Springfield Presbyterian Church
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Where God's Love Meets Your Needs

Our History

Springfield Presbyterian Church

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Our History

The Springfield Presbyterian Church was founded as early as 1788 by a colony of pioneers from the valley of Virginia, their parents having come from Scotland and Ireland and known as Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. They settled in what is now Washington and Marion Counties in 1787-89.

The early history of the Springfield Presbyterian Church is closely associated with the pioneer missionary work of the Rev. Terah Templin. Rev. Templin was licensed to preach by the Hanover Presbytery in 1780. He came to Kentucky before 1781 and obtained 600 acres of land in the area of Lincoln Homestead State Park which is about five miles north of Springfield. He later sold his property to Mordecai Lincoln, the President's uncle. It is thought he preached the first sermon ever delivered in Kentucky. He made his home in Washington County with the family of Gen. John Caldell who later became Lt. Governor. He was engaged to the General's sister who died before the wedding, and he remained a bachelor for the rest of his life.

Unfortunately, the Session minutes of the Church prior to 1875 have been lost. However, it may be safely assumed that Templin was conducting religious services in the pioneer homes of this region from 1781 until his ordination in 1785 at Danville. Terah Templin and James Crawford were the first Presbyterian ministers to be ordained in Kentucky. From the minutes of the Transylvania Presbytery, formed in 1786, we learn that at its first meeting, Templin was delegated to supply the vacant churches of Jefferson and Nelson counties of which we were a part.

At Presbytery in 1788, Elder John Caldwell of Washington County was present. Our church uses this entry in the Transylvania Presbytery minutes as the founding date of our church. At Presbytery of October 1789, one year later, Elder Henry Woods was present. Both owned land in the Cartwright Creek area of Washington County, and their attendance at Presbytery indicates an organized Presbyterian congregation here known as Cartwright's Creek Church.

In October of 1792, Presbytery met at Cartwright's Creek Meeting House with the Rev. Terah Templin and Col. John Caldwell being present. Minutes indicate they adjourned that evening to Col. Caldwell's home. This was the first meeting of Presbytery to be held in this congregation.

Careful study shows that the town branch or Road Run was called Cartwright's Creek during the church's early days. Cartwright's Creek Meeting House was located below the current Post Office building, less than one-half block from this site. Later the Road Run Church was built east of town on the property then owned by Hugh McElroy at the fork of the Mackville and Perryville Rods where the old Springfield school buildings stand. In 1827, the land at our present location was purchased, and in the following year a brick church was built. Because of failing foundations this church was torn down in 1836, and another church with a high bell tower was erected.

Perhaps because of increased membership, this building was razed and a third church was constructed. Then in 1888, this church was razed, some say due to fire, and the present brick structure was then built and connected to the bell tower which had been lowered 30 feet to a safer height. In 1915 the organ and alcove were added to the sanctuary, and in 1920 the Sunday School rooms were built. (Click here for a history of the pastors that served here).