Benjamin Keith began his work a little later than his brother. His ministerial life extended over half a century. He was identified with “Otter Creek Association of Regular Baptists” organized at the Otter Creek meetinghouse, October 25, 1839. This association was composed of the anti-missionary factions of the churches of Salem Association.
Benjamin Keith was a remarkable preacher and did much good in all this section. The original minute book of the Otter Creek Baptist Church was in his possession.
Unfortunately the records of the church and of the Otter Creek Association are now lost. Benjamin Keith, while visiting relatives at Joplin, Missouri, died and is buried there.
Conditions under which these pioneer preachers labored created a zeal for evangelism. Prayer meetings were held in the open air in summer or in the settlers’ cabins in winter. On such occasions the formalities of worship were dispensed with and people talked about the condition of their souls.
In 1815 Luther Rice came into the territory of the Salem Association bearing the news of gospel triumphs in Burma. Leaven was working in the mass even before his coming. While there were no church organizations itinerant preachers went long distances to visit the new settlements. John Shacklett was one of these little known ministers.
Hill Grove Baptist Church grew out of the pioneer conditions. Otter Creek, Union and Wolf Creek were the nearest organized bodies of Christians. There were no other organizations.
Accordingly, Elizabeth Ashcraft Shacklett, Rachel Ashcraft Shacklett and Sallie Shacklett Jenkins used to meet in their cabins in cold weather and at a spring in warm weather for divine services. With Bible and hymnal they were faithful unto the Redeemer. It was a time when other than consecrated women would have given up. After many months passed the men were willing to help in gathering the Hill Grove Baptist Church. Elizabeth Ashcraft Shacklett gave the world Brother Ben F. Hagan and Brother Daniel Fulton Shacklett; Rachel Ashcraft Shacklett, the Willett preachers; and Sallie Shacklett Jenkins, the Jenkins preachers.