Before there was the state of Kentucky, the city of Bardstown,
or the county called Nelson, there was Cedar Creek Baptist Church.
The two oldest church congregations west of the Allegheny Mountains are in central
Kentucky less than thirty miles apart. Both are Southern Baptist Churches.
The second oldest, (The First) Cedar Creek Baptist Church with forty-seven people
gathering on the banks of Down's Run and Cedar Creek constituted on July 4th, 1781
in Jefferson County, Virginia ( present day Bardstown in Nelson County, Kentucky).
Sixteen days before that, on June 18th, 1781, Severn's Valley Baptist Church constituted in
Jefferson County, Virginia ( present day Elizabethtown in Hardin County, Kentucky).
According to J.H. Spencer, author of A History of Kentucky Baptists from 1769-1885,
the Cedar Creek church "probably might as well been constituted as early or even
earlier than that of Severn's Valley had not her patriotic fathers desired to do honor to
the Fourth of July, it being only five years after the Declaration of Independence and
while the old Revolutionary War was still in progress."
Both churches were built up exclusively of persons who had been church members
before migrating west. The two churches shared itinerant pastors.
Since her beginning in 1781, the church at Cedar Creek in Bardstown has been known
by many names - The Regular Baptist Society of Cedar Creek, The Regular Baptist
Church of Cedar Creek, The United Baptist Church of Cedar Creek, and the Cedar
Creek Baptist Church. In 1965 the church applied for a charter of incorporation from
the State of Kentucky. Cedar Creek Baptist Church in Jefferson County had already
received her charter, and since no two churches with the same name could received this
legal recognition, the one in Nelson County would have to consider some type of name
change. "The Cedar Creek Baptist Church of Nelson County" was considered, but to
recognize the church's historical significance and to affirm her identity, the
congregation officially adopted the name she is known by today - "The First Cedar
Creek Baptist Church".