First Presbyterian Church

Historical Marker #1942 is erected on the present site of the First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Kentucky. Built in 1879, the church was first formed in 1816 with only twenty two members. William O. Bradley, the first Republican Governor of Kentucky was also a member of this church while he lived in Garrard County.

On September 4, 1816, a petition was sent to the Transylvania Presbytery by a number of people in Lancaster who wished to organize a church and be taken under the care of the Presbytery. Two days later, the Presbytery reported to the Synod of Kentucky that there were nineteen churches in the area, with Lancaster listed as both vacant and unable to support a pastor. It was then directed that four pastors (Reverends Cleland, Nelson, Lapsley, and Hall) were to supply one Sunday a month to the newly founded church of twenty two members. By 1819, the twenty three person congregation had named their group First Presbyterian Church of Lancaster. Their pastor at that time, James C. Barnes, served the church until 1825.

From 1819 until 1846, that congregation has no building of its own, so they worshipped in Republican Church, the first church built in Lancaster. Republican Church was a community building that was built in 1815. Various religious sects held services in the building as they needed it. First Presbyterian Church met in Republican Church until they were able to dedicate the Union Building which was located on the corner of Buford and Stanford Streets. This old church building served their purposes until, in 1879, they moved into the present building, the lot of which was donated to them by Allan A. Burton, who shortly after moved to Washington and the Chicago to practice law.

“We would not have you infer that the things which may be spoken of concerning this church, her origin, her life, her growth, were better unsaid, but, this, what can be written is only a mere pittance of her whole history. To say all we would have to write a history of our community, biographies of thousands of lives here and elsewhere throughout the whole country and even in the land beyond the seas and indeed we would have to land in Heaven and enquire of the Judge of all the earth and of souls that have taken their flight amid songs of victory over sins within and without.”

-From Address by H.S. Hudson at the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, KY. 1919.