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Born: 1680 in Argyll, Argylishire Parish, Scotland

Married: Mary Elizabeth Fields

Died: after 1764 in Lunenburg County, Virginia

Buried: Brunswick County, Virginia

Argyll on the left Scotland in proximity to England

Commencing officially in 1707, Scotland was part of the United Kingdom, with the monarchy based in England.

Conflict between the Roman Catholic Church and the rise of Protestantism continued to rage during the 17th and early 18th centuries. There was no separation of church and state; therefore, to refuse to worship as either a Catholic or a Protestant (according to the denomination of the king/queen) could be considered treason. Those who desired freedom to worship as they pleased were forced to consider immigrating to the new world. As we shall see, from the beginning, the human tendency to force others to act and believe in accordance with orthodoxy raised its ugly head in the colonies.

Once in America, many of the immigrants continued their migratory journey, searching for freedom from the puritanical tendencies of the early Protestant churches.




Born: around 1698 in Scotland

Died: 1763 in Lunenburg County, Virginia

Mary Elizabeth was the daughter of Matchett & Elizabeth (Betsy) Rhodes Fields. Matchett was the son of Bartholomew Fields; Elizabeth the daughter of Joseph Edward Rhodes.

It is believed that Stephen married Mary Elizabeth Fields in 1716 in Scotland. This would mean that around age 36 Stephen returned to Scotland to marry Mary Elizabeth and brought her back to America with him. This is entirely possible; however, it needs further verification. If the birth year we have for Stephen is correct, he was age 12 when his family immigrated to the colonies. If Mary Elizabeth’s birth year is correct, Stephen left Scotland 6 years before her birth. The marriage would have to be an arranged one, which again is not out of the question for 18th century Scotland. It would, however, indicate that the families were well off financially.

Deed Book 3, Page 165 – 8/4/1747 – mentions an earlier 446 acres land grant in Brunswick County, Virginia made to Stephen Caudle from the King’s Office. Stephen Caudle appears to have settled in Brunswick County, Virginia following his immigration to the colonies.

On 8/10/1759, Stephen Caudle was granted another land patent of 400 acres in Lunenburg County, Virginia.

During the early days of colonization, it was not unusual for an individual to own land in several counties or states. They did not necessarily live on the land themselves, although land given by the royal/colonial government via grants was for the purpose of creating a residence and to be worked by the owner or tenants.

Lunenburg County, Virginia Deeds

Deed Book 6, 1760-61, Pages 339-341 – 1/31/1761 – Stephen Caudle to Nathaniel Laffone, both of Lunenburg County, 10 lbs for 100 acres … Lunenburg County branch of Great Creek … part of Caudle’s 400 acres patented on 8/10/1759. Witnesses: Joseph Parrish, James Dicks, & Thomas Harding. Signed: Stephen (S) Cordl … Received 2/3/1761.

Deed Book 9, Pages 434-436 – 11/28/1763 - Stephen Caudle to William Gallemore, both of Lunenburg County … 100 lbs for 200 acres in Lunenburg County, Great Creek …adjoining Thomas Harding, Matthew Laffoon, & Nathaniel Laffoon. Witnesses: Nathaniel Laffoon, Matthew Laffoon, & Thomas Harding. Signed: Stephen (S) Caudle & Mary (X) Caudle. Received: 4/12/1764

[Mary’s signature along with her husband’s indicates a portion or all of this land is included in the dower legally reserved for the wife’s use following her husband’s death. At age 84, Stephen appears to be preparing for his and Mary’s death.]


Most families will demonstrate the handing down of given names generation after generation. The mother’s surname is often honored by becoming the middle name of her descendants. Therefore, the fact that we find many of the following names among Benjamin and Absalom Caudle’s children is a good indication that we are here dealing with the Caudles of Anson County’s ancestors, even though verification is more difficult prior to census reports.


Born: around 1720 most likely in Brunswick County, Virginia

Married: Mary Yarborough on 1/1/1749 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. They had 11


Died: 5/30/1820 in Roaring River, Wilkes County, North Carolina

James fought in the Revolutionary War. In payment for his military service, he was granted 95 acres of land by the newly created United States Congress. The land was located in what is now Big Cowan, Kentucky—still a part of Virginia at the time of the grant. James’ son, Stephen, (also a soldier in the Revolutionary War) is buried in a family cemetery located near Blackie, in Letcher County, Kentucky.

James appears not to have settled on the land granted to him in Kentucky. Instead, in 1784, he followed some of his children across the Virginia border into Rowan County, North Carolina and purchased a 180 acre farm. Later he moved to the Roaring River section of Old Wilkes County, North Carolina, where he brought a 250 acres farm on Middle Creek Fork of Roaring River.

Source: Collins Family Notes on

Some researchers believe James became minister of Old Roaring River Baptist Church in Wilkes County, N.C. In reading the minutes of this church, I think it more likely that he was a lay minister, if a minister at all. The actual minutes of Old Roaring River Baptist Church gives us a very realistic glimpse into the workings of church presbyteries during colonial days. We can see the stern role played by the churches in the lives of parishioners. Lack of education was prevalent, especially in rural areas. I include additional portions of these minutes at the end of this chapter.



Minutes of The South Fork of (Old) Roaring River Baptist Church, Wilkes Co., N.C. copied from original records by Mr. & Mrs. Stratton O. Hammon, Louisville, Ky. (All spelling is copied as it was.)

I, Nancy Detweiler, add my explanatory comments in brackets.

Satterday ye 12th of July. The church seting in order Bro. Thomas Morgan & Sister Morgan joind by letter also Bro. James Caudill joind by experience. [James Caudill, Sr. joins the church by "letter," having had the experience of church membership elsewhere.]

Satterday ye 11th of August. The church seting in order Bro. Samuel Stansel came in and made a recantation to the church and the church received into their fellowship and under their watchcare as he was before. Also the church delt with Bro. James Caudill for saying he red three chapters by head and that he thought he could read the Testament through without the Book, and that he retaind that notion for near a twelve months, the church could not disprove, & so concluded to lay it over and look to the Lord and try to get better satisfid. [Brother Samuel Stansel voices his repentance and the church votes to allow him to once more be an active member in good standing.] [Our ancestor, Brother James Caudill, Sr. claims he can repeat three chapters of the Bible by memory and that he believes he could recite the Testament by memory. He has maintained this claim for the past 12 months. The church could not disprove his statement, so it decided to take the problem to the Lord for guidance.]

Satterday the 8th of September. The church seting in order chose deligates go to the sosiation at Bro. Martins church the first Friday in November, to wit, Bro. Thomas Larrence, Bro. Ambrose Hamon, Bro. John Turner. As also the church recevd Bro. James Caudle into fellowship and he was baptised. [The church selects delegates to go to the Association Meeting. It also receives Brother James Caudle (James, Jr.) into fellowship and offers him baptism.]

Satterday the 13th of July. The church setting in order examined Sister Huldah Wyatt concerning the dispute between she & Bro. Rise and the church thought her clear. Also Sister Mary Caudill joind by experience & Baptism. NB The deligates met at Mitchells River according to appointment and they gave Bro. Talefarrer to that church as a transgressing member. [The church settles a dispute between members. Sister Mary Caudill joined the church by experience (letter or statement that she has been a member in good standing of another church) and was baptized by immersion whereas she must have been baptized the 1st time by sprinkling … Baptist doctrine requires immersion. The church also gave one of its members to another church as a "transgressing" member—one who has failed in some way to abide by Roaring River’s standards for membership.]

Satterday the 12th of August the church setting in order Bro. Larrance & Bro. Johnson acquainted the church that the Hollow Church gave up Bro. Hamon to attend our munthly meetings. So the church fell to work about a Deacon sot Bro. Sparks forward to do the work of a Deacon. Bro. Christerpher Maner Joind the church by letter. The church thought proper to deny James & Mary Caudill fellowship for telling of big storys such as the church could not credit and then refusing to hear the church. Also Sister Rachel Tomson applyd to the church for dismission & it was granted. Also Bro. Gipson Maner & Sister Sarah his wif joind the church by letter. [James and Mary Caudill are denied fellowship (a slightly lesser penalty than excommunication) for claiming that James can recite three chapters of the Bible by memory and that he believes he could recite the entire Testament by memory. Since the church cannot "credit" or prove this claim and James & Mary refuse to hear the church’s reasoning, they are no longer allowed to participate in the services/fellowship. Sister Rachel Tomson applied for dismission (a letter of recommendation to another church, likely in another county or state, as people were quickly moving West in the 18th century.]





Born: 1763 in Lunenburg County, Virginia

Military Service: Private in the Revolutionary War

Married: 1st marriage to Jane DeHart on 4/3/1784

2nd marriage to Sarah Adams around 1791

Died: 7/26/1839 in Sandlick, Perry County, Kentucky

Buried: Watty Caudill Cemetery, near Whitesburg in Letcher County, Kentucky

Source: Watty Caudill Cemetery Website

Stephen’s presence in Wilkes County, North Carolina, is evident in the following deeds—whether he is visiting his siblings or actually lived there for a period of time.

Deed Book C-1, Page 479 - ___ 23, 1803 – Wilkes County, N.C. - Stephen Caudill served as a witness for David Caudell along with James Caudill and William Caudill.

Deed Book G-H, Page 376 – 2/22/1805 – Wilkes County, N.C. - Several members of the Caudill family are listed in this deed: Jeremiah, Abner, Benjamin, David, James, Jesse, Matthew, Stephen, Thomas, and William Caudill.

In 1810, Stephen helped organize Indian Bottom Baptist Church in Letcher County, Kentucky. In 1820, he was involved in the creation of Ovenfork Baptist Church, also in Letcher County, Kentucky. Source:



Tombstone in the Watty Caudill Cemetery near Whitesburg, Kentucky


Children of Stephen & Sarah Adams Caudill

(1) Jesse Caudill

Born: 11/10/1818 in Harlan County, Kentucky

Married: Mary "Polly" Back, daughter of Henry & Susanna Maggard Back, on

April 4, 1844.

Died: 1904

Buried: Watty Caudle Cemetery, Letcher County, Kentucky

Tombstones in Watty Caudill Cemetery, Letcher County, Kentucky






Children of Jesse & Mary "Polly" Back Caudill

(a) Susanna Caudill

Born: 1/1850

Married: Stephen Roberts

Died: 2/27/1920

Buried: Watty Caudill Cemetery, Letcher County, Kentucky

(b) Nancy Caudill

Born: 12/9/1853

Married: James Dixon Caudill

Died: 1/6/1915

Buried: Watty Caudill Cemetery, Letcher County, Kentucky

(c) Easter Caudill

Born: 12/17/1859

Married: Johnny C. Brown

Died: 11/8/1882 at age 23

Buried: Watty Caudill Cemetery, Letcher County, Kentucky

Easter was the 1st of Johnny C. Brown’s seven wives.

(d) David J. Caudill

Born: 12/21/1860

Died: 7/15/1882 at age 22

Buried: Watty Caudill Cemetery, Letcher County, Kentucky

(e) John Maggard Caudill


Married: Susanna Hampton, daughter of Wilburn & Phoebe Caudill Hampton

(f) Watson (Watty) Caudill


Married: Rachel Hampton, daughter of Wilburn & Phoebe Caudill Hampton

(g) Benjamin Caudill


Married: Terry Hampton, daughter of Wilburn & Phoebe Caudill Hampton

Elizabeth Caudill

Born: 6/18/1800 in Letcher County, Kentucky

Married: John Q. Brown

Died: 11/11/1881 in Letcher County, Kentucky

Buried: Watty Caudill Cemetery, Letcher County, Kentucky



Born: around 1753 in Lunenburg County, Virginia

Military Service: Revolutionary War

Married: Mary Adams (thought to be a twin sister of Sarah Adams, who married

James’ brother, Stephen).

Died: 5/30/1840 in Letcher County, Kentucky

According to Clayton R. Cox in his Appalachia Crossroads, following the Revolutionary War, James, Jr, moved to South Carolina. He returned to Wilkes County, N.C. for a time before moving on to Letcher County, Kentucky.

Wilkes County, North Carolina Deeds


Deed Book C-1, Page 242 – 2/23/1795 – Between George Payne & James Caudell, Jr. … 40 lbs for 200 acres … Roaring River. Witnesses: Turner Hampton, Francis Hardgrave, & Thomas (X) Jines (Joines?). Signed: George (X) Payne.

Deed Book C-1, Page 243 – 2/23/1795 – Between George Payne & James Caudell, Jr. … 20 lbs for 50 acres … School House Branch … Roaring River. Witnesses: Turner Hampton, Francis Hardgrave, & Thomas (X) Jines (Joines?). Signed: George (X) Payne.

Child of James Caudill, Jr. & Mary Adams Caudill

Henry Caudill

Married: Phoebe Strailer

Child of Henry Caudill & Phoebe Strailer

(a)Phoebe Caudill

Born: 1819 in Letcher County, Kentucky

Married: Wilburn Hampton

Died: 1914 in Kentucky


Children of Phoebe Caudill & Wilburn Hampton

Susanna Hampton

Married: John Maggard Caudill

Terry Hampton

Married: Benjamin "Paw Paw" Caudill

Rachel Hampton

Married: Watson "Watty" Caudill


Refer to end of this chapter to read portions of the history of Indian Bottom Church, which the Caudills in Letcher County, Kentucky helped to establish.


Born: around 1757 in Lunenburg County, Virginia

Died: 5/5/1848 in Simpson County, Kentucky

Thomas is listed in at least one Wilkes County, N.C. deed – Deed Book G-H, on Page 376 and dated 2/22/1805. According to Appalachia Crossroads, following the Revolutionary War, Thomas moved to South Carolina and from there to the western part of Kentucky.




Born: around 1760 in Lunenburg County, Virginia

Married: Sarah Webb

Following the Revolutionary War, Matthew moved to South Carolina, then returned to Wilkes County, N.C.

In 1805, Matthew is mentioned on Page 376 of Deed Book G-H on 2/22/1805 as being present in Wilkes County, N.C. By 1808, we see evidence in the following deed of Matthew purchasing a plantation located on 100 acres of land in Wilkes County, N.C.

Deed Book G-H, Page 52 – 5/21/1808 – Between Matthew Caudel & Joel Stamper … 50 lbs. for 100 acres … one fork Roaring River … Randal Fugit’s line … including plantation where Matthew Ramsy formerly lived. Witnesses: James (X) Webb, Jacob Adams, & Pashants (X) Fugit. Signed: Matthew Caudill.


Eventually, Matthew follows his brother (James, Jr.) to Letcher County, Kentucky. (Source: Appalachia Crossroads)



Born: around 1775 in Wilkes County, N.C.

Married: Jane Adams, the daughter of Spencer Adams

Buried: Both Abner & Jane Caudill are buried in the Caudill Cemetery below the Bethany Ford Bridge on the East side of Roaring River in Wilkes County, N.C.

Abner is found in Wilkes County, N.C. as evidenced in several deeds. According to Appalachia Crossroads, Abner remained in Wilkes County after his brothers migrated west.

Deed Book G-H, Page 376 – 2/22/1805 – Wilkes County, N.C. – Abner Caudill is mentioned in the deed.

Deed Book G-H, Page 29 – 3/17/1808 – Wilkes County, N.C. – Abner Caudill served as a Witness.


Born: around 1722 most likely in Brunswick County, Virginia

Married: Sarah ______

Sampson and Sarah Caudle had at least one son, John—mentioned in three of the Deed Abstracts listed below. Sampson is actively present in Brunswick County, Virginia, as evidenced by the following deed abstracts:


Deed Book 3, Page 165 – 8/4/1747 – Stephen Caudle of St. Andrew’s Parish in Brunswick County to Sampson Caudle of same … 5 shillings. A one year lease for 146 acres, which was part of the 446 acres grant from the king’s office, the said 146 acres being marked.

Deed Book 3, Page 166 – 8/5/1747 – Sampson Caudle … release from above one year lease.

Deed Book 6, Page 209 – 11/28/1758 – Sampson Caudle to John Caudle … 50 acres.

Deed Book 6, Page 443 – 7/25/1761 – Joshua Draper of St. Andrew’s Parish in Brunswick County to John Caudle of said parish … 30 lbs. for 50 acres joining the head of Red Oak Race Grounds at Hubbard Quarters or Caudles or Quarles line, a small branch, said Draper’s spring branch, Sampson Caudle, Davis, Williams, my line. Proved 7/27/1761.

Deed Book 7, Page 514 – 3/9/1762 – Sampson Cordle, planter, & his wife Sarah of St. Andrew’s Parish to William Dowsing … 60 lbs. for 96 acres on lower side of Rocky Run, joining said Sampson Cordil and his son John, Draper, Quarles (being the line formerly made between said Sampson Cordil & Stephen Cordil). Witness: Richard Caudle.

Deed Book 7, Page 85 – 3/22/1762 in Brunswick County, Virginia – bond of Sampson Cordil and Richard Cordil unto William Dowsing, for 500 lbs, on condition of the relinquishment of the right of dower of Sarah Cordil to the 96 acre tract. Witnesses: Hugh Williams, Robert Cheek. Bond proved in court on 3/22/1762 by the oath of witnesses.



Born: ____________ most likely in Brunswick County, Virginia



Richard is living in Brunswick County in 1757, as evidenced in the following Brunswick County Deed Book.

Deed Book 6, Page 81 – 2/22/1757 – James Renn of Sussex County to Richard Caudle of Brunswick County … 25 lbs. for 200 acres.

Richard serves as Witness for his parents Sampson & Sarah and his brother, John in Brunswick County Deed Book 7, Page 514.





Born: around 1724 in Lunenburg County, Virginia

Married: Elizabeth Pruitt

Died: _________ most likely in Wilkes County, N.C.


William & Elizabeth had at least one son, Jeremiah. He is listed as a Witness in Deed Book G-H, Page 376 – 2/22/1805 – in Wilkes County, N.C.


Born: around 1779 in Wilkes County, N.C.

Military Service: War of 1812

Married: Sarah Jane (Sallie) Adams, born 12/26/1787

Died: around 1829 in Wilkes County, N.C.

Buried: Joines Cemetery near Traphill in Wilkes County, N.C.

Deed Book G & H, Page 412 – 12/12/1808 in Wilkes County – William Hampton to Jeremiah Caudill … 140 acres on Graves Creek adjoining Joseph Congo’s old line, William Cornelious, & J. Gouze. Witnesses: Y. Allen, Henry Yarrald.

Deed Book M, Page 360 – 1830 in Wilkes County, N.C. – Joel Vannay, sheriff of Wilkes County, sells land of Jeremiah Caudill deceased to Jesse Caudill for debt to George Massey and Robert Martin … 75 acres on Roaring River adjoining James Caudill. Witness: Thomas A. Tomlinson.


The William Caudill mentioned in several of the Wilkes County Deeds may have been William & Elizabeth’s son. William, Sr. would have been in his 80s at the time of the deed transactions, although he could certainly have been active as a Witness.

Deed Book C-1, Pages 275-276 – 1/7/1801 – Between Israel Walters & William Caudill … 19 lbs. for 100 acres … south fork Roaring River … Morgan’s line … Burris’ line … including plantation where Israel Walters now lives. Witnesses: Joshua Billings & Ralph Holbrook. Signed: Israel (X) Walters.

Surely the above deed represents William, Jr. since he is purchasing a plantation on 100 acres of land in Wilkes County, N.C.


Born: around 1730 in Brunswick County, Virginia

Married: Mary Elizabeth Adams

Military Service: in some type of militia leading up to the Revolutionary War

Died: before 1776 when the Revolutionary War was officially declared by the colonies’

Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.

See chapter entitled "Benjamin Caudill" for further information.




Born: around 1732 in Lunenburg County, Virginia

Married: Elizabeth Buckner

Elizabeth may have been from the part of Anson County that became Rowan in 1753. There is also evidence of an association between the Caudill and Buckner families.

Deed Book 14, Page 532 – 9/25/1794 in Rowan County indicates a David Buckner and his wife Priscilla, a Buckner Caudoll, Benjamin Buckner, and John Buckner present in this county. David Buckner is selling Benjamin Cordle, both of Rowan County, 65 acres of land located on the Yadkin River.

Deed Book 19, Page 20 – 11/24/1802 in Rowan County – Benjamin Caudle to Avery Buckner … 57 acres on south side of Yadkin River adjoining Benjamin Buckner, Smith, Deadman, & Avery Buckner. Witnesses: Solomon Banks, Samuel Johnson, & John Collins.

Isham and his wife Elizabeth appear to be moving southwest. We see them in Granville County, N.C. by 1769.

Deed Book J, Page 146 – 2/15/1769 – James Caudle of Granville County, N.C. sells Isom Caudle of same county 100 acres on Tar River adjoining Jones. Witnesses: James Willis, Littleton Mapp.

Deed Book L, Page 187 – 8/15/1777 – Isham Cordill to Thomas Bradford, both of Granville County, N.C. … 100 acres on south side of Tar River adjoining Jones land. Same land as in the above deed. Isham’s wife Elizabeth also takes part in the sale.

Witnesses: Thomas Veasos (?), William Burford, and Robert Allison.

The fact that Isham’s wife, Elizabeth, took part in the above sale indicates that her dower land was included. Legally, she must agree to the sale of her dower and sign the deed. It appears Isham and Elizabeth are selling all of their land in Granville County in preparation to migrate southwest to Chatham County, N.C. In 1784, Isham received a land grant in Chatham County, N.C.

Deed Book D, Page 45 – November 1784 - a North Carolina land grant is given to Isham Caudle.

Deed Book H, Page 227 – 4/28/1790 - Isham Caudle to Ely Howard … 300 acres on Little Beaver Creek. Witnesses: Allen Utley, Dempsey Taylor.

Deed Book G, Page 331 – Nov. 1794 - Isham Caudle to John Richardson … 50 acres on Little Beaver Creek. Witnesses: William Hudson, George Richardson.



Buckner is very likely the son of Isham & Elizabeth. His given name "Buckner" could be his mother’s maiden name.

Deed Book 10, Page 174 – 12/10/1792 in Orange County, N.C. – Buckner Caudell to Titus Atwater … 100 acres. Buckner Caudell lives in Chatham County, N.C. Land is on Terell’s Creek Chatham County line and adjoining Peter Shroud on the north. Witnesses: William Myrick, Moses Atwater.


Born: around 1734 in Lunenburg, Virginia

By the early 1800s, we find evidence that David has moved to Wilkes County, N.C. Through these deeds, we can see several members of the Caudill family active in Wilkes County, N.C.

Deed Book C-1, Page 479 - ___/23/1803 – Between John Oaks Johnson & Theophilius Johnson … & David Caudell, Rowan County, N.C. … $200 for 150 acres at Middle fork Roaring River where Henry Johnson’s line joins river … connecting line between Sabret Choat & said Johnson … Little Creek. Witnesses: Stephen Caudill, James Caudill, & William Caudill. Signed: John Oaks Johnson & Theophilius Johnson.

Deed Book G-H, Page 338 – 3/10/1812 – David Caudill to Benjamin Adams … 50 acres adjoining James Caudle and Benjamin Adams. Witnesses: Benjamin Adams, Benjamin Caudel.

Deed Book K, Page 2 – 11/30/1816 in Wilkes County – Stephen Caudill to David Caudill … 140 acres for $5 on Harris Creek of Roaring River. David Caudill now lives on the place. Witnesses: Thomas Jones, Elizabeth Walker.


Born: around 1736 in Lunenburg County, Virginia


Born: around 1738 in Lunenburg County, Virginia










The 1810 U.S. Federal Census indicates a large portion of the Caudle family have settled in Wilkes County. Listed as Heads of Household are the following:

Benjamin Caudle – Page 3

Stephen Caudle – Page 4

Abner Caudle – Page 4

Stephen Caudle (B.Smith is listed beside him in Head of Household slot) – Page 5

David Caudle – Page 5

David Caudle, Jr. – Page 5

James Caudle, Jr. – Page 5

Henry Caudle – Page 5

Benjamin Caudle, Jr. – Page 5

The fact that the Caudle family is listed on pages 3-5 out of the 56 pages of the 1810 census indicates they were clustered in the same area of Wilkes County.



Telling the story of our Caudill/Caudle ancestors allows us to learn much about church history.






1785 - 1797


Spelling is copied from the actual minutes.

Satterday ye 13th. day of August (1785). The Church meeting in order Bro. John Adams and Sister Ann Adams joined the church by experience and Baptism. Also David Clark was excummunicated. Also Sister Turner joind by experience.

Satterday (?) of November. The church setting in order. Bro. Christerfer Maner came in with a repentance & the church receivd him. Also the church Receivd Bro. Evins as a transiand minister.

Satterday ye 11th of June. The church setting in order - a disput arose between Bro. Thomas Johnson, Sister Ennritter (Henrietta) Adams (Adams settled near Whitesburg, Ky.) & the church chose three of the brethren to take them aside & labour with them, who seemd to bring them together. Also some disscarse about Bro. John Talifaro the church holds him a transgressor. Question wheather Bro. Ambrose Hamon 'Should be receivd in his former stand which was an Elder -- answer yes. Also the church chose Bro. John Sparks as a Deacon who was ordained. Sister Rachel Tomson brought back her letter & gave it to the church. Also Bro. John Talifaros letter brought at the request of the church. Also Sister Sarah Sparks Baptisd. Also the church told Bro. (?)irns to do the work of a minister.

Satterday ye 12th of April. The church setting in order had some (talk) about a minister and concluded to lay it over till next meeting & look to the Lord for his teachings & hold a fast to the Lord on the second Satterday in May.

Sunday ye 13th. The church got together and had some tolk concerning Bro. Turner taking the pastral care of the church and concluded to send for helps, and deligated Bro. Thos. Johnson & Bro. Timothy Buttery to invite Bro. Baker.

SatterdaY ye 9th of March. The Prisbattery [Presbytery – the ruling body of the church] met according to appointment & after prayer and supplication entered on the work and finding it not all together ripe for ordanation concluded to lay it over and exorted the church to weight on the Lord and be looking to him for his teachings. Also Sister Sary Cate joind by letter. Also Bro. Thomas Johnson applyd for a dismission for himself and his wife and it was granted.

Satterday ye 19th of May. The church setting in order concluded to send for a prisbatary [Presbytery] to come to ordain Bro. Turner a paster for the church if found ripe.

The Third Saterday in July. The prisbatery met and after examination (found) things in order and so ordained Bro. John Turner as a paster for the church.

9th May. The church setting in order the church deligated Bro. Laurance & Bro. John Cate to site Bro. Gibson Mainor to appear at the next meeting to make it know why he would pass by the meeting house on church meeting day and not attend meeting.

[Not attending church was a sin worthy of harsh punishment.]

Satterday 12th of September. The church met together and Sister Sarah came forward and profect to be dissattisfid with the church on the account of her husborn being shut out and the church labord with her to convince her that the church was in duty but to no purpose but concluded bare with hir untill next meeting. Also some talk about Bro. Christopher Mainor neglectin to attend meeting of a long time but concluded to bare him a while longer

Satterday 12th of November the church setting in order Sister Sarah Mainor disappeared and the church saw cause to deny her fellowship.

Satterday the 9th of January 1796. The church setting in order deligated Abraham Mitchel to go see Bro. Christopher Mainor & site him once more to the church.

Satterday 6th of February. The church seting in order saw cause to deny Christopher Mainor fellowship for refusing to hear the church after transgresing.

[The church was having a hard time getting Brother Mainor and his wife to attend services. They finally give up and excommunicate them.]


"Roaring River Baptist Church in the 1790s was designed as a mission church on the frontier; at least 13 other small churches were spinoffs of this church. The church first existed as a log cabin, and then as a frame building on a hill, with an adjacent cemetery. The church is now a brick building located at the bottom of the hillside cemetery, on the south side of Long Bottom Road. The cemetery is still active, but it has no tombstones dating from the 1700s.

Roaring River Baptist Church records from founding in 1779 until mid-1785 appear to have been permanently lost. The above record covers the period of 1785-1797. Records for 1798-1827 have also been lost." -------- Hal Maynard, Descendant





Quoting from the 1974 Thornton Union Association Minutes



"The early settlers who came to Letcher County from Virginia and North Carolina were mostly deeply religious people, who came here to this beautiful country where they might worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences and to start life anew in this "Happy Hunting Ground." You might say they came here carrying the Holy Bible in one hand and the Kentucky rifle in the other.

The first church to be established in Letcher County was the Indian Bottom Church, established in 1810…. In the fall of that year (1810) a little band of Regular Baptists, numbering about twenty, met at the home of Isaac Whitaker, near the home of Ance Cornett, about two miles up the Kentucky River from what is now Blackey, near a bottom known as Indian Bottom, so named because Indians had camped there and many Indian artifacts were found there. There this little band of Christians organized the Indian Bottom Church.

For ten years or more prior to this time, settlers had been traveling into these hills to find homes for themselves and their children, getting away from the more despotic rule of some of the colonies farther east. Among the first was John Adams, together with his five sons and two daughters, and other kindred, who settled near the mouth of Bottom Fork in the year 1800. James Caudill coming up the Kentucky River, settled near the mouth of Frank’s Creek, and nearby, settled James Webb, about the same time. Stephen Caudill, with his family and some of his kinsfolk, settled near the mouth of Sandlick Creek a year or so later, while Isaac Whitaker and John Dixon and others, settled near the mouth of Rockhouse Creek. Others came in the year 1810. There was then about 100 families in what is now Letcher County. These settlers had come in from Virginia and North Carolina, some direct, while others had stopped for a while in what is now Whitley County, and then came on into this section.

These settlers had not more than settled down, until they were desirous of worshipping the One who had preserved them and brought them hither. No doubt letters were sent, inviting preaching brethren back in the land whence they had come, to visit them, and, anyway, we find in the year 1807, one Electious Thompson, a Baptist minister, preaching among these people. Elder Thompson had formerly lived in North Carolina, and had come into this state perhaps first into Madison County, thence to Montgomery and Morgan, and then to Floyd County in 1805. In the year 1808, he settled near the mouth of Rockhouse and constantly preached among the first settlers.

Elder Thompson was the first ordained minister in what is now Letcher County. Then in the year 1809, Elder William Saulsberry came into this section from the Beaver Valley, preaching in company with Elder Thompson. Perhaps [Elder Thompson] had requested him, as he had lived in the same section where Elder Saulsberry had lived in North Carolina, and had been in meetings before. These two ministers, together with Elder Simeon Justice, another noted Baptist minister, who then lived at the mouth of Mud in Floyd County, constituted the presbytery that organized this Indian Bottom Church. These ministers were from the North District Association, which had been organized the first Friday in October 1802, at the Unity Meeting House in Clark County. The North District and the South District Associations, being a division of the South Kentucky Association, which was organized the last Friday in October 1787, at the Tates Creek Meeting House in Madison County.

These Heralds of the Cross were men of great zeal and ability. They were earnest men, and feeling called to preach, gave themselves wholly to the work, their time, talents, and life. They did not shrink from their work, but endured the hardships and fatigue, going through winter’s cold and summer’s heat, they labored for souls, and today our churches are monuments of their piety and zeal.

Some of the members organized into this Indian Bottom Church were James Webb, and Benjamin Webb, his son, who lived over on Cumberland River; John Adams, who lived at the mouth of Bottom Fork; Electious Thompson; John Dixon, Isaac Taulbee, who lived near the mouth of Rockhouse; James Harris, who lived on Rockhouse Creek; Benjamin Adams, another son of John Adams; Stephen Caudill, and his wife Sarah Caudill, who lived at the mouth of Sandlick Creek; Rachel Adams, who was the wife of Benjamin Adams; Mathias Kelly and his wife Amey Kelly, who lived on Cumberland River; James Caudill and Mary Caudill, his wife; Benjamin Caudill, son of Stephen Caudill; Spencer Adams, another son of John Adams; Isaac Whitaker, who lived near the mouth of Rockhouse Creek; Archelous Craft, who lived on Craft’s Colly; Isaac Taulbee and John Bunyard, Electious Thompson was chosen pastor and Isaac Whitaker, clerk of this church.

These settlers had brought their letters from the churches to which they belonged back in the colonies from whence they had come, and thus were organized into this new church. Some had come from North Carolina, where Baptist churches had long before been organized by Baptist preachers from Virginia and Pennsylvania, while some had come from the eastern settlements of Virginia, belonging to the older churches of that colony. Most of them had come from churches in the Holstein Association and Mountain Association, and some churches in the North District Association.

The Indian Bottom Church prospered. Its membership by 1815, is shown in the record as 70, but in this year 41 members lettered out to form the Sandlick Church, and they were called together on the 13th day August, 1815, at the home of Stephen Caudill near the mouth of Sandlick Creek, and there were organized into the Sandlick Church, so named for Sandlick Creek, nearby. The same presbytery, Elder Electious Thompson, Elder William Saulsberry, and Elder Simeon Justice, also organized the Sandlick Church, and on October 21, 1820, an arm was given off the Sandlick Church to form the Ovenfork Church…."



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