By GINA KINSLOW
Glasgow Daily Times
Sheila Rush knows the history of the Old Mulkey Meetinghouse by heart. As manager of the Old Mulkey Meetinghouse State Park in Monroe County, it’s a story she is often called upon to tell.
She starts the story by talking about Daniel Boone and how he came through the Cumberland Gap, exploring Kentucky. It was Daniel Boone who inspired former American Revolutionary War soldiers to sought land grants in Kentucky, some of which settled in an area that later became Monroe County.
“Something that was very important to them was their religious life — their spiritual life,” she said. “Originally, they met in one another’s homes, but this community began to grow fast enough that homes weren’t built large enough. So, in 1798 they built a meetinghouse.”
The church was known at the time as Mill Creek Baptist Church. The congregation thrived under the leadership of John Mulkey, a third generation separate Baptist preacher.
“He was well-educated,” she said. “We have quotes from a man who talks about what a great orator he was and so the congregation grew very rapidly.”
By 1804, the congregation had grown so much that a bigger church was constructed. It is the church that now stands in the center of the state park.
Mulkey traveled extensively, preaching at other churches and camp meetings. It was during this time that he began to question certain elements of the Baptist doctrine, which was the predominant religion in Kentucky.
“There was, I have reason to believe and have been told there was a Catholic church up around Bardstown. There were maybe one or two Methodist congregations and a few Presbyterian [congregations], but by and large it was Baptist,” she said.
Mulkey decided that creeds or covenants should not be drafted by man.
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