A History of Morgan Christian Church
According to Deed Book R, page 381 of the Pendleton County Clerk’s Office in Falmouth, Kentucky, Richard Stowers deeded a plot of land on the bank of south fork Licking River to R. K. Stowers, Jeremiah Wills, and William Kirkwood, who, then, were the trustees of the Morgan Christian Church. The deed was recorded February 1, 1862.
William Kirkwood was not only a Trustee of the first church, but was its first minister. He was a blacksmith by trade and lived in back of the church. Rev. Kirkwood married most of the older couples in the community; couples whose children and relatives live in the community today. This church, built first in 1862, was a frame building, and was destroyed by fire in 1883, nothing being saved – except the wonderful spirit of its members. The second building was of brick, constructed the same year the frame building burned. Both of these buildings faced the river. In 1914, the second building was torn down and the present church building was erected. Three pulpit chairs, a marble top table, the communion service, and the pulpit stand are the only things that exist today which were used in the second building. V. W. Wilkerson was pastor at this time. The churches at Morgan and Antioch were the only Christian churches in Pendleton County in 1862.
The officers of the first church were Jerry Wills, W. A. Brann, John Makemson, and Wm. Kirkwood. The officers of the second church were W. F. Minturn, B. F. Hand, J. M. Ewing, Perry Anderson, J. F. Moore, R. L. Thompson, N. Latimer, John Fogle, G. W. Howe, R. H. Ewing, and J. C. Lowe. The present officers are Rosoe Ewing, T. L. Carr, Earl Wallace, Icely Carr, Roy Wilson, Richard Gulick, Clay Carr, Risk Makemson, Alvin Thompson, J. H. Godman, Risk Young, W. A. Cleveland, and W. P. Lowe.
Many of the old family names are carried over in the present generations, as can easily be seen in the memorial windows. Some of the other names which still exist in the community are Howe, Northcutt, Cleveland, Antrobus, and Buskirk.
It would be impossible to list the people who have gone out from this church and this community to become leaders in their fields of work, which includes doctors, lawyers, teachers, educators, nurses and ministers.
If we were to try to recall names of former ministers we would find these listed in the group: Kirkwood, Wills, Jennings, Ducan, Cochran, Webb, Crowley, Wilkerson, Henry, Carter, Heath, Saunders, Cossoboon, Purvis, Huber, Pugh, and Roush.
It was about the turn of the century that the church changed from quarter time services to half time, and then in the ninetieth year of its existence it went on full time. In all of its ninety years it has rendered constant service to the community and to the brotherhood program in general. It has given to Transylvania and the college of the bible. The men’s dormitory at Transylvania bears the name of one of Morgan’s most illustrious men, J. M. Ewing. All of the ministers for all of the three church buildings have come from either College of the bible of Transylvania. This church has also served the other brotherhood institutions of the state by being a living link to Midway, and by giving homes to more than 20 orphans in our church and community.
Ninety years of progress such as this is not only worth remembering, but it presents a challenge to us in the years that are ahead.
The information used for this report was taken from the bulletin for the ninetieth anniversary and homecoming of the First Christian church, Morgan, Kentucky, June 29, 1952. Appreciation is expressed to Mrs. Icely Carr, a member of the Morgan church, for the use of her copy of the bulletin.
by Peter M. Morgan, June, 1952