From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Vaughn Grove Church in Christian County, KY

Life in Christian County, Kentucky...



Country church, Christian County, KY

Kentucky has many rural country churches, and many of them are Baptist churches. We have Free Will Baptists, General Baptists, Missionary Baptists, Independent Baptists and of course, Southern Baptists.

However, the little rural church in the photo above is not a Baptist church. It is the Vaughn Grove Methodist Church, about seven or eight miles east of Hopkinsville on Highway 508.

Over the years, the Methodists have a strong history of ministry in rural Christian County. William Henry Perrin's 1884 history of Christian County, Kentucky, states that there were a hundred homes where Methodist preachers held services even before any churches were built.

This church was once known as Vaughn's Chapel. Here is Perrin's description of the church in 1884:


Vaughn's Chapel of the Methodist Episcopal Church South was organized about 1870 in the Mount Vernon Precinct. It has some 150 members.

Among the early members were Hiram Steele and wife, J. D. Steele and wife, Samuel McClellan and wife, George W. Shaw and wife, Samuel P. Elgin, Robert Berry and wife, John Berry and wife, John Campbell and family and others.

Vaughn's Chapel was a combination of several smaller churches, which were absorbed in its formation. The church edifice was built in 1871, and cost some $2,000.

The pastors have been:
since 1871, J. W. Emerson;
1872-73, William Alexander;
1874, Thomas Bottomley;
1875, D: Spurrier;
1876, J. F. Redford;
1877-78, William T. Moore;
1879-80, James A. Lewis;
1881, T. C. Peters;
1882, J. W. Emerson;
1883, B. F. Orr.


I think I have read or have been told that the original chapel was torn down and the current larger church was built to replace it. I am not sure what year that happened, and I haven't been able to find a reference for it tonight.

This is the front door of the church. The photograph was taken with film probably about ten years ago. Since then, a ramp has been added to the step to accommodate the needs of some of the members. The perfect simple symmetry you see in the photo isn't there anymore.

Sadly enough, the congregation of this little church has dwindled to just a handful. We attended a few times when we first moved here, but since there were no other children in the little congregation at that time, we decided to go to town to the Lutheran church. (We had been attending Lutheran services for several years in Berlin before we moved here.)

A minister comes to conduct a worship service at Vaughn's Grove every other Sunday. On the Sundays that they don't have church, the members still meet for Bible study and prayer.

Several of the members are elderly people who have attended this church since they were babies. They remember the promise of Jesus that, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." And I believe that God honors that promise and their faithfulness.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.