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MAXINE; Oak Hill Baptist Church predates Civil War

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By Rebecca Roscoe

Oak Hill Baptist Church rests in a bend on Oak Hill Road, surrounded by oak trees –which is how the church received its name.

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A little more than 157 years ago, on April 30, 1856, 35 former members of Three Forks Bacon Creek Baptist Church signed a petition to separate to form Oak Hill Baptist Church.

The 35 charter members were Thomas Hornback, Lydia Hornback, Paul Tucker, Mary Tucker, Susan Tucker, Anderson Tucker, Nancy Tucker, Nancy Brooks, William Brooks, William Brooks Senior, James Brooks, William Steel and wife, Charles Brooks, America Brooks, James Shipp and wife, Dudley H. Brooks, Elizabeth Brooks, Nancy Tucker, Sally Kinkade, Mary Brooks, Bob Hodges and wife, Sam Tucker, Milly Tucker, Sally Brooks, William Hodges and wife, Tom Wilder and wife, Willy Goodman, Obediah Hodge, Elizabeth Hodge, and John Tucker.

First meetings of the then newly formed congregation were held under a cluster of oak trees, prior to meeting in a nearby log schoolhouse, which later became known as Oak Hill School.

A log cabin was then built around the end of the Civil War in 1865 and a frame building followed in 1871.

A history of the church written in 1890 said, “After a large lapse of time when the little band had gathered sufficient strength, with the Presbyterians and the Methodists aiding them they built the log house which is 24x24 feet. In the year 1871, the frame building was erected, which is 38x48 feet and will seat nearly 500.”

As the congregation expanded, a brick building was constructed in 1949 with a parsonage being built in 1959 and a fellowship hall added in 1967.

Creating foundations
“After we moved into our brick building, the frame building was taken down and rebuilt between Upton and Bonnieville known as Bethel Missionary Baptist, which is still in use today,” said Mary Katherine Pennington Puckett, long-term Maxine resident and member of the church.

In the Oak Hill Baptist Church history, the congregation is noted as having also helped start Magnolia Baptist Church and the Lynn Association.

Magnolia Baptist Church was started on Oct. 14, 1893, when 14 Oak Hill Baptist Church members chose to separate and form a new church.

The Lynn Association was a joining of nine local churches that began in 1856.

In addition to helping start these other organizations, Oak Hill Baptist Church maintained a mission, or branch, at Knob Schoolhouse in the 1950s.

The mission began in 1952, when the church bought the property and started using it to hold services, Sunday school, vacation Bible school and revivals.

The property was sold in the late 1950s, after regular services commenced on every Sunday beginning in 1955.

Lasting Traditions
Over the years, Oak Hill Baptist Church has held numerous revivals, the first being recorded in 1874.

The revival was hosted by the second pastor J.P. Bryant and Elder Moses Adkins and lasted 20 days.

In addition to holding revivals, Oak Hill also still holds communion, which was recorded as being started at a service in 1859.

Communion was originally scheduled to take place in September and was then voted to take place in September on an annual basis.

Oak Hill Cemetery
The cemetery located next to the church predates the building of the first church building, having been established in 1860.

The oldest known grave within the cemetery is that of William H. Robertson, which is dated May 2, 1861.

Several Civil War veterans are buried within the cemetery.

Only one of the buried soldiers was a member of a CSA (Confederate States of America) unit, John C. Baily, who served in the Company H third Kentucky Cavalry.

Baily, who was born in 1845, served in the War Between the States as a teenager.

The other four soldiers all served in companies of the Union Army.

Peter Austin Burba served in the Company I 34th Kentucky Infantry, while in his 20s.

Anthony C. Hornback served under Company D 15th Kentucky Infantry, also in his late 20s.

John A. Robinson, another soldier to serve in his teens, was a member of the Company I 37th Kentucky Infantry.

Washington Columbus Sympson served in his late twenties as a soldier in the Company D 15th Kentucky Infantry.

Among the Civil War veterans are Tucker family relatives including Anderson and Nancy Tucker who were among those who helped found Oak Hill Baptist Church, and owned the land that the church and Oak Hill School were built upon.