Baptists’ Beginnings: Kenney Chapel

The First Baptist Church of Gallatin was constituted and organized on a Saturday in May, 1853. Elders R.C. Hill and Franklin Graves composed the ministerial council. A constitution sermon was preached by Elder Graves and the church organized.

The First Baptist Church of Gallatin was constituted and organized on a Saturday in May, 1853. Elders R.C. Hill and Franklin Graves composed the ministerial council. A constitution sermon was preached by Elder Graves and the church organized.

In August, 1857, Elder T.R. Robertson was called to care of the church until a pastor could he called. In February, 1861, Elder T.R. Ferguson was called to take charge. A building committee was formed and donations were sought. However, the committee never made any report due to the Civil War. Ministers were required to swear a very rigid oath to the Union which many ministers refused to do. For a time many preachers quit preaching; others dared to continue preaching without taking the oath at risk of arrest and imprisonment. Among the number who kept preaching was one or the older pastors, Elder B.F. Kenney, who was arrested by the Sheriff of Daviess County, and was compelled to pass at least one night in a county jail.

In May of 1872 a building committee was formed for the purpose of erecting church. After a year of meetings held in log cabins and outdoors, work was started on the church in the fall of 1873. The church was to be made of brick. Progress was slow. One year later the walls were up and covered and floors were laid, but the building wasn’t entirely completed until 1877. The cost was $2,500. T.M.S. Kenny filled the pulpit until Jan. 22, 1874, when Elder T. Montgomery was called and accepted the pulpit.

In February of 1875 the church once again called T.M.S. Kenney for one year, and on Aug. 7, 1875, the name of the church was changed from the First Baptist Church of Gallatin to the Kenney Chapel Baptist Church. The church was connected with the West Fork Association and, at that time, had 80 members. The church was dedicated on Mav 16, 1881.

This post card photo of First Baptist Gallatin is a “Photoette” made by C.U. Williams of Bloomington, IL (circa 1921). The church was located two blocks south of the southwest corner of the Gallatin square. It was dedicated June 4, 1911. A home for the pastor was purchased in 1914. Later, in 1922, membership at this location was 245 with a Sunday School enrollment at 225.