Squire LaRue Helm

From History of Owensboro
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rev. Squire LaRue Helm, D.D., has been a prominent actor in the public enterprises of Kentucky Baptists, since 1837. He has been pastor of several churches in the most important towns and cities of the State, and has held various positions of trust and responsibility in the denomination. But it appears more fit to give a sketch of his life in connection with Salem Association, than in any other relation. In the early history of this body, his ancestors were prominent actors, and among its churches, he began his labors in the ministry. His grand father, Thomas Helm, was of Prussian extraction, and emigrated from Virginia to Kentucky. He settled in Hardin county, while the Indians were still roving in the surrounding forests, making it necessary for the white settlers to dwell in forts. His father, George Helm, was about seven years old when brought by his parents to Kentucky. He was a prominent citizen of Hardin county, which he represented in the Kentucky Legislature, in 1813, ’14 and ’16. In 1814, he resigned his seat in the Legislature to take a position on General Thomas’ staff, and was in the battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815. The maternal grand-father of S. L. Helm was John LaRue. He was of French extraction, and was an early settler in what is now LaRue county. He was an Elder in a Baptist church, and a citizen of great moral worth. LaRue county was named in honor of him. From his posterity have sprung the following Baptist preachers: S. L. Helm, A. W. LaRue, John H. Yeaman, W. Pope Yeaman, and Robert Enlows.

S. L. Helm, the eighth child and fourth son of George and Rebecca Helm, and a younger brother of the late Governor John L. Helm, was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, May 16, 1816. His father having died in Texas, whither he had gone on a business speculation, which involved the loss of most, of his estate, while his son Squire was a small boy, the latter was raised on a farm by a widowed mother, and had few educational advantages. At the age of seventeen years, he was apprenticed to a tanner, and at the end of three and a half years, went into the business of tanning on his own account.

In the summer of 1814, he professed conversion and was baptized by Jacob Rogers, into the fellowship of Severns Valley church, the first organization of the kind that existed in Kentucky, and of which his parents and grand parents had all been members. By that church he was licensed to preach, December 31, 1836. The following year, he was a member of the convention that formed the General Association of Kentucky Baptists. About the time he was licensed to preach, he entered the school of Robert Hewett, at Elizabethtown, where he received most of his schooling. Having been invited to take charge of Mt. Pleasant church, at Brandenburg, he was ordained in that church by William Vaughan, John L. Burrows and F. F. Seig, April 7, 1838. In May, 1843, he took charge of the church at Mayslick, in Mason county. He preached there seven years and baptized over three hundred. In 1850 he accepted a call to Sharpsburg, preaching half his time to that church, and devoting the other half to the labors of a missionary. He took charge of the church at Owensboro, January 1, 1852. Here he labored till August, 1854, when he accepted a call to East church, in Louisville, which he served one year, acting as Secretary of the American Indian Mission Association, during the same period. He baptized something over 100 that year. In August, 1854, he accepted a call to the church at Covington, where he ministered five years, during which about 250 were added to the church. Between 1859 and 1866 he served for different periods, the churches at Waco and Tates creek, in Madison county, Davids Fork and Bryants, in Fayette county, and Silas, in Bourbon county. In 1867, he accepted the position of State Evangelist, under the General Association. He labored in that capacity till 1869, when he again took charge of East church in Louisville. Here he ministered about six years, receiving into the church about 250 members.

After this, he acted as financial agent for the Masonic Widows and Orphans Home, at Louisville, about six months. In July, 1875, he took charge of the church at Nicholasville, from whence he was called to Maysville in May, 1877. After serving the church at this place two years, he moved to Breckenridge county, where he bought a farm and arranged a very beautiful cottage home, in which, as he avers, to spend the evening of his earthly life. Meanwhile he is pastor of the churches at Stephensport, Hawesville and Goshen, preaching to the first named, twice a month and supplying one mission station.

Dr. Helm is a clear, strong, direct speaker, and few preachers in the State exercise so great an influence over a popular audience. His life has been a very active one in the Master’s vineyard ; and his strong, healthy, robust appearance, gives hope that he will yet render valuable service, for many years to come.

Source: A history of Kentucky Baptists: from 1769 to 1885, Vol. 2. John H. Spencer, Cincinnati, 1886 Courtesy of the Daviess County Bicentennial Committee