|Church Histories from Kaufman County History Vol II. are as of 1984. We welcome all updates to be added to this page. email to firstname.lastname@example.org|
The first Assembly of God Church was founded in 1943, in an old house on the corner of South Washington and Ann Streets in Kaufman. A small church was later built in 1944 from lumber torn from the old house. In 1956 another church was built on South Washington Street and in 1973 the present building was built on the corner of Highway 34 and Farm Road 1388 or County farm Road near the new High School. D. G. Council has been pastor since 1951.
The Antioch Baptist Church of Kaufman, Texas was organized on June 16, 1949. It began as a mission work sponsored by the Carson Ave. Baptist Church of La Gunta, Colorado. Charter Members included: Pastor and Mrs. R. G. Walker, Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Abercrambie, Waumon Abercrambie, Mr. and Mrs. G. A. Collins, Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Hyatt, and Mrs. James Whitworth.
Through the years, the Antioch Baptist Church met together in three different locations. The original meeting place was a rented room over the old Cooley store. Soon a city lot was purchased at 807 S. Jackson and a building donated by the disbanded Liberty Baptist Church of Oak Grove was moved in which provided a sanctuary. The first service held in this location was in August of 1949. The pesent location of the church is 2626 S. Washington where a new building was constructed in 1973.
The Antioch Baptist Church enjoyed the ministry of the following men as her pastor: R. Walker (1949-53), Raliegh Campbell (1953-56), Harvey Bynum (1957-58), Dick Cantwell (1958-59), Freddy Kitch (1959-63), Charles Hayes (1963-65), Cletus Hawkins (1965-66), Truman Rouse, Loftus Nunley, Archie Griffin, Tim Reynolds (1972-74), Wendall ue (*1974), R. Davis (1974-76*), Ray Shockey (1976-778), and Daniel Turk (1978- 83). (* denotes interim pastors.) Organized and continuing today as an independent Baptist church, this church has strived to provide the Kaufman community with sound Bible doctrine and preaching.
Bold Pilgrim Church was organized under the leadership of the late Newnon Gray in the year 1860. Rev. Upshaw was the first pastor. The first service was held in the school house behind the old Gunsmith Bishop place, which is due south of the W. B. Taylor homesite. Later, the services were held in the OddFellows Hall located east of where Mr. Bennie Armstrong now lives. In 1860 a site was purchased from the Tom Shannon Estate northwest of the Hamlet P. Jones Estate. The first church was erected about 1870, under the pastorship of Rev. Peter Upshaw and H. E. Darrington. Some of the first members were the late, Jane Bradford and Bill Mack. They were baptized in old Pilgrim by second pastor, Rev. Jimmie Lister. Sister Bell Mack being chosen as the President of the first Missionary Society, Aunt Betsy Hill, vice president and the late Sister Jane Owens, who served until her death. Other presidents were Sisters Mary Lister, Janie Cage, Lumpie Lister, Mauda Carlisle. Baptized into the membership by Rev. Jimmie Lister, who served at 2 different times as pastor, was Mary Ezell, Florence Ezell, Malinda Rice, T. J. Johnson. Several ministers have . been licensed and ordained from Bold pilgrim Church. They have stood a credit to the town and church, Aron Brock, W. E. Cosby, Clem Smith and B. J. Pyle, licensed April 1947 and ordained March 26, 1950 by Rev. E. Jones, who served the church as pastor longer than any other pastor except R. B. Francis who served 18 years.
Sunday School has been thriving continuously since 1881, Jeff Pyle being superintendent. Later I. H. Burleigh, who served 50 years continuously. His mantle fell to Mr. U. S. Taylor, who served with dignity and respect. B. J. Pyle, J. D. Tubbs, Ruth Tubbs, Odell Davis and now the abled Donal Johnson.
BYPU organized by the late Henry Carlisle who served with credit to himself and the church longer than any other president, for a total of twenty-eight years. Others serving were P. H. Hopkins, Lumpie Lister, Jeff Lister and Amanda Carlisle, Annie Washington, Harry Burleigh, Lydia Gray and Fannie Cosby.
Under the pastorship of Rev. R. B. Francis of Tyler, Texas the church was divided and Mt. Arie was organized in 1905. The Church continued to prosper and grow and in 1922 proud Bold Pilgrim moved again under the leadership of Bro. Harrington from the old Tom Shannon site to where it now stands. Today the modern edifice that now stands grew out of loyal Christians of yesterday and has stood for 120 years. It has been a lamp to our feet and a light unto our pathway. Members who have served as Deacons of the Church are: Jerry Green, Jim Hill, Paldo Johnson, Jerry Radford, Jerry Hill, P. H. Hopkins, 1. H. Burleigh, J. D. Pyle, T. J. Johnson, U. S. Taylor, W. B. Taylor, Hames Henderson, J. D. Tubbs, D. J. Pyle, Jerry Moore, Walter Hill, Willborn Rogers, Gilbert Ward and J. Radford.
The Calvary Baptist Church was first formed from a consolidation in 1947 of the Tolosa Baptist Church and the County Line Baptist. When Highway 274 was constructed, the new highway went directly south from Tolosa. The highway went through H. B. Todd's farm. The church bought four acres of land from Mr. Todd. The church still occupies the same property.
To build the church was truly a work of faith. The entire community was involved. The men in the community did much of the construction on the original sanctuary. The finished product was a source of pride for the community at that time. The church was the center of activity. The church had the usual Sunday worship, summer revivals, vacation. Bible School, and activities for the youth in the church. The first pastor was the Rev. McWilliams. The Pritchett Family were very active in the early formation of Calvary. Also, Gladys Randall was the church pianist for many years. Sybil Elliott was the church clerk for over sixteen years.
In 1957 Harmony Baptist of Aley disbanded. Harmony Church donated its properties to Calvary. The building which housed Harmony Church is used as Sunday school rooms today.
Calvary Baptist experienced growth under the nine-year pastorate of Dr. Royce Measures. In 1978, the present sanctuary was completed. At that time extensive remodeling was done to the remainder of the church. The original sanctuary is now used as a fellowship hall. The Calvary Baptist today is a as dynamic as it was in the past. Many new families to the lake area have made Calvary their church home. The church is located on the corner of Highway 274 and County Line Road.
Oral Interview - Sybil Elliott - August 17, 1983.
by Sybil Elliott
The first Missionary Baptist Church of Cottage Heights in Kaufman was organized on September 30,1955 with twelve members. The building was formerly the Sunset Baptist Church in the Dixie Community. This church had disbanded, and the building was moved to Kaufman. The new church voted to affiliate with the East Fork Missionary Baptist Association, The Baptist Missionary Association of Texas and The North American Baptist Association. The church also voted that all who united with the church within the next thirty days be added as charter members. On October 30th there was a membership of 28 charter members. Brother L. L. Brown was called as the first pastor.
by Jean Bodine
Cottonwood Baptist Church is almost a century old. It is located in the center of the small Cottonwood Community, six miles south of Scurry, Texas and twelve miles southwest of Kaufman, county seat of Kaufman County. The community took its name from the large creek that flowed through extensive forests of Cottonwood trees. Presumably the creek had been given its name earlier by surveyors.
The first Cottonwood church was a log building to serve the dual purpose of church-school on land donated for cemetery, church and school, deed dated December 9, 1881 from C. L. Tippett, J. W. Swayze and wife S. E. to County Judge Wm. Charlton for three acres of land with a good house thereon to be used as a public free school, known as Cottonwood No. 39.
The first church of which we have a written record was established in 1880 with A. M. K. Sowell as pastor, with about six families in attendance. The preacher came on Saturday, spent the night with members and had services Saturday and Sunday. Members gave him any food they might have as pay. One preacher was J. R. Hardy, who was also the school master.
The present structure was constructed in 1916 by members of the community, on land that was owned by C. L. Tippett and deeded to W. P. Smith and Jesse Tippett, deacons of the Cottonwood Baptist Church, dated March 24, 1916.
Homecoming was instituted in November 1936, later changed to the Second Sunday in June and has been held each year since that time. the auditorium is always well filled on that day, with families and friends gathering under the large oak trees for lunch and visiting. The speaker is usually a descendant of an original family, fourth and fifth genera- tion.
In 1911 R. R. Preddy was invited to preach at Cottonwood. In 1913 N. M. Prestidge was helping with the church and R. R. Preddy was called as pastor. He continued work with the church for many years, and then a great part of the time until his retirement. He passed away on Sunday September 6, 1962. Other pastors of the church have been: Bro. Kuykendall, Floyd Denny, Bro. Boyce, R. D. Copeland, V. 0. Lamb, Troy Singleton, H. H. Frost, L. G. Beam, Grady Jones, Richard Emery, R. A. Raley, Bro. May, H. H. Hudson, and the present pastor A. D. Donaldson.
Attendance at the church has fluctuated from full house to very few. A Sunday School building, with a small serving room has been stationed on the church yard. Late improvements to the church include walks, carpeting, new restrooms and central heat and airconditioning. However, the structure of the building has been altered very little, and we plan to keep it the pretty little white country church that our forefathers planned and built. Members of the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh generation are now worshiping in the Cottonwood Baptist Church. Baptismal, services were held in a pond located in "Uncle Bud Tippett's woods.
The First Baptist Church of Forney was organized near Mustang creek by Elders J. T. Vance and A. D. Manion in the year of 1868. In 1874 this organization with a membership of 25 was moved to Forney and the meeting place was a two-story wooden school house with the first floor being used as a Masonic Hall. Among the charter Members of this group were Mrs. J. T. Kemp, Oscar Wiley, Mr. and Mrs. Lafayette "Fate" Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Erastus "Razz" Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Weavers, Mrs. Bettie McKellar and Mrs. Lucy Shands. While this is not a complete listing of the charter members, these are the only names remembered by some of the older members at the time that Mrs. M. S. Fitzhugh, a member since 1892, on August 1923 wrote her brief history.
In 1892, the Baptists purchased the Christian Church building, remodeled it and worshipped there until the building was leveled by fire in 1918.
Apparently from the records that sometime between 1883-1885 the church had divided into two factions, with J. W. Brice as moderator and 0. L. Wiley as church clerk on one of these groups.
January 12, 1884 minutes indicated the church being called the Baptist Church of Christ of Forney. August 9,1884 minutes also has the salary of the pastor as $200.00 and his traveling expenses paid for. There exists strong evidence that the church underwent a complete Reorganization in 1885.
By 1909, the membership of this church had increased to 250, ten times the number it started out with in 1874. In 1910, motion was made to sell the gasoline light plant and use the proceeds for the purchase of fixtures for electric light. Motioned carried. : )
November 11, 1910, the following members were elected to office: J. C. Garner, Sunday School Superintendent; J. T. Miller, Assistant superintendent; Mary Pinson, Secretary; E. M. Dozier, Treasurer.
The following slate of officers were elected on November 16, 1913: R. L. Anthony, Sunday School Superintendent; W. E. Yates, assistant superinterdent; Arthur Fitzgerald, Secretary; Jessie Nelson, assistant secretary; E. M. Dozier, Treasurer, and J. T. Miller, church clerk. Sunday School teachers were J. T. Miller, Gertrude Lee, Sister Boone, Sister Jenkins, Annis Pinson, Mamie Dozier, ano Myrtle Yates. The following year the property was valued at $2,500.00. Additional Sunday School teachers were added in January 1914 and they were W. E. Yates, Sister Minnie Hughes and Sister Fitzhugh.
As early as November, 1916, the Baptist group was discussing the possibilities of building a church for their worship services. The old building was used until the fire of 1918 and it was destroyed with most of the church records. Following the fire, the church was faced with the fact that again it had no house of worship for this growing body of believers. They held services in the Masonic Hall and worshipped there for a short span of time. At the very first meeting after the fire, the membership agreed to purchase a lot on the south side of Forney and build a worthwhile edifice in which to serve the Lord. The building committee consisted of. R. J. Pinson, N. C. Whittemore, L. M. Dozier, T. J. Sheppards, Jason Sowell, C. W. Boone, Tom Spillman. The church was built in 1919 during the pastorate of Reverend Luther Beal Jenkins. A house adjoining the church was purchased on May 1, 1919. In 1923 the church properties now were valued at $34,000.00.
January 1924, the deacons were instructed to have concrete crossings put in for the purpose of driving cars around the church. In 1926, the church voted to put natural gas in the church building and parsonage. In 1929 the church membership enrollment numbered 270 and had as its deacons the following: L. M. Dozier, A. A. Darden, J. P. Kemp, C. J. Starnes and N. C. Whittemore.
October 1931 a committee was appointed to gather the historical facts and update them. The committee consisted of Mrs. J. P. Kemp, Mrs. M. S. Fitzhugh, Mrs. A. A. Darden and D. L. Rorie. (This data, if compiled, could not be located.)
Deacons of the church as of March 7, 1931 were: E. M. Dozier, Dell Harvey, L. R. Futrell, Ewell Smith, N. C. Whittemore, Joe Doegg, and J. W. Gay. membership stood at 354.
Deacons of 1939 were: Loyd Frame, Van Carpenter, Claude Kinard, Lonnie Nash, Elly York and Jess Gill.
December 3, 1947,it was recommended by the deacons to rearrange the present parsonage into Sunday School rooms and build a new parsonage at a different location other than the church site at a cost of approximately $8,135.00.
A new educational building was built and dedicated with a Homecoming of the Baptist Church on August 15, 1965. This education building contained seven thousand two hundred square feet and it houses the pastor's office and meeting rooms for the nursery through the high school age departments, costing approximately $69,000.00.
In the Spring of 1972, the old sanctuary built in 1919 was torn down and construction began on the beautiful auditorium and education building we see today. During the construction of the present building, the church purchased and used the First Christian Church property which was located just across the street for worship services. That church was then demolished and cleared away in order to be used in the future. The stain glass from the Christian Church can be seen in the auditorium windows today.
When the lovely new church building was dedicated on May 20, 1973, the dedication bulletin informed us that the new auditorium with 5,376 feet would seat over five hundred people. The new education building with 9,216 square feet plus existing 7,200 square feet education of the previous education building provided teaching area for nearly 600 people. The cost of the new auditorium and educational building was approxiately $250,000.00.
In 1981, the church operated under a $250,000 budget; membership of 926 and the total value of property was about one million dollars. Preparations were already underway for the new Family Life Center. As the community grows, the church predicts great future growth in number and in dedication to purpose. The Family Life Center has approximately 15,600 square feet with the cost of approximately $735,000.00. Dedication day was March 6, 1983.
August 1983 membership is: Resident members total 1,020 and non resident mem- bers (those that have moved and not moved their membership or have passed away) total 448 making a grand total of 1,448.
A table of ministers for the Baptist Church of Forney, Texas are as follows: R. F. Butler (1875-1876); James Harper (1877-I982?); J. W. Brice (1883); W. H. Dunn (184); Sam Anderson (1885); W. H. Dunn (1886); J. C. Midyett (1887); J. T. Pinson (1888-1892); W. 1. McClung (1893-1894); S. B. Hyman (1895); W. E. Dear (1896-1897); W. R. Selvege (1898- Oct. 1903); P. C. Scott (Nov. 1903-Oct. 1909); J. S. Elliott (Oct. 1909-1910); E. D. Blandenship (1911-Dec. (1911); H. A. Conway (1912- Dec. 1912); L. B. Jenkins (Dec. 1912-April 1923): J. F. Stanley (1923-June 1929); W. T. Bratton (July 1929-1935)@, L. M. Joines (1935- 1949); James H. Stanley (1950-1959); Jerry Griffin (1960 to present).
October 14, 1956, a group of interested people met under a mission tent in Forney for the purpose of organizing a New Testament Church. The eleven charter members were Mr. and Mrs. Edward Carey, Josephine Carey, Rickey Carey, Mrs. Lorene Carey, Elbert Gowin, Mrs. Celia Gowin, Willie Gowin, Odell Terrell, and Mrs. Jean Terrell. Mrs. Elbert Gowin suggested "The Forney Missionary Baptist Church" for its name, which was discussed and adopted. The members voted to affiliate with the East Fork Missionary Baptist Association, the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas and the North American Baptist Association.
The newly organized congregation then elected Odell Terrell as its moderator and Mrs. Edward Carey as the church clerk and treasurer. A total of $20.57 was collected at this session. October 18, 1956, the following church officials were selected: Edward Carey, Sunday School superintendent and assistant adult teacher, Josephine Carey, S. S. secre- tary, Josephine. Carey, assistant song leader under Willie Gowin, Odell Terrell, board member annd Elbert Gowin and Barbara Carey as teachers.
January 1957 Reverend Terrell resigned and Reverend L. E. Roberts was called to pastor with his salary being $12.00 per month. A building committee was formed on September 7, 1957; consisting of Ed Carey, Odell Terrell, Willie Gowin and Charles Davison.
New Officers elected for the Sunday School in Septembeer 1958 were: Dorothy Bannister, Frances Roberts, Barbara Carey. Ruby Washburn, L. L. Roberts, T. J. Bannister, Margaret Dawson and Margaret Washburn.
The dedication for the new buiding was June 7, 1959 with 75 persons attending the morning worship hour and about 125 people visited the church during the day. All assem- bled for lunch under a tent canopy furnished by Anderson-Clayton Funeral Home. Among new church furnishings donated were a mahogany pulpit table, a pair of steel port posts, a lovely picture of the Lord's Supper, along with several cash donations. This building was erected on Pinson Road, its present location and was insured for $10,000.00. The Pastor's salary was raised to fifty dollars per month in Feb. 1960.
The Reverend L. E. Roberts, Sr. submitted his resignation to be effective on September 1,. During this September month, new church officials were elected, namely; Dorothy Buchanan, Church clerk; Tolliver Buchanan, S.S. superintendent; Ed Carey Assistant. A new pastor was called to this church and he was W. A. (Bill) Oliver, who was to have a salary of sixty dollars per month and paid flat-rate telephone expenses.
About 1961, the deaconship of one deacon was revoked because "of his not being sound in doctrine and conduct." During the church homecoming in October, both Truman Dick- erson and Tolliver Buchanan were ordained as deacons.
Effective February 1, 1962, the pastor was to receive an increase in salary from sixty-five dollars per month to one hundred dollars. On June 13, however, Brother Oliver offered his resignation, with J. D. Murphy becoming the new pastor in July.
When Brother Murphy resigned in August 1964, several visiting preachers were invited to fill the pulpit for a number of Sundays. The Reverend Harold Greenwood was chosen November 1, to pastor this church at the salary of $25.00 per week. At this same time James Dickerson loaned the church enough money to pay off a church note held by Willie Gowin.
The final payment to James Dickerson on. the note he held for the church loan was paid in May 1966. Several new classrooms were added to the church, requiring added expenses for plumbing and electricity but the requirement for more expansion signified growth for this congregation.
Newly elected officers on September 7, 1966 were: Otis Beasley, S. S. superintendent and assistant song leader; W. G. Pennington Assistant S.S. superintendent; Willie Gowin, church treasurer, R. A. Rublee, assistant director and song leader; Mrs. Dickerson, church clerk; Mrs. Johnnie Greenwood, pianist; Mrs. Martha Beasley, church repor- ter.
December 1967, the property adjoining the church (consisting of 70 ft x 125 ft.) was purchased at the cost of $1,000.00.
In 1969 the pastors salary was again raised and oscillating fans were purchased for each classroom. The Reverend Greenwood tendered his resignation as pastor to be effective June 21, 1970. August brought Reverend Clem S. Sullivan.
The building committee in May 1971 presented a plan for the new addition. Two refrigerated air conditoners with two additional ones being donated to the church by E. W. Campbells and the W. A. Sullengers. A new piano was also purchased during these summer months. Additional pews were purchased, red carpet was laid down the sides and middle aisle of the sanctuary; and crushed rock was added to the driveway. The Reverend Sullivan resigned his position as pastor to be effective July 7, 1974. At regular conference in December 1974, the church members approved a motion "not to accept anyone involved in the charismatice movement by transfer of letter into the Forney Missionary Baptist Church without baptism."
In the spring of 1975, the pastor's salary was raised to eighty dollars per week. Early in 1976, janitorial services were added and a bus ministry was investigated. The Reverend Rodgers submitted his resignation as pastor on November 16, 1977 with Reverend Ricky Lemons as next pastor.
March 1978 for the first time the church elected Bible School officers. The pastor's salary being raised to $100.00 per week, with a separate $450.00 paid per month for housing allowance. Five Sunday School rooms were added along with two restrooms.
In 1980 it was voted to drop the word "Missionary" from the name to read The Forney Baptist Church. April 1980, the salary was to be paid to Reverend Lemmons of which consisted: 450.00 for housing allowance, $100.00 for car expense, $100.00 for hospital insurance, $1,100.00 salary and half of his Social Security, a six day week and two weeks vacation included.
The church was again faced with a growing membership and space to house them.
August 1981, general church offices were to be held by Truman Dickerson, treasurer; Willie Gowin, assistant; Mrs. Dickerson, clerk; Mrs. Aunita Lemons; assistant; Mildred Gowin, recorder; David Sanderson, music director; Willie Gowin, assistant; Linda Moore and Ann Lemons. musicians. The follwing commitees were also appointed: (1) the Building Committee consisting of Bob Thomason, Willie Gowin, Louis Enoch, Douglas Smith; (2) Nursery with Aunita Lemons, Mattie Conway, Ann Lemons; (3) Hospitality with Debbie McAdams, Brenda Kearby, Mattie Conway, Ann Lemons, Mil- dred Gowin.
This relatively young church in comparison to many of our Forney churches- has experienced the same heartaches, financial problems, poor attendance, apathy on the part of its members, lack of dedication, quick turnover in pastors, etc. that all churches are faced with at some time in their existence.
The year 1982 has been not only profitable financially, but the church is being blessed with a decided increase in membership and interest. The membership stood at 210 at that time.
The First Baptist Church of Kaufman has occupied three different buildings all located on the same site. Until 1883 it used other church buildings for worship services or met in the homes of members. The first house of worship was a little white church built with a steeple on top and a bell in the steeple to be rung every Sunday.
The second building was a classic brick structure which faced both South Wash- ington and Chestnut Streets and served as the p- lace of worship until it was destroyed by fire on December 18, 1937.
Until June 1938 the Methodist and Presbyterians were generous in allowing the Baptist to use their sanctuaries for worship services. In June a Brush arbor was erected on the Spangler lot on East Chestnut Street and as first used for services June 26, 1938. Under the leadership of Brother Bohannan the congregation built its third house of worship and the first services were held January 29, 1939. The new one-story sanctuary faced South Washington Street with a two-story educational annex on the back. The new building soon proved inadequate for the need.% of the growing church. Ground was broken )n the site on the former parsonage on October 27, 1955, for a new 45,000 air conditioned building. The new one-story brick and tile was so constructed that a second story could be added when the need arose. On August 16, 1967, the church voted to let the contract for the second story. Open house was held September 8, 1968.
Under the leadership of Elder J. B. Daniel assisted by A. D. Manion, Missionary of East Fork Baptist Association, the First Baptist Church ,@of Kaufman was organized Sunday, ovem er 5,1871 with a membership of nine. Pastors who have served this church since 1871 are:1871-72, J. B. Daniel - 1873-74, no postor, - 1875 to Sept. 1877, J. W. Brice - Oct. 1877 to Sept. 1879, J. B. Daniel - 1880, James Harper - 1881 and 1882, Association- al minutes misssine - 1883, no pastor - 1884, A. E. Clemons - 1885, No Pastor - 1886, J. C. Wingo - 1887, J. C. Midyet - 1888, J.L.Loyd - 1889-1890, W.O. Bailey-1891-1892, R.C. Rosamon - 1893-1899,, J. T. Pinson - 1900 to 1901, J. H. Bennett - 1902 and 1903 records are missing - 1904 and 1905, E. D. Solomon - 1906 to 1907, D. B. Allen - 1908 and 1909, W. T. Hillsman - 1910 and 1911, W. C. Rogers - 1912 to 1914, W. T. Hillsman - 1915 to 1919, S. 1. Dollahite - 1920 to August 1924, Charles S. Pierce - 1924 to Sept. 1925, J. C. McKenzie - 1926 to 1928, J. Roby Ward - 1929 to 1934, C. S. Cadwallader - 1935 and 1936, H. B. White - 1937, P. M. McConnell, interim - 1937 to December 1949, T. A. Bohannan - 1950 to 1963, E. H. Dickerson - 1964, Barnard Pranklin, interim - 1965, Bfll Smith - 1966 to October 1971, Morris Wall - October 1971 to December 1971, Harold Hime, interim - December 1971, John Trafton.
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and all Judea, and to Samaria and to the uttermost part of the earth." Acts 1:8.
Just before we were ready for our Centennial Bro. Morris Wall, who had been our pastor for 5-1/2 years, resigned. We went through the program in November 1971 with Rev. Harold Hime as Interim Pastor and with Rev. W. J. Wimpee preaching the Centennial Sermon. A home town product at the time Chairman of the Bible Department of Baylor University at Waco.
Bro. John Trafton was called as pastor in December 1971. After a scant year he resigned to organize Trinity Southern Baptist Church in Kaufman. Again Bro. Harold Hime was our Interim Pastor until Bro. Troy Culpepper was called and came as pastor.
Dr. Troy Culpepper was called in April 1973 to begin work in June 1973. He preached excellent sermons and had the sanctuary so crowded that we had to have two morning services. At the time Charles Dixon, a Seminary student, was our Associate Pastor. He received his Doctor's Degree and was ordained to preach as Dr. Charles Dixon on April 18, 1976.
There had been quite a bit of discussion on building a new church. We had failed to find anything near enough to supplement our space, but finally we bought a 15-acre tract of land about 2-1/2 to 3 miles out South Houston Street. We had a new parsonage on East 9th Street and the Culpeppers had lived there for some time. Committees for planning a new church building were at work. The church had some C. D.'s on interest to have some money ready. Although there was some discontent about moving we were looking forward to a new spacious building.
Some members were looking back to the opportunity we had missed about 1957 when we refused the opportunity to buy the Graves property just south of the church we were using. Bro. E. H. Dickerson saw that population was increasing and that our church attendance could be increased if we worked to spread the gospel. He decided we should make the investment, but too many people voted it down. We had a comparatively new church with a new educational building that could be enlarged with a second story and some office space. We would never need more space, so some thought.
Now in 1978 we were ready to build about 2-1/2 to 3 miles south of our present location and our agreement with Farmers and Mer- chants Bank was about to end. We had to get busy.
But Dr. Culpepper had resigned effective August 1, 1978. Our Pulpit Committee was out hunting the right man for our pastorate while we had Dr. Tom Urrey from the Seminary as Interim Pastor. 'I'he committee found the right man and waited until he could come for a trial sermon. Rev. Jacky Newton came January 7, 1979, preached, was called, and accepted to come January 28, 1979.
We were already at work on the site south of Kaufman, but the builders found difficulty in preparing the ground for a good foundation. We had already broken ground. Now we would need $400,000.00 more than anticipated to build for the proper foundation. The committee found the owner of the lot rejected 25 years earlier ready to sell, but at a much greater price. Also the lot southwest of the church known as the Tinnin property could be purchased for a parking lot. A Planning Committee was employed and soon plans for an adequate sanctuary and educational space were presented and accepted.
Bro. Jacky Newton had taken charge when he came and was proving that the Pulpit Committee was correct in its selection. It was interesting to see the new church building make progress. As soon as plans were accepted March 2, 1981, work was started on the foundation, and the church members were well pleased that we were not moving to another location. Everybody felt that this location was providential and that it was pleasing to our Lord.
As each step was taken, people eagerly watched. Finally the first service in the new building was held January 3, 1982. The dedication of the new building was on January 31, 1982, and the 700 capacity sanctuary was filled.
It was a great day. Now the First Baptist Church needed only one morning service for worshipping the Lord God of the Universe. The new Sanctuary organ was dedicated March 14, 1982.
Although Reggie McNeal was the youngest staff member until in early 1983, we called him the senior member. He came as Youth Director in 1978 and gradually took on other work as leader for these departments until he became Associate Pastor with responsibility for the church and its mission work until he resigned the last of April 1983 to become Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. He came alone, he left with a talented beautiful wife, Cathy, who is dedicated to the church, her husband, and her home.
Ernest Rojas was our Spanish Mission pastor when we dropped the program in 1978 due to a lack of response from the Hispanic community. The church had voted to sell the mission site so badly in need of repair and move the work in and use facilities of First Church. The money received from the sale of the property was used to help build a church at Larado-part of the Rio Grande River Ministry. Then Ernest was called to take charge of the Spanish program in First Baptist Church, Arlington. There was no more mission work here until our church voted August 27, 1980 to resume Spanish mission work and begin a new mission work at Red Oak under the auspices of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Bro. Daniel Aleman, Jr. was called as Hispan- ic pastor, the work to be carried on in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist; the English speaking children would join the regular Sunday School classes with a Spanish class for older non-English speaking people. Since our former sanctuary has been renovated for a Fellowship Hall, the Hispanic pastor uses that facility for the Spanish services.
At Red Oak, Mr. C. B. Gordon, who drove a school bus, noticed the large number of unchurched children. Bro. Jacky Newton and our Sunday School Director, Turney Sloan, took a religious census, saw the need, and the church voted to start a mission in the Red Oak Community. Rev. Bob Dickerman with his wife, Kay, went as our missionaries as Pastor and Bro. Raymond Arrington as Music Director. Bro. Phil Pinckard was called as Red Oak Mission Pastor on Decem- ber 9, 1981.
Through the work of Reggie McNeal, First Church Associate Pastor, a Building Com- mittee composed of members from Red Oak Mission and First Church, a group of Texas Baptist Retirees, and the people a nice church building has been completed. It looks as if First Baptist will soon lose part of our First Family and Red Oak will have a Southern Baptist Church.
Jesus Christ said, "Go" and work in His Kingdom. In our church we have the two missions and visitation to all who need it. We have our Prayer Meeting and Prayer Groups, our Mission Study, our Mission offerings for State, Home and Foreign work, our well equipped Church Library that all may know more about missions and work in God's Kingdom. We have a beautiful house where we may come to worship and go out to work. Our dedicated staff includes the secretary, Mrs. Raymon Wood, whose work cannot be excelled by anyone.
First Baptist Church continues to license young men to preach and ordain new deacons for service. The active deacons minister to the needy for the church. We have the beautiful building in which to study and worship. "But know ye not that ye are the temple of God; and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. If any man defile the temple of God; him shall God destroy; for the Temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." I Corinthians 3.16-17, K.J.V.
by Mrs. 0. P. Norman
For several years the Baptists of the community attended services whenever they could, no matter what the denomination of the preacher. However as more of their faith moved into the community, the dream began to form of having their own worship services, with a pastor who preached their own Baptist doctrines.
So it was that in 1882, perhaps as early as August or as late as October, these few Baptist brethren organized themselves into a body and called as their first minister one who, twenty-five years before had formed a nearby Prospect Church, Elder A. M. K. Sowell. Although he was advanced in years, he served this little new church faithfully for two years, and even after the end of his ministry as its pastor, remained to help guide the early years of its life.
It was not until July 1883 the church voted to join the East Fork Baptist Association with delegates N. A. Pou, J. R. Bryant and L. H. Bryant. In August of 1884, the annual election of a pastor brought about the calling of Rev. T. P. Miller. Elder A. J. Moore was the next preacher for this small congregation. In 1892, the church called as pastor, D. H. Richardson who also served as pastor of New Bethel, Prospect and Whitehall, besides Kemp. Bro. Richardson remained pastor until 1898. In 1899, W. H. Parker was called as pastor and preaching was held on the Ist and 2nd Sundays of each month. Bro. when he was replaced by Bro. A. J. Wharton. Rev. J. A. Brendell was called as pastor in 1907 followed by Bro. W. A. Bowen in 1909. Bro. P. J. Vermillion from Chandler be- came pastor in 1910. Followed by C. E. Cline, M. 1. Davis and G. J. Christian. With Bro. R. E. Day as pastor during the time of World War 1. In 1920, the church called as their pastor one whom they had ordained as a minister 23 years before, Bro. E. J. Thompson. The church began to grow and the urgent need for more space in the church was needed. From November 1923 to February 1924, records indicate the remodeling and expansion of the little building was underway. Space for classrooms was added, by building a wing on each side of the church, and around the front. Every inch of space was fully used, even to the point of pulling a foldaway floor atop the baptistry for use as the choir loft. Folding doors were closed for the side wings to be used for classes and opened back for extra seating for the preaching service. Services were held every week instead of only twice a month. In 1925 the church and the community was saddened by the death of Bro. D. H. Richardson who had served the church for such a long time.
The sluggish economy of the late 1920's and 1930's had its impact on this church as well as the community. Bro. Verlan Geeo was called as pastor in October 1930 following Bro. E. J. Thompson's decade of service to his congregation. In December 1934 Bro. H. M. Hocutt was called as pastor of the church. Bro. H. C. Suttle was called as pastor in April 1936, his length of service was six years, ended by ill health. It was in November of 1935 when the group bought the land adjoining the lot on which the church then stood. April 8, 1940 the church met to consider a church building program. It was decided not to repair the old building but to build a new one, so began a new era for the First Baptist Church of Kemp. The old building was torn down, so that some materials from it could be salvaged and used in the new structure. While the congregation was without a proper sanctuary for their services, they made do by using vacant store buildings in town for Sunday School Classes and the movie theater served well as an auditorium. On Sunday, November 2, 1941 the formal dedication of the new building was held.
On April 19,1942, Bro. Weldon Brooks was called as pastor. In the summer of 1943 the first Vacation Bible School was held and was such a success that it became an annual event. October 25, 1943, the church voted to call as pastor Bro. Arthur Ellis, with a salary of $25.00 per week. He immediately set a goal of paying off the debt on the church building, and this was done the next year. Bro. Ellis resigned as pastor in 1948 and the church called Bro. John Buell, who remained as pastor until October 1952. He was followed by Bro. John Stair who came in November of 1952 and served until he resigned February 1956. He was followed by Rev. Weldon Brooks from February 1956 to March 1962; James C. Coffee, March 1962 to 1964; Bro. George Heath, March 29, 1964 to August II, 1965; Bro. G. C. Housewright was called to pastor the church on October 17, 1965 and remained until September 29, 1974. Bro. Thomas Potter served from January 1974 to May 1979, followed by Bro. James Hunton from August 1977 to March 1983. Bro. Ray Bratcher the present pastor came in May of 1983.
With the fall of 1983 the church opened a "Christian School" for Kindergarten through eight grades for children of the community, thus coming full circle back to the beginning of schools and churches in Kemp.
Organized with nine original members in the town of Lawndale sometime during the latter days of 1898 or early 1899 with Rev. E. J. Thompson, missionary of East Fork Baptist Association, presided at the organization. It was just about the time of these happenings that the Southern Pacific Railway was bypas- sing Lawndale and establishing the station of Mabank almost a mile away. At the time of meeting of East Fork Association in 1900, Lawndale Baptist Church had become Ma- bank Baptist Church.
The year of 1900 is noteworthy in the history of the church, in that it was in that year that the first meeting house was con- structed. The new structure was built on the present site. The first furnishings must have been improvised out of "odds and ends" that the people of the community could gather together. An account of the school held in the building states that students used dry goods boxes for desks and seats.
The church built on the site of the present day First Baptist Church also served as a comniunity church. The Methodist, Presby- terian and Baptist faiths used it on alternate Sundays. On May 22, 1905 the newly built church building was dedicated.
The church had grown from nine members in 1899 to nearly two hundred thirty years later. In 1929 a new church building was completed. The former building had been demolished in order to provide a site for the new structure. The 1929 building was of frame construction and provided an auditorium with a seating capacity of three hundred. This building proved to be inadequate to take care of an expanded program of religious education and in 1933, the project of building additional quarters for Sunday School and Training Union groups was begun. This frame structure was separated from, but near, the church. Labor was voluntarily donated by men of the church.
In 1936 the church advanced to a full-time ministry. Since 1905 preaching services had been held on two Sundays of the month. December of 1950 the education building that was constructed in 1933 was destroyed by fire. The flames originated and spread while the Sunday School was involved in the opening assembly in the Church auditorium. The membership lost no time in making plans for replacing the destroyed building. In 1951 a brick education building that contained Sunday School and kitchen facilities was completed.
The church maintained a steady growth in the 1950's and in 1959 the church bought three lots adjacent to the church property and east of the church. Today, the present sanctuary stands on these lots.
By the end of 1969 the church membership had passed five hundred. In 1973 a new sanctuary seating 400 was erected. Shortly thereafter the old sanctuary was remodeled as an education area. A brick education building erected in 1966 was remodeled and enlarged. In
1975 the sanctuary erected in 1973 was enlarged to accommodate seating for 650, with a total membership of 966, 462 resident members. The Pastors of this church since its organi- zation in 1898 are: Rev. E. J. Thompson, F. F. Bledsoe, W. A. Bowan, R. L. English, B. P. Moon, M. A. Quinlan, J. A. Breddell, P. J. T. H. Co leman, S. D. Dollahite, G. J. Christian, W. J. Durham, T. F. Harvey, J. J. Strickland, Herbert Miles, H. L. Gillenwat- ers, W. George McWilliams, Kenneth Awfill, Gene Hudson, P. F. Squires, J. R. Ward, H. 0. Malone, Boyd R. Young, C. Wade Free- man, Tony Longval, James Jacobs, J. R. Manty, Frank Johnston, Charley Cluck, Frank Johnston, James M. Robinson, Dick Senter.
The Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church of Scurry, Texas is one of the oldest continuously active churches in Kaufman County. The Church, formally organized in 1860, was the first church to be organized in the Scurry vicinity.
In 1861, the church joined the Elm Fork Association of United Baptist during the 13th Annual Session. Later, in 1870, as additional Baptist churches had been organized in the surrounding counties of Dallas, Hunt and Collin, representatives from eleven Churches met on "Saturday before the third Lord's Day in November 1870" for the purpose of establishing a new association named "The East Fork Baptist Association". The Churches met with the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church of Collin County. The eleven Churches were Salem, New Hope, Mt. Pleas- ant, Mt. Olive, College Mound, Bethlehem of Collin County, Bethlehem of Kaufman County, Greenville, Farmersville, Hopewell, and Shady Grove. Today, the Mt. Olive Baptist Church is the only remaining charter member of this association.
With the coming of the railroad in 1880's, a new thriving settlement named Sand Prairie immediately sprang up around the railroad. The name was soon changed from Sand Prairie to Scurry in honor of Scurry Dean who had been killed in the Civil War. As this town grew, the Church was moved in 1896, to the present location. A combination Church building and school was located on' property donated by Dave and Susan Ford. In addition to serving as a school, this community church building was shared by the Baptist, Methodist and Church of Christ, with services being rotated each Sunday for the various congregations, and most com- monly shared by all.
This mode of worship continued until 1911, when the Methodist Church built their own church building. Fire destroyed the community church and school in 1917. Following this event, the Church of Christ moved to another location and the school was moved to the site located at the "top of the hill". The Baptist church and the Masonic Lodge erected a two-story structure on the same location in 1918. The Baptista occupied the lower story and the Masonic Lodge, the upper story. A tabernacle was also erected on this location and was used by the various churches mainly for summer revivals. With the advent of air-conditioning, this structure was no longer needed and was torn down in the late 1940's. Modern convenience, such as gas for heating, was added in 1930, electric lights in 1938, air conditioning in 1948. In 1968 the present brick facility was built and the two- story building was moved to the Scurry- Rosser High School, and is currently being used as an educational building. In 1975, a separate education and fellowship hall facil- ity was added. Known pastors from available records are: E. S. Colthorp, A. M. K. Sowell, T. M. Miller, A. M. K. Sowell, ? Kingsbury, Moses Wyatt, W. S. Wilson, P. W. Turner, W. M. Pardue, James Vance, L. Rattan, W. D. Hammack, H. P. Tyra, C. J. Washman, W. M. Kalton, Jerry Archer, Oscar Richardson, 0. P. Parker, Jerry Archer, Steve Harwell, J. C. Matthews, W. 0. Patterson, W. A. Watson, C. B. Stanley, 0. L. McCollum, Steve Harwell, Silas Dicker- son, 0. L. McCollum, L. L. Brown, James Upchurch, Fred Heath, John Ridley, Lee D. Brown, Fred Heath, D. C. Dunson, Lee D. Brown and Joe Rosenquist.
The Poetry Baptist Church is the oldest Baptist Church in Kaufman County. Situated in a community near the Hunt County line, the church as an organization has had a continuous existence from 1855 to the present time. The church during its history has undergone a change of name, as has the community in which it is located. The area near the church location was formerly known as Turner's Point. Before the coming of the railroads to Kaufman County port-Dallas Road. Here was the only center of business activity for a radius of about twenty-five miles.
Turner's Point had its beginnings in 1845 when President Anson Jones of the Republic of Texas granted to Elisha Turner a league and labor of land (4,400 acres) for services rendered in the Texas War for Independence. Elisha Turner and his four married children settled on this land, and later sold small tracts to other families.
In about 1880 the Post Office Department required a change of names, and Turner's Point became Poetry. The Poetry Baptist Church is the same organization as the early day Salem Church at Turner's Point. Poetry is not mentioned as the post office of the church until the minutes of East Fork Baptist Association for the year 1880. In that year the church is designated as Salem Church at Poetry. The name Salem is used each year until the minutes of 1899, when, for the first time, Poetry Baptist Church is mentioned. From this date on for a few years the church is listed sometimes as Salem and sometimes as Poetry Baptist Church through 1909.
Nothing can be found that gives informa- tion about any early building site owned by Salem Church. Probably the church met in homes or in borrowed quarters during the Turner's Point era. The deed to the present property bears the date of 1886. The existing frame building is the second church structure on the site, the older members agree that it was built about 1912.
Much of the history of the earliest years is lost. The church has no records dated before 1916. A search of early day associational minutes reveals nothing. If the church affiliated itself with any organized denomina- tional work, no record of such has been found. Beginning with the year 1868, recorded history traces the church rather well down to the present time.
In 1868 the Elm Fork Association met with the Spring Creek Church (now Plano) in Collin County. The minutes for that year show that three messengers from Salem Baptist Church of Turner's Point presented a petitionary letter asking affiliation with the association. The messengers were S. B. Penry, B. T. Hudman and F. J. Reese. The church at that time was pastorless. The membership numbered twenty-nine and the fourth Sunday in the month was their regular day of meeting.
In 1900 Poetry Baptist Church was host to East Fork Association. However, in the statistical table the church is listed under the name of Salem. There are a few "old timers" who remember this stormy session, or re- member of having heard about it. For some years tension had been increasing in the Baptist General Convention of Texas, due to the agitation of Dr. S. A. Hayden. A new state body opposed to the convention has been organized and both district associations and local churches were being slit by the opposing forces. East Fork Association would soon be a victim to the stress of the times. At the session of the association, Dr. J. B. Gambrell and Dr. S. A. Hayden exchanged verbal blows that are still remembered.
J. W. Williford served longer than any other pastor with a total of eight years. Mrs. W. 1. Pemberton served as church clerk for 25 vears beginning in 1927. The church reached it's peak in membership in 1886. One hundred thirty-five mem- hers forty-eight additions by baptism and twenty by letter. For most of the church's history, once a month preaching has been the rule. In 1916 the church advanced to twice a month, but this was not permanent. It was in 1942 that twice a month preaching became established. In 1954 association minutes every Sunday preaching is indicated, and this has been the practice until the present time.