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Mike Watson: A remarkable Sunday school


From its organization until now there have been about 425 scholars and teachers involved; so that its average attendance has not been large. But this little lighthouse has been sending out its light. From this school in the backwoods, there have gone three ministers of the gospel, one missionary of the American Sunday School Union, one Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, one candidate for Vice President of the United States (Related story by JIM: Adair County writers III: E.L. Dohoney -CM), fifty-six teachers in private and public schools, three members of the Kentucky State Legislature, ten practicing physicians, thirteen merchants, seven lawyers, and one judge. J.A. Wilmore, a noted book dealer of New York, publisher and proprietor of Hitchcock's Analysis of the Bible, was a member of this school. -EXCERPT from this fascinating chapter of Adair County History.
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By Mike Watson
Adair County Historian

From an an old, undated clipping, with notes appended...

When we tell our friends that the American Sunday School Union organizes from 1,600 to 2,000 every year, we are sometimes asked, is this work permanent? Do these schools accomplish such good in the destitute places where they are established?


In answer to these and similar questions we give a brief history of the Big Creek Union Sabbath School, Adair County, Kentucky. It was organized in 1855 by a missionary of the American Sunday School Union and has continued to meet every Sabbath, except eighteen months during the War. In 1865 it was re-organized by our missionary, James Buchanan. This school is in a county district many miles from any railroad, is surrounded by small farms and is still a Union school.

From its organization until now there have been about 425 scholars and teachers involved; so that its average attendance has not been large. But this little lighthouse has been sending out its light. From this school in the backwoods, there have gone three ministers of the gospel, one missionary of the American Sunday School Union, one Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, one candidate for Vice President of the United States, fifty-six teachers in private and public schools, three members of the Kentucky State Legislature, ten practicing physicians, thirteen merchants, seven lawyers, and one judge. J.A. Wilmore, a noted book dealer of New York, publisher and proprietor of Hitchcock's Analysis of the Bible, was a member of this school.

One hundred and fifty scholars from this school, in their youth, united with the church. Only two persons connected with Big Creek Sabbath School have ever been accused of any crime and both were proven to be innocent. But two families in the neighborhood declined to attend the school, and a son from one of these, while on a drunken spree, killed his companion, a member of the other family.

Small schools in the backwoods made noble contributions to the church, the state and the world. This little school is a firm representation of many thousands of others. Sunday School work among the destitute is permanent.

The church in which the Big Creek Union Sabbath School was organized was a brick building located on the Edmonton-Columbia road. It was swept away by a tornado and everything was destroyed except the pulpit and the Bible and pitcher which were on it.

The vice presidential candidate from this this story was Colonel Ebenezer Lafayette Dohoney, who was considered as a front-runner in the Prohibitionist party in the 1880s. He lived at Paris, Texas at that time.

The Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky was James Robert Hindman; he ran with J. Proctor Knott, of Marion County. He also served in the State Legislature and was an energetic attorney in Kentucky most of his adult life.

Reverends Thad Salmon and Mont Murrell were products of this Sunday School, as were Dr. W.T. Grissom, Dr. Edward Nell, Dr. James Nell, Dr. George Taylor and Dr. Quarles Hughes.

James A. Wilmore, Adair County native, was the head of J.A. Wilmore & Company, publishers, located in New York City. One product of this company, still found occasionally by those who know where to look and for what, is Wilmore's New Analytical Reference Bible, 1896. [Not to be confused with James A. Wilmore, native of Gradyville, who attended college at Lexington and practiced law there, and served in the U.S. Army in World War I.]

- MIKE WATSON


This story was posted on 2013-06-20 04:56:16
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