The Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green

Historical Marker #2598 in Warren County notes the location of the Presbyterian Church and earliest public burying ground in Bowling Green.

The burying ground was Initially established as a pioneer cemetery in 1811. On April 9, 1819 the grounds became home to the Presbyterian Church founded by Rev. Joseph B. Lapsley. The church building moved to its current location in 1833. Soon after, the church opened a female academy in the basement of their new building. The school was open until the church was taken over by the Union Army to be used as a hospital in 1862.

The church as survived the US Civil War and a fire in 1895, as well as two major splits. Initially, the church was spilt into Old School and New School factions between 1849 and 1858. In 1858, the church reunited, but it did not last long. The national church split along Union and Confederate lines during the US Civil War; however, the Bowling Green Presbyterian Church did not split again until 1868. This time the split led to the creation of the First Presbyterian Church and the Second Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. Cumberland Presbyterians established a church in town in 1866., causing some congregants to leave the Bowling Green Presbyterian Church. Ultimately, the Cumberland Presbyterians would become known as the Westminster Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.
In 1949 the Bowling Green Presbyterians reunited again, this time bringing the First and Westminster Presbyterians churches together. Their reunion precipitated the reunion of the national Presbyterian Church which occurred in 1983.

The marker was dedicated on November 3, 2019.

Marker text:

Presbyterian Church
Pioneer Cemetery, the earliest
public burying ground in Bowling
Green, was established in 1811.
The Presbyterian Church was later
constituted on these grounds on
April 9, 1819 by Rev. Joseph B.
Lapsley (1779-1823). His remains
are interred here at the site of
the original pulpit. Worship moved
to a new edifice, designed by
architect Hugh Roland, in 1837.

Presbyterian Church
The Church relocated to State St.
and Tenth Ave. in 1833. It was
designed for worship and to
house a successful female academy.
Both operated until the Civil War,
when a hospital occupied the
structure. First and Westminster
Presbyterian Churches joined at
this site in 1949, exactly 34 yrs.
ahead of the creation of the nat’l
Presbyterian Church, (USA).

Source: “A Brief History.” The Presbyterian Church. Accessed March 31, 2020.