302 – October 29 – This Day in Baptist History Past
A Church on the Move
“Among the first Baptist preachers to permanently settle in the west was William Marshall. .. . Other preachers followed Marshall . . . including Joseph Barnett, John Whitaker, James Skaggs, Benjamin Lynn, all of whom were ordained, and John Gerrard, a licensed preacher. . . [These] were responsible for forming the first Baptist church west of the mountains, the Severns Valley which was constituted June 18, 1781.”
Some of the migration west came through what was known as “Traveling Churches.” One such example is the church that had been known as the Upper Spottsylvania Church in Virginia. It had as its pastor Lewis Craig, one of the most successful of the Virginia Baptist preachers. In 1781 Craig decided to remove to Kentucky, and so great was the attachment of his members to their minister, that a majority of them decided to migrate with him.
In the midst of winter, after great hardship and danger, they arrived at their chosen destination, quickly made a clearing and established Craig’s Station on Gilbert’s Creek. Here on the second Sunday of December, 1781, they gathered for worship around the same old Bible they had used in Spottsylvania. John Taylor’s church too became a Traveling Church and relocated to the land of need.
These saints were not willing to become isolated enclaves of spiritual truth. They intended to become witnesses throughout the expanding West.
As a result, churches were established West of the Allegheny Mountains. Four churches met on October 29, 1785, at Cox’s Creek Church and formed the Salem Association, and Kentucky soon became a hot-bed of Baptist enterprise.
Dr. Dale R. Hart From: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins pp. 631 – 633
Note from Tom: Rev. Lewis Craig was the most influential of the preaching Craig brothers. They were pioneer Baptist ministers in early Virginia, when preaching without the license of the Church of Virginia was illegal, and Craig and his brothers were occassionally jailed. Lewis is most famous as the leader of “The Travelling Church,” when he and much of his Upper Spotsylvania Church congregation made up the largest mass-immigration into frontier Kentucky — a caravan of some 600 people. He settled at Gilbert’s Creek in Garrard County, Kentucky, then moved to South Elkhorn in Fayette County, and finally he settled in Mason County, where he died. His grave remained unmarked for many years but Kentucky Baptists finally succeeded in marking his grave, though there is some reason to believe they may have marked the wrong grave. He appears to be buried in an enclosure with that of the wife of his son, Lewis Craig Jr.http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi…