Greene County Arkansas

Paragould, Arkansas

Centennial Edition Section 1


 Paragould Daily Press, Monday, August 29,  1983                                                                                                                    Section 1, Centennial Edition--13




Strong foundations for community life



 The Daily Press sent information request
forms to all the churches in the county for
which we could obtain a mailing address
and also solicited information through the
newspaper. The church histories presen-ted on this and the following two pages were taken from the completed forms and other material provided to us. Length of these articles was based on the amount of information supplied.
   Unfortunately, several of the churches
to which we sent forms did not respond
and, therefore, are not listed here.

Ritual and fellowship have always been an important part of "that old-time religion."  In this 1939 photograph, preacher John Barr of the Marmaduke First Baptist Church conducts a mass baptism in a pond on the Will Jones farm two miles west of that town.                                                                                                           Photo courtesy: Dr. C.W. Starrnes


Mt. Zion Baptist Church

   Mt. Zion Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist church in Greene County, was established in 1840 by elder William Nutt at the home of Wiley Hutchins. Marion
Gramling has been pastor of the church, which is located in the Mt. Zion community, since 1975. There are 240 resident members.
   Soon after they organized the church, they built a small log house. This was a community house as well as a church. The church later built a larger log house which
was never used for any other purpose than as a house of worship. It was later destroyed by fire. A frame church was then built, and it was blown away by a storm.
   The present building is the fourth since the church's establishment. Four churches have been organized by members, lettered off from Mt. Zion. They are Shady
Grove, Walcott, Cache Valley and Lorado churches. Twenty-four pastors have served the church.

Shiloh United Methodist Church

   Shiloh United Methodist Church was established in 1888 when the first church building was erected at the present location on U.S. Hwy. 412 west of Paragould.
The two-story frame structure was used as a church, as a school and as a meeting place for lodges.
   This building served the congregation until 1915, when a second church was built on the same grounds. The second building served as a meeting place from 1915
until 1965. The first pastor of the church was I. A. Vernon.
   Two of the earliest members, the late Ella and Clarence Edrington, told about the method of paying the pastor's salary in the early days. The leaders of the church
hitched up the horse and buggies and went around to the members to collect the salary. If a member had no money, he could donate chickens or meat, vegetables,
fruit, canned food or sorghum molasses.

First United Methodist Church Marmaduke

   The First United Methodist Church in Marmaduke was established in 1890 as the Marmaduke Methodist Episcopal Church, South with the Ref. E. N. Bickley as
pastor. The first meetings were held in the school, but soon a small frame building was erected on West England Street, just behind the existing General Baptist
   In 1925, a brick building was erected that still serves the 161 members. The Rev. Randy H. Rowlan is pastor.
   There have been 41 ministers at the church during its 93 years. The largest membership increase was from 1907 to 1909 when P. B. Wallis added 52 members to
the congregation. L.L. Bounds recently retired after serving the church for 11 years.

St. John's Lutheran Church

   St. John's Lutheran Church in Lafe was established in 1891 and moved to its current location in 1948. The Rev. John Reimold is the pastor of the church which has 217 members.
   In 1891 a Lutheran church was organized at Lafe and named. St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1911, a second frame church was built to replace the
orginal church. Before 1934, all church services were conducted in German, the language of the original settlers.
   In 1937, electric lights were first installed in the church. The present brick church was constructed in 1948, with a wing added in 1981.

Light Baptist Church

   Light Baptist Church was organized in 1895 with the help of Tom Williams and the Mt. Zion Baptist Church. It was called the Cache Valley Baptist Church --
named for the Cache River which lies about 3 1/2 miles farther west dividing Greene and Lawrence counties. Baptismal services were held in the river for many
   The closest Baptist church was Mt. Zion, located on Hwy. 141, and Williams held a "protracted meeting" in a one-room schoolhouse; many people became
Christians. After the church was organized, services were held once a month and "Aunt" Dove Biggs said she didn't know whether the preacher was paid any money, but she didn't think he was.
   Biggs was a charter member of the church; she was 14 at the time. She remained active in the church until just before her death in 1982, a few months before her
100th birthday. She supplied most of the information about the church when she was 91. The lighted church sign in front of the church was erected as a memorial to
her in 1982.
   Jim Seay, the first pastor, road a horse from Walcott once a month to hold church services for as few as one or two people. Later a tabernacle was built and many times the Church of Christ would hold a revival at the same time as the Baptists. It was said that if you sat on the back seat, you could hear both services.
   Two of the first deacons were Sam Davis and J.R. Parker. The first church house was built in 1932. In 1948, the present building was constructed with A. C.
Rudloff as pastor. The fellowship hall was constructed beside the church in the early 1970s.
The church membership is now 107 and the average attendance is about 75.

Page 14 Section 1


Transcribed from the 1983 Centennial Edition by : PR Massey

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