Kennerly’s Chapel Meeting House, Campground, & Cemetery

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Pioneer reenactors singing Related References and Links
Compiled by
Sue Williams Spurlock
Updated 2016

Records of Kennerly Chapel and Lewisburg United Methodist Church held by Western Kentucky University

Francis Asbury

During the ministry of Bishop Asbury, the number of Methodists grew from 1,200 persons to 214,000 members. By his own hands, he ordained 4,000 ministers. Following his visit to Kennerly’s Chapel in 1814, Bishop Asbury traveled to Fountain Head, Tennessee, where Bishop McKendree made his home. Eighteen months following his visit at Kennerly’s Chapel, Bishop Asbury died in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, while en route to Baltimore. His burial site is at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Baltimore, where many early notables of Methodism sleep.

The Journal and Letters of Francis Asbury In Three Volumes, Vol. II, The Journal 1794-1816, Elmer T. Clark, Editor-in-Chief. Published Jointly by Epworth Press in London and Abingdon Press in Nashville.1958. Pages 758-759.

[This edition has a footnote stating the following: "The Tennessee Conference met at the New Chapel, Kennerly’s Camp Ground, in Logan County, Kentucky, about ten miles north of Russellville. Phillip Kennerly settled there in 1807, and a society was formed in his home soon thereafter. A log church known as Kennerly’s Chapel was erected in 1811." (Ibid, 349, 350.)]

The Journal of the Rev. Francis Asbury, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, from August 7, 1771 to December 7, 1815 in 3 volumes. Vol. 11 from July 15, 1786, to November 1800. Published by N. Bangs and T. Mason for the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York. 1821.


Peter Cartwright

Three months following the Conference at Kennerly’s Campground, Rev. Cartwright served as a chaplain under Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. In Christian County, the Cartwright farm was located on land where Western State Hospital was later built. In 1824, Rev. Cartwright moved his family to Illinois because of his anti-slavery sentiments. There, he served in the Illinois legislature from 1828 to 1832. In 1846 he was defeated for Congress by Abraham Lincoln. Rev. Cartwright served the ministry 70 years before his death in the fall of 1872. He was laid to rest at Pleasant Plains in Sangamon County, Illinois.

Circuit Rider

Valentine Cook

About the year 1818, he and Cumberland Presbyterian minister Finis Ewing led a large and successful revival in a Russellville warehouse. Rev. Cook died in 1822 and was laid to rest on his farm, three miles northeast of Russellville, Kentucky.

Circuit Rider: A tale of the Heroic Age, by Edward Eggleston. Published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. 1878.

Compendious History of American Methodism, by Abel Stevens, LL.D. Published by Carlton and Porter, New York. 1867.

A History of Methodism, by Holland N. McTyeire, D. D. Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South, Nashville, Tennessee, 1888.

First United Methodist Church History, by Foster Ockerman, Jr. 1988.

The History of Methodism in Kentucky; Vol. III, by Rev. A. H. Redford, D.D.
Southern Methodist Publishing House, Nashville, Tennessee, 1870.
Pages 251-254, 264-265, 271-272.

History of Methodism in Tennessee, Vol. II, by John B. M’Ferrin, D.D. Southern Methodist Publishing House. Nashville, Tenn. 1888.
[Chapter VIII on pages 329-378 offers the best account of the 1814 Conference at Kennerly’s Chapel. The earthquake of 1811-12 is also described on pages 262-263.]


Phillip Kennerly

In 1821, when his children were grown, Rev. Kennerly applied to be readmitted into the itinerant ministry and was assigned to the nearby Christian Circuit. However, his health failed him and he died in October of 1821 before he could begin his new assignment. He was laid to rest at Kennerly’s Chapel Cemetery.

The Heritage of the United Methodist Church in Kentucky 1790 - 1970;
An Endless Line of Splendor, by Rev. Harry R. Short, D.D., Conference Historian 1974.
[Page 4, states "The roll of the honored dead of the Kentucky Conference (founded 1820) still carries the names of 25 men who were members at this time." Phillip Kennerly is listed; however, his name is spelled "Kennedy." He joined the Conference in 1804 in Baltimore & rejoined in 1820, when the Kentucky Conference was organized. Conference records only kept record of the ministers who were traveling at the time and not those who were serving as local pastors.]

William McKendree

At the death of Bishop Asbury in 1816, Bishop McKendree became the leading figure in American Methodism. Solely dedicated to his calling, he remained a bachelor throughout life. He made his home at Fountain Head in Summer County, Tennessee, where his father, a brother and a sister also resided. Other than Bishop Asbury, McKendree was the most renowned of the pioneer Methodist leaders. He died in March 1835. His grave is located on the grounds of the campus at Vanderbilt University.

The Methodist by James E. Kirby, Kenneth E. Rowe, Russell E. Richey. Greenwood Press. Westport, CT.

The History of Methodism in Kentucky; Vol. III, by Rev. A. H. Redford, D.D.
Southern Methodist Publishing House, Nashville, Tennessee, 1870.

History of Methodism in Tennessee, Vol. I, by John B. M’Ferrin, D.D. Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South. Nashville, Tenn. 1888.

The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture – Camp Meetings

A Constitutional History of American Episcopal Methodism by John James Tigert. Nashville, Tenn. Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South. 1894


George Richardson

Along with his wife’s brother-in-law Rev. Joseph Foulks, Rev. Richardson served as a local minister in the Henrysville community for over two decades. His son, a grandson, and a great grandson were medical doctors in and around Henrysville and Lewisburg for over one hundred years. He has had descendants associated with Kennerly’s Chapel/Lewisburg United Methodist Church since the days of his ministry. His father-in-law Lewis Marshall was a beloved figure. Three of Mr. Marshall’s four daughters married Methodist ministers. The fourth daughter married Robert Henry, father of the founders of Lewisburg. Rev. Richardson was laid to rest at Jarrett Cemetery in Epley Station.

Grigsby Rush

Rev. Rush became a leading figure in Logan County. He served as a Justice of the Peace (office of Magistrate), as Sheriff of the County, built Rush Mill, was appointed to lay out the first east-west route from Hopkinsville to Morgantown, and administered many estates. He was also the ministerial mentor for Rev. William “Butler” Rush. He represented the Kennerly Circuit at the 1844 meeting of the Kentucky Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church when it separated into two conferences – over the issue of slavery. Rev. Rush died in 1845. He was laid to rest Kennerly’s Chapel Cemetery, ten feet north of the log meeting house.

William “Butler” Rush

Fondly known as Uncle Butler Rush, he was one of the greatest preachers of pioneer Logan County. Born enslaved in Virginia, he was brought to Logan County in 1800 by Mr. And Mrs. William Gilbert. By the 1820s, he conducted regular services in the Russellville Methodist Church on Sunday evenings. Following the end of the Civil War, Rev. Rush became a free man. He bought a home in Russellville, where he continued his ministry until his death in 1877. His burial site is presently unknown to the writers of this script.

Gray Williams

Four years following the 1814 Conference, Rev. Williams moved his family to Robertson County, TN, and united with the Mt Zion Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1830, the family moved to Todd County, Kentucky, where Rev. Williams ministered in the Elkton and Logan Circuit. Six of his seven children moved to north Logan County in the 1850s, where various ones served as magistrates, officers in the Methodist Church and in the Masonic Lodge, school teachers, or operated mills. Rev. Williams passed to his reward in 1856 and was laid to rest in the Kennerly’s Chapel Cemetery.

Stinson, Era & Spurlock, Sue (1988) Family of Rev. Gray Williams. In A History of Lewisburg and North Logan County, Kentucky, (p. 269). Lewisburg, Kentucky: Lewisburg/North Logan Historical Commission, Inc.

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