Baptist Churches, Pike County and The

First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro


It is almost June ... and speaking of June reminds me that the First Baptist 
Church is having their dedication of their new church building June 1. Let's 
dig a little on the Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, or maybe I should say    
Pike County (Baptist churches) ... I am using ... Goodspeed 1890 for some of 
my references. The other references are from a booklet Reverend Gaines       
Armstrong compiled in 1970.                                                  

The Missionary Baptist Church of the Missouri Township was organized in      
1850, by Rev. Samuel Kelley who was also its first pastor. I.F. Welch was    
the pastor in 1890. Wolf Creek Baptist Church was organized in 1872 by James 
P. Copeland, who was also the first pastor. It had five members when it was  
organized. They were (Booker) Brock and his wife Amanda, W.P. Henderson and  
his wife, and John H. Brock. The membership was a total of 65 in 1890. The   
Sweet Home Missionary Baptist was situated in the Southwestern part of Muddy 
Fork Township. It was organized in 1881 by Reverend E. Merrell assisted by   
Rev. John Cornish. The first members were H.G. York and wife, John Canady,   
and Mrs. Cornish. In 1890 this church had a membership of 18. The pastor was 
H.G. York. In connection with the church they had a flourishing sabbath      

The membership of the Fist Baptist Church in Murfreesboro was made up of     
both Landmark Baptists and Convention Baptists. The first church building    
was located about where (1975) the Quick Chick Cafe is today. The church had 
its ups and downs. Landmark and Convention preachers spoke from this pulpit  
and this led to problems.                                                    

In 1909 a group of the Landmark Brethren met and brought the resolution to   
church that would put the church on record as being opposed to having        
Convention Baptist fill the pulpit. It took some time before they got around 
to taking this vote, but when they did, the resolution passed. It is         
believed that more left the church than stayed.                              

The group that opposed the resolution began to meet ... in the courthouse.   
They affiliated themselves with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and    
the Southern Baptist Convention and called themselves a pastor. The first    
pastor was a man raised at Bingen. His name was F.A. Holt. It was the spring 
of 1910. In October of the same year they began to build their building on   
the spot where (1975) Mrs. Bond now has her home. The church was known as    
the Second Street Baptist Church. The church was indebted to Mr. W.J.        
Lockeby who operated a sawmill in Murfreesboro. Mr. Lockeby gave most of the 
materials, plus bringing in his employees, and working on the church         
himself. This information came from Mrs. Rose Green, who is the only charter 
member of the church (living), and ... still working in the church. Mrs.     
Marvin Terrell, who is now (1975) in the local rest home, said the church    
was about half finished when her family moved to Murfreesboro, Oct. 27,      

A lot of water has run under the bridge since this brave group of Christians 
decided to strike out on their own. This is the fourth church ... they have  
built. Two on Mrs. Bond's lot and two on the Mac Ross property. The first    
building was in 1910. The second building was built in 1932. The third       
building was built in 1962. This building was paid for ... in seven years.   
Due to a faulty heating system this beautiful church burned January 4, 1974. 
I received this information from Lindel Hile. At this time they were a flock 
without a shepherd. Brother Gaines Armstrong who had been the pastor since   
1967, had gone to pastor a church in Hot Springs. They received a new pastor 
who preached his first sermon March 1, 1974.                                 

June 1 will be the dedication of their new building. There will be Sunday    
school and preaching as per usual. Everyone will bring their lunch and all   
eat together in the fellowship hall of the new church, and at 2 o'clock the  
dedication will begin ... All of the past pastors who are still living have  
been invited. And you are invited too.                                       

This is a list of the different pastors of the First Baptist Church. F.A.    
Holt, D.W. Cornish, J.W. McManis, Willard White, W.E. Davis, D.A.            
McReynolds, Taylor Stanfill, Dan Hester, L.D. Eppinette, A.F. Muney, J.N.    
Vandiver, D.W. Armstrong, A. Ermon Webb, V.E. Defreese, R.E. Baucum, Nelson  
Greenleaf, E.S. Hall, Troy Caroll, Gaines Armstrong Jr. and Von Weaver.      

Diggin' with Ole E.J. by Evelyn Jackson. Pike County Courier, May 29, 1975.  
Newspaper clipping provided by Jan Jackson McGalliard. Edited.               

David Kelley 2002