The Church was constituted in the month of May, A. D. 1850. The constituent members were: John Cooper, Elizabeth Cooper, Elder James Vickers, Sarah Vickers, Henry Walker, Caroline Walker, Silas McIntosh, Mary McIntosh, William Kennett, Ann Kennett, Mrs. Jefferson McArthur, Mrs. Hatfield, John O. Walker, Jas. H. Vickers, Isaac N. Walker, Thomas F. Vickers, and Margaret S. Vickers — whole number, seventeen. Of these, seven have been granted letters to unite with other chruches, seven have gone to their happy home, while two of the number, namely: Rev. Thomas F. Vickers, and Margaret Vickers, remain to bless the Church with their labors of love.
Building of Church Edifice
The Council of Recognition was held in the old District School House in Jamestown. The ministers present were D. R. Campbell, D. D., Prof. A. Drury, and James Vickers. They were without a house of worship, but the little band resolved to "rise up and build," and in the fall of 1850 the foundation for the present house of worship was laid, but the building was not completed until the following year, when it was publicly dedicated to the service of God. Dr. R. Campbell, D. D. preached the sermon.
List of Pastors
The Church has had in all ten Pastors, who have served in the following order: Prof. A. Drury, 1850; E. D. Isbell, 1851; B. F. Harmon, 1852-3-4-5; James Vickers, 1856; when Thomas F. Vickers was ordained pastor, and continued to serve the Church until December, 1860, when A. F. Baker became pastor. He served the Church but a portion of the year 1861, when A. W. Mullin was called. He continued but one year, when N. C. Petitt took charge. He also served one year, when B. O. Branham became pastor. He also served the Church one year. In November, 1864, the present pastor, H. E. Spilman was ordained, and began his labors.
Growth and Prosperity
The Church has been propserous, and her growth has exceeded that of most churches planted in small towns.
In August, 1850, she joined the Campbell County Association. Her first messengers were Thomas F. Vickers, Henry Walker and William Kennett. From her reports to that body we learn that she has received into her fellowship five hundred and forty-eight members, as follows: In the year 1851, twenty; 1852, three; 1853, four; 1854, forty-eight; 1855, four; 1856, three; 1857, four; 1858, seventeen; 1859, six; 1860, three; 1861, thirty-five; 1862, six; 1863, twenty-three; 1864, twenty; 1865, twenty-four; 1866, forty-one; 1867, thirty-nine; 1868, seventeen; 1869, thirty-three; 1870, forty-six; 1871, thirty-two; 1872, twenty; 1873, thirteen; 1874 fifty-sven; 1875, thirty.
Liberality to the Church
With pleasure we note here, as a part of our history, the liberal dealings of Messrs. Berry, McArthur and Walker with the Church. From them the Church purchased two town lots, upon which she built her house of worship, the company donating one half the purchase price. Being hard pressed for means, and relying upon the known liberality of the parties, the Church neglected this debt until the year 1864, when certain of the younger members, male and female, resolved to liquidate the debt, and secure the title for the property, which they did. The company very liberally (after the lapse of fourteen years) waived the interest, and executed a warranty deed, on payment of the principal; so that the young members were able, at the July, 1864 meeting for business, to present the Church a deed for the property.
Mission Church Built
In 1869 the Church resolved to build a house of worship at Catawba, in Pendleton county, where she had occupied a mission station for several years. This she accomplished, mainly through the liberality and exertions of Deacon Henry Walker and Isaac N. Walker. The house was dedicated the fifth Sunday in January; dedication prayer by Elder J. R. Barbee, sermon by H. E. Spilman. After a sermon, a collection was taken up, amounting to three hundred and sixty-five dollars, which relieved the house from debt. In April, 1871, the Church granted letters to fifty-seven of her members, who were constiuted "The Baptist Church at Catawba;" so that the Church in now a mother, and has good reason to regard her offspring with maternal pride.
Valuable Improvements Made
In the summer of 1870, the Church made expensive and valuable improvements in her house of worship, completing and occupying the basement, which up to this time had remained unfinished.
For the "grace hereunto given" the Church returns thanks.
For strength in labor before us, go with us to Christ, our Savior.
J. A. Kirkpatrick, H. E. Spilman, Committee. =========
[Taken from Campbell County Association Minutes, 1875, pp. 10-11. — Jim Duvall]
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