Presbyterian Church

This church’s congregation held its first meeting in the home of Isaiah Keith on April 24, 1792, in Washington in Mason Co. Its first officers were Isaac Cannon, Edward Harris, Andrew Henderson, Isaiah Keith, and Dr. John P. Campbell, who as one of the eight early Presbyterian missionaries
to the area helped organized the church. In 1790 Washington was the second-largest city in Kentucky (which was not a state until 1792). The minutes of Kentucky’s Transylvania Presbytery first mention the Presbyterian church at Washington in 1793. The church’s first regular pastor was another of the early missionaries, Rev. Robert Wilson, who was installed in 1799, he also helped establish churches in Augusta and Maysville. Also in 1799 the church was transferred to the Washington Presbytery.

The Washington Presbyterian Church’s first building was built in 1806 of brick and had a high ceiling; it was furnished with high-backed pews. A
cemetery near the church was later destroyed by road construction. In 1815 the church was transferred to the West Lexington Presbytery. The 1806 building was torn down in 1844, and a second building was erected at a cost of $2,500 that same year on the site just opposite the present Washington Presbyterian Church. It was of similar construction but had a gallery for black servants. After this structure was deemed unsafe and torn down in 1868, the third (present) building, a framed one-room building, was built in 1870–1871 for $4,000.

In 1936 the Washington Presbyterian Church celebrated its 144th anniversary. Rev. William S. Smythe was its pastor, and the elders were David Rannells, who had conducted a classical school in the city for approximately 40 years, William Richey, and Isaiah Thompson.

The church has a vibrant history of missionary work, Mary Wilson (daughter of Robert Wilson) married Rev. Lorin Andrews, and the couple
served as missionaries in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) in late 1827.

The church also had several sewing societies and ladies aid societies. The Ladies Missionary Society was organized as early as The First Mission Study Class distributed pigs to collect money for the Leper Fund and also
sent boxes of bedclothes and clothing to mountain schools.
Allen, James S., and Ruth R. “The Church with its Cherished Memories since 1792 Organized in 1796, 1972, Washington Presbyterian Church, Washington, Ky.
Green, Thomas M. ed., Weekly Maysville Eagle, December 27, 1871.
Alex Hyrcza


Entry on City of Maysville Web Site

WASHINGTON PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH – Presbyterian Church was second established church in Washington in 1792. The first church building was erected in 1806 at the south end of town; this is the third building to house congregation. Gothic Revival structure, the entire interior is covered with pressed tin paneling including the stained glass window over the front entrance. Church history says this may have been done after the beautiful designs in the plastered ceiling were damaged by fire around 1885. The church grew and prospered under Rev. Paradise Lost McAboy (1836-1839) who died at a young age when two floors of stored wheat collapsed on him at the Murphysville flour mill; he is buried in the Washington Baptist Cemetery.