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A Brief History of the Owensboro Cumberland Presbyterian Church

The first sermon ever preached In Owensboro is credited to Reverend David Lowery, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. At that time Owensboro was known as “Yellow Banks,” and consisted of only a few log cabins. The first organized prayer meeting is also credited to another Cumberland Presbyterian minister, Reverend Samuel Calhoun.

The Owensboro Church was officially organized under the leadership of Reverend Calhoun in the fall of 1839, with services being held in the Daviess County Courthouse. Later services would be held in the Upper Ward School, located at the corner of Third and Lewis streets. The first members of the church as listed in The History of Daviess County were Alfred Grissom and wife, Mrs. Phillip Triplett, James M. Rogers and wife, David Morton and wife, Joseph Weaver and wife, George Newbolt and wife, Mrs. W. W. Chambers, Rev. Samuel Calhoun and wife, Miss E. Griffith, and W. R. Ewing and wife. Alfred Grissom, James M. Rogers, David Morton and Joseph Weaver were listed as the first elders and trustees.

The first building was completed in 1841 in time to host the Cumberland Presbyterian General Assembly, where in a special service led by Reverend Robert Donnell, the building was dedicated to Christian service, and to the “Glory of God.” Located on the corner of Fifth and St. Ann Streets, with a recorded cost of construction of $3,500.00, the Owensboro Church was the first brick structure built in Owensboro. The construction was mostly completed by Joseph Weaver and his two nephews James and John Long. Mr. Weaver made the bricks by hand, and they were laid by the two brothers.

In 1906 the Cumberland Presbyterian Church merged into the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. For two years after there were no organized Cumberland Presbyterian services held in Owensboro.

In April 1909, Owensboro Presbytery instructed Reverend O.A. Barbee to go to Owensboro and learn how many desired to remain identified with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. On August 22, 1909, Reverend Barbee preached in the Daviess County Courthouse and effected a temporary organization with the aid of elder Philander Reed. Adley Galloway was elected elder at this meeting.

Charter members of the newly organized church were: Mr. and Mrs. Adley Galloway, Mrs. Carrie Shown, Miss Ruth Jordon, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Black, Philander Reed, Mrs. Alberda Shown, and Mrs. Lou Vanover.

On November 8, 1910, the session composed of Philander Reed, Adley Galloway and J.W. Black purchased a mission church house on the corner of Ninth Street and Werner Avenue from the Walnut Street Baptist Church. In October 1914 a six room house and lot on the corner of Ninth and Cedar Streets was purchased and converted into a church building.

The property at 910 Booth Avenue was purchased in 1957; however the educational building was not realized until 1966 at which time the church again relocated.  With Billy Joe Yieser, J.C. Conklin, and Gerald  Peters serving as trustees, ground breaking for the present sanctuary took place in March 1974. Two years later, the dream of many was finally realized when on December 12, 1976 the first worship service was conducted in the new sanctuary. 

Almost forty years later, beginning Sunday October 4, 2015 the sanctuary received a major renovation, requiring the church to return to the Fellowship Hall for all worship services. The new sanctuary reopened December 13, 2015. A service of dedication, led by Pastor Reverend Timonthy D. McGuire and former pastor, the Reverend Wallace Renner was conducted on February 7, 2016. A “Declaration of Dedication” signed by all in attendance remains prominently displayed at the west entrance of the new sanctuary.

Ministers serving as Pastor of the Owensboro Church since 1911:

  • J.L. Price

  • G.B. McDonald

  • O.A. Barbee

  • A.D. Rudolph

  • Wylie R. Bryant

  • A.D. Salisberry                

  • David V. McGregor             

  • Sam R. Estes

  • Walter L. Chestnut           

  • O.T. Arnett

  • Wallace Renner    

  • Robert C. Phelps

  • Bruce Potter

  • Robert Nick Coker

  • Timonthy D. McGuire (June 16, 2002 - Present)

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