Dr. Todd's History of the First Christian Church

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Dr. Todd's History of the First Christian Church


The late Dr. Russell Todd, a local dentist and long-time resident of Madison County, wrote a short history ofthe early days ofthe First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I present it for your enjoyment.

Church History for Centennial Program Celebration on Dec. 1994 by Russell Todd:

On May 1, 1843, Mr. and Mrs. Ames Baker deeded to Messrs Wm. Harris, Wm. Hiatt, Thos H. Irvin, Sam’l. Stone, Thos. S. Bronston Jr., for consideration of $412.00, lot No. 74 where the First Christian Church is now located. Due to vision and foresight of these men the church has had a continuous existence at this same location. It was not until Saturday, December 7, 1844, that the congregation was organized with 52 members. On Sunday, December 8, four more were added to the membership. Since the records were not preserved, little or nothing is known of the church for a number of years. No regular preaching was had until the close or the Civil War. Half-time and occasional preaching from visiting preachers was the order in those days. It seems that there have been three buildings erected on this lot. The beautiful Gothic structure which preceded the present magnificent building served as a hospital during the Civil War.

Many of the oldest families of the county have been members of this congregation. It has had a wide influence in molding the lives of many who are now our leading citizens. The congregation was growing in numbers, Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College was located in our community to meet the demands of our growing city. It became necessary to replace the old building with a new, larger and more modem one. This was done and on November 10, 1913. The present beautiful building was dedicated costing about $50,000.

The church has acquired other property. On January 27, 1898, Mr. and Mrs. C.P. Williamson deeded to N.B. Deathreage, S.S. Parkes and W.W. Pigg, trustees, and Mrs. L.L. Smith, Miss Kate S. Walker and Mrs. Mary B. Day, committee for Ladies Aid, a lot 90x400 feet on comer of Lancaster Avenue and Oak Street, which is the location of the present parsonage. That property was purchased for $4,100. Since then, several lots have been sold on the Oak Street frontage. On July 28, 1925, the McCann property, lot 7, next to the church on Main Street, was deeded to the First Christian Church for the sum of $8,250. On January 9,1942, all the property was paid for in full and the church became entirely free from debt.

The congregation numbered approximately 500 when the present church building was occupied and has grown steadily through the years until now we have more than 1,000 members. The board of officers is now composed of 18 elders and 42 deacons. The Church School is organized according to the most modem system with eight departments. This congregation has always been very cooperative in all enterprises of our brotherhood and has always contributed a large and generous share In every call for financial aid. Contributions have been made to Men and Millions Movement, Inter-church World Movement, Transylvania College, College of the Bible, Midway Female Orphan School, Orphans and Widows Home, National City Church Pension Fund, etc.

Our church has furnished its share in personnel for both world wars. In World War 1, we were represented by 43 men and lost one, Jesse Dykes, for whom the local chapter of the American Legion is named. World War 2, we now have 119 men and four women and nave lost seven to this date.

Music has always been one of our chief assets. We have been blessed always with unusual musicians. Under our directors, we have helped to provide music for all occasions in Richmond. The first director of which we have a record was Mrs. W.G. White, then came Mrs. G.W. Pickles, who led in a magnificent way and so unselfishly for many years. In 1931, Mrs. B.L. Todd became the director of our choir. She has in these years maintained one of the best choirs in Kentucky. On two occasions, the choir has sung at our state convention. Now we have a senior choir of 30 voices and a Junior Choir of 37 voices.

The following ministers have served this congregation: A.W. Bobbins, S.W. Crutcher, A.B. Jones, Butt O.P. Miller, W.H. Banks, M.L. Denies, W.H. Tiller, Homer T. Wilson, C.K. Marshall, C.P. Williamson, W.D. McClintock, P.B. Hall, W.F. Smith, W. Boss Lloyd, Hugh McLellan, E.B. Barnes, Homer W. Carpenter, W.A. Fite and Frank N. Tinder.

We are indebted to Dr. Todd for this fine history of Richmond’s First Christian Church.


Dr. Fred Engle




Content may be freely copied for personal and educational purposes with appropriate citation. Permission is required to reprint.



Dr. Fred Engle, “Dr. Todd's History of the First Christian Church,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed May 28, 2022, https://madisonsheritage.eku.edu/items/show/1789.