered.” 

Combined with relevant photographs selected from Eastern’s Archives by my granddaughter, Kathryn Engle, who edited the volume, this book is available for $19.99 plus tax.

Autographed copies may be purchased at the Richmond tourism office (Irvinton) on Lancaster Avenue, Clearsight Optometry and Baldwin CPAs on Main Street in Richmond.

Autographed copies are also available by calling Kathryn Engle at 859-893-0947 or 623-1150. These books make excellent birthday presents for family or friends.

Keep in touch with out-of-town family and friends by sharing this gift of home.

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