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Braxton, Frederick [Bracktown] [Main Street Baptist Church]
Death Year : 1876
Rev. Frederick Braxton, born in Kentucky, was a slave and a pastor of the First African Church. In 1864, the church was located on Short Street, according to William's Lexington City Directory 1864-65. Rev. Braxton succeeded Elder London Ferrill, who had organized the congregation in 1822; Elder Ferrill died in 1854. During Rev. Braxton's tenure, the church continued to grow and had over 2,000 members by the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. The following year the First African Church split, with 500 members following Rev. Braxton as he founded the Independent African Church. The new church was located at the corner of Main and Locust Streets, according to William's Lexington City Directory 1864-65, and for a brief period, Rev. Braxton was pastor of both his new church and the First African Church. New church members were baptized in the Poor House Pond that was located in the southern part of Lexington [the pond was also used for the baptisms of the Pleasant Green Baptist Church]. In 1867, Rev. Braxton organized a school with nearly 300 students at the Independent African Church; it was managed by Negro teachers. Later the Independent African Church was located at the corner of Main and Merino Streets, according to the Lexington City Directory 1873 and 1874. The name of the church would be changed to Second Colored Baptist Church (1876), to Main Street Independent Baptist Church, and then later renamed the Main Street Baptist Church. Rev. Braxton was also a land owner: he owned part of the Stonetown property on Leestown Pike in Fayette County, KY, where the community that became known as Bracktown (named for Rev. Braxton) was established. Rev. Frederick Braxton died January 31, 1876. He was the husband of Keziah "Kessie" Ware Braxton, and they were the parents of at least two children, Cary Braxton (d. 1913) and Charly J. Braxton (d. 1923) [source: Kentucky Death Certificates]. After Rev. Braxton's death, his widow, Keziah, and Betsie Braxton, lived on Bolivar Street, the 2nd house east of Broadway [source: William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82]. For more see A History of Kentucky Baptist, Vol. 2, by J. A. Spencer; A Brief History of the First Baptist Church (Black), by H. E. Nutter (1940), a Baptist History Homepage website; "Under the law...," Lexington Observer and Reporter, 10/02/1867, p. 3; "Five thousand people," The Kentucky Leader, 04/18/1892, p. 7; Kentucky Place Names, by R. M. Rennick; and "A Hamlet and a Railroad Town" within the African Americans in the Bluegrass website. For a photo image of Rev. Frederick Braxton, see the First Baptist Church Souvenir Bulletin in the Sallie Price Collection at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library. See photo image of baptism at the Lexington Work House Pond [also called the Poor House Pond] in Kentucky Digital Library - Images.
Poor House Pond
See photo image of Rev. Frederick Braxton in the right hand column on p.191 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Communities, Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington and Bracktown, Fayette County, Kentucky