PLEASE NOTE: This
book contains numerous misspellings. No attempt has been made to correct mistakes; the text
appears exactly as in the original publication.
A HISTORY OF THE CURRENT RIVER BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
By Leroy Carson Tedford
Member of Board of Directors of the Southern Baptist Historical Society
Member of the Arkansas Baptist History Commission
Clerk of Current River Baptist Association
Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Corning, Arkansas
Price $1.00 Per Copy
Printed for the Author by the General Baptist Publishing House
Poplar Bluff, Missouri
To the memory of the faithful, consecrated pioneer Baptist preachers who blazed the trails for Christ and His Gospel throughout this beautiful section of Arkansas; without regard to the elements, crossing swollen streams, and following the dim trails through the wilderness often without compensation they planted the Baptist Faith throughout this section; devoting their labors and lives to the salvation of the lost, and the establishment of the churches to them and to Arthur Conner in particular who took the lead in organizing Current River Association and was its first Moderator, this book is lovingly dedicated by the author.
Arthur Conner, 1812-1912
"Father of Current River Baptist Association"
Writing this history has been somewhat like working out a huge jig-saw puzzle, many pieces of which had been widely scattered and several of them even lost. The author's first task was to gather as many of the pieces together as he could and then place them in the proper position to make the picture of Baptist affairs reaching across more than a century of time. The author does not claim that he has found all the pieces, nor that he has been infallible in placing what he found in proper position, but he does believe that a fair picture of the activities of the Baptist people in this section of Arkansas will be found in these pages.
The author gathered his material from various sources associational minutes, old church minutes, county newspapers, court house records, history books, and elderly people. Bro. W. O. Taylor gathered some material on the subject and published a four-page sketch in the associational minutes for 1942. This sketch and the material he turned over to the author has been very helpful. Bro. Lewis Moore of Success was of valuable assistance in getting the pictures of the churches, and many elderly people too many to name here gave valuable information from their storehouse of memory.
The author is conscious that there are many gaps and omissions on individuals and organizations which are due to lack of information, lack of time to dig up all the facts, and lack of space in these limited pages. He would appreciate your charity toward him in regard to all the omissions and errors found in this book.
Leroy Carson Tedford
Chapter I. General History
Chapter II. Institutions.
Ravenden Springs Encampment.
Southern Baptist College.
Chapter III. Churches.
Chapter IV. Biographical Sketches.
Chapter V. Fifth Sunday Meetings and Debates
Chapter VI. Organization.
Chapter VII. Appendix.
Minutes of First Session, 1881.
Pioneer Churches and Services
(W. E. McLoud)
GENERAL HISTORY OF CURRENT RIVER AND STATE LINE ASSOCIATIONS
The present bounds of Current River Association include all of Randolph County and the part of Clay County which lies north and west of Black River.
GENERAL HISTORY OF CURRENT RIVER BAPTIST ASSCOCIATION
Current River Baptist Association was organized October 7, 1881, at the Antioch Baptist Church, which was located a mile and a half south of the present town of Reyno. Six churches constituted the organization Antioch, Liberty, Mount Pleasant West, Mount Pleasant East, Shiloh, and Emmaus. The first three were in Randolph County, the next two in Clay, and the last one was in Missouri. They reported a total of 212 members. All were strictly rural churches with only once-a-month preaching. Prior to this organization, these churches had represented in Cane Creek Association Liberty being a possible exception.
A sermon was preached by Anthony Foster and a motion was made to solicit a presbytery for the purpose of effecting the organization. A presbytery was chosen which was composed of A. Conner, J. J. McGuire, F. C. Trice, and J. A. Leroux, clerk. The "Rues [sic] of Decorum," "Articles of Faith," and "Covenant" of Cane Creek Association were adopted and "sealed by a prayer led by Eld. J. J. McGuire." (The minutes in full of this meeting organization and the first session will be found in the Appendix.)
Only two of those composing the presbytery mentioned above were ordained F. C. Trice and J. A. Leroux being only licensed. In addition to these the following ordained ministers were present at this first session and participated in the meeting: W. Powers, Gideon Townzen, L. W. Patrick, T. J. Watson, and W. T. Boyd who was ordained during this first session at the request of Liberty church where he held membership.
The second session was to be held with Mt. Pleasant East Church, and we presume it was, but we did not find the minutes of this meeting. The minutes of the next session and the following sessions through 1891 were found. During these years several other churches united with the association and several new preachers came upon the scene. The churches were: Moark and Union in 18813; Hopewell, Salem, and Hazeldell in 1888; Corning and Landmark in 1889; New Hope and Black River in 1890. Thirteen churches were represented in 1890 with a total membership of 431. Among the preachers who came into the association during this period and remained long enough to make Baptist history in these parts were: E. H. C. Kenner, D. H. Sharp, I. H. Witt, W. P. Kime, C. A. Fowler, F. C. Neely, J. A. Wheatley, O. H. L. Cunningham, and J. W. Cunningham.
In 1885 the report on "Home Missions" resulted in the election of A. Conner as "Traveling Missionary," and the appointment of the following Executive Board for the benefit of the missionary: J. B. Smith, W. F. Cole, and W. T. Griffith." The missionary made the following report at the next year's meeting:
"Miles traveled, 890; sermons preached, 120; exhortations delivered, 40; assisted in ordaining two ministers; assisted in organizing 3 churches; baptized 12; and prayed publicly 190 times."
This was not a bad report for a missionary who was seventy-five or more years of age. It is to be noted here that "Home Missions meant to them what "Associational Missions" means to us now.
One of the most significant meetings since the organization was held with the Antioch Church in 1888. Two distinguished visitors were present in this meeting, and their messages and counsel wrought a noticeable change in the associational meetings from that session on through the following years. These visitors were Eld. J. N. Hall, and Dr. J. W. Conger. The former was an editor, debater, and preacher unexcelled among Southern Baptists in his day. The latter was the founder and president of Ouachita College which was only three years old at that time. At this meeting reports were made on "Foreign Missions," and "Educa-
tion," for the first time. The report on Foreign Missions recommended "that each church endeavor to place themselves in sympathy with our poor fallen brothers and sisters; we also recommend that our pastors urge our people to contribute to this important work, and inform our people on this subject." Dr. Conger helped prepare the report on "Education" and gave much information on Ouachita College. The report on "State Missions," which was new also, gave some vital facts about the missionary program in the state, which leads us to surmise that one of the visitors had helped the committee prepare this report. Eld. J. N. Hall preached twice, on Saturday night and again on Sunday morning, "to a large and well ordered audience with good interest."
Another important matter in this session was a change in the report on "Publication." Heretofore the publications recommended year after year were the "American Baptist Flag," published in St. Louis by D. B. Ray, also his "textbook on Campbelism [sic] and Baptist Succession," and the "Tennesee [sic] Baptist" published in Memphis by Dr. J. R. Graves, "with the exception of the communion theory he advocates," but at this 1888 session there was added "The Arkansas Baptist of Little Rock and the Sunday School literature of the Baptist Book House of Little Rock." And it was recorded that, "D. W. Reynolds, and R. V. Parker volunteered to attend the next meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention to be held in Memphis in May, 1889." (Note: these were both laymen.)
In 1889 the meeting was held with Shiloh Church in Clay County, and Elder W. A. Clark of Little Rock was the distinguished visitor. He was elected to preach the Introductory Sermon, and preached another sermon sometime during the meeting. By motion the moderator was authorized to appoint five messengers to the State Baptist Convention in Little Rock, and the following were appointed: F. C. Neely, W. P. Kime, S. K. Dungen, T. J. Watson, and S. Abernathy. The missionaries, F. C. Neely and W. P. Kime, made the following report:
"We your missionaries make report of work done in your Association beginning July 9, 1889. Our first effort was with Liberty Church which was in a very cold state. God blessed us in giving us a glorious meeting which lasted two weeks. Seven professed conversion 13 additions to the church. The church is much encouraged to call pastor. * * * We next visited Hazeldell * * * Continued seven days of earnest, hard work amid much coldness. * * * The next place we visited was Hopewell. The brethren had already commenced the meeting with good interest. Meeting continued six days after we arrived. Seven professed conversion and seven were added to the church. Bro. Kime was not able to be with me. * * * The next visited was Mt. Pleasant East. Found the church in very cold state. There was a great deal of sickness and other hindrances. Result, one conversions [sic] and no additions. Bro. Kime was with me two days. A summary of our work is as follows: No. days 65, miles traveled 556, confessions 15, additions
22, amount collected on field $18.40. Books, Bibles, etc., distributed 75, Sunday schools organized 1, religious visits 110.
F. C. Neely, W. P. Kime
The report of Executive Board followed and read in parts as follows:
"About two months ago we employed Bro. Neely at $75 per month with the understanding that he should call upon assistance when needed, the American Baptist Publication Society paying one half of the salary, and this Association one half. Knowing that $75 ws [sic] pledged at the last meeting our missionary went to work. We must collect and pay up our part. "J. W. Roberts, Joseph Henen, S. K. Dungen."
In the 1890 meeting Eld. W. A. Clark was present again and preached twice Saturday night, and Sunday. The Sunday sermon on Colleges was followed by a collection amounting to $50 for Ouachita College. Collections were recommended for both State and Foreign missions. The missionaries' reports showed that F. C. Neely had served irregularly as a missionary having 26 conversions and 3 baptisms, and T. J. Watson served part-time and had baptized 35 converts.
The minutes for 1891 were not fully recorded, but two matters of interest are recorded in the minutes: When "correspondence from sister associations" was called for, Can [sic] Creek responded and was received, but when State Line responded she was not received, "there being a
charge preferred against one membr [sic] of th at Association by the name of Alexander Fowler for contempt against this Association." By motion a committee was appointed to investigate this matter consisting of J. H. Mann, John Masterson, G. W. Crowder, Berry Wright, and David Powers. We
observe that this was a five-man committee which was unusual except for matters of major concern. Later in the meeting the committee made its report and the fraternal messengers from State Line were received W. H. Tipton and J. W. Richardson. This author made a special investigation to learn the details of this trouble and the best he could learn was that Bro. Alexander C. Fowler was a member of "True Vine Baptist Church" near Supply, and there was some question whether this church was an orthodox "United Baptist Cprch [sic] of Christ," as the churches composing the Association were styled. Bro. F. C. Neely is of the opinion that he was required to be baptized by "proper authority" and that ironed the trouble out, while others say it was decided that "Little Vine" was a regular Baptist church and he was unconditionally accepted. At any rate, the matter was settled satisfactorily, even though the party in question was not present. That argues against the opinion offered by Bro. Neely. Bro. Fowler not only was later accepted but came to be one of the leading preachers from that day until his death in 1928.
Perhaps the trouble recounted above caused the body to take this action later in that session: "Moved and seconded that we take no other name in this Association than that of Baptist." The minutes from which we gathered these facts were written in pencil and the word "Missionary" which occurred in the heading was canceled out. The word "Missionary" appears in the title on the front page in 1923, but not until 1938 do we find it consistently called Current River Missionary Baptist Association.
The next session we consider in this sketch was hed [sic] in 1896 with the Mount Pleasant West, Church. Elder J.J. McGuire was elected Moderator. We mention this session because the number of churches representing reached an all-time high 17 churches representing at total of
700 members. The number of baptisms reported was 62, with Reyno leading the churches by reporting 21. Pledges were taken for missions again this time and the amount reached $65. This seems very small to us for seventeen churches, and it was, but we must remember that only one or two of these churches had as much as half-time preaching, and the remainder were served by pastors who lived in distant communities and were seldom ever seen by any of the members ex-
cept when they filled their once a month appointment. We need to remember, too, that money was pretty scarce in those days. In 1897 the Iron Mountain Railroad (now the Missouri Pacific) paid section hands 90 cents per day, and after charging for board and hospital fees a man's "take home pay" at the end of the week was $2.25! Cotton sold on the streets of Corning in September 1900 for less than three and one half cents per pound.
Unfortunately for the Baptist work in Arkansas there came a split in the Baptist ranks in the year 1901. It resulted in two organizations of Baptist people in the state Convention and Landmark or Association, each headed by strong leaders. The causes of this controversy, and the far reaching effects is too long a story to include in a booklet like this, but it seems well to mention it in this connection because it affected the churches and the association in many way, even to the point of dividing the association in 1922. For a few years following 1901 practically all the churches in this association, and perhaps all the preachers with only one or two exceptions, took sides with the Landmark movement. But the doors were not locked against the Convention representatives, for we find that they visited the annual meetings and were heard.
In 1904 the Association was held at Reyno. Elder Ben M. Bogard, the leader for the Association or Landmark group in the state, was present and preached the Introductory Sermon. He preached on "Works and Grace." The Clay County Courier in its issue of Sept. 16, 1904 states that Dr. J.
F. Love passed through Corning on his way to Reyno to attend the Current River Association. Dr. Love was then State Secretary for the Convention Baptists. Some of the churches took definite action during those days to sever relationship with the "Convention," others took no action on this point. The Corning Church was always regarded a "Convention Church" so far as this writer can learn.
Before we get away from this meeting in 1904 we should state that J. A. Wheatley, who was elected moderator at that session, had been a part-time missionary for the association that year. His report was as follows:
Days labored 31, sermons preached 12, conversions 1, collected from field $7, and received from the association $49.25.
There were 96 baptisms reported by all the churches.
In 1907 the association held its annual meeting with the Landmark Church one of the churches which had gone on record as opposed to the Convention, and which has remained so through the years. The sentiment in this session was predominant on the side of the Landmark group. A
collection for State Missions was taken and by act of the association all money collected in that association were to be turned over to S. W. Abernathy, State Missionary for the Landmark group. Among the resolutions passed was one to this effect: That the churches of the association
discontinue any financial cooperation with the State Convention." There is no evidence in the minutes that these matters were debated, but there were brethren present who were definitely on the side of the Convention. Elder E. T. Lincoln was present and represented the "Baptist Advance" which was the Convention paper, and Elder F. P. Turner was present and represented the Convention.
In 1911 the annual meeting was held at Biggers. This meeting, too, was dominated largely by Landmark views. Elder Ben M. Bogard was present and preached twice, and an offering was taken for the "Texarkana Orphanage." The Arkansas Baptist and Baptist Flag, both Landmark papers then, were the only papers recommended. The only college mentioned in the reports was Buckner College a Landmark college in western Arkansas. But again, F. P. Turner, a Convention employee, was present at this meeting and preached a sermon.
In 1917 the meeting was held with the Moark Church. A change is noticed here the Convention interests were given much more consideration. For example, W. A. Cummings, principal of the Ouachita-Maynard Academy, was appointed one of the reading clerks, and was elected to preach the sermon at the next meeting. He preached once at this session, too. The reports on "Foreign Missions," "Home Missions," and "Education" all gave facts and figures on the Convention-supported work. there was no record of any tension or strife between the two groups. Eighteen churches were represented, two of which were in Missouri. In 1918 the report on Sunday schools stated that every Sunday school should use Baptist literature of its own choice, which
is to show that both groups respected the rights and privileges of the churches to use either Convention literature, or Association literature. The orphans [sic] home at Texarkana and Monticello both were recommended as worthy of support.
The 1922 meeting was held with the Shiloh Church. This was the last meeting with both groups representing together. The minutes of that meeting do not reflect any tension or controversy, but it is reported that the churches opposed to he [sic] Baptist Convention withdrew and made plans for a separate meeting the following year. At any rate in 1923 there was a separate meeting held composed of the following churches Datto, Union (near Walnut Ridge, Independence (Mo.), Pleasant Grove (later called Palatka), and Landmark. R. L. Powell was elected moderator, S. W. Abernathy clerk, and B. E. Smith treasurer. This association took the name Current River Missionary Baptist Association, and continued to meet as a separate association until 1938, when it was united with Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Association.
In 1923 State Line Association which by that time was composed of six or eight rural churches in Randolph County, dissolved and four of them represented in Current River Association that fall. The First Baptist Church of Pocahontas which had represented with Black River Association from the time it was organized also joined that year. And Shiloh Church, a few miles northwest of Pocahontas, which had never ceased connection with Spring River Association, joined that same year. This made a total of six churches from Randolph County which had not held membership before in this association.
Neither the minutes of State Line nor Current River have anything in them about this consolidation, but the writer was told the story by Eld. Knox Belew who presided over the special conference. He said that the meeting was held in Pocahontas, in the summer of 1923; he was elected Chairman, and W. R. McEwen, then pastor of the Pocahontas church, was named secretary. There was practically no opposition to the consolidation and the churches have worked together in peace and harmony through the years. This consolidation fixed the bounds of Current River Association as they are today all of Randolph County and that part of Clay lying west of Black River.
For the next ten years there were no significant developments in the Association. Regular meetings were held each year, reports were made, the churches enjoyed various degrees of successes, and many pastors came and went.
In the session of 1934 the association took definite action to begin a program of associational missionary work. H. W. Johnston made a motion to set up an "Associational Mission Board" for the purpose of promoting missionary work in the association. The motion carried and the Board was appointed, but the names of the members were not printed. But it should be noted here that these new pastors had come into the association and held places of leadership with the churches Dr. J. S. Compere, F. W. Varner, A. B. Constanz, and L. F. Bain, in addition to H. W. Johnston and Knox Belew, who had been the main-stay for many years in the association.
On March 1, 1935, W. O. Taylor began work as a missionary for Current River and Gainesville Associations, making his home in Corning. His salary was $100 per month. This was the beginning of a new era for the Baptist work in this section. Bro. Taylor was a veteran in associational mission work well educated, versatile, and a hard worker and he tackeled [sic] the big job in earnest. A large measure of credit for securing Bro. Taylor and working out the details of a join program with the Gainsville Association should be given to Dr. J. S. Compere, who was pastor of the Corning Church at that time.
The Missionary's report to the Association that that fall reads in part as follows: (From March 1st to September 1st).
"Your missionary has worked over the entire field of Current River Association with no thought of boundary lines. * * * All churches have been visited. * * * All departments of Baptist work have been pushed. * * * Sermons and talks 240, religious visits 751, letters written 324, phone calls 43, tracts distributed 672, miles traveled 5604, study courses 3, study course awards 207, revivals conducted 6, conversions 17, additions to churches 12, B. Y. P. U.'s organized 3, S. S.'s organized 1, subscriptions to Arkansas Baptist 45, money received on salary $242.86, money raised for other purposes $288.
"W. O. Taylor, Missionary."
This report reveals this obvious fact: The association had begun now to do more than talk about the "great destitution with-
in its bounds," it was beginning to grapple with the needs in earnest.
This missionary continued his work with these two associations until the time of their annual meetings in the fall of 1942. It would be hard to exaggerate the progress which the association made during these years. Some of the high points might be stated here: Organized Columbia-
Jarrett church on the very site of the old building which housed the first Baptist church in Arkansas; establised [sic] the Ravenden Springs Encampment, and directed seven annual encampments there; led the Ravenden Springs church in the building of a nice stone house, and did much of the work with his own hands; promoted study courses in Sunday School and Training Union work; conducted Vacation Bible Schools in several rural churches; led the churches to become more cooperative and denominational-minded; and helped in the founding of Southern Baptist College. His report to the association in 1938 showed 78 conversions, had conducted 10 study courses, organized one training union and held several Vacation Bible schools. He reported 61 conversions in 1941. The last year he served he reported 16,300 miles traveled, which was about an average for one year. The year before he began his work twelve churches represented in the association and the last year he served fifteen represented, all of
which had Sunday Schools, twelve of them had Training Unions, and eight had W. M. U. work of some kind.
On April 1st, 1943, H. D. Palmer became associational missionary. He came from a pastorate in West Virginia to this field of labor. He, too, served both Current River and Gainesville Associations. His report to the association that fall (which was for a period from April 1 to September 30, showed he had held five revivals, had 36 professions, baptized 24 converts, held two Vacation Bible Schools, and secured 58 subscriptions to the Arkansas Baptist. He continued as missionary until April 30, 1944.
The next associational missionary was H. W. Johnston who began his work January 1, 1945. At the association in September that fall he rendered a good account of his stewardship. He had specialized on the destitute places, had promoted revivals, study courses, vacation Bible schools, and made many friends for his
work's sake. His report to the association in 1946 showed that he had traveled 23,835 miles, had 55 additions to the churches, 49 professions of faith, had assisted ten churches in securing pastors, organized six Sunday Schools, three Training Unions, and recieved [sic] 78 subscriptions to the Arkansas Baptist. His work is highly satisfactory and he continues to serve in that capacity at the time of this writing.
The minutes of the sixty-sixth annual session of Currant [sic] River association held with Hopewell Church October 10-11, 1946 showed the following: Sixteen churches hold membership in this association with a total of 2262 members. All except two have their own houses of worship. Every church except one had a pastor at that time. Total value of all church property was $72,900, and the total gifts to missions and benevolences amounted to $6557.
The present officers of the association are:
Moderator, W. Harry Hunt, Pocahontas.
Vice-Moderator, C. F. Gwinup, Pocahontas.
Clerk, L. C. Tedford, Corning.
Treasurer, Earl Fitzgerald, Corning.
Sunday School Superintendent, Norace Adams, Corning.
Training Union Director, Tillman Tipton, Biggers.
W. M. U. President, Mrs. L. C. Tedford, Corning.
STATE LINE BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
The history of Current River Association would not be complete without a brief sketch on State Line Association, for reasons which are made clear in this sketch. In Douglass' History of Baptists in Missouri we found this account of the constitution of this association:
"Union Association held its session in 1873 with Howell Valley Church, Howell County. The following churches were granted letters of dismission to form a new association, viz.: Mill Creek, Lebanon, New Salem, Oak Grove, and Pleasant Hill. The churches by their messengers, met in convention at Lebanon Church in October, 1873, and organized State Line Association. This has been a growing institution, numbering in 1878, eighteen churches."
While the churches mentioned in this account were all in Missouri, they were near the Randolph County line, and by 1879 (the earliest minutes of this association the author has) eight of the fifteen churches reporting were in Randolph ounty [sic]. They were as follows:
In the year 1873, three of the above mentioned churches and two others in Randolph County represented with Spring River Association which met that year with Liberty Church in Randolph County. They were Liberty, Oak Grove, Pleasant Grove, Jackson, and Mount Vernon. (The latter might have been in Lawrence County). We find in a copy of the minutes for 1888 that 21 churches reperesented [sic], ten of which were in Arkansas and all but one of these in Randolph County. In this same session the churches in Missouri were given "permission to form a new association * * * and are hereby dismissed from this body for that purpose." These churches met with the Many Springs Church in Oregon County, Missouri, October 19 of that same year and organized "Eleven-Point River Association." This left State Line Association wholly an Arkansas Institution. For several years, however, a few Missouri churches along the line would
represent with it, and one or two from Sharp County would represent occasionally.
In 1903 the association met with the Poyner Church, which was the only church in Missouri which represented that year. Flat Woods Church in Sharp county [sic] was not represented in this meeting but the name was still carried. Only eight churches were represented that year but twelve churches were listed as members. These eight churches reported eight baptisms, a total of $20 contributed for missions, and total value of all church property $1650. It should be said here that most of these churches were in open country which was rather sparsely settled. A few were in small inland villages, and only one or two ever did have any more than once-a-month preaching. As a rule the pastor lived across the hills in another community and the church only saw him once a month wen [sic] he "filled is [sic] regular appointment." At best they could not give very much to missions but because of the "hardshell" attitude toward missions and stewardship which lingered in the background they did not do as well as they could.
The minutes of the annual meetings back in those days were very brief and the reports from year to year changed very little. The report on "Foreign Missions" was usually a brief paragraph of five or six lines, urging the churches to take a collection once a year for this cause. They had no
associational missionary as a rule but one of the reports made each year was on "Destitution," of which this one made in 1909 is typical:
"We your committee report as follows that we find throughout our Association that the destitution is very great throughout our bounds, we therefore recommend that we now make some effort to supply this Destitution." G. W. Looney, W. B. Ladd.
But we must not leave the impression that this author belittles the importance of this old association. The annual meetings were wonderfully helpful to the churches with which they met, as well as to the messengers and visitors who attended. We find that at almost every meeting some denominational representative, or at least some outside visitor, was present and made an address or preached a sermon or two. Among these we found the following names:
J. N. Hall
E. J. A. McKinney
Frank P. Turner
W. R. McEwen
J. G. Lile
R. M. Enlow
J. S. Compere
Dr. W. S. Thomas
L. D. Summers
C. G. Elliott
W. F. Dorris
A. P. Scofield
Moreover, these rural churches baptized hundreds of people, many of whom are still living and carrying the work on in the old home churches, others have gone on to glory, and still others have moved on to the town and cities and are serving their Lord in places far removed from the little country church "where they met the Master face to face." We should add here, too, that in addition to the annual meetings, this association carried on the "Fifth Sunday Meetings" and, as we show in the chapter on this subject, these were perhaps more fruitful of good than the annual meetings. Randolph County has produced a large number of preachers whose names for the most part will be found in these pages, and most of them came from these small rural churches.
The first account of missionary work in this association that we find is in the minutes for the year 1879. Elder H. C. Kirkpatrick was missionary and under the report on "Itinerancy" he makes the following report:
"I have visited all the churches in the association and seven of them the second time. I have traveled 556 miles, preached 45 discourses, and been a regular pastor for one church, assisted in the organization of one church, baptized three, assisted in the ordination of one minister, received for such labors on pledges made last year $42.30."
The next account we find is reported in the minutes for 1888. The report of the "MISSIONARY BOARD" was as follows:
"We, as your Missionary Board, employed Eld. D. A. Pressley to work eleven days at one dollar a day, $11.00
E. T. Lincoln, eight days, $8.00
I. H. Witt, ten days, $10.00
Cash received from churches, $24.95
Received from the delegation, $4.05
Joseph Vandergriff, A. M. Jackson, Wm. English, Committee."
The next missionary work we find was done in 1914 by Eld. J. W. Sconce for which he was paid $14.65. In 1917 J. W. Harey made this report as a missionary:
"I have labored 186 days * * * assisted in five protracted meetings, have preached 76 sermons, made 36 religious addresses, visited 372 homes, made 272 personal appeals to the lost and to indifferent Christians. There has been contributed to my support $184, $109 from the various
churches and individuals and $75 from the state Board. I have traveled in all 464 miles. J. W. Harvey, Missionary."
Only six churches reported in 1918. They were: Antioch, Oak Grove, Union, New Hope No. 2, Yadkin (Bethany), and Witts Chapel. They reported only two baptisms.
Seven churches reported in 1920 and five others were listed. A missionary had been employed for that year and the Ouachita-Maynard Academy had taken on new life. The report on "Destitution" had lost its doleful note, and an enthusiastic report was made on women's work. Bro. J. B. Routh, the missionary, made the following report, beginning Feb. 12, 1920, and ending Sept 11, 1920:
Sermons preached and other addresses, 382
Religious visits made, 1010
Joined by letter and statement, 50
Joined by baptism and baptized by other ministers, 190
Awaiting for baptism and baptized by other ministers, 50
Total additions to churches, 208
Special prayers in homes, 180
Baptist Advance put in homes, 66
Total collections and special pledges, $1000.38
Books put in field, 600
Sunday schools organized, 5
Churches organized, 2
Deacons ordained or assisted, 8
Preachers assisted in ordaining, 6
Pastors assisted in locating, 5
Churches visited, 60
Preachers surrendered to preach, 8
Persons surrendered to do anything the Lord wanted them to do, pray in public, to be missionaries, to preach, or any work God laid on them, they would do, 360
Meetings held, 15
Respectfully submitted, J. B. Routh.
In 1922, the last session, eight churches reported. Four of these have ceased to function, one represents now in Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Association (Landmark), the other three represent with Current Rier [sic]. There is no indication in this last minute that anyone had any thought of this being the last session. The next meeting was to be held with the Oak Grove Church (Attica) and taylor [sic] Stanfill was to preach the sermon. The last session was the 49th. She died peacefully after she had served her own generation by the will of God.