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Henry County Missouri Local News Clippings






















Mt. Hope


CALHOUN BAPTIST CHURCH Celebrates Long and Enviable History
1964 - Calhoun Paper (submitted by Kim Schumacher,
A capacity crowd attended the home-coming services at the Calhoun Baptist Church Sunday, Aug. 27, when it celebrated its 110th anniversary of affiliation with the Tebo Baptist Association. The Rev. George Gray, Lexington, MO, a grandson of the Rev. W. A. Gray first pastor of the church in 1854, brought the message at the morning worship services on "Our Heritage, the Past and Our Future." A basket dinner was served at the noon hour and a special program was presented in the afternoon. Correspondence from former pastors was shared with the congregation with the pastor, Rev. Eugene Edwards reading letters from the Reverends R.C. Reichert, California, MO; C. R. Archert, Daly City, CA; Walter W. Mihlfeld, Carbondale, IL; Larence Holzschuh, Mexico, MO; Philip S. Barrow, Kansas City, KS; J. Frank Kirkland, Fulton, MO; G. S. Swadley, Independence, MO; Chaplain John H. Cravens, US Navy, Great Lakes, IL. Corsages were presented to Mrs. Ollie George as the oldest resident member of the church and to Mrs. C. A. Barrow as having the longest record of Christian service (75 years). Boutonnieres were presented to Lee Jones as having the longest membership record and to Harry Redford as the eldest man in the church. Members of the Gray family, Descendants of the Rev. W.A. Gray, present for the celebration included the Rev. George Gray, Lexington, and other grandsons, Ralph Gray, Garnett, KS; Russell Gray and Kenneth Gray, Windsor; and granddaughters, Mrs. Walter Driskell, Windsor, and Mrs. Thomas Mayfield, Clinton; great grandsons, Alfred Cecil, Calhoun, and Bill Mayfield, Clinton; great granddaughters Mrs. Rolla Askins, Calhoun, and Mrs. Lewis Crumpler, Kansas City, and Misses Ellen and Sharon Gray, Garnett, KS. Others of the Gray family included Mrs. L. B. Gray, Windsor, mother of Rev. George Gray, Mrs. Ralph Gray, Mrs. Alfred Cecil, Thomas Mayfield, Sr., Rolla Askins and Lewis Crumpler. Calhoun Baptist Church History Due to the loss of early records of the Church, the exact date of its organization is unknown. Tradition has set the date as 1854. However, we do know that the records of the Tebo Association show that Calhoun was received into that Association, as a new church in 1857. We have no records of charter members, but Mr. And Mrs. T. J. Bronaugh, grandparents of Harry Redford are known to have been among the charter members, also, that Mr. Bronaugh served as superintendent and Mrs. Bronaugh as teacher, in the early day s of the Sunday School. We also find from the first printed minutes of the Association in 1870, that the names of C. Clark, William Overshider, C. Darr, C. C. and T. J. Bronaugh were listed as messengers from the Calhoun Church, also that, at that time (1870), T. J. Bronaugh was Church Clerk. The first meeting place was a log cabin in the northeast part of town, located on land presently owned by Harold Riley. Feeling ran high during the Civil War and services were discontinued for a time. In post-war days it was extremely difficult to revive enough interest to reactivate the Church. Once services were resumed, they met in the school building known as "The Male and Female Academy", also located on land now owned by Mr. Riley. The deed from James Nash, who received the original grant of land from the US government, to the Trustees of said Academy is dated July 30, 1859, and is recorded in Book L, page 510, in the Office of Recorder of Deeds in Clinton. The price of the land is stated at $50. These Church services were under the sponsorship of the Tebo Association. Still later, in 1871, the four denominations in Calhoun: Methodist, Presbyterian, Christian, and Baptist, jointly bought a lot from George W. Squire for $25, this being a part of the original grant of land from the US government to Mr. Squire, in 1838 and presently owned by Mr. And Mrs. Gerald Barrow located on Sixth Street, one block south of Highway 52. There, in 1874, a brick building was erected for Union worship, the initial cost, including the furniture being $1500. There a Union Sunday School was established in an atmosphere of harmony and good will where the four denominations sponsored preaching on alternate Sundays. In 1883 the Presbyterians pulled away from the Union and in 1886 the Christians built their own house of worship. In 1888 the Methodists purchased the Baptist interest. (Incidentally, the Methodists continued to worship there for some time until they built their present Church in which they used the original brick from the Union House of Worship). The Baptists then secured the lot where the present building is located. The deed to which is recorded in Book 83, page 151, in the County Recorder's Office and is dated Feb. 17, 1890, transferring said tract in Edmondson and Legg's First Addition from J. O. and Rhoda Edmonson, John P. and Mary Legg to the three trustees of the Calhoun First Baptist Church, namely: J.H. George, W. M. Allen, and H. P. Redford for the stated sum of $75. This, too, is a part of the original land grant made to George W. Squires by the US government in 1838. The first recorded baptism is that of J. H. George, in September, 1869. Other early members included Mrs. Eunice Parks, 1873; N. A. Robertson, 1875; Mrs. Bettie Slack, 1881; Mrs. Nancy Finks, 1883; N. F. Finks, 1886; Mrs. Myrtle Fewel (mother in law of M. R. Munday), 1888; James E. Slack (Henry Slack's father), 1895. In 1902 we find the first record of the baptism of any of our present members, as Lee Jones was baptized in November of that year. In January, 1903, Mrs. C. A. Barrow (then Myrtle Lewis) was received by letter from a Benton County Church where she had been converted in 1892, at the age of 13 years. In May, 1905, Harry Redford was received into the Church by baptism. These latter three are still a part of the Church Roll. There are no records of the building of the parsonage but 1904 seems to be the most likely date for its construction. The Incorporation papers of the Church were drawn by Peyton Parks May 4, 1907, issued by the Secretary of State, John E. Swanger, to officers f the Corporation, namely: John Conway, president, L. R. Simpson, treasurer, and J. W. Brown, secretary. The trustees were L. R. Simpson, J. W. Brown, Theodore Evans, and Thomas Taylor. Witnesses signing this document were: L. R. Simpson, J. F. Conway, J. W. Brown, Thodore Evans, Thomas Taylor, J. H. Duvall, W. L. Finks, S. M. Petty, James E. Gutridge, H. Slack, J. H. George, and James E. Slack. In 1917, a Ways and Means Committee was appointed to investigate possibilities of repair, remodeling, or construction of a new building. Two members on that committee were names quite familiar to present day members - Lee Jones and Clifton Fewel. It was not until February 1921 that remodeling began. All notes of indebtedness was burned in October, 1922. On May 27, 1923, the newly remodeled Church was formally dedicated, with the Rev. J.S. Denton, a former pastor, delivering the dedicatory sermon. This building was destroyed by fire, of unknown origin, on October 5, 1938. For a time, services were held in the City Hall, but by the spring of 1939, the present building had been completed, being built on the former foundation. On July 9, 1939, after the congregation had met and marched, in a body, from the City Hall, formal dedication services were held. Dr. Courts Redford, president of Southwest Baptist College, Bolivar, MO, (and a native son of Calhoun) brought both the morning and evening messages. Following the evening service four baptisms were solemnized. Here, on January 4, 1920, Philip S. Barrow was ordained to Gospel Ministry with Rev. Bruce Maples delivering the Ordination Sermon. At that same service five Deacons were duly ordained, namely: Lee Jones, Clifton Fewel, Lincoln Houston, Walter Brownfield and Dr. Greeson. Two of these five Lee Jones and Clifton Fewel have served continuously as Deacons for these 47 years and are presently members of the Board of Deacons. Another of this group, Lincoln Houston, died in 1966. Two other members were licensed to preach, Danny Henry, on June 3, 1964, and Martin Micke, on July 9, 1967. The first electric lights were installed in 1915. The first homecoming was held October 11, 1931, another on June 24, 1934 (If there have been others no records was found). The Bible School was held in 1936 during the ministry of the late Rev. R.I. Clemings. The workers were the Rev. and Mrs. Clemings and Miss Dorothy Martin. Money was frequently a problem. In many instances the Church operated under serious financial difficulties, however, contributions were taken to meet each need as it arose and according to existing records, most years closed fairly free of debt. Two instances are recorded during the depression days of the 1930's (1933 and 1936) where the pastor, the Rev. Clemings requested that his salary be reduced by $10 a month in order to bolster Church finances. Later improvements and expansion of the Church have included sizable gifts and donations from dedicated members such as: in 1957 the donation of the parking lot across the street, directly in front of the church, a gift from Mrs. Laura Owens. In 1959 the basement was enlarged to full size. Also, in 1959, the parking lot adjacent to the church on the North was a gift of Mr. And Mrs. Rolla Jones, and again in 1966 the Church was the recipient of the Jones’ generosity in the donation of the former Presbyterian Church lot. IN 1961 a new baptistery and annex composed of two dressing rooms plus a pastor's study, were added. These improvements were dedicated at the same time as the electric organ presented to the Church by M.R. Munday as a memorial to his wife, Mrs. Mildred Munday, and her mother, Mrs. Myrtle C. Fewel. In 1964, a gift from Maynard George, long time member, deacon, and Sunday School teacher included: a wood-paneled nursery constructed in the basement, along with the installation of folding doors of gray vinyl which may be pulled to divide the basement into five separate classrooms. In 1964 a spinet piano made possible by contributions to a special fund, as a memorial to the beloved dead, was added to the sanctuary. In 1965 air conditioning was installed. Also in 1965, through the generosity of Mr. And Mrs. Clifton Fewel, two dressing rooms in the annex were converted into a classroom by removing a partition and installing a folding door, so the space sill may be utilized as dressing rooms when needed. Since all records prior to 1912 were either lost or destroyed by fire it was voted in 1964 to draw up a new Constitution and a set of bylaws for the Church. A committee, Fannie Ketchum, Maynard George, Charles Hansen, William Hall, Don Johnson, and Audrey Parks, was elected to formulate these documents, which were presented to the Church and accepted in business session in December, 1964. The Church has had the unique honor of having one member, Mrs. H.A. Clark reaching the 100 year mark, having celebrated her 100th birthday on Jan. 13, 1964. She died the following April 25, having a membership record of 62 years of continuous service. For long time service as a Church officer the honor belongs to our beloved, late Mrs. Mary Fewel, church treasure for a period of 32 years, having also served as church clerk in 1921-22. Also to Mrs. Edith Simpson who was financial secretary for 25 years. Records for long time memberships go to Lee Jones, form Nov. 1902 - 64 years 9 months, Mrs. C. A. Barrow, Jan. 1903 - 64 years 7 months; H. L. Redford, May 1905 - 62 years three months. The eldest living resident member is Mrs. Ollie George who will be 89 years old on Sept. 9. The churches eldest living member is Mrs. Mable Munday, Macon, MO, who will be 93 years old on Aug 13. The present board of deacons and the number of years they have served are: Loyd Parks, chairman, 32; Lee Jones, 47; Clifton Fewel, 47; H.L. Redford, 46; Frank Chambers, 15; Ellis Henry 22; Charles Rank 32; James Martin 27; Maynard George 16; Floyd Jones 16; Guy Williams 10; George Bilbruck 2; Charles Hansen 2. The church feels they have a record in that they have a father-son team serving on the board of deacons - Lee Jones and son, Floyd Jones. Pastors who served prior to 1908 included: W.A. Gray, A.H. Cockrell, J.S. Denton, W.B. Lawler, R.H. Harris, J.S. Denton, H.S. Thornhill, S.H. Petty. The church records begin at 1908. Those serving since that time include: T. P. Todd, 1908-1911; L. T. Barger, 1911-1913; G. N. Neafus, 1914 - eight months; J. R. Blythe, 1914-1916; G. N. Neafus, 1916-1917; G. W. Merrifield, 1918-1920; T. J. Brame, 1920-1922; D. B. Wilcox, 1922-1925; Geoffey Swadley, 1925-1927; G. C. Faulkner, 1927-1929; V. L. McKee, 1930 - four months; R. I. Clemings, 1931-1937; E. R. Dugger, 1938 - nine months; R. M. Webdell, 1939-1941; John H. Cravens, 1941-1942; Lawrence Holzschuh, 1943-1945; Walter Mihlfeld, 1946-1948; R. C. Reichert, 1948-1956; Paul McComb, 1956-1957; Charles R. Archer, 1957-1959; J. F. Kirkland, 1960-1963; Ervin L. Benz, 1963-1965; Eugene Edwards, 1965 until the present. Sunday School superintendents from the first records of 1913 include H. L. Redford, W. L. Finks, Clifton Fewel, Merril Avery, Harry Cotter, Robert Duvall, M. L. George, Mr. Erdman, I. D. McMillen, James Martin, Shy Miller, Loyd Parks, Frank Chambers and Charles Hansen. The Woman's Missionary Union was organized in 1931 and its present president is Mrs. Rolla Askins. The Brotherhood was organized and the president is Curtis Steenburger; the Girls Auxiliary leader is Mrs. Jackie Miller,; the Royal Ambassadors leader is Gerald Barrow; and leader of the Sunbeam organization is Mrs. M. L. George. The membership of the church is: Resident, 227; non-resident, 98, making a total of 325. The church has an average attendance in Sunday School of 98. Neither records, time nor space permits one to mention the many other consecrated Christian workers who, throughout the long and sometime trying years, have enabled the First Baptist Church of Calhoun to hold a beacon light to the community round about and to continue to offer a hearty and sincere Christian welcome to all who come to worship within its walls.