Reformed or Christian Church, Todd County, Kentucky

This organization is an offshoot of the Baptist Church, and originated in the dissensions of 1829-32, under the guidance of Alexander Campbell. Rev. Barton W. Stone, a Presbyterian clergyman, was the great bead of this reform movement in Kentucky, and the Presbyterian Church may properly be said to have contributed almost as much to the new organization as the Baptists. The dissensions of the general church were felt in Todd County as well, and in 1833 the Zion Christian Church was formed from the Lebanon Baptist Church. Until about 1842 the church was fostered here by itinerant preachers, but at this time Elder C. M. Day entered into the work, and may be called the chief of the early preachers of the denomination in this county. Mr. Day was born in Virginia and educated for the ministry at Richmond. He became interested in the reform, and without any special commission from the church began to labor in Todd County. His work was a labor of love, and done without pecuniary reward. He was a man of remarkable energy and industry, and supported himself and an invalid wife by teaching school at Trenton. His preaching was marked rather by forceful expression and logical deduction than by eloquence. He was not lacking in culture, however, and his earnest, powerful will seemed to control the minds and hearts of his hearers. His nature was such as resisted coercion with vigor, and yet could be led by persuasive reason most easily. In his church work Mr. Day was remarkably successful. He was eminent as an organizer, and aided by G. W. Ellery and John D. Ferguson, established churches at Trenton, Elkton, Daysville and Allensville. He became the settled pastor of the Trenton and Allensville Churches at once, and served them until his death, a period of about thirty-eight years, holding the undivided love of his parishioners to the end. After the. death of his first wife, he married a lady of some wealth, and in his declining years was saved the extra exertion which he had put forth in earlier years to preach a Gospel ” without money and without price.” He died in Todd County at the age of seventy-two years. J. B. Ferguson was for a short time a prominent Elder of the church; he was a native of Virginia, educated at William and Mary’s College, and came to Todd County at the age of twenty-two; he was a gifted speaker, his eloquence making him the idol of every community. But he lacked the more solid and substantial acquirements, and about 1855 drifted into spiritualism. Elder John T. Johnson, brother of R. M. Johnson, the Vice-President, and the hero of the battle of the Thames, was an eminent evangelist of the Reformed Church, and remarkably successful in Todd County. Mr. Johnson was well educated, and entered upon the practice of the law. He was a volunteer aid to Gen. Harrison, and at the battle near Fort Meigs, on May 5, 1813, had his horse shot under him. He represented Scott County, Ky., in the Legislature in 1814-18, and again in 1828. He was a member of Congress four years, 1821-25, and a Judge of the new Court of Appeals for nine months from December 20, 1826. He joined the Baptist Church in 1821, and in 1831 embraced the principles of the re-form movement, and began preaching. He visited Todd County about 1860, and carried on his work here with his usual success. His political training colored his style of speaking, which was of the heroic kind. He had a large fund of effective anecdotes, which, with his deep earnestness and great personal magnetism, wrought wonders upon his audiences. At his meetings here he baptized as high a number as forty or fifty at a place, and was the means of adding great numbers to the church. The number of baptisms performed by him is placed at 3,000. He went to Missouri and soon afterward died.

Other ministers of some note in this church in Todd County were Dr. Orville Collin, J. J. Harvey and W. E. Mobley. The latter is still serving the church in this county. He began his ministry in 1851, with but little educational preparation, but his natural ability marked him as eminently fitted for the service. His circuit extends from Roaring Springs in Trigg County to Berea in Logan County, the intermediate appointment being at Elkton. Save an interval of two years, Mr. Mobley has served these churches for thirty years, a longer pastorate than any other Elder in this church in Kentucky. One Sunday in each month he preaches where his services seem to be required, having no regular appointment. J. W. Gant is another contemporary Elder of the church. He is agent of the Sunday-school and Christian Missionary Society. His duties are those of a home missionary agent, and as such he has been instrumental in establishing several churches in the county. The denomination has organizations at Daysville, at Mount Vernon in District No. 7, Kirkmansville, Cherry Hill, Hadensville, Trenton, and one about four miles north of Elkton. Save the last all have good places of worship: frame buildings, save at Trenton, which is a brick edifice.


Battle, J. H., W. H. Perrin, Counties of Todd and Christian, Kentucky : historical and biographical, Chicago : F. A. Battey Publishing Co., 1884.

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