Church History

1804 - 2000


Providence Knob Baptist Church was constituted the last Saturday in September 1804. Elders John Hightower and John Martin were the first ministers, and Jesse Boyce was the first deacon.. Thus began the historical odyssey of the oldest church in the Warren Association of Baptists. There is no record of the location of the church for the first ten years. Probably because the meetings took place in private homes. The membership had grown from nine in 1804 to twenty-six in 1814. A Providence meeting house was built approximately a couple of miles over the knob from the present site in 1814. By the year 1834, the membership had grown to 263. The third meeting place was located not far from the second on a site right off the intersection presently known as Browning Road and Fuqua Road. That building was completed in 1834. David L. Mansfield became the eighth pastor of Providence in 1828, and also led in the constitution of Clear Fork Baptist in 1833, and served both churches as pastor until his death in 1849.

The fourth meeting place was built in early 1853 at the present day site, at the intersection of Browning Road (1083) and Russellville Road. (Hwy. 68)Dr James Madison Pendleton, one of the greatest theologians of the nineteenth century, began a pastorate at Providence in 1853. His mother’s brother was Sec. Of Navy under President Rutherford Hayes. His father was an ardent admirer and friend of President Madison. He was a friend to and exchanged correspondence with famed Kentuckian, Henry Clay. J. M. Pendleton studied the ministry under David L. Mansfield. He was pastor of Providence and Bowling Green Baptist. His pastorate at both ended in 1857. He was president of the Kentucky Baptist Pastors Conference in 1841.

Tobias J. Ham was called to pastor Providence on December 7, 1907. His son, Mordecai Fallor Ham was born April 2, 1877 and was the eighth generation of Baptist preachers. Mordecia Ham was a "hell fire and damnation" evangelist. One of Dr. Ham’s most celebrated converts was William Franklin "Billy Graham. Dr. Graham writes in his autobiography Just as I Am: "Despite my parent’s enthusiasm, I did not want anything to do with anyone called an evangelist - especially such a colorful character as Dr. Ham. I told my parents I would not go to hear him - I was spellbound - I was hearing another voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit." Dr. Ham’s father was pastor at Providence from 1907 thru 1909.

 

During the time of the Civil War, the Providence membership decreased from 203 in 1859 to 86 at the conclusion of the war. This was no doubt because the church membership, like most of Kentucky, was divided on the issue of slavery. There were several members, including pastors and deacons, who were slave owners.

 

The centennial celebration was held September 3, 1904, and Elder Boyce Taylor preached the sermon.

 

The first proper title to the property of Providence Knob was March 26, 1957.

 

The first addition to the 1852 building was in 1957 when Sunday School rooms were attached to the rear portion of the old building. During the construction, wooden, square nails were discovered to still be intact after almost 100 years.

 

Electricity made its advent at Providence in 1942. Gas heat was installed in 1953, and "city water" in 1967.

 

In 1970 under the tenure of Bro. R.B. Hooks, Jr., the church was remodeled and renovated. At the dedication, Dr. C.R. Daly, editor of the Western Recorder was present, and wrote of the event in the Recorder.


The church became a Kentucky Historical Society Landmark in 1984.

Providence Knob Baptist Church is the Mother of five churches in Warren County, including First Baptist of Bowling Green.

 

The above written events and facts were condensed from a history of Providence Knob written by Historian, Mr. Morton Stahl in 2000. Mr. Stahl also personally remarked: "The true story of Providence Baptist Church is recorded in the Heavenly Archives by Him who said of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, ‘I know thy works."

 

The first record of history is found in the first four words of Genesis. The word "history" is not found in the Holy Bible. History is defined "a narrative of events." The Bible is a continued Book of history that lives on thru the Holy Spirit. Today is history. As we continue to "strive toward the mark" we are faced with a burden of urgency. We are still at the bottom of the ladder, but we will continue to climb until we can reach forth and touch His Face.

 

"Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set." Proverbs 22:28

 

Frances Raymer,

Providence Knob Clerk

Asst. Historian