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Ashley County, Arkansas
NUMBER TWO CHURCH HISTORY
ORGANIZED IN 1850
SIMMIE L. DAVENPORT
The Number Two Baptist Church was organized in 1850 on the Carlock Plantation on land donated by the Carlock family at Free Negro Bend. [This area still exists but is referred to as The Bend]. On March 2, 1891 Emit and Celia King sold a parcel of land to be used by the church for fifty dollars. [This document is recorded in courthouse records. See page 5]. This tract of land was located in the Southeast ¼ section 9, township 17 South, Range 4 West. This land was at the southern border of the town. Trustees at this time were Joe Louis, William Moore, Rev. Green Brinkley, Frank Brown and Emit King. A few years later Mr. Gus Wilson, the father of Mr. Sam Wilson, gave a plot of land to the Number Two Baptist Church for a church and a cemetery. This location was across from where the cemetery is now. The church was a log church. We have been unable to get the name of the first pastor at this time. We do however know that the church was pastored by Rev. Gipson and Rev. Rogers. Following them was Rev. Jeffery. He was given permission by Mr. Wilson to move the church out of the low area to a higher location. Rev. Jeffery had the church moved to its present location with the help of the deacons and members of the church. Deacons at this time were Milton Smith, Frederick Alom, Natt Gee, Emit King, William Moore and Sam Porter. The Mothers Board consisted of Annie Gray, Carolyn Simpson and Melvinia Smith.
In 1899 Rev. Jeffery had the log church torn down and started to build a frame building. Before he completed the building he took very ill and passed away suddenly at the home of one of the deacons, Bro. Frederick Almon.
In August 1901, the Number Two Baptist Church called the Rev. Dr. W. W. Booker. Rev. Booker accepted the call and became pastor and completed the structure that had been started by Rev. Jeffery. Rev. Booker pastored the Number Two Baptist Church for 36 years. During this time the structure was changed to a larger building. The pulpit was moved to the west side of the church under the supervision of Rev. Anderson Thorn, who was a member of the church and a contractor. The deacons that helped him were Jerry Wilson, Dan Jones, Josh Calvin, C.A. Lewis, Henry Lockett, Adolphus Robinson, William Laws, Harry Washington, George Garland, W.M. Griffin and Prof. C.H. King, who served as the church secretary. The members of the Mothers Board were Marriah Fisher, Celia Bell, Lizzie Akins, Harriett Brewer and Indeann Dabbs.
There were many changes for a better church under the leadership of Rev. Booker, who served the Southeast District as Moderator. Rev. Booker organized the first usher board and started them to working not only at the church but throughout the Southeast District. Sister Melinda Hawkins served the church as janitor and would go anytime of the day or night and toll the bell when a member of the church had passed. After the Death of Sister Melinda, Sister Lou Almon tolled the bell. A.J. Smith served as Sunday school superintendent, Ophelia King served as president of B.Y.P.U., Dave Hurst as choir director and Julia King as church pianist. On October 36, 1936, Rev. Booker passed away at a Little Rock hospital.
In 1937 the church elected Rev. Mack Elliott of Eudora, Arkansas. Rev. Elliott pastored all of 1937 and resigned in the summer of 1938.
In the fall of 1938 the Number Two Baptist Church elected Rev. Otis Harper of Montrose, Arkansas. Under his leadership a new roof was put on the church, new pews were purchased and paid for by the usher board. New chairs were also purchased by the usher board with Sister Lula Grubbs serving as president. The old wood and coal header was done away with and butane was installed. Rev. Harper started a committee to repair or build a new church. Serving on the deacon board at this time were W.M. Griffin, Jerry Wilson, Eddie Rice, Adolphus Robinson and Manuell Todd. Under his leadership he ordained Robert Easley, Fred Freeman and Henry Duckery. Rev. Harper became ill and on November 22, 1960 in the Lake Village Hospital he passed away.
In June 1961 the church elected Rev. Morgan Johnson of Eudora, Arkansas. Rev. Johnson found the church in a very bad condition. It was cold and rainy inside. The church was in too bad of a shape to have service but service was held in spite of. He started all the members to work on building a new church. Money was added to the $700.00 that that had been raised under the leadership of Rev. Harper. The members agreed that a new church was needed and went to work to that effect.
Miss Simmie Lee Davenport arranged a committee to have a conference with Mrs. Sam Wilson and her daughter, Mrs. Frances Shackelford of Montrose, Arkansas to get a deed for the church in order to get a loan to build a new church. The committee members were Adolphus Robinson, W.M. Griffin, Lucy Todd, Andrew James, who served as church clerk, and Pastor Morgan Johnson.
The conference with Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Shackelford was in the church’s favor. Mrs. Wilson and her daughter turned over to the church the deeds of ownership on June 26, 1965. The parcels of land deeded were the Northeast quarter of Section 16, Township 17, South Range 4. The land was bordered on the North by a public road with eastern boundary of 200 feet and a southern boundary of 224 feet. Receiving the papers were the trustees, which included Eddie Morgan, W.W. Griffin, Fred Freeman, W.M. Shaw and Andrew James.
In November 1965 the first service was held in the new church, which consisted of a sanctuary, dining room and kitchen. Later, a meeting was called by Rev. Johnson to rule out the use of outdoor restrooms. The church went to work and added a women and men restroom to the church. The ladies decided to that they wanted to panel the walls and put tile on the floors. The ladies got busy under the guidance of Sister Lula Grubbs and sold dinners to raise money to buy furniture for the pastor’s study. Rev. Johnson had an electric pump installed and made it possible for a cook stove to be purchased for the kitchen.
Rev. Johnson accomplished many great things as pastor. However, in 1972 he became ill and Rev. Thomas Hilton acted as pastor. In February of 1973 Rev. Johnson resigned. The church elected Rev. Thomas Hilton. After his election he called a meeting and the church agreed to add another Sunday to the worship service which included the first and third Sunday of each month. He also organized a one night a week Bible class along with a spring and fall revival.
Mrs. Penny Evans decided a telephone was badly needed and she used $40.00 of her own money to have a telephone installed. Later on air conditioning was installed and the pulpit was reconstructed and made larger. A communion table, a prayer altar and a new offering table were also added. A new room was added for the pastor’s study using the old one for an office. A Sunday school classroom was built and a baptizing pool was installed with Robert Easley, the chairman of the trustee board, as contractor and carpenter. Mrs. Ruby Davenport Youngblood of Crossett, Arkansas and a former member, donated cabinets and had them delivered to the church. A kitchen sink was purchased along with a hot water heater and a piano. A new couch for the pastor’s study was purchased by the men of the church. The women picked out the carpet. It was purchased and paid for and placed in the church along with a mike and loud speakers.
Rev. Hilton worked hard to have everyone in the church at work. He spent a lot of time visiting the sick. It did not make a difference if they were members or not, he showed love for everybody. On February 8, 1977, Rev. Hilton resigned as pastor of Number Two Baptist Church to become pastor of Garrett Chapel Baptist Church in Hope, Arkansas.
On April 18, 1977, the church elected Rev. Louis Meadows of McGhee, Arkansas. Rev. Meadows accepted by sending a letter to Bro. Robert Easley, a member of the deacon board, stating that he would begin his pastoring the first Sunday in May 1977. Under the leadership of Rev. Meadows our regular pastoral Sundays were reduced to once a month and Bible class was reduced to once a month to be held on the first Sunday evening. On March 26, 1978 Rev. Meadows resigned as pastor of Number Two Baptist Church to become pastor of Rose Hill Baptist Church in Dermott, Arkansas.
On June 27, 1978 the church elected Rev. Roosevelt Davis of Dermott, Arkansas. Rev. Davis accepted the position as pastor. He was installed on July 2, 1978. It was his first job as a pastor since he had been called into the ministry.
Under the leadership of Rev. Davis another bathroom was added joining the pastor’s study along with a choir room and a Sunday school classroom. New chairs were purchased and the electric pump was done away with and replaced with city water. Work on the campus was begun. The culvert was put in and the ditch out front was filled and ready to be black topped. Rev. Davis taught a Bible class every Wednesday night along with prayer services. The Christian and American flags were also placed in the church. Choir robes were purchased and the fall and spring revivals were successful.
On October 4, 1978 the Robert Dean Pugh family, a prominent family and dear friends of Number Two Baptist Church, mounted the church bell that had been with the church throughout the ages. The bell was mounted as a memorial for the late Sister BeEssie Gipson Donaldson. Sister Gipson had been with the Pugh family and helped to raise their children. Not only did they mount the bell as a memorial for Sister Donaldson, they gave us a landmark that will be with the church and community throughout eternity.
On May 6, 1979 the cornerstone was laid. Rev. T.S. Skipper of McGhee, Arkansas preached the sermon. The service was carried out by the Prince Hall Masons from near and far. Trustees at this time were James Woods, Johnny King and Lindsay Daniels. The deacons were Fred Freeman, Robert Easley, Eddie Morgan, Cleveland Barnes, Alonzo Barnes, Jimmie Bynum and Darren Washington.
Early in 1981 the pastor and members discussed purchasing new pews. On May 29, 1981, the pews were placed in the church and were pay for in cash. Rev. Davis personally paid for the cushions on the back of the pews. The deacons and trustees decided that the pastor needed a new chair for the study. Sister Hazel Woods and Sister Simmie Davenport were given permission to purchase the chair. The chair was purchased and placed in the study. A new cook stove was also purchased, thanks to the pastor and men of the church. Rev. Davis stayed with the church until his death on November 20, 1991.
The church called and elected Rev. James Crockett of Dermott, Arkansas and he accepted the call on April 6, 1992. On June 7, 1992 he was installed as pastor of Number Two Baptist Church. On the first Sunday in November of 1994 Rev. Crockett resigned.
Rev. Oscar Gray was called and elected. He accepted the call on January 27, 1995. On February 5, 1995 he was installed as pastor of Number Two Baptist Church. On Sunday, May 21, 1995, he resigned as pastor.
On August 20, 1995 Rev. Albert Fenceroy was called and he accepted. On October 15, 1995 he was installed as pastor of Number Two Baptist Church. The fourth Sunday in July of 1999, he resigned.
The church called and elected Rev. Frank Dean of Monroe, Louisiana. He accepted and was installed on November 28, 1999. He believed in saving souls and bringing people to Christ. In February of 2001 Rev. Dean resigned.
In 2001 the church called and elected Rev. Archie Smith of Wilmot, Arkansas. He accepted and was installed in July of 2001. Under his leadership many things have been accomplished, including a solid Bible class. The Number Two Baptist Church continues to stand firm in the faith under the leadership of Rev. Smith.
The church has been blessed from generation to generation. We have been inspired by many who have gone on before us. We have come this far by faith through the heat and the cold. Sometimes things have been bitter and sometimes sweet, but we have kept the faith. We who are left must keep on fighting to inspire those coming on so that the light will burn in them until the new generation has caught the gleam and are willing to steadily march on.
This is the information from the deed as recorded in the Ashley County Courthouse.
Number Two Baptist Church purchased land from Emit and Celia King in the sum of $50.00.
Date: March 2, 1891
Land: Pt. SE one quarter Section 9, township 17 South, Range 4 West
Trustees: Joe Lewis, William Moore, Rev. Green Brinkley, Frank Brown and Emit King
This article submitted & copyrighted 2006 - present by Veronica Kennedy