Bethel Grove

Began as Bethlehem in 1869

White County Historical Society 1982 White County Heritage

The oldest congregation of the restoration movement in White County seems to be the Bethel Grove Church of Christ located in the Clear Water community north of Judsonia. The church was originally known as the Bethlehem Church and was organized in 1869 by the Reverend Jesse C. Mason, who had come from Illinois in 1867.

Besides Brother Mason, other early ministers of the church included Virgil Y. Wood and Joseph Green (or Greer). By 1884 the church had 60 members with monthly preaching by Brother V. Y. Wood, property valued at $400, a Sunday School with an enrollment of 40. Thomas P. Clark was the presiding elder.

Reverend Brown was the minister in 1890, and Green Owen was the minister in 1896. J.D. Woods was minister from 1898 through 1901.

The church originally stood by the Bethlehem Cemetery, located on the old Batesville-Searcy Road that followed east of Little Red River until crossing at Bealís Ferry north of Searcy.

In 1915 the church moved to its present location, at which time the name was changed from Bethlehem to Bethel Grove.