was by far the most influential and effective preacher in South Concord
Association, and became the leader of the missionary party, and, in the new
organization, exerted the measure of his influence in favor of missions.
South Cumberland Association has
shown much interest in home missions, from the time of its constitution, and
has usually kept one or more missionaries employed within its bounds. It has
enjoyed peace, and has had a steady, though not very rapid growth. In 1850, it
numbered 10 churches with 546 members; in 1860, 14 churches with 962 members,
in 1870, 22 churches with 1,610 members; in 1879, 22 churches with s, 708
members, and, in 1883, 24 churches with 1,856 members.
Matthew Floyd was one of the most
popular, beloved, and efficient preachers in Kentucky,
in his generation. His grandfather, Col. Matthew Floyd, came to America
in command of a regiment of British soldiers, in time of the Revolutionary War.
Being in sympathy with the cause of the Colonists, he succeeded in winning his
regiment to his views, during the voyage across the ocean. Accordingly, on
landing at Charleston, South Carolina, he, with his entire command, entered the
service of the United Colonies, and fought on the side of American
independence, during the War. His son, Abraham, who, as was his father, was a
native of Ireland,
came to America
in command of a company in his fatherís regiment, and continued in the service
of the Colonies, during their struggle for liberty. After the close of the War,
Captain Floyd moved to Madison county, Kentucky,
where he followed the occupation of school teaching. He finally moved to Indiana,
where he died, at the age of 104 years.
Matthew Floyd was the son of
Captain Abraham Floyd, and was born in South Carolina,
in the year 1778. In 1796, he migrated with his parents to Kentucky.
He was brought up in the Episcopal church, of which
his parents were devout members He received a common English education,
probably under the tuition of his father, and, in early life, joined the
Methodist society as a seeker. Subsequently, he professed conversion, and
united with a Baptist church near the residence of his parents. Coming home
from the baptizing without having changed his garments, his father was so angry
with him for having joined theBaptists, that he drove him from his house, with his wet clothes on.
However, he continued firm in his new faith. Arriving at manhood, he married
Susannah, daughter of Charles Warren, and settled in Pulaski county,
near the present location of Old White Oak Baptist church. Here he commenced
his long and eminently successful ministry, about the year 1811. White Oak
church was probably the fruits of his first labors in the gospel. He was called
to the pastoral charge of this organization about the time of its constitution,
and served it with great acceptance, about 51 years. He also served with equal
acceptance the churches at Monticello,
New Salem, Big Spring and Beaver
Creek, all in Wayne county. The churches he served belonged to the old Cumberland
River fraternity, till that body became so
large as to render attendance on its meetings inconvenient. In 1825, Mr.
Floyd's charges, with seven other churches, entered into the constitution of
South Concord Association. Mr. Floyd had now become the leading minister in the
His great popularity was evinced in his being elected Moderator of the new
Association, seventeen years in succession. Meanwhile, he preached the
introductory sermon before the body, as often as three times in succession.
Soon after the constitution of
the General Association, in 1837, the subject of missions began to agitate
South Concord Association, and there are good reasons for believing that it
would have followed the example of Stocktons Valley,
in declaring unanimously against missionary operations, had it not been for the
influence of Mr. Floyd, who exerted his entire energies in favor of missions.
The opposition in the Association had a small majority, including all the
preachers of any considerable influence, except Mr. Floyd, whose personal
popularity still gave him the moderatorship. But it
became manifest to him, that the two parties could not live together in peace.
His prudence secured a peaceable and orderly separation, by the dismissal of
the missionary churches, by letter. He immediately secured the calling of a
convention of these churches,
and South Cumberland River was constituted, in 1842. He
had been Moderator of South Concord from its constitution, and he was now
elected Moderator of South Cumberland River Association, a position he
continued to occupy, until his death, a period of 21 years.
Besides his pastoral labors, Mr.
Floyd preached abundantly among the destitute in Wayne, Pulaski and Russell
counties, during his entire ministry of 52 years. He is believed to have been,
at least, one of the first missionaries employed by the General Association in
his part of the Sate. His success in the ministry was extraordinary, and he
baptized a great many people. He was a wise man in council, as well as an efficient
laborer in the field. But his work was finished at last, and, on the 19th of August, 1863, he answered
the summons to come up higher. His son, John W. Floyd, entered the ministry and
labored in that capacity for a time, but, anon, yielded to the temptation that
has destroyed the usefulness of many of the preachers in the mountain counties
-- the practice of physic.
John Keith was a pious,
unassuming minister in this Association. He was born in Virginia,
July 25, 1778, moved to Kentucky,
in 1812, and united with First Liberty church. In 1842, he went into the
organization of Coopers Delight church. He labored in the ministry, about 48
years. From his home in the south-east corner of Pulaski county,
the Master called him to his home, above, Feb. 13, 1875.
was one of the most active and useful ministers of this fraternity. He was born
in what is now Russell county, November
17, 1817. At the age of 17, he was baptized by Wm.
Smith for the fellowship of Welfare church. In 1847, he was ordained to the
ministry, and, from that time till his death, devoted himself with great zeal
to the duties of his holy calling. He was a fair preacher, a fervent exhorter,
and an excellent singer. His time was devoted principally to the work of a
missionary and an evangelist. He rode nine years as missionary, under the
appointment of South Cumberland River Association. As a revivalist, he was
never excelled in his field of labor. During his ministry, he baptized over
2,300 people. He died on the field of labor, twenty miles from his home, December 30, 1875, leaving a wife and five
children, all of whom were members of a Baptist church.
Morgan Blair was also a useful
and zealous preacher in this Association. He was born in Cumberland
December 25, 1814. At two years old,
he was taken by his parents to Russell county, where
he lived the remainder of his days. At the age of 16 years, he joined Union
church, and was ordained to the ministry, January 6, 1849.
For nearly 20 years, he labored successfully in the Master's vineyard. He was
called to his reward, December, 21,