In the History of the Bethabara Baptist Church of Habit, Kentucky, published in 1925, we find the following account recorded:
”In 1885 a committee was appointed to secure a building at or near the village of Philpot. Ky., in which to hold a mission meeting. This committee reported that no suitable building could be secured whereupon it was decided to build a mission chapel in that vicinity. The idea was spread abroad in the community which resulted in the cooperation of the Whitesville, Macedonia, and South Hampton Baptist Churches in the enterprise. A lot was purchased and a house built, the building committee making their final report in May, 1888. Services were kept up for a time and later the members of these various churches living in the community of the mission took letters of demission from their churches and organized a Church to which they gave the name Hopewell.”
Thus in these brief words we have the motive for organizing the Church and the Churches that sponsored the move. Bro. Richard Barker gave one-half of the lot and the Churches purchased the other half for the sum of $10.00. Services were held in this small but convenient building until Hopewell Church was organized on October 24, 1894. Thus we see that for a period of about six or seven years religious services were held in the community but there was no regularly organized church but merely the gathering together of the members of other churches for religious worship and edification in the Gospel of Christ.
From the 1895 report of the District Mission Board of the Daviess County Baptist Association we learn that Elder W. D. Cox, the missionary employed by the Board, held a revival meeting in a tent owned by the Association from October 15th through the 24th, 1894. The tent was located about one mile east of the present location of the church. On the last day of the meeting, the 24th of October, Bro. Cox organized a church with forty-seven members. The following preachers were present and formed the council of recognition: Elders B. F. Swindler, B. F. Jenkins, E. J. Maddox, W. H. Dawson, W. D. Cox, and others whose names are unknown. Elder Cox came back and held another meeting with the Church in December and January following. There were thirty-two conversions and forty-nine additions to the new Church as a result of this meeting. Thus in a very short time the membership of the Church climbed to ninety-six.
The Church received its name in the following manner: While the members were trying to decide a name to give to the new Church one of the brethren arose, L. W. Tichenor, and said, “Let us call it Hopewell, for we certainly do Hope-It-Well.”
As the records for the first thirteen years have been lost or destroyed it is difficult to ascertain just what occurred in that intervening time. As far as can be learned Elder Cox was called to serve as the first pastor but he was able to serve but a short time because of the great need in the missionary work of the Association. He served the Church until April, 1895, and resigned to continue mission work within the bounds of the Association.
The Church was admitted into the fellowship of the Association at the 1895 meeting held with the First Baptist Church in Owensboro. She was received along with the Old Buck Creek, Delaware Creek, and Drakesboro Churches. She has continued as a member of the body to the present time. Brethren E. P. Speed, W. H. Gabbert, and J. N. Adcock were her first messengers elected to represent her in the Association.
Since her organization the Church has been served by the following pastors and clerks:
|W. D. Cox||1894-1895|
|W. H. Bruner||1895-1896|
|W. D. Cox||1896-1898|
|D. E. Yeiser||1898-1902|
|J. T. Taylor||1902-1903|
|L. H. Voyles||1903-1904|
|J. W. Bristow||1905|
|M. J. Cox||1908-1909|
|B. F. Jenkins||1913-1915|
|H. S. Wiggington||1917-1920|
|J. C. Craig||1921-1923|
|H. M. Brown||1923-1927|
|H. H. Hargrove||1928|
|J. H. Chissom||1928-1930|
|H. M. Brown||1930-1933|
|Wendell H. Rone||1937-1940|
|J. L. Henderson||1940|
|V. A. Moss||1940-1941|
|Willard B. Watts||1942-1943|
|C. C. Gabbert||1894-1897|
|T. W. Taylor||1898|
|E. C. Jones||1899-1901|
|O. E. Gilmore||1910-1916|
|W. V. Lewis||1920|
|O. E. Gilmore||1921-1922|
Bro. W. H. Gabbert was one of the first deacons of the Church as was Bro. J. N. Adcock. Who the others were in the thirteen year period of lost records will probably never be determined. Brethren Tom Barker, Joe Sinnett, and Eugene C. Jones were ordained in June, 1907. Brother Earl Sublett was ordained in June, 1909. Brother O. E. Gilmore was ordained in October, 1910. Brother Sylvester Dickens was ordained in September, 1914, along with Brother Henry Bailey. In April, 1924, Brethren Ules Griffin, David Jones, and Otis Sublett were ordained. Brother Ollie McPherson was ordained in March, 1931. Brethren Charlie Carter and Erroll Miller were ordained in December, 1942.
The Church has had a functioning Sunday School all during her history. For several years, owing to the bad roads in the winter months, the school did not meet. Training Union work has been sponsored by the Church since about 1924 and this Church now has one of the most efficient Training Unions among the Churches of the Association. The Women’s Missionary Society has done effective work during the past several years also.
The Church worshipped in the old mission building until the year 1920 when the present building was completed and entered, in January, 1921. Dissension arose in the membership which seriously crippled the work for some time. The Church indebtedness was finally paid, after a very trying struggle, in June, 1923, and on the Third Sunday in May, 1924, Rev. Arthur Holland preached the dedicatory sermon. The total cost of the new building was about $2,700.00. The building is in a good state of repair and should serve this congregation for many years to come.
During her history of almost fifty years the Church has contributed almost $3,000.00 to missionary causes alone. Over 350 people have been baptized into her fellowship upon a profession of faith in Christ and the Church has given over $27,000.00 to all causes both at home and abroad. Thus it is to be seen that this little Church is both missionary and evangelistic in her ministry. Her membership has never been large owing to the fact that her field is limited. The highest ever reached was about 135. She has also given of her membership to help constitute Karn’s Grove Church in 1898, and the Dawson Church at Philpot in the year 1905. Since the year 1938 the Church has enjoyed half-time preaching. The author counts it a privilege and honor to have begun his ministry with this Church in 1937.
Source: A History of the Daviess-McLean Baptist Association in Kentucky, 1844-1943. Wendell H. Rone, Messenger Job Printing Co., Inc., Owensboro, Kentucky, 1944.