HISTORY of the Horse Cave Church of Christ
earliest recorded date we have for the existence of the Church in Horse
Cave, KY is September 15, 1868. Members banded together to draw up a
covenant “to keep house for the Lord.” The Church of Christ shared a
two-story building with the Methodist, Presbyterians and Baptist. The Union
building was located on Church Street. Much to their dismay, the Christians at that time were
often called “Campbellites” by the people in the
The town of Horse Cave was previously known as Caverna as records in 1870 so
The meeting that was
held Sept. 15, 1868 was noted as follows: “Church of Christ meeting at
Horse Cave, Ky.” The purpose of the meeting was to form a covenant for
this young Christian community. The covenant read as follows: “We whose names
are hereunto subscribed do covenant together to keep house for the Lord and
do adopt as the mover of our covenant and the rule of our action, the
writings of the Old and New Testaments to the exclusion of all human
productions as bonds of aversion and commensuration regarding them as
usurpations tending only to the perpetuating of evil".
The history of the
Church before 1868 is perhaps lost due to the passing of time; however,
there is a possibility that the establishment of the Church was influenced
by some of the following factors:
(1). There was
already a congregation established east of Horse Cave in a community known
as Bear Wallow. Edward H. Smith founded the congregation at Bear Wallow.
He preached there on the second Sunday of each month for 48 yrs. He was
well respected and recognized for his many years of service. He gave up
preaching duties in 1890 due to his advanced age, and he died a year later
in March of 1891. A congregation located so close to Horse Cave certainly
could have played a big part in the establishment of the Church in Horse
(2). John Mulkey,
born in South Carolina on Jan. 14, 1773, was later to become a Baptist
preacher following the footsteps of his father, Jonathan Mulkey. It is
reported by W. C. Rogers in his book Recollections of Men of Faith on
page 225 that in the year of 1809 while preaching on the 10th
chapter of John, in the home of William Sims, making one of his strongest
efforts to establish Calvinism, his own argument convinced himself that the
doctrine was false. John would later propose a dissolution of the church,
to which all agreed. John and his followers met together on the third
Saturday in November in the year of 1809, and after prayer, organized a
church on “the Bible alone,” the Bible without human creed, confession of
faith or book of discipline.”
Later a son would
be born to John Mulkey on Feb. 11, 1806 two miles SE of Tompkinsville, KY by
the name of John Newton Mulkey. John N. Mulkey was immersed into Christ
early by Samuel DeWhitt. John preached his first sermon in east Tennessee
about 1831. Again, according to W. C. Rogers’ book on pages 226 and 227 this
account is given: “In the year of 1850, that some of the churches of
Kentucky south of the Green River sent delegates to Glasgow to form a
co-operation of churches, in order to 'call and send' a suitable evangelist
to preach the gospel within their bounds. Then after organizing, the next
business was to inquire, ‘Whom shall we send, and who will go for us?’ And
as all eyes were fixed on Brother Mulkey, they said, ‘Newton Mulkey is the
man’ , and he was unanimously called and sent.” This account is
given only to show that it was possibly the influence of this “great man of
faith” that could have influenced people in and around Hart Co. and Horse
Cave since it is south of Green River. W. C. Rogers in his book
on pg. 221 states that while John was living in Warren Co., he made a visit
to Elder Smith, then residing near Bear Wallow, Hart Co. Ky.
W. C. Rogers in
his book on page 183 gives this account of Barton W. Stone. “Late in the
summer, or early fall of 1821, I accompanied B. W. Stone on a tour to the
southern part of Kentucky embracing, chiefly, the counties of Adair, Barren,
Monroe and perhaps others.” Barton W. Stone with all of his popularity
would certainly make a case for interest in all surrounding areas, including
Hart Co. as well as the city of Horse Cave. When the plea to “speak where
the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent” swept across Ky, the Gospel was somehow introduced to people in and around Horse Cave.
They became simply, “New Testament Christians.” We thank God for the Gospel
and for His Church that was introduced into the lives of those in Horse
Cave. So it seems very possible that there were members of the Church of
Christ in Horse Cave even before the signing of the document mentioned
earlier being signed in 1868, declaring they wanted to be free from the
“doctrines of men”.
The church continued to
worship in the Union building on Church St. until the year of 1885.
Marietta Mustain Waters donated land and a new building was erected on
Guthrie Street in Horse Cave. The church during this period of time would
have rather lengthy meetings. One meeting was held by L. K. Hardin and T. B.
Larimore which lasted 2 months. There were 39 souls added to the Lord’s
church in that effort. The well-known, T. B. Larimore, held several
meetings in Horse Cave between the years of 1902 and 1911. It is reported
that his messages cut to the heart of 74 souls who were converted and
baptized into Christ. Other Meetings were held by R. H. Boll, H.
L. Olmstead, Herbert Hoover in the years 1917--1923.
The first preacher
we have a date for is G. C. Woodson in 1877. The first person to be
converted and baptized in the new building was reported to be Semmie Smith
Carpenter. On Sept. 6, 1936, the name of D. W. Dunagan was submitted to
the elders to be appointed a deacon after first being proved.
during this period of time included: H. L. Olmstead –Sept. 1924 to Aug.
1926; J. Scott Green – Sept. 1926 to Sept 1928; Willis H. Allen – Jan.
1929 to Sept. 1933; C. Barton Laws – Feb. 1934 to Jan. 1935; Homer McClain –
April 1935 to ??; Kenneth Spaulding – Feb. 1837 to abt 1940. The hiring of
Kenneth Spaulding was brought about during a regular meeting on Feb. 7,
1937. Those present were: R. T. Smith, W. F. Murphy, Lige (Elijah) Smith,
David Dunagan and R. L. Mayfield. Bro. Spaulding was to preach at
Horse Cave the first and third Sundays, at Bear Wallow the second Sunday,
and then at Center on the fourth Sunday. Some of the earliest
elders were T. H. Mustain, W. T. Hodgen, J. B. Mustain, J. P. McKay.
T. A. Dunagan, L. E. Comstock, R. T. Smith, J. T. Lafferty, R. L. Mansfield.
The church remained at the Guthrie St. location until about 1940. At
that time, a division occurred because of an effort made for a name change
and some doctrinal changes as well.
THE YEARS 1941--1948
As a result, some 56 members left, and the building is now known as the
Horse Cave Christian Church. They signed a document noting their
displeasure with the introduction of instrumental music and a few other
things. This small and faithful group of Christians continued to meet in
homes for a while until a house was secured at the corner of Guthrie and
Woodlawn Streets in Horse Cave. They continued to worship in this building
until the year 1948, at which time land was purchased from J. H. & Emma
Edwards, both faithful members of the Horse Cave Church of Christ.
THE YEARS 1948 UNTIL NOW
After acquiring the land, a general contractor had to be hired, and the
company of Frank Mouser was selected. The new building was erected at
120 Cave Street and continues to serve as the meeting place for the Church
of Christ in Horse Cave.
preaching at first was done without a “full-time” preacher. Those that did
assist in the beginning would have been Emmett G. Creasy and W. F. Neely.
Sam Steward was the first full-time preacher, followed by Harry Rose, Gene
Embry, Cletus Stutzman, John Shelton, Thomas Eldridge, Delbert Carver,
Carlos Pitts and Daryl Riley.
B. A. Fudge
was hired in 1967, after graduating from Sunset School of Preaching in
Lubbock, TX. He left Horse Cave for 2 yrs. or so and moved to
Louisiana. However, he returned to Horse Cave and decided this was going to
be their home. Beauford will be forever remembered in the history of Horse
Cave for his 32 years of faithful service. Due to health reasons, he
retired in early 2002. Beauford and Peggy are much admired and respected by
the church and community in Horse Cave. They both have now gone home
to be with the Lord.
On April 14,
2002, Wayne Hatcher began work as the new preacher. He is no
stranger to the Horse Cave area having preached at Munfordville just to the
north and Cave City just to the south for several years. We pray
that God will continue to bless His Church in Horse Cave with fruit to His honor
Elders appointed beginning in 1953 were Herbert Edwards (1953-65), Roscoe
Bybee (1953-89), J. H. Edwards (1965-72), Otis Edwards
(1966-96), Truman Russell (1973-88), John T. Thompson (1973-93),
Leon Seaton (1989-92)
Hatcher Adapted and revised from a history done by Billy Bybee
in 1998 and sources noted from W. C. Rogers’ book,
Recollections of Men of Faith