South Hampton Baptist Church

This large and influential country Church was organized in the South Hampton School House as a result of the missionary labors of Elders J. P. Ellis and John G. Howard in and adjacent to this community. A meeting was held in the school house in the month of November, 1854, with eleven professions of faith. Of this number seven were baptized into the fellowship of the Yelvington Church.

On January 1, 1855, Elders I. R. Allen, J P. Ells, and John G. Howard constituted a Church on nineteen members who had been dismissed from the Yelvington, Panther Creek, and Owensboro First Churches. The names of the constituent members were as follows:

  • John S. Ford
  • Addison Burton
  • Nancy P. Haynes
  • George Turnbull
  • Sally Ann Wells
  • Mary Horn
  • James Haynes
  • Samuel Horn
  • Martha Horn
  • Virginia B. Ford
  • Maritha Burton
  • John W. Gabbert
  • Mary J. Nevill
  • Thomas S. Morris
  • Nancy Ford
  • James C. Wells
  • Isabella Horn
  • James M. Dawson
  • Judnah N. Gabbert

On the day of the organization the Church elected Elder John G. Howard to serve as the first pastor and Brother John W. Gabbert as the first clerk. Brother James C. Wells was an ordained deacon and he was asked to serve the Church as her first deacon.

The Church became a member of the Daviess County Association the following August and has remained a member to this day. In the years 1864, 1881, 1891, 1905, and 1926, the Church entertained the annual sessions of the body.

No sooner had this Church been organized when she licensed one of her young men to preach the Gospel – we refer to James M. Dawson, who became one of the most outstanding preachers this Association has produced. He was licensed to preach in June, 1855, and was ordained on July 5, 1857, by Elders John G. Howard, I. R. Allen, and A. B. Smith. He served his home Church as pastor from 1861 to 1873, the year of his untimely and lamented death.

The Church seems to have worshipped for some time in a house occupied jointly with the Cumberland Presbyterians and the Methodists. There is no mention in the records of a house of worship until the year 1871 when a movement was started to erect a new house of worship. A building was commenced in the year 1874 but was not entered until August, 1877. The building was of frame material with the following dimensions – 40 by 60 feet. The house cost about $1,600.00 complete and furnished. This building seems to have been near to the old house of worship. In May, 1879, the old house was ordered sold and the proceeds to be used to fence in the new cemetery. This is the present building used by the Church as a house of worship. In the year 1939 the Church completed a full basement under the building and divided it into Sunday School rooms. This work cost about $1,700.00 and was dedicated in December, 1939. In 1941 the present furnace was installed at a cost of $650.00.

Brother James C. Wells was recognized as a deacon at the initial meeting of the Church. In the month of June, 1855, Brother J. S. Ford was ordained to this office. In January, 1879, Brother M. B. Tichenor was recognized as a deacon from Buck Creek Church as he had united with the Church by letter. In March, 1883, Brethren T. L. Kirk and W. H. Dawson were ordained to this office. Brethren Emmett Wells, J. B. Horn, E. C. Lyons, and W. D. Watters were ordained to the deaconship in June, 1887. A. W. Cowherd was recognized as a deacon in August, 1899. Brethren R. H. Ford and Witt Riddle were ordained as deacons in January, 1902. In August, 1911, Brethren J. C. Head, Claude Kincaid, and Spurgeon O. Griffin were ordained as deacons. Brethren Eldred Powers and Kirt Griffin were ordained as deacons in July, 1921. Brother Warden Wells was ordained in January, 1931, and in November, 1940, Brethren Roy Wells, Ernest Baskett, and Johnnie Hale was ordained as deacons to complete up to date the roster of men who have served the Church in this office.

Besides Elder James M. Dawson, this Church has also licensed others in her membership to the work of the ministry. In November. 1873, James H. Williams, a pastor in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, united with the Church by experience and baptism. He was licensed to preach immediately. He later moved his membership and was ordained elsewhere. In August, 1896, Brethren Spurgeon Griffin and Archie D. Tichenor were licensed to preach but there is no record if they were ever ordained.

This Church has enjoyed the pastoral ministrations of the following brethren:


Pastor Years
John G. Howard 1855-1856
J. B. Haynes 1857-1858
John G. Howard 1859-1861
James M. Dawson 1861-1873
W. H. Dawson 1873-1878
R. T. Bruner 1878-1884
B. F. Swindler 1885-1887
L. C. Tichenor 1888-1889
D. J. K. Maddox 1890-1892
E. T. Maddox 1892-1895
E. W. Coakley 1896-1900
T. T. Ratcliff 1901-1903
T. H. Burnett 1904-1905
T. I. Ratcliff 1905-1906
T. M. Morton 1907-1909
M. J. Cox 1909-1913
C. T. Brookshire 1913-1915
O. J. Cole 1915-1917
John Barker 1918-1919
I. B. Timberlake 1920-1923
E. N. Perry 1924
J. H. Winstead 1925-1927
Sankey L. Blanton 1927-1928
George D. Park 1928-1929
E. E. Johnson 1930-1931
C. E. Baucom 1932
Robert E. Lee 1933-1939
B. B. Sawyer 1940-1942
W. L. Yeldel 1942-1943

The following brethren have served this Church in the office of clerk since her organization:


Clerk Years
John W. Gabbert 1855-1866
R. B. Burton 1867-1871
J. M. May 1871-1876
T. E. Griffin 1877
Ira M. Haynes 1877-1879
T. L. Kirk 1880-1884
R. B. Burton 1885
W. D. Watters 1886-1891
J. L. Birkhead 1892-1894
W. H. Davis 1895-1897
Ira W. Haynes 1898-1899
T. Crawford Field 1900-1902
H. A. Birkhead 1903
J. P. Horn 1904
Vard F. Miller 1905
J. L. Birkhead 1906
Herbert Dawson 1907
J. L. Birkhead 1908-1910
J. J. Johnson 1911-1914
Jack Hardin 1915-1916
Silas Bell 1917
Ernest Baskett 1918-1935
Johnnie Hale 1936-1937
Ernest Baskett 1938 to the present time

An unusual event is to be found in the history of this Church in the fact that three of her pastors have died while serving her. We refer to James M. Dawson, E. J. Maddox, and T. M. Morton. In 1877 the Church voted to purchase spittoons and the ladies were to occupy one side of the house and the men the other.

Bro. S. H. Jesse served this Church as Moderator for twenty-five years. In May, 1920. the Church went on record as being opposed to the Inter-Church World Movement and on two occasions has definitely taken her stand as being opposed to Alien Immersions and their reception. Thus she has maintained staunchly the Baptist faith throughout her history and as a result has never been rent by a schism.

This Church has given of her membership to organize the Yellow Creek and Hopewell Churches and has maintained a consistent practice in the support of all the benevolent and missionary work of the denomination. Her present membership is about 185 and at times has numbered well over 200.

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