With the coming of this worthy class of citizens came also the nuclei of the several Christian denominations at present represented in the precinct. It cannot be said with certainty which denomination was first in establishing a church society. We will proceed, however, to sketch the different churches as we have obtained the facts of their organization. The following sketch of Shiloh Methodist Church South was written for this work by Judge Joe McCarroll, and will be found of interest:
Shiloh Methodist Church – T here is a beautiful elevation, a sort of table land with trees and grass in abundance and romantic vales and ravines on different sides, about five miles northwest of Hopkinsville, called Pleasant Grove. This was the site of a comfortable little meeting-house (made of logs) in the early times, and a class or society of Methodists worshiped there and had regular preaching days as early as 1838, when this church first appears on the records of the Quarterly Conference for the Christian Circuit. Six years later Pisgah is mentioned. It was situated about eight miles west of Hopkinsville, a little south of the Princeton road, and was a rather small and rough though perhaps comfortable log-house in a rather rugged and obscure spot. Here, too, there was regular preaching, and these two churches were composed of the congregations which had been worshiping at Harris’, Long’s, Hopson’s, Gilmore’s, Coon’s, Workman’s, Sheridan’s Schoolhouse and the ” Bridge.” The list of preachers sent to the Christian and Hopkinsville Circuits, as given in the history of the Hopkinsville Church, will show who preached to them. About the year 1852 Rev. F. M. English was in charge of the Hopkinsville Circuit, and during the year it was determined to consolidate the two churches and build a large frame church at a central point. Accordingly a subscription paper was started, a pleasant locality agreed upon, and the work commenced. The lot of ground upon which the new church was built contains about two acres, and was a beautiful and at-tractive grove, six miles west of Hopkinsville, and about three-quarters of a mile south of the Princeton road, on the cross road from the Princeton to the Cadiz road-a most accessible place where several much-traveled private pathways conjoined. And so a handsome and roomy frame building was erected, painted and furnished, the pride of the neighbor-hood, and more than delight of its projectors. But now comes the trouble. The money had not all been raised. (Alas, that this trouble should always confront the church!) Furthermore they could not agree on a name for the new church. Upon both of these subjects the church was greatly concerned, not to say agitated. But, strange as it may seem, the difficulty about the name proved to be the providential bridge which carried the church away over and beyond the trouble on the subject of finances. And it happened in this wise: The only two men of wealth in the whole neighborhood who took any interest in the matter were William A. Summers and Hezekiah Ricketts. Neither of these gentlemen was a member of the church at that time, but it so happened that they were both thoroughly imbued with the doctrines of the Methodist Church, and believed in her discipline to the letter, and, moreover, both their wives were stanch, zealous, active members of this very church, and whose pious lives will serve for many a day as examples to those who knew them worthy to be followed. Doubtless this added to the interest these two gentlemen felt for the success of the church. They were of untiring energy, unyielding dispositions, and by no means noted for the love they bore each other. Under these circumstances, and considering that the whole neighborhood, in fact several neighborhoods, were agog over a name for the new church, it is not in the least strange that William A. Summers and Hezekiah Ricketts should have espoused the cause of different factions; and so they did with all their might and main. And they sub-scribed liberally to secure votes. And ever and anon the preacher or some other interested churchman would communicate to one of them what the other bad done or was doing. This added to the flame, and ” the flames rolled on.” They rode day and night, became the leaders of the two parties enlisted the neighborhood, raised the money, the church debt was paid off and the church dedicated. Samuel F. Johnson, a brilliant preacher in the church, was in charge at the time, and announced to his congregation, when the supreme moment arrived, that it was not for outsiders to say what name should be given this church of God, but that that question was exclusively for the membership to decide. The vote was taken, and the name Shiloh adopted. That name it has borne ever since, and is of blessed memory to hundreds of people who have been benefited by and through its services.
The membership, upon the consolidation of the two old churches, numbered about fifty; prominent among whom may be mentioned W. H. Hopson, and Elizabeth, his wife; Henry Hopson, and Aunt Betsy, his wife; Edwin H. Hopson; Susan Stevens, widow of Rev. George Stevens, who had lived and but recently died at his home near by; Iverson Boyd, and Mary, his wife; Diana Boyd; C. A. McCarroll, and Elvira Ann, his wife; James J. Smith, and Sarah, his wife; A. J. Coon, Mary J. Coon, his wife; David E. Boyd, and Tibitha, his wife; Sarah Ricketts, Harriet A. Summers, – Hugh Tomlinson, Sarah J. Morris, William Walker, Alsey Fields, Sarah Bowling; Isaac Long, and Catharine, his wife. Since then many grand Christian characters have been developed at Shiloh, of whom we have not the space to speak. We cannot let pass the opportunity, however, of saying that of all the male members of the church, from the beginning to the present, not one ever acquired the reputation for deep piety and religious zeal which was so universally accorded Edwin H. Hopson. To say that he was a good man gives but a feeble idea of his splendid Christianity. In his religion he was literally ” stead-fast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” He died peacefully in the spring of 1873.
The preachers who have served this church from its organization to the present are as follows: 1852, F. M. English; 1853, S. F. Johnson; 1854, Matthew N. Lasley; 1855-1857, IL W. Trimble; 1857, Abram Quick; 1858-59, L. B. Davidson; 1860, Schuyler L. Murrell; 1861-62, Joseph F. Redford; 1863, David Morton; 1864-65, Thomas Jefferson Moore; 1866, James C. Petree; 1867-68, James A. Lewis; 1869-70, E. M. Crowe; 1871-72, Isaac W. Emerson; 1873, William Alexander; 1874, Thomas Bottomley. During this year the church was attached to the Hopkinsville work. In 1875 Dennis Spurrier was the preacher; 1876, J. F. Redford; 1877-78, W. T. Moore; 1879-80, James A. Lewis; 1881, T. C. Peters; 1882, J. W. Emerson, and 1883, B. F. Orr.
During the war of the rebellion the church was greatly demoralized and unsettled. Many useful members moved away, some died, and others withdrew. It has not enjoyed so much prosperity at any time since as it did before that awful struggle. In 1878-80, while Rev. James A. Lewis was in charge, a movement was instituted to move the church again. It was suddenly discovered that there was a neighborhood about three miles off which had a number of Methodists in it, and as the Shiloh congregations had become small and these Methodists would not come to the church, it was proposed to knock the church down and build it up again in their neighborhood, which was accordingly done at a cost of about $500. It was located near ” Smoot’s Bridge,” on the Cadiz road, some eight miles west of Hopkinsville, and is a very sightly and comfortable frame structure. We have heard of no very bad effect occasioned by the move, except to unsettle things, and no very good effect if any. The membership at present numbers about forty-five, who are scattered over considerable territory. It is hoped that the move will eventually prove beneficial, and the church resume its former commanding position in the community. The present officers of the church are C. A. McCarroll, J. J. Smith, E. M. Bostick, P. P. Mason, H. H. Sively, W. D. Summers, and Thomas O. Carloss.
The Unitarians at Means Schoolhouse had one of the early church organizations of the precinct. They date back, it is claimed, to 1816-18, and were organized by Elder Joel Hayden, pastor. Among the members were Thomas Arbuckle and wife, Edmund Calloway and wife, George Torian, Samuel Hany and wife, Peter Torian, Mrs. Mary Palmer, Mrs. Mary Alexander, Mrs. William Means, Bloomfield and others. This congregation afterward built a brick church on Sinking Fork, known as Christian Privilege, where they worshiped for several years, and then disintegrated and scattered out into other churches. From them sprang the nucleus of the Street Schoolhouse, afterward Concord Reformed Church. After worshiping in this schoolhouse from about 1846-47 to 1854, the congregation built, and moved into their new building. Concord Church is a substantial frame building with a lodge-room above, about 45×35 feet, ceiled and plastered, and comfortably seated. Among the original members were Elder George P. Street, J. B. Mc-Carty and wife, Robert McReynolds and wife, Robert Doulin and wife, and others. Elder Street served in schoolhouse and church as teacher and pastor about twenty or thirty years. Since his pastorate the pulpit has been supplied by visiting brethren from other churches, notably among them John T. Johnson, R. Dubin, Enos Campbell, A. J. Wyatt, and William Rogers. The present membership numbers about fifty, and a good Sunday-school is in progress. The next church to organize was at the old Robbins Chapel in 1834-35, and was of the Methodist persuasion. George Robbins, a local preacher, was the founder, and for many years served at its altar. The names of some of the original members are retained: George Robbins, L. P., A. McGaughey, Robert Ford, Samuel Blankenship, Louis Hancock, Mrs. Peter Hall and daughter, and Mrs. Tabitha Cocke. In 1842 the congregation erected the present Hebron Church, which is a substantial frame, 50×30 feet, plastered and well seated, and cost about $1,000.
After this comes the South Union Baptist Church, which was organized about 1846-47, with Robert Anderson as pastor, in the old Elk Water Schoolhouse one mile from Church Hill. The present edifice is due principally to the munificence of R. W. and Gano Henry and a few others, and Johnson Radford, who donated the ground. It is a comfortable frame, 40×50 feet, well seated, and cost about $1,000. Original membership: Young J. Means, William Means, A. Grisham and wife, Gano Henry, Johnson Radford, Mrs. Cornelia V. Henry and Mrs. William Means. The pastors of South Union as far as recollected were Revs. Robert Anderson, Nicholas Lacey, F. C. Plasters, Davis and the present pastor. The membership is large, and the church is in a flourishing condition.
About 1856 the Newstead Presbyterian (S. A.) Church was organized under the auspices of the Rev. F. Strahan, Pastor; Edwin Bradshaw and Dr. M. A. Steele, Elders; Capt. Eddin Morris, Deacon. Capt. Morris was the principal contributor to the erection of their present neat edifice, having left a bequest of $5,000 for that purpose. It is a frame building, about 40×50 feet, with a seating capacity of about 300, and has an adjoining cemetery. The original membership consisted of Capt. E. Morris and wife, Mrs. Thomas Whitlock, Mrs. F. J. Glass, Dr. and Mrs. J. H. Macrae, J. W. McGaughey, Dr. J. F. Dangerfield and J. B. Mc-Kenzie. Pastors: Revs. F.’ Strahan, George Frazer, T. A. Braken, S. M. Luckett, William Duncan and J. C. Tate. Present membership about thirty. About the close of the war the Pee Dee (Methodist Episcopal Church South) was built. It is a large and substantial edifice, 40×50, frame, with lodge-room above, and cost about $3,000. Mr. and Mrs. Pee Dee Smith were very liberal patrons, contributing between them some $1,200 or $1,300. Among the original members were Mr. and Mrs. Pee Dee Smith, W. G. Blaine and wife, W. V. Reeves and wife, and daughters, Lewis and Henrietta Reeves, Joseph A. Brewer and wife, Mrs. W. E. Butcher and son, William E. Butcher, Jr., John G. Johnson and wife, Mrs. James E. Brewer and daughter, Mary Brewer, and son, William Brewer, Sidney Merritt and wife, and Mrs. Luttrell. It is a charge of the Lafayette Circuit, and among others has been served by the following-named pastors: Revs. William and Robert Alexander, T. J. Randolph, James Petree, W. E. King, Gideon Gouch, J. F. Redford, B. A. Cundiff, J. W. Price, J. W. Bingham and B. F. Briggs, present pastor. Present membership about fifty.