Century of Progress 1846-1946, Published by the Historical Society for the Centennial Session of the Louisville Annual Conference of the Methodist Church, Hopkinsville, Kentucky, September 19, 1946, Copyrighted 1946 by the Louisville Conference Historical Society, Herald Press, Louisville, Kentucky.  Edited by J. W. Weldon.  An excerpt follows: 



      A complete story of Methodism in the bounds of the Louisville Conference has never been written. That alluring task presents itself as an opportunity to some writer who likes to jog along the meandering paths of the past and poke into obscure nooks where heroic achievements lie slumbering in the memories of men. A centennial of progress has been achieved. The voices of devoted men and women who have made our conference what it is cry aloud to this generation to stop, to look and to listen. Our spiritual forebears have something to say! Their unselfish labors blazed the trails, won the converts, built the parsonages and the churches where we live and work. It is highly fitting that we should pause to pay respect to their memories. In honoring them we reflect credit upon ourselves. The occasion offers an excellent opportunity to rededicate our lives to the unfinished task which has been so auspiciously begun. It has been said: "The race of men moves forward on the feet of little children." The saying is true. Little feet, however, walk best in the light of past experiences. In the language of Longfellow, we may say:

"Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house where the gods may dwell
Beautiful, entire and clean."




       The Louisville Conference was organized in Hopkinsville, Ky., October 14, 1846. It was organized as a conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church' South. This date, however, does not mark the beginnings of Methodism in the area now occupied by the Conference. The church in this section has the high honor of sharing with Ecumenical Methodism all the rich traditions that descend from the famous Wesley family in England and from those fruitful ministries that planted Methodism on American soil.
      Methodist beginnings appear in Kentucky during the closing years of the eighteenth century. James Haw and Benjamin Ogden were sent as missionaries to the "Kentucky District" in 1786. They began work in the northern part of the State in Mason County. A Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the home of Thomas and Sarah Stevenson. This church became an interesting connecting link between Methodism in the East, and pioneer Methodism in the West. The Stevensons were among the first converts in America, having united with the church in Maryland in 1768. They were the parents of Rev. Edward Stevenson who became a charter member of the Louisville Conference in 1846 and was a recognized leader for eighteen years.
       Benjamin Ogden, one of the founders of the church in Mason County, gave the major portion of his ministry to the work in the bounds of our Conference. He died in Princeton in 1834 and was buried near that city. Under the guidance of Rev. D. S. Campbell, the Louisville Conference erected a suitable monument at his grave in 1888.
      Conference boundaries changed rapidly during the pioneer days. Settlers from the older communities along the Atlantic moved across the mountains and took up land in Kentucky and the adjoining states. The population grew. They called the conference organized at Bethel Academy in 1800, the Western Conference. It became the center of in-

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terest for all Methodism west of the mountains for the next twelve years. The territory was divided in 1812 into the Ohio and Tennessee Conferences. Still another change was made in 1820 when the Kentucky Conference was created. This conference unit remained the same until 1846 when the Louisville Conference was organized. 
      It became apparent that the formation of the Louisville Conference was a practical necessity. Roads were little more than rough trails and distances from Smithland to Cumberland Gap were long. The preachers moved frequently. The memorial asking for the division of the Kentucky Conference received almost unanimous support. 
     The resolution memorializing the General Conference to divide the territory was very decided in the view that the division was not to affect the unified educational program. Transylvania College was at that date under Methodist control. In the light of subsequent history, one might say it was the day of destiny!  Interest in a unified educational program began to fall apart. It remained that way for more than three quarters of a century.
     According to Dr. David Morton, the separation was the source of many heartaches which took years to heal and was never wholly satisfactory. The Manuscript Minutes reveal that it was the intention of those who requested the separation to call the Western half, "Green River Conference." The name "Louisville Conference" appears to have been the result of the influence of leaders closely allied with the metropolis of the State. 
      The members of the Conference have good reasons for taking a pardonable pride in that so many movements affecting the whole church had their beginnings in the bounds of the Louisville Conference. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, itself, was organized here. The same may be said of the General Board of Missions, Board of Church Extension, and the rise of that remarkable spiritual awakening known in history as the Camp Meeting.

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    Before the delegates of the General Conference of 1844 left New York City, they agreed upon a plan of separation. While slavery was the real issue, the technical grounds of the division grew out of different viewpoints of our "Restrictive Rules." The historic division in 1844 appears to have been the best arrangement for meeting an emergency. The separation was for the most part a friendly one. 
    The delegates from the Southern States arranged for a convention to be held in the city of Louisville, Ky., in May, 1845 for the purpose of organizing a separate church. The Convention held its sessions in the Fourth Street Methodist Church, between Market and Jefferson, at the site now occupied by the Sutcliffe Company. The sessions began on May 1, 1845. About one hundred delegates were in attendance. Many ministers and laymen from all over the connection were present. The presence of Bishops Soule, Andrew and Morris was noted. The latter was asked to preside, but declined. After fourteen days of serious deliberation, the vote was taken on May 14, 1845, which brought into existence the church known in history as "The Methodist Episcopal Church, South." It continued under that name for ninety-four years, merging with the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Protestant Church in 1939. Delegates from Kentucky were conspicuous leaders in the New York Conference that drew up the Plan of Separation, and in the Convention that organized the Southern Church.


     Bishop James O. Andrew who became the storm center that finally resulted in the historic separation, presided at first session of our Conference. His presence created situation of intense interest. Rev. Napoleon B. Lewis, the father of James A. and John W., and the great-grandfather

CENTURY OF PROGRESS               12

of our present John W. Lewis, called the roll of members. Rev. A. C. DeWitt was elected Secretary by ballot. The Conference began its history with 56 preachers and 16,760 members, 14,495 white and 2,265 colored. Big Springs had the largest membership report with 842 white, and 117 colored. This charge was one of the seven in the entire Conference that provided a parsonage for their pastor. The other charges were Middletown, Elkton, Glasgow, Greensburg, Columbia, and Hardinsburg. 
    Salaries for ministers at the beginning of our Conference history were at a low level. Jeffersontown had an assessment of $300 on which they paid $160. The salary of the Big Springs Circuit of 959 members was only $232. For missions that same charge raised $16 for the year. The average salary for the Presiding Elders was $210. The total raised for all pastors was only $7,353, an average of $147. While these salaries appear very small when compared with the salaries of today, they met the needs of the ministers and their families. Salaries for all workers were small in those days. 
    At the Jubilee Session held in Hopkinsville in 1896, Dr. R. W. Browder who read a paper on "The Louisville Conference in the Twentieth Century" assumed the role of a prophet. He forecast that we would have 100,000 members in 1946. Our Minutes of 1945 report 86,152. He estimated that we would have church values totaling $2,000,000, but last year's Minutes report $5,266,975. The best he could see for the average salary for ministers was $600, but we reported an average of $1,562 for 1945. While he missed the mark on the number of members the Conference would have in 1946, his estimate of nearly all the other items was very far short of what we actually have today. We have realized more than he had dreamed.


Organized Missions

    One of the very first things the Convention did in 1845 was to organize a General Board of Missions. After extended deliberations, it was decided that the missionary society in Louisville should be regarded as the central or parent society of all the conferences represented in the Convention. The Louisville Society had changed its title and had adopted a constitution suitable for the new function. Rev. Edward Stevenson was chosen by the Convention as the first Missionary Secretary. He became a charter member of the Louisville Conference the following year. He was elected Missionary Secretary at the first session of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1846 and served one quadrennium. The General Board of Missions was domiciled in the City of Louisville from 1845 to 1856 when it was moved to Nashville, Tenn. Thus the Louisville Conference had the high honor of furnishing the prototype for the parent Board of Missions; also, its first General Secretary.


    The General Board of Church Extension is but the lengthened shadow of that efficient executive, David Morton. A native of Logan County, Ky., he joined the Conference in 1853. With the exception of one year in the West, he spent his whole life's ministry in the Louisville Conference. The General Conference which met in Nashville in 1882, acting upon a recommendation of David Morton, authorized the creation of a Board of Church Extension and made him its first General Secretary. The Board was chartered by the Legislature of Kentucky. It has always had its home in the City of Louisville. It is at present located in the magnificent stone building on Fourth Avenue, Louisville, with a staff of officers under the direction of Dr. W. V. Cropper, a member of the Kentucky Conference. Since the


Unification of American Methodism it has been a part of and vitally connected with the General Board of Missions in New York


      At the time of the organization of the Conference in 1846, there were only seven parsonage homes. The policy of stationing pastors in the Methodist Church makes it a practical necessity to provide the pastor with a home. The wisdom of providing such homes was clearly observed by some of the good women of the Louisville Conference. 
    At a meeting of the Board of Church Extension in 1886, the women in the Louisville Conference who had dreamed about having a parsonage for every pastor in the Conference began to see their dreams coming true. The Board organized a Woman's Department and Miss Lucinda B. Helm, daughter of Governor John Helm of Elizabethtown was elected its first General Secretary. The Louisville Conference branch of the General Board was organized in Russellville, Ky., in 1886. Its first annual meeting was held in the Walnut Street Methodist Church, Louisville, in 1888. A central committee, composed of ladies throughout the whole church, was appointed to supervise the work. From the Louisville Conference were Miss Lucinda Helm, Secretary and Mrs. George B. Kendrick, Treasurer. On the Board of Managers were Mrs. John A. Carter, Mrs. Maria Carter, and Miss Ellen Burdette. This organization, born in the brain of a Louisville Conference woman, served the whole church from 1886 to 1898 when it merged with the Woman's Home Missionary Society under the authority of the General Conference.


    The organization known as the Preachers' Aid Society was already in existence in the Kentucky Conference when the division was made in 1846. Both Conferences appointed


Commissioners to divide the funds that had accumulated. Edward Stevenson, Richard Tydings, and William Holman were appointed from the Louisville Conference. The Commissioners met in Louisville in January of 1847 and after due consideration the distribution was made. The Louisville Conference was given $2,438.58 and the remainder $3,647.34 was left in the hands of the Kentucky Conference. 
    This Society is a mutual benefaction. Each member of the Conference is invited to join when he enters the Conference. He is not coerced. If one does join, he may allow his membership to be canceled at any time by the non-payment of his annual dues. The Society as listed in the Minutes of 1944 has 20 life members and 111 regular members. A life member is one who contributes the sum of $100. A regular member is one who pays his annual dues of $5. The total assets of the Society are listed at $133,650. The Society has paid its beneficiaries the sum of $135,232. At the Conference of 1945, the Society distributed $3,906 to retired ministers and $1,392 to widows of deceased ministers. The Society has been incorporated by the Legislature of Kentucky. 
    The present treasurer of the Society is Rev. Charles A. Humphrey; but the funds are kept in the Fidelity and Columbia Trust Co., Louisville, Ky. An annual audit is made and published in the Conference Minutes. People usually have been liberal contributors to this fund. Most laymen see the great need of providing a suitable living for ministers who have come to the age of retirement. Among those who have given liberally are the names of Dr. Leonard who started the list with a gift of $895. Thomas Elliott of Christian County, gave $8,000, and Catherine Wilson, of Louisville, gave $10,000. Other men and women who have given liberally are Mrs. John A. Carter, H. T. Jefferson, J. W. Harris, Mrs. George Deering, Dr. M. L. Cooper, J. H. Rogers, Hal Jefferson, Harry Bridges, Mrs. Ella B. Humphrey, Mrs. Nannie J. Gould, Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Taylor, Marvin R.


Wheat, John L. Wheat, C. M. Martin, of Greenville, Dr. C. E. McClure of Henderson, E. O. Snider, Keith Snider, Miss Tillie McGruder, and her sister Mrs. Anderson, and others.
    The funds of the Society are entirely too small.  A movement should be initiated in the Conference to build this sum up to a half million dollars in the next few years. Almost any other organization doing business in this country has provisions for taking care of those who have given long years of service. The Methodist Church is very derelict in this important matter.


     On the first day of the session of the Conference in 1846, the Secretary was instructed to procure a well-bound book for the purpose of preserving the records. On the fourth day of the session, he was further instructed to procure a suitable trunk for the security and the safety of the papers of the Conference. The inference is that the Kentucky Conference had made use of such a depository. I am confirmed in this view by a visit to the home of Dr. W. E. Arnold when he was the president of the Historical Society of the Kentucky Conference. He showed me a trunk of ancient make in which the important papers of the Conference were kept. So far as I know there never was such a depository in the Louisville Conference. The idea was good and, no doubt, it has been the seed from which our Historical Society has grown. 
    At the Conference of 1859, Edward Stevenson and Thomas Bottomley offered the following resolution: "Whereas it is believed that the history of the Methodist Church in Kentucky abounds in facts, incidents and characters of much interest; and Whereas, the valuable material will be forever lost to the church and to the world if not collected at an early date; Therefore' be it Resolved, that the members of the Conference will during the year prepare a brie sketch of the most important facts, prominent minister,


providential happenings, revivals, etc."  The Conference was directed to send the material to Edward Stevenson. On motion of A. H. Redford, Edward Stevenson was requested to write a History of Methodism in Kentucky. Five years later, this good man and most efficient laborer passed to his eternal reward. At his death in 1864, A. H. Redford undertook the task of preparing such a history that he had so much desired his good friend and brother to write.
    During the next twenty years from 1864 to 1884, Dr. A. H. Redford wrote a History of Methodism in Kentucky in three volumes. Later, he wrote a companion volume entitled "Western Cavaliers." These four books cover the history from 1790 to 1844. The history written by this very busy man has become the most valuable source book for al] historians who deal with the church in the middle west. He found time, also, to write "The Life and Times of H. H. Kavanaugh." This biography of a famous Kentucky Bishop is a most valuable source book as it covers a lot of history in Kentucky Methodism. 
    The Historical Society was organized at the Jubilee Session held in Hopkinsville in 1896. The occasion itself magnified the necessity of preserving the rich historical material that we possessed. A constitution was adopted and David Morton was elected its first president. Frank M. Thomas, who had joined the Conference three years previous, was elected the first Secretary. He was succeeded by J. W. Weldon as Secretary who held that position until 1934. 
    Up to that time, the Society had operated as an adjunct to the Conference. All members of the Conference were automatically members of the Society. The Society was managed by a Board of Curators. Officers were nominated from the floor at the regular annual meeting, usually held on Tuesday evening before the Conference convened on the following Wednesday. In view of the urgent importance of gathering material for a Centennial Celebration and for a more complete history of our Conference, it was thought

18                CENTURY OF PROGRESS

wise to amend the constitution and to bring it into conformity with other Boards of the Conference. The Constitution was amended at the session held in Lebanon in 1934. A Board of Managers was nominated by the Cabinet and elected by the Conference as is customary for other Boards. J. W. Weldon was elected President and Bedford Turner, Secretary. The Society has had but three Secretaries in fifty years. 
    An effort has been made to assemble copies of books written by members of the Conference or in some way allied with the same. While the list is not complete, the number and variety of the books reflect credit upon the level of intelligence of Conference members. The list follows:
    "Recollections of John Johnson and His Home," by his wife Suzannah; "Biographical Sketch of Valentine Cooke," by Edward Stevenson; "Young Man's Guide to True Greatness," by Jack Kasey; "Methodism in Kentucky," three volumes, "Western Cavaliers," and "Life and Times of H. H. Kavanaugh," by A. H. Redford; "Life of Steve P. Holcombe," "History of The Methodist Episcopal Church, South" and "Son of Man," by Gross Alexander; "Life of Lucinda B. Helm," by Arabel Wilbur Alexander, the wife of Gross A1exander; "Constitutional History of American Methodism," "Christianity of Christ and His Apostles," and a book on "Logic" by John J. Tigert; "Children in Christ," "The Problem Solved," "Doctrinal Methodism," "The Other Side of the Question," and "The Mode of Baptism," by George H. Hayes; "Entire Sanctification," and "Scriptural Holiness," by Bryant A. Cundiff; "Entire Sanctification," and the "Devil's Seed Corn," by S. L. C. Coward; "The Apostolic Church," and "His Coming Presence," by Frank M. Thomas; "Life and Service," by Lewis Powell; "Companionship With God," by T. L. Hulse; "The Unfolding Kingdom," by I. W. Emerson; "Relation of Money to the Kingdom" and "The Tithe Law," by J. T. Cherry; "Jubilee Addresses," edited


by R. W. Browder; "Fifty Golden Years, 1878-1928," by Mrs. E. F. Goodson; "Phunology," "Recreational Material and Methods," "Parodology," "The Fun Encyclopedia," by E. O. Harbin; "Moses, John and Christ, the Famous Baptizers," "The Revelation of Jesus Christ," "The Millennium a Necessity," and the "Life Ministry of B. F. Atkinson," by B. F. Atkinson; "After Thirty- Five Years" and "Forty Years of Activity," by C. B. Nordeman. These latter two volumes cover the history of the Trinity Methodist Church in Louisville at Third and Guthrie. The last chapter of the last named book was written by E. B. Stone and it gives the history of the Temple Church as it moved from Eighth and Market to Fourth and Jefferson, to Fifth and Walnut, to Sixth and Broadway, and to Third and Guthrie. "Evangelistic Preaching," by Roy H. Short is a recent publication of the General Board of Evangelism. The latest book to be published by any member of the Conference is an autobiography by John O. Smithson, a retired minister, entitled, "Both Feet on Earth, But Looking Up."
    Our Conference has furnished the whole church with four editors of the Quarterly Review and Book Editors: namely, Edward Stevenson, John J. Tigert, Gross Alexander and Frank M. Thomas. John W. Lewis and T. L. Hulse have served the Conference as Editors of the Central Methodist. At the present time, 1946, Dr. Roy H. Short is the Editor of the "Upper Room," a devotional magazine that has, perhaps, the largest circulation of any religious periodical in the world. 
    Important papers have been written by members of the Conference and read before the Society. S. G. Shelley read a most illuminating paper on "Great Revivals." J. S. Geiger, with a supplement by Mrs. Inez Crawley, has contributed a good paper on "Methodism in Union County." A rather extensive paper that might easily be expanded into a book was written by Judge Lucius P. Little, of Owensboro, on the subject of "Methodism in Daviess and McLean Coun-


ties." S. L. C. Coward read a paper before the Conference at Columbia in 1931 on "Methodism in Columbia and Adair County." "Logan's Contribution to Methodism" was written by W. I. Monday. J. W. Weldon has contributed two papers covering certain epochs of Kentucky Methodist History. H. C. Ogles is the author of a good paper on the subject of "Methodism in Union County." "One Hundred Years of Methodism in Elizabethtown and Hardin County" is the title of a very valuable paper written by J. F. Nall. Mr. Nall dedicated his paper to Rev. Jack Stith, his great-grand father. 
    All of these papers are splendid sources for the future historian who desires to enter that field.


    The Orphans' Home at Versailles is a joint enterprise of the Kentucky and Louisville Conferences. 
        Schools have come and schools have gone;
        But the Orphans' Home goes on and on. 
    The second session of the Louisville Conference was held in Glasgow, Ky., in 1847. The Committee on Education made a report that showed they had considered the subject of education in general; and the education of the children of deceased Methodist ministers in particular. From this historical beginning an ever-increasing flow of benevolent funds has poured into this institution. 
    The whole country suffered the hardships of a great Civil War during the twenty-five years after the organization of our Conference. Although there was a desire to make suitable arrangements for providing for orphan children as suggested by the Committee, it remained only a fair dream until the country had somewhat recovered from the shock of the war. The Minutes of the Conference of 1872 show that the devoted Methodist women in Louisville

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had raised $1,050 for the purpose of establishing a Home for Orphans. An agent had been sent into the field to solicit funds. He reported $5,000 raised, and C. O. Smith, of the Broadway Methodist Church, donated a piece of land that was valued at $1,500. Four years later, the Committee reported "Elegant property, fortuitously located, well furnished and in good condition, and with no liabilities." 
    The Home was located on Fifth Street near Broadway. In the course of time, it became apparent to both Conferences that the Home should be re-located. It was cramped for the lack of space and sunshine, and within the area of downtown Louisville. After the merger of the educational interests of the two Conferences, an abortive attempt was made to move the Home to the campus of Logan College in Russellville. The Kentucky Conference voted almost unanimously for the measure, but it was defeated in the Louisville Conference at a special session held in the Fourth Avenue Church in Louisville. The plan was to close Logan College. This was not thought wise and hence the movement failed. The trustees of the Home began to explore other desirable places where the Home could be located to a great advantage to the children. A site was visited near Nicholasville and a visit was made to Millersburg, but neither location impressed the visitors. In 1931 the trustees became interested in securing the property of the Massie School on Highway No. 60, between Versailles and Lexington, which was satisfactory to both Conferences. The property, including a small bluegrass farm, was purchased for $58,000. Later the trustees purchased 188 acres of good land nearby which brought the total land area there up to 300 acres of good bluegrass soil. Through a bequest of John Pierce of the Auburn Methodist Church in Logan County, the Home came into the possession of another farm of 400 acres of good soil, fairly well improved. Then W. B. Lewis and wife of Franklin, Ky., gave their beautiful farm and residence to the Home, the farm containing 366 acres of



splendid land. The total endowment of the Home at present is listed at $270,366.57 which includes the farms of more than 1,000 acres. The total assets of the Home are now listed at $410,209.89. 
    The Home has had several superintendents who have served the church in that capacity. E. S. Boswell gave thirty-two years of service. Mrs. Jessie Ray Williams succeeded him. At present C. A. Sweazy, a member of the Kentucky Conference, is the Superintendent. Both Conferences are proud of this institution. From the very beginning the two Conferences have teamed up on the Home project with the result that we have an institution that is an honor to us and to the whole church


The Deaconess Hospital is located on Eighth Street between Walnut and Chestnut in the City of Louisville. In its initial stages, it was known as an institution for the training of Deaconesses. It was sponsored by the Central German Methodist Conference which embraced Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and parts of Illinois. The movement in this city was inspired by the flourishing Deaconess work in the Fatherland. The father of the movement was Dr. Christian Golder. As a result of his untiring efforts, starting in 1878, a number of Deaconess institutions sprang up in the United States. The Deaconess Hospital was among the first. The major objective at first was the training of Deaconesses for social service and parish work, but it soon became apparent that the hospital needs far outweighed the other. 
    The leading spirit in the local enterprise was Dr. Jacob Rothweiler, Presiding Elder of the Louisville District of the Central German Conference. The pastors in his area were urged to preach on the needs of the Deaconess work in their churches and to promote its interests in every way. The main supporters were the German churches in the three Falls Cities. Because of its numerical and financial strength,


the heaviest responsibility rested upon the shoulders of the Market Street German Methodist Church in Louisville. 
    In 1896 the Deaconess Hospital had its historic beginning in the Southwestern Homeopathic College with two Deaconesses in charge. One year later the Board of Directors bought the spacious Morton residence on Eighth Street with ample space adjoining for the sum of $12,000. On February 24, 1898, the new Deaconess Hospital was dedicated. Miss Louise Bockstahler, a Deaconess, was placed in charge. The Hospital then could accommodate only ten patients. Additions were made, and soon the Hospital was enlarged to accommodate 36. 
    A Training School for nurses was organized in 1902 and several years later the Howard residence was purchased and converted into a home for nurses. In 1916-17, the old Morton residence was replaced by a larger and more modern hospital building at a cost of $35,000. This brought the capacity up to 75 beds and it remains as such today. 
    The institution has always belonged to the Methodists. When the supporting group of churches were identified with the Central German Conference, it was under their supervision. When that Conference merged with the Kentucky Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1933, it became the property of the Kentucky Conference of the M. E. Church. When the Unification of American Methodism was consummated in 1939, the Deaconess Hospital passed into the hands of the Louisville Annual Conference of the Methodist Church. All of us should be proud of this institution that has had such an honorable history and one that presents a most wonderful opportunity for future service. 
    Among the supporting families from the beginning are the Scheirichs, Edingers, the Finks (Mrs. Ida Almstedt and Mrs. E. F. Wetstein), the Scheffels and the Brockmans. Of the former German Methodist ministers, G. E. Hiller, John Huber, and Timothy Speckman have done outstanding work. Foremost among the ladies who have helped the