First Recorded Baptist Preaching in Kentucky

On April 1st 1776 William Hickman and several companions arrived in Harrodsburg Kentucky, and the first recorded Baptist preaching done in Kentucky was by Thomas Tinsley and William Hickman. It was Hickman’s first sermon other than in his home church, and it was evident that the hand of God was upon him. Two years later he was ordained in Virginia and spent eight years of active service there. Though he was not imprisoned during that time, he received his share of rude persecution.

In the summer of 1784, the Hickman family moved permanently to Kentucky, and for the next four years Hickman ministered at every opportunity.  On January 17, 1788, Elder Hickman moved to Forks of Elkhorn, and his soul-winning preaching resulted in the establishing of the Forks of Elkhorn Church, where he pastored until his death in 1834.  He served that church for a period of forty-five years, with the exception of two years, during which period “ he was out of fellowship with the church because of his opposition to slavery ‘as being tolerated by the members of a Baptist society.’ “  During the great revival period of 1800 – 1803, Pastor Hickman baptized over five hundred converts. Thus the poorly educated orphan lad became a faithful servant of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 133-134.


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