Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

This Church was organized on May 3rd, 1835, in the home of Brother Andrew Jones on Panther Creek about three or four miles from its present site. Neither the number nor the names of the members who went into the constitution are known as the early records have been destroyed. These members were dismissed from the Rock Spring (Yelvington) Church for this purpose. For nearly five years the members met in private homes as they had no house of worship. Hospitality reigned in those days when neighbors were so distant and the necessities of life were so few and so simple and it was a common practice for the member in whose home the meeting was held to provide a satisfying dinner or supper for the entire congregation.

The Church adopted the name “The United Baptist Church of Jesus Christ, called Pleasant Grove.” After the year 1866 the name is simply “Pleasant Grove.” Brother Andrew Jones was elected as the first clerk of the Church and continued to serve in this office until July, 1853. Elders Thomas Downs and Reuben Cottrell formed the council of recognition at the organization of the Church and Elder Downs was called as the first pastor. He immediately took up his duties with the Church and continued to serve until 1840.

In the year 1839 a great revival prevailed in and around Owensboro as a result of the labors of John L. Burrows. Many members were added to the fellowship of the Pleasant Grove Church and by the year 1841 the membership numbered over 100. Of this number over; one-half of them were negroes. Except for a few who might have been freed by their masters, the majority of the negroes were slaves. They held membership in the Church until the year 1866 when they were organized into a separate congregation known as Little Flock Baptist Church.

As early as 1841 this Church gave of her membership to organize the Fredonia Church in the Bon Harbor hill section of Daviess County. This Church became a constituent member of the Association but later on died out. Curdsville, Birk City (Stanley), Sorgho, and Ash Valley (Walnut Street) Churches were also organized mainly by members from Pleasant Grove. The Sorgho Church was established because of differences that arose outside of the Church as well as inside of it in 1883. The Church has also given of her membership to establish and strengthen the Brushy Fork Church.

Brother B. B. Rafferty was ordained by this Church in July, 1842, and on several occasions served the Church as pastor when none other could be secured. Brother I. R. Allen united with the Church by letter in July1842, from the First Baptist Church in Owensboro by which he had been licensed to preach. He was ordained by the Church in October 1842, and served the Church on two occasions for a period of six years. Brother R. E. Gregory was licensed to preach by the Church in March, 1917, and was ordained in August, 1926.

During the one hundred and eight years of the Church’s history she has been served well by the following pastors and clerks:


Pastor Years
Thomas Downs 1835-1840
John G. Howard 1840-1842
Isham R. Allen 1842-1845
Thomas Downs 1845-1846
Isham R. Allen 1847-1849
Darnell Dowden 1849-1850
John G. Howard 1850-1852
Kinchen G. Hay 1853-1860
John G. Howard 1860-1864
Kinchen G. Hay 1864-1865
J. M. Peay 1865-1870
A. J. Miller 1870-1874
T. M. Peay 1875-1882
A. J. Miller 1882-1883
W. P. Bennett 1884-1889
J. A. Bennett 1889-1902
T. M. Morton 1902-1909
A. N. Couch 1909-1911
J. C. Wyatt 1912
J. A. Bennett 1913
M. J. Cox 1914
O. M. Shultz 1914-1915
B. H. Duncan 1915
G. H. Lawrence 1916-1919
J. A. Bennett 1919-1925
J. W. Poorman 1925-1926
D. Arthur Dailey 1926-1936
J. Alton Morris 1936-1937
R. Cranfill Brown 1937-1939
Wendell R. Rone 1939
None 1940
R. E. Gregory 1941-1943


Clerk Years
Andrew Jones 1835-1853
Joseph Carlin 1853-1861
T. C. Guthrie 1861-1868
W. H. Chatham 1868-1879
Emison Shaw 1879-1912
John L. Pruden 1912-1917
P. H. Williams 1917
J. R. Williams 1917-1919
William F. Shaw 1919-1939
J. M. Pruden 1940-1943

In December, 1839, the Church made arrangements to erect her first house of worship. The site of the building was to be on the farm and near the home of Elder Rafferty not far from Panther Creek and near the old Dugan burying ground. The house was built of yellow poplar logs. In the year 1850 the Church erected a large frame building on the Henderson road on the one acre lot given to the Church by Thomas M. Taylor. The building was not thoroughly completed and ready for occupation until after 1852. The Church began plans to erect a third house of worship in the year 1866. The work was completed in the summer of 1867 and the dedicatory sermon was preached by Dr. J. S. Coleman on September 29, 1867. The brick for this house were made from earth taken from the southeast corner of the lot given by Thomas M. Taylor and were burned on the premises. This two-story structure is still standing and was for many years occupied jointly by the Church and the William H. Winstead Lodge of Masons. The Masons held their meetings upstairs and the Church worshipped downstairs. In the year 1907 the Church made preparation to erect the fourth house of worship. This building was completed in the year 1908 and occupied by the Church. It is a brick structure still in use by the Church and was erected at a cost of about $8,000.00 including the furnishings. The building was not dedicated free of debt until May 30, 1915, with the pastor, O. M. Shultz, preaching the dedicatory sermon.

A Sunday School has been functioning at this Church since the year 1855. The Church has maintained a sound adherence to the Baptist faith. She has repudiated Alien Immersion on three different occasions and has refused to enter the Inter-church World Movement. The Women’s Missionary Society has functioned since 1934 but the Young People’s work has languished after functioning for several years.

The Church first united with the Goshen Association soon after her organization. In 1844 she became a constituent member of the Daviess County Association and has held membership with this body since that time. She entertained the 1845, 1853, 1875, and the 1911 sessions of the Associations.

Source: A History of the Daviess-McLean Baptist Association in Kentucky, 1844-1943. Wendell H. Rone, Messenger Job Printing Co., Inc., Owensboro, Kentucky, 1944.