End view of mystery stone. Photo by Cathy Leary
Location part of the way up a hill and above a rocky outcrop. Photo by Cathy Leary
Side view of mystery stone. Photo by Cathy Leary
Location of mystery stone half way up a hill above Rockbridge Creek. Photo by Cathy Leary
The stone in the above photos is located on the Julian Wilson farm, 1182 Levy Road in Bourbon County, Kentucky. The purpose for the stone and its placement has been a source of conjecture and comment for many years. Why would anyone go to the trouble to shape and move such a large heavy stone to this spot?
The measurements for the stone are:
Top surface measurements-length and width:
40 inches long on left side
37 inches long on right side
Upper end is 24 inches across
Lower end is 27 inches across
Height at upper end is 20 inches
Height at lower end is 23 inches
Does anyone know its purpose?
The first use proposed for the stone was by riders as a “leg up” on a horse. But why would it be on the side of a hill in the middle of a field with no buildings nearby?
Some think it might have been used by stone masons when working on dry stone fencing for nearby farms. However, there is no evidence of stone chips or piles of stones in the surrounding ground.
Another suggestion connects with a former church located across the road from this farm. The Rockbridge Baptist Church is first mentioned in records in 1803. As a baptist church and because the small creek (Rockbridge Creek) that flows near the church is not deep enough to totally immerse persons it has been proposed the stone was used for affusion baptism by pouring water over the head. An individual would sit on the stone, referred to as a “dunking stone”, bend forward, and water would be poured over their head using a pitcher or gourd.
The practice of this type of baptism is found among several denominations but especially in the Brethren Church. At the time Rockbridge Church was founded there was a Brethren church close by. East Union, also known as Hinkston Creek Church, adhered to many of the tenets of the Brethren Church. Is it possible Rockbridge Church was an offshoot of the East Union Church with both churches sharing the same ministers and beliefs?
Many of the Huffstutters and their kinfolk attended East Union Church. Among the ministers of East Union and related to the Huffstutters were Peter Hon and Abraham Kern. Both men were traveling ministers so it is easy to envision them at the churches preaching and baptizing.
Can anyone offer a solution to the mystery?