Historical Marker #1873 marks the location of Bethabara Church, organized by dismissed members of Panther Creek Baptist Church, the first church in Daviess County.
Bethabara Church was organized on October 5, 1825. Beginning as a log house, it was originally a school house, and stood three quarters of a mile west of where Bethabara Church currently stands. Called Tribbel’s School House, it was named for the first teacher, Jack Tribbel. At that time the building stood on the east end of Tribbel’s farm. The building operated as both a school and church until its occupants outgrew the building, prompting them to construct a new one in 1832 in the current cemetery.
Schools during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were very different from contemporary schools. Most schools in Kentucky during the 1800s were one-room buildings with eight grades that shared one teacher in addition to the space. Teachers often employed an educational method called the Monitorial System (or “mutual instruction” or the “Bell-Lancaster Method”) which allowed them to have a variety of ages together in a single room. The older students would help the teacher and would assist the younger learners with their lessons. The method was created by British educators Dr. Andrew Bell and Joseph Lancaster, who independently developed it in the late eighteenth century.
Six other churches were founded by members who left Bethabara Church, including Macedonia (1849), Sugar Grove (1860), Hopewell (1885), Friendship (1890), Karn’s Grove , and Dawson (it is unclear when the latter two were founded). The church building was built in 1854 with clay from the original church house, and is still used for the congregation today.