Back in the very late 1970’s, I read a biographical article by my good friend Earl Kimbrough in Faith and Facts Quarterly about John Mulkey, a pioneer preacher in south central Kentucky during what many call “The Restoration Movement.” In fact, he and a host of others left the Baptist Church for primitive Christianity in 1809, the same year in which Alexander Campbell, still a Presbyterian at that time, came to the United States from Scotland. I shared that article with a friend who was a deacon in the church where I was laboring at the time because I knew that he was originally from that same area, and he showed great interest in it. If I remember correctly, I think he said that they might even be related because he had some Mulkeys in his ancestry. Then, a few years later, I learned that two of our good friends had their wedding ceremony in the “Old Mulkey Meeting House” at Tompkinsville, KY, the restored church building where Mulkey preached which is now a Kentucky state park. Finally, several years ago, we had the opportunity to visit in the “Old Mulkey Meeting House” when we were in the area for a family reunion.
Recently, a friend gave me a copy of this book, subtitled “History of the Mill Creek Church of Monroe County, Kentucky,” which relates the story of John Mulkey (1773-1844), who was born in South Carolina and raised in Tennessee. His grandfather and father were Baptist preachers, and he came with his brother Philip around 1797 to the Mill Creek settlement near Tompkinsville, KY, to start a Baptist Church in that community. However, as a result of his study John began to change his sentiments on unconditional election, and some other subjects in which he felt that Baptist doctrine did not coincide with what the Bible taught, resulting in a division in the Mill Creek Baptist Church in which the majority stood with John and kept the building while a minority left to form another Baptist Church nearby. Legend has it that Hannah Boone Pennington, sister to Daniel Boone, was among the number who remained with the Mulkeys; at least, her body is buried in the adjoining cemetery.
The book is rather scholarly, with numerous footnotes citing original source documents, and would probably not be of much interest to the general public, some of whom might find it a bit dry, but I thought that it was fascinating. It should appeal to those who enjoy studying Kentucky history and to those who would like to have more information about restoration history. The book also includes the reproduced minutes of the old Mill Creek Church from its beginning in 1798, and continues until it split in 1809. It is filled with the history of a number of churches and preachers that existed during the early 1800s in southern Kentucky. Author Loy Milam, who has a BS in Biblical Studies and has always had a passion for history, has been preaching full-time as the minister of the Sulphur Ridge Church of Christ in Tompkinsville, KY, since 1995. The title first appeared in print in 1996 but quickly sold out and is now out of print. The new paperback edition is a second edition of the original hardback copy and is identical to the original edition with the exception of a different front cover.