Historic McCormack Church celebrates 234th anniversary

Published 12:06 pm Thursday, August 22, 2019

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By Brenda S. Edwards
Contributing writer

MORELAND — McCormack Meetinghouse (Christian Church), situated on land donated in 1785 by Daniel McCormack, will celebrate its 234th anniversary next weekend.

The McCormack church is situated on the land along Hanging Fork and is one of the first churches to form in this area. The land was donated five years after Lincoln County was formed with the stipulation it be open to all denominations and races.

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The Baptists were the first congregation to meet there at the time in a log structure. The doors were opened to everyone and included a slave gallery in the church.

About 30 years later, the structure burned and a brick structure was built in its place.

The sanctuary was built with two front doors, the left for the men and the right for women.

Brick for the new building was burned on the grounds by men of the church and their slaves. The building is 50 feet long, 30- feet wide and 13 feet high, with a wall thickness of two bricks laid end-to-end.

The interior had the gallery for slaves across the back. A pulpit was about midway on the main floor.

The brick building remains the same today and the Christian Church congregation has maintained the structure.

Land was purchased in 1991 and another building was added to the property in the 1992. It was opened on Easter Sunday in 1993. It is used for Sunday School classes, fellowship area and restrooms.

The church became an independent Christian congregation in 1829.

The cornerstone at the brick church shows the brick church was erected in 1819.

The church and cemetery have had many improvements made since its beginning, and a garden has been added.

Early members included Bailey, Carter, Brown, Hocker, Helm, McKinney, Peyton, McCormack, Moore, Hocker, and others.

A copy of an oil portrait of the Rev. John Stout Higgins was donated in 2005 to the church foundation by his great-great-granddaughter Ann Higgins Cunningham of Louisville. Higgins was pastor of the church for about five years.

Ann Cunningham has two other ancestors, Noah Johnson and his wife, Tabatha, who are buried in McCormacks cemetery.

The church was listed in 1976 on the U.S. Department of Interiors Register of Historic Places.

A year later a highway marker was dedicated. During the 200th anniversary, the Logan-Whitley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated a marker for Daniel McCormack (1724-1810), and his wife, Nancy (1726-1810).

EKU professor to be speaker for annual meeting

Carolyn Dupont, professor at Eastern Kentucky University, will be the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Foundation for Historical McCormack Meetinghouse at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 31 at the Kentucky Depot restaurant in Stanford.

Her topic will be the Second Great Awakening which directly influenced the McCormack Christian Church.

Dupont has bachelors, masters degrees and a doctorate, all in history at the University of Kentucky. She has been associate professor of History at EKU teaching “Religion in American History to undergraduates and “Readings in American Religious History” to graduate students.

She received the 2013 Frank S. and Elizabeth Brewer Prize of the American of Church History. She also has been a book review editor of the Journal of Southern Religion since 2014.

A business meeting will be followed by lunch and the program.

The event is open to the public.


The McCormack Church homecoming events will begin with a 12:30 p.m. luncheon on Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Kentucky Depot restaurant in Stanford and end with the 11 a.m. Sunday morning services and potluck lunch at the church on Sept. 1.

The Rev. Doug Simpson, pastor, will deliver the sermon.