Thursday, February 8, 2018

Family History Writing Challenge Day 8

As I wrote on day 4 of the challenge, which can be viewed here, the marriage bond between Thompson Hightower and his intended bride, Elizabeth Hopper, did not list the parents of either the groom-to-be or the bride-to-be. It only referenced Elizabeth’s uncle J.P Piner, who posted the bond. The bond did provide one other clue, however. It indicated that the couple was married on 20 December 1838 by William Hume.

William was born in Campbell County, Kentucky in 1786. He served in the War of 1812, and then married Elizabeth Aldridge. Soon after his marriage he converted to Christianity, and became a member of the Baptist Church at Bank Lick. His religious zeal lead to him becoming an ordained minister. He ministered for forty years, many of which were spent at the Baptist Churches at Bank Lick and Crews Creek.

Bank Lick Baptist Church was established in 1801 at the home of William DeCoursey along the Licking River just south of the mouth of Bank Lick Creek. Bank Lick Creek empties into the Licking River, 5 miles from its confluence with the Ohio River. In 1802 they obtained land and erected a log building as their meeting house.
Bank Lick Creek
William was chosen deacon for the church in November of 1812, and was ordained in 9 May 1818. In the summer of the same year, the church expanded to the Crews Creek settlement, about 5 miles south, where they began a church in January 1819. In 1829 a new meeting house for Bank Lick was erected on the site of the old one.

Many preachers would pastor as many as three or four churches at the same time. In the 19th century services were only held once a month, and churchgoers would travel by horseback or horse-drawn carriage or wagon to attend. Early church meetinghouses were located near a water source so that the animals could be watered. Meetings were held at residences through the settlements around the church.

It is possible that the Hightower family eventually worshipped at the First Baptist Church in Covington as it was established in 1838. However, the records of its early existence have been lost.

The Baptist churches in Kentucky have no central repository for their records. Each congregation had a clerk who took care of the local records. Many clerks considered the papers to be their own property and so the records were not left at the church when the clerk left or died.

It appears unlikely that I will be able to find any Baptist church documentation on any of the Hightower family, much less baptism information for Thompson Hightower - which would have listed the names of his parents. It is also possible that the Hightowers were not even Baptist, but instead that was the faith of Elizabeth Hopper, and thus why they were married by a Baptist minister.

Campbell County Historical Society
inside Campbell
County Courthouse
A visit to the Campbell County Historical Society in Alexandria, Virginia yielded no information about the Hightower or Hopper families, and nothing on early Baptist church records either. The proof I needed was not found here.

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