The Boles Free Will Baptist Church is located on Hwy 71 about 10 miles southeast of Waldron. It is on the left side going south on 71, just before County Road 16 turns left. I believe it is located in the southeast corner of Section 35 of Township 2 North of Range 29 West. [Latitude 344656N, Longitude 0940253W].

It is unknown exactly when the church at Boles was established. I believe that by 1887 there was a church in Boles, perhaps even earlier. In the 1890ís a two-story church house had been built. This building housed not only the church. The second floor was used as a Masonic Hall.

In early January 1899 this church and the nearby school were destroyed by a tornado. Four children died as a result of this storm:

Alice Ruthloff was born February 14, 1885 and died January 4, 1899; buried at Buffalo Cemetery
Bessie Lawrence was born April 8, 1890 and died January 4, 1899; buried also at Buffalo Cemetery
A daughter of Jefferson D. and Martha Susan Dooley Frost also died. Her first name is unknown. She may be buried in the Hawkins Cemetery at Parks. Her sister, Rosa M. Frost, was also injured and carried scars from those injuries the rest of her life.
Bessieís sister, Ollie Lawrence, died seven months later of injuries she sustained. (Ollie M. Lawrence born December 27, 1892 and died August 16, 1899; buried Buffalo Cemetery.

It is not known exactly when the new church was built. It had the words BOLES UNION CHURCH painted in large letters over the door. The bell from the old church was used in the new one. For many years this church was used by several different denominations. In about the 1950ís it had become Free Will Baptist Church. They added a fellowship hall, kitchen, classrooms and bathrooms. Last year a covered pavilion was built near the church where they have singing groups.

Next to the church is a tiny cemetery, which goes back to the 1850ís. It has not been in use for many, many years. Janice Rogers wrote me: As far back as I can remember it was no longer in use and most of the tombstones had fallen over. I believe there were remnants of an old barbed wire fence. This was about the mid-1930ís. Eventually the tombstones were all on the ground. People let their cows run loose back then and Iím sure with their grazing they knocked some of them down. By the early forties grass was growing over them and some cars were driving across one corner of the cemetery, taking a short cut to the nearby stores. In order to preserve a record of who might be buried there pieces of the tombstones with readable names were put under the church. At that time the church building had no skirting around it and it was about 2 Ĺ feet from the floor to ground. Iím sure the pieces are still there, near the front of the church.

Buried in this small cemetery is James Augustus and Lucinda (Ivey) Sessions. The descendants of James and Lucinda have put in a new marker for them. I believe that my great-great-great grandparents, Elijah and Mary (Sessions) Ivey are also buried there. I have been told that there were about eleven graves.

Contributed by Charlene Holland.

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