Glencoe Church of Christ
An Historical Sketch,
by Raymond D. Lewis Sr. [pastor of the church in 1959]
The Glencoe Christian Church was organized in March of the year 1877 under the leadership of Brother John Beasley, who was at that time the missionary in District number two (2) of the state of Kentucky. The charter membership numbering about twenty three (23) persons.
The building for worship was erected in 1877-78 on lot number thirty two (32) in the town of Glencoe.
The activities of the organizational evangelistic endeavors is reported to have been summarized by Brother Beasley in a poem written for the Christian Standard under the caption of “Twenty one Nights In a Bar-Room” because it was necessary to purchase the bar-room in order to have a place for meetings. A copy of this article was not to be found in the issues of the Standard in which they were thought to have appeared but we hope to be able to find it at a future date.
An article written by Mrs. Alice Norman, a charter member, and printed in the “Christian Standard” dated November 9, 1878 gives an account of some of the struggles of the Christians in their effort to have a place for worship. Parts of the article are enclosed.
“The work began about eighteen months since, by Brother J.W. Beasley whose earnest and untiring efforts succeeded in organizing a little band of brethren and sisters at this place, and we immediately began that work of building us a house of worship. We had one hundred to begin with. Now, some of your readers may perhaps smile at the idea of beginning to build a church with a hundred dollars. Yet we did so, and have succeeded beyond our most sanguine expectations.
“We expended our hundred dollars very cautiously, and bought materials that we were compelled to have from the city. The framing timbers were donated by a good brother, whose name is William, and our church will stand as a monument to the memory of a truly great man.
“The woods where our framing timbers were cut stands about three quarters of a mile from town. The members from Sugar Creek Church came with axes and teams, cut and hauled the logs to the saw mill, whilst the sisters of Glencoe, with grateful hearts, carried their dinner to the woods. In this way we all worked together until our lumber was all on the building lot, which was donated by a gentleman—Dr. O.B. Yager—who is not a member of any church. He saw how we were struggling against adverse circumstances and nobly came to our relief, and presented us with a beautiful lot, which is set down to his credit by the recording angel in that Book of Books, together with the prayers of the sisters for his welfare and happiness.”
In a brochure distributed at the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary the early activities of the church are described in a little different manner. The account related that a little band of Christian women of Glencoe, Ky. worshipping from house to house, determined to build a New Testament church in their community. Denominational influence was so strong as to make it impossible for them to secure a building site for the propagation of ‘those damnable heresies’ advocated by A. Campbell.
One day a prominent physician came home and found his wife who was a member of this small band of disciples, in tears because of their bitter persecution. Without making his purpose known he, with worldly wisdom, negotiated the purchase of a old bar-room in the community and turned it over to the band of Disciples as a place for worship.
Having shown from two accounts the interest manifest by this good physician in the work of the Church here shall we resume our former accounting of the activities.
“Our committee was composed of members of the Sugar Creek Church (with one exception, viz. Mr. Daniel Hon) Mr. William Taylor, Mr. William Ellis, Mr. Jefferson Peak and Mr. N.G. Thomas.
“When the carpenter was finished, they paid the debt, which was about seventy five dollars apiece. Words are inadequate to express our gratitude to them. “Verily, they shall have their reward.” Mr. N.G. Taylor, one of the committee, is not a member of any church, yet most cheerfully has he borne his part. He is always ready with his team to do the work that is needed, and his untiring efforts are justly appreciated by all the members. Our church is now all complete except the plastering, which has been commenced. We had a lime kiln burned and donated to us after it was burned. Two of the sisters, not finding as much help as was needed to get the lime hauled, went themselves and assisted in loading the lime on wagons. Do you think we are in earnest?
“After the lime was hauled, then we had to have water with which to mix the mortar. We were unable to hire hands to draw and haul it to the church; but our courage never failed. Those same good sisters (and I want everyone to know their names) Sister Sallie E. Thomas, and Sister Anna Russell, with the assistance of two little boys, neither of them over twelve years of age, drew from a well all the water used in making mortar and hauled it on a sled to the church. And the sisters who were compelled, on account of sickness, to be at home, did their part in praying for the success and fulfillment of our hopes.
“Among the members of our congregation are ladies who have never known hardship—who have never been compelled to do their own work—yet since we began building our church they betook themselves to their kitchens, and have done their own work, even to washing, that they might save that much to give to their church.
“This is what I call Christianity—it is what women can do who have the cause of Christianity at hear. And were I to tell you of the many difficulties we have surmounted, the trials we have endured, the sacrifices we have made, you would not have room for any other correspondence this week; but I do not wish to be tedious.”
The above article was closed with an appeal for assistance from the sister churches and the response was made to the amount of twenty (20) dollars from several states. The receipt of this amount was written in the form of articles to the Christian Standard. Copy of such responses will be found in the Christian Standard of December 14, 1878, on page 398 of that volume.
From notes that have been scribbled here and there in books it is states that it was not until the year 1887, in the neighborhood of September, that the church became debt free.
As should have been stated earlier, there is no such thing as a church record from which to gather information. One reason for the absence of such accounts is that the church records were destroyed by fire on the thirty first (31) day of August 1885. Another reason could very well be that, if present records are any criteria, there has not been any effort put forth to have records made of the important activities of the church. The lack organization and functional activities appear to demonstrate the uninterested attitude which probably prevailed through the years.
As far as is known to the writer there was very little of importance undertaken by the congregation until in the year or so leading up to the events of September 7, 1924 at which time the remodeled and improved building was dedicated under the leadership of E. V. Spicer, who at that time was pastor, and Mr. E. E. Elmore, of Cincinnati, Ohio. The indebtedness of $5,000 was incurred to realize this goal and with pledges and gifts totaling $3,400 on dedication day the building was dedicated debt free, and it was at this time that the name was changed from Glencoe Christian Church to the Church of Christ of Glencoe. This act has been a matter of contention in recent years because several households desire that the name be restored as Glencoe Christian Church. What the future holds regarding this matter no one can prophesy.
At the rededication services there was a recollection of earlier activities recited by Mrs. Alice Norman as she read some of the clipping that she had written earlier to the Christian Standard.
At a business meeting conducted on January 21st, 1928 it was placed for consideration the plans for having Brother Spicer to preach here twice a month, but Mr. Spicer was not present at the meeting and these plans were not completed, and according to the various issues of the “Year Book” we are led to believe that the half time ministry was not begun until the year 1939 when Mr. William Dennison became pastor and this relationship continued until sometime during the ministry of Mr. J.B. Van Horn when the ministry became a full time charge.
The list of ministers which follows is by no means complete but is compiled with the help of the “Year Book” and the baptism records that are available at this time. J.H. Beasley (1887), James Rogers (1886), W.H. Elliott (1888), H.F. Kuhns (1889), D.F. Stafford (1890), Mr. White (1892), G.W. Nutter (1894), J. Castlebury (1899), J.K. Reed (1903), R.S. Wilson (1909), P.H. Duncan (1910), E.H. Justice (1914), G.P. Simmons (1916), H.G. Haney (1917), J.W. Clark (1918), Mr. Lattimer (1921), Mr. Dorris (1922), E.V. Spicer (1922), J.S. Chambers (1929), Wm. Hite (1931), James Irby (1937), Ira Boswell (1938), Wm. Dennison (1939), J.C. Catron (1941), James Walters (1942), S.V. Hossour (1946), Ed. Shantz (1946), James Johnson (1946), Don Smith (1948), J.J. Taylor (1948), J.B. Van Horn (1948), R.D. Lewis Sr. (1959).
The years appearing after each of the above names is no indication as to the length of ministry as some years there was not an entry made in the “Year Book” and some of the entries in the baptism register could very well have been the names of the evangelist and not that of a pastor.
The last item of major importance, other than the regular workings of the ministry and evangelistic endeavors, was the erection of a parsonage in the year 1947 upon a lot in Glencoe which had been donated to the church for such a purpose.
This historical look at the Glencoe Christian Church is from a typescript in the files of the Bosworth Memorial Library at the Lexington Theological Seminary, and is used through their kind cooperation.