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ton became the county town. In 1782, an Indian was killed not many steps from the spot where one of the churches now stands. A white man was killed by the Indians about the same time in an opposite part of the town. And these were the last deeds of the kind which were done on that soil. The head of the Indian continued on a pole for at least one year after.
A regular Presbyterian Church was organized at Lexington, under Rev. Adam Rankin, sometime in 1784 or 5. On Mr. Rankin's leaving the Presbyterian body in 17 the house which had been erected for a meeting house, with the lot upon which it stood, being an out lot, were claimed and held by him and his adherents. He appears also to have taken along with him the majority of the members of the Church.
A lot adjoining the public square having, however, been purchased by Colonel Patterson and a few others in behalf of the Presbyterian Church, a frame building was erected upon it, perhaps in 1795. The lower floor of this house was laid, and a pulpit built in it, sometime in 1796; and in 1799 the gallery floor was laid, a cupola raised, and a bell hung.
In 1805 and 6 this lot was sold or leased for the benefit of the society, and contracts entered into for building the present house occupied by the First Presbyterian Congregation. This house was opened and the pews let for the first time in the summer of 1808.
The first regular pastor of the First Church was the Rev. James Welch. He appears to have officiated from sometime in 1795, till Oct. 1804, being a period of pine years. He preached only a part of his time in town,
and was obliged to attend first to teaching, and then to the practice of medicine, for the support of himself and family.
The Rey, Robert M. Cunningham, from Georgia, was their second pastor. He commenced bis ministerial labours among them in April or May 1808. He laboured among them faithfully and affectionately, in public and in private, during fourteen years, and had his pastoral connexion with them dissolved by mutual consent, Oct. 11th, 1820. The communicants in 1808 were something under forty; at the time of Mr. Cunoingham's removal they were upwards of one hundred. Their present pastor is Rev. Nathan H. Hall, a native Kentuckian,
The first Presbyterian congregation in Lexington was likely the first congregation in Kentucky which made arrangements to secure regular public worship every Sabbath. Mr. Cunningham, during the whole of his ministrations, preached every third Sabbath to a congregation in the country--but the Rev. James Blythe, who had also a country charge, filled that vacant Sabbath as a stated supply. For four years previous to this arrangement, the only regular stated preaching in town was by Mr. Rankin; and he having also a country congregation, and having many calls and engagements to visit vacancies, and being moreover confined to bis house generally through the winter, did not preach in town in the course of the year more than every 3d Sabbath. Nor was there any place of worship of any kind nearer than three or four miles. Yet the population of the town was in 1808_white persons, 2100-free blacks, 47--slaves, 986--total, 3133.
In 1813 and 14 measures were adopted to build a Second Presbyterian house of worship. This house and the church and congregatiou connected with its were from the beginning, and have all along been the child of Providence. Two thousand dollars, the amount of the subscription at the time, was pledged for the lot upon which the house was to be built. And often, while the building was progressing, did the faith of its most sanguine friends nearly fail. It was opened Sabbath, July 30th, 1815, and the sale of the pews nearly secured the few friends who were bound to the workmen and the bank for the whole expense. Various difficulties of another kind were, however, immediately to be encoun. tered-yet by the good hand of our God upon us, they were removed, or made productive of greater good.*
The Rev. James M'Chord, a sketch of whose life will be found in a following number, was their first pastor. The Rev. John Breckenridge, a native of the county, is their present pastor. The number of the communinicants at the first organization of the church was only tifteen. They are at present upwards of sixty. The audiences bave as yet been far inore frequently under than above one hundred.
* Annual Meeting of Pew Holders of Market Street Church,
July, 1819. Resolved, unanimously, That the cordial thanks of this meeting be presented to Charles Wilkins, esq. Major Alexander Parker, Colonel James Trotter, and Major John Tilford, for the many important services rendered to the society from the laying of the foundation of the church in Mars ket Street to the preseut day..
The establishment was first known by the name of Market Street church and congregation. The pew holders, at their last annual meeting, in remembrance of him for whom chiefly the boase was built, cbanged its name to that of M'Chord's Church.
The Methodists have had a regular society in Lexing: ton for at least twenty-five or thirty years. They first occupied a small frame building. In 1806 or 7 they built on an out lot a very comfortable, though small, brick house, and in 1822 they built a large and conrenient house, near the centre of the town, which is handsomely finished off, and generally well filled every Sabbath. According to the general arrangement of the Methodist connection, they have generally changed their preacher every year. Their present preacher is the Rev. Mr. Light.
The Baptists owned a lot from the first laying off of the town, which is now occupied as a common burying. ground, upon which they had a frame building, which was used for several years as a place of worship. The 'church, however, appears to have been extinct in 1804 or 5, and the building was allowed to go to decay. In 1817 another society of ibat denomination was organ: ized, and in a year or two after a convenient brick building was erected, in which a respectable church and congregation now worship, under the pastoral care of Rev. James Fishback.
The Episcopalians erected a small brick building in 1804 or 5. It was taken down in 1813 or 14, and a large elegant fabric erected in its stead. Since which time they have had regular worship according to the
forms of that church. Their present rector is the Rev. G. Chapman.
Besides à considerable number of Africans who are connected with the Methodists, there are two African churches connected with the Baptists. The First African Baptist Church was collected together fifteen or twenty years ago by old Captain, who died most triumpbantly,' at an advanced age, not a year ago.
The first school for the religious instruction of the Africans was taught in the winter and summer of 1816. It has been continued with very little interruption ever since, though the place of meeting, and teachers, and mode of conducting it, have often been changed.
It is to be added, that we have also a Roman Catholic chapel; and St. John's chapel, occupied by a division of the Methodists. The population of Lexington in 1823, was--whites, 3356-blacks, 1479—making a total of 4835 souls, exclusive of students whose parents did not reside in town. These might be something above 200. Add also, that there is no place of regular worship within four or five miles of town in any direction, and that the population is dense. Say, then, that there are six places of worship open in Lexington every Sab. bath, and that only one half of the population of the town and its vicinity regularly attend some place of worship, each ought to have an assembly of something about five hundred at the very least. What may be the average number of regular worshippers in each church we know not, but we are apprehensive that it is not any thing like five hundred in any one.