Forks of Dix River Baptist Church

Historical Marker # 1617 is placed at the present Baptist church that was built in 1850, the foundation of which was built from stones of the previous church erected in 1823.

Located on Highway 27, about seven miles from Lancaster, the church was probably originally organized at Downing’s Station around 1782. It was not until 1784 that the log house of worship was erected, most likely on the same spot (or at least very close to it) as the current church. The church was constituted in 1782 by Lewis Craig. It was around 1823 that a stone church house was built on the site. Finally, the church house became too small for the congregation. The stone building was torn down and used as the foundation for the current brick house.

The first three pastors of the church were Randolph Hall, John S. Higgins, and Burdett Kemper. Randolph Hall, the first pastor of the church, took care of the house shortly after its constitution. Born in Virginia, Hall was a Revolutionary War veteran, although it is unknown whether he served as a chaplain, soldier, or both. His daughter, Susannah, married John Downing, the nephew of James Downing of Downing’s Station in 1779. Hall died of an attack of epilepsy in 1821, around seventy years old.

John Higgins, the next pastor, was born in New Jersey in 1789. After he moved to Woodford County, he preached in several surrounding counties to Garrard, and lived on a farm in Lincoln County. He succeeded Hall in 1820 and ministered there for nineteen years. Higgins married twice, had a large family, and died at eighty years old in 1872.

Burdett Kemper was born in Garrard County in 1788 to parents who settled there from Virginia. Kemper and his wife did not profess religion until middle age when they were baptized in 1830 by John Higgins. By 1833, Kemper was ordained to the ministry, again by John Higgins. He preached at the Forks of Dix River Baptist Church once a month until Higgins retired in 1839, where Kemper took over full time until his death in 1876.