September 26, 2013

Traces of Laurel: More about churches

By Jan Sparkman

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Thanks to Bill Harrison for writing me about the original site of Hopewell Methodist church. Mr. Harrison grew up in the East Bernstadt Methodist Church which dates back to Hopewell.  He writes:  “It was always my understanding the original site of Hopewell Methodist (1810) was located at the junction of Bethel Hill Road and Hwy. 3434 in E. Bernstadt, a site now occupied by Mose Feltner’s house.  This was on the original Boone Trace and the Wilderness Road and was upstream about two miles from the original Hazel Patch (not to be confused with the Hazel Patch Crossing). ”  

From this information, I conclude the old frame church I was married in did not sit on the original site.  I’m also pretty sure that Bethel Hill Road and Hwy. 3434 are more recent names for those long ago trails but I’m happy to know the old site can still be pinpointed.  I plan to see if I can find it.

Moving on, the preface of Thomas J. and Henry S. Pate’s booklet “Laurel County History of Churches and Schools” (1900) is quite profound (though quaint). Before I began to write from the historical data on churches contained there, I thought readers might be interested in hearing selected passages from their introduction.  It’s too long to print in its entirety.

“Having a desire to hold up and support the two great pillars of true citizenship to any nation – education and religion – the writers humbly submit the pages of this booklet for its readers to peruse, hoping some good may come out of the same for the betterment of our schools and churches.  No sensationalism of the secular press is permitted to mar these pages.  Partyism in politics is not found here.  It is also free from sectarianism in religion.  Matrimonialism in the moonlight, when the whippoorwill makes her trill so plaint and sweet, and when the twinkling stars smile over the parting kiss given, need not be sought for in these pages. . .

However, those who are interested in the education of the brain and brawn of the rising generation may find something of interest on such lines in this booklet. . .

Often we had aged persons, whose memories were richly stored with little reminiscences of the various church homes, to help us so much in obtaining readable matter that the records did not contain.  In some instances the records were found in such bad shape that we could only obtain incompletely the information desired.”

. . . We hope that the compilation of facts and data of the churches and schools of Old Laurel will stir up a desire for more and better work on education and religion as pertains to true citizenship for time and eternity.  We need more religion and education in politics, but we need no politics in religion, and precious little of it in education – the less the better.”

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Speaking of old citizens and their memories, don’t forget about the Laurel County Historical Society’s Oral History Project.  If you or someone you know is over 80 years old and would like to share information about his/her long life with future generations, call us at the number given below.

Also, On October 5, Dr. John Fox of Friends of the Boone Trace, will be overseeing the re-dedication of the Hazel Patch marker, first dedicated in 1950 and later damaged.  This ceremony will take place at the amphitheater at Levi Jackson State Park at 1 p.m.  Speakers, re-enactors, and a tour of some of the Laurel County markers are part of this event.  Everyone is invited to attend.  Watch this newspaper for further information.


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The Laurel County Historical Society is located at 310 W. 3rd St., London, (formerly the Laurel County Health Department).  The library is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 12 noon.  For further information, contact 606-864-0607 during library hours, or 606-224-3767 at other times.  Visit the historical society’s website:  Email the society at or Jan Sparkman at