< p class="center"> The congregation at the old Pickens Chapel Church.

 

Cotton Started The Pickens Chapel Church 

By BILLIE WILLINGHAM

White County Historical Society 2002 White County Heritage

 

T
he first settlers in the Pickens community met and worshipped in the Hughes schoolhouse just across Little Creek from the present-day church.   The nearest other church was at Letona, 2  miles away.  In 1894, a missionary came through and preached “Second Blessing Holiness” or, as it is now known, Entire Sanctification.

            John Pickens received sanctification.  His brother, Robert Pickens, went over to John’s house with the intention of laughing him out of his experience. After visiting awhile, all the others went to bed but Robert and John stayed up, still talking about Second Blessing Holiness.  John said, “Let’s pray.”  They got on their knees and in just a few minutes Robert prayed through and was filled with The Holy Spirit. 

            They talked about building a church house, but Robert died at a young age of 37 years, eight months.   Later, John helped start and build the church.   Ben Bevill was the carpenter.  George Quattlebaum donated the land for the church.  Mel Hughes donated the land for the parsonage and schoolhouse. 

            Ed Barton furnished 10 acres of land to grow cotton, the proceeds to be used to build the church.  The community helped prepare the ground, plant the seed and work the cotton.   Ten bales were harvested.  Howard Davis of Sidon and Ed West of Letona ginned it for free. 

            The church was named Pickens Chapel in honor of John Pickens by Nannie Quattlebaum.  The schoolhouse was built where Pickens Chapel Cemetery is now located.  The school was consolidated with Searcy schools in 1946.

            In 1914 at Pilot Point, Texas, the church of the Nazarene was formed.   Around 1919, Pickens Chapel church joined the “New church of the Nazarene.”  The following people were charter members of the new church: 

            Mr. and Mrs. John Pickens (Arbie)

            Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Pickens

            Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hughes (Melinda) 

            Mr. and Mrs. Jim Z. Harrison (Evie)

            Mrs. Nannie Quattlebaum

            Mrs. Bertha Barton

            Mrs. Lute Hughes

            Miss Marie Brown

            Although there is no record of being a charter member, J.E. Hughes gave a large amount of money to help build the church.  He was Sunday School Superintendent for 30 years.

The Hughes School and Coal Hill School consolidated and the new schoolhouse was built across the road from the church sometime between 1916 and 1918.   The Coal Hill School was located off Pickens Mountain Road on the north side of Porter Hudson’s driveway.

            There was a big spring just up the hill, where children got water.  Roadwork has filled in the spring.  Tom Hughes’ family used the spring for many years.  The spring was still going strong in the 1950s.  Even now, in the winter it sometimes breaks through in the road.   Pickens Chapel Church of the Nazarene has had 30 pastors and has remodeled numerous times, in the process building a small fellowship hall and Sunday School classrooms.  In 1978 a new parsonage was built.  Members and friends donated labor and money.  Construction began September 13, 1993, on a new sanctuary and the first service, a singing, was held April 16, 1994.  The first worship service came on the following day.A total of $83,138.28 was spent.  A new Fellowship Hall was completed in 1998.  Superintendent of construction was Don Eads, foreman Charles Hughes, building committee chairman Frank Sharp.  Other key members of the building committee included James Price and Mildred Price.  Some 4,400 hours of labor were donated.  Billie Willingham painted the large window in the Fellowship Hall.  Many have contributed to the growth of this church.  God has blessed and is blessing His work here.  ggg

 

(The author is a member of the White County Historical Society.)