Reverend Noah Miller Sr., a Baptist preacher, and his young wife and children, left North Carolina in a covered wagon and traveled to Texas. They settled on a creek four miles east of the present site of Sherman.
In 1864, Rev. Noah Miller moved to Spring Creek, one mile east of what is now Collinsville. He was distressed because a Baptist Church did not exist in the immediate area. On the third Saturday in March 1866, he and his family, alone with several neighboring families, organized a Baptist Church in his home. The neighbors called this church "The Pleasant Home Baptist Church."
Mr. and Mrs. Noah
The charter members of "The Pleasant Home Baptist Church" were: Noah Miller Sr., Noah Miller Jr., Joshua Miller, James McCarticay, J.W. Gillam, Ella Miller, Maranda Miller, Elizabeth Miller, Martha Hogue, Martha Bryan, Nannie Evans, Eliza Miller, Phebe S. Gillam, Josephine Gilam, Louisa Babe of Oklahoma, and Jemimie Hale. The church leaders consisted of:
The new church members met in Rev. Miller's home until a Cumberland Presbyterian Church building was erected. This church building was then shared by the entire community. Each denomination was given one Sunday out of the month for its services. The Sunday School was a union school. The records of 1866 to 1879 have been lost but records show in 1889 the Baptist group under the leadership of A.J. Doughty, John Malone, Sam Pelphrey, C.T. Bourne, Frank Pelphrey and Frank Mitchell Sr., all Baptist deacons, erected a building, with labor freely given. The ladies of the church raised money to purchase lumber for seats.
The first church building was built in 1889. A parsonage was built in 1905 on a lot at the back of the church building. Eventually the parsonage was sold and the lot where it sat was deeded to the church by Robert Moore in October 1909.
In 1933 the women of the church were instrumental in acquiring new seats for the church. One Sunday morning during service the pastor, Rev. C. E. Fite, a young Seminary student, asked his congregation for contributions to remove the building debt. Unknown to him, In attendance that day was a son of the founder of the church, Rev. Noah Miller, Sr. This son, W. E. Miller. asked the loan amount. He then asked permission from the members to pay off the entire debt in honor of his father and mother. Due to W. E. Miller's generosity, the church began to hold the annual "Miller Day", which was celebrated on the 3rd Sunday in March. Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Miller were honored guests on these occasions. They gave $100 to the church each year on this special day in memory of Mr. Miller's parents.
H. B. Prather
December 1941 - October 1949
In December 1941 H. B. Prather, of Dallas, was called to come to the church twice a month to preach. The 52-year-old building was in need of repairs. Mr. Prather wanted to see the building fund increased. There was little response from the church members. Charles Pelphrey, who was not a member of the church, called pastor Prather to his office and gave him $300.00 to go into the building fund.
The church sign read "First Baptist Church." On an annual "Miller Day", pastor Prather was standing outside looking at the sign. Mr. W. E. Miller joined Prather, who remarked that the new church building should be called "Miller Memorial Baptist Church". Mr. Miller responded that he would match dollar for dollar any money collected for the building fund. Prior to the morning services and special program, a conference was called in which the members voted to change the name of the church to "Miller Memorial Baptist Church".
In April 1944 Mr. Miller bought five Series "F" bonds and sent them to the church. In March 1945, Mr. Miller again gave the church another five $1,000 "F" bonds. By April 1946 the church began to make plans for construction of new church building.
In August 1948 the first service was held in the new building, even though it was not completed. Mrs. Lois McAlister, a descendant of Rev. Noah Miller, Sr., presented the church with a painting of the River Jordan which was hung on the back wall of the baptistery. The building was dedicated in March 1949. Cherry Ann Graham and Bobby Joe Cannon were the first young people to be baptized in the new church.
The board of deacons in 1948 were:
In 1950 W. E. Miller presented a gift of one-third of the $12,000 note, plus interest to the church. Mrs. Mary Ross donated several town lots.
In June 1951 the members of the church voted to buy a parsonage. They purchased a house located on Silk Stocking Avenue from W. L. Graham for $3,500.00. Under the leadership of pastor C. R.Kinnaird, the church voted to begin full-time services each month in 1950.
Mr. W. E. Miller, benefactor to the Miller Memorial Baptist Church, passed away in 1952. Under the leadership of C. E. Bishop, an educational building was built to take care of the expanding Sunday School attendance in 1954. Money was raised to buy chairs for the new classrooms and a kitchen was provided for. Mrs. Reba Goodman lead in starting a fund for a new church piano which was bought, paid for and delivered in March 1956.
In December 1959 under Pastor Hugh Newson, new auditorium pews were purchased for $2,300.00 from Ward Manufacturing Company. Greenville, Texas. A lot for parking was purchased from the Hurley estate for $650.00 in March 1961.
Hugh E. Newson Jr.
In 1964 the west end of the parsonage lot was sold the the county for Hwy 99, for which they received $404.00. At this time the church voted to hire Melvin Derr as music director. Central heat and air was installed in March 1965. Mrs. Carrell Reed donated another piano to the church.
The church building was purchased approximately thirty years ago. The original educational section of the church is used as a child care facility. The auditorium is used for storage.
Miller Baptist Church History
Elaine Nall Bay
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