About VPC

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History of Versailles Presbyterian Church

(Prepared by Elder Dr. Hambleton Tapp for our Centennial Celebration, 1978)

 

            The origin of our Church is not precisely clear.  However, In 1786, the Reverend Adam Rankin was appointed by the Transylvania Presbytery as pastor of Glenn’s Creek Church which is assumed to be the first Versailles Presbyterian Church.  The creek rises in Versailles and runs to Millville before emptying into the Kentucky River.

            It is unlikely that the first church was located in Versailles.  Under Virginia Statute, a church could not be located in a county seat.  Kentucky then separated from the mother state in 1792.  One of the early Presbyterian leaders in Kentucky was Judge Caleb Wallace, an ordained minister who resided in Woodford County and likely helped organize the Glenn’s Creek Church.  Early records do show that by 1794 the Reverend Samuel Shannon was holding Presbyterian services in the Versailles Court House.  The record also shows that the Reverend John Poage Campbell, considered the first minister of the Versailles Presbyterian Church, was preaching in Versailles in 1811.  The West Lexington Presbytery recognized the Versailles congregation as such in 1813.

            The first church building was erected in 1822 at what is now 231 Morgan St. The land had been deeded to the trustees of the church by David Campbell and his wife Nancy.  Then in 1823 the Versailles congregation voted to unite with the Woodford Church, of which Judge Wallace was a member.  The Woodford Church building was part of the Alexander estate, intersected by Old Fankfort Pike.  Four years later, the Versailles congregation petitioned to separate from the Woodford Church.  On February 3, 1829, the Reverend N.M. Hall reported to a meeting of 34 church members that he had organized a church in Versailles in accordance with the order of the Presbytery.

            Records show that according to Dr. Robert Saunders, a new location for the church was desired in 1856.  A lot at the corner of Main and Elm streets was purchased for $300.00.  The building was erected shortly thereafter and used until 1878.

            Our sanctuary was dedicated on July 28, 1878 by the Reverend Gelon H. Rout.  At the time, the sanctuary was the largest room in the county and was used for a variety of community activities.  The organ was built by Henry Pilcher & Sons in Louisville.  Individual parts of the organ were crated and sent by rail to Midway.  The crates were then brought to Versailles by horse cart.  Recent renovations revealed that the walnut organ crates were used to construct the church façade.  The back panels of the façade still read, “Church Organ Henry Pilcher, Lousiville, Kentucky.”

            In the fall of 2001, another new building was dedicated by the congregation.  This structure includes a fellowship hall, conference room, lobby, courtyard, youth room, preschool rooms and restrooms.  The property was purchased for $300,000 in 1999; the building cost was $1.4 million.