Matagorda County Historical Marker Narrative
 


GROVE HILL MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
Pledger, Texas

 

Submitted by:  Sweetie B. Jackson

A Report Presented to Local History Programs
Texas Historical Commission, Austin, Texas

 

 

                         INTRODUCTION

According to Historic Matagorda County, (1986). "The Strand," "Cool Grove," and "Grove Hill," were names used to describe locations in the Pledger community. "The Strand" was used to describe the trail between Wharton and Matagorda Counties that joined the trail from Pledger to Brazoria. On "The Strand," near the Pledger Plantation, one still could find traces of old bricks and machinery as late as 1930. "Cool Grove" was used to describe the area around Dry Bayou as it flows from Wharton to Matagorda County. This is the area where H.C. Coolgrove lived after he purchased the 572-acre Lawson tract in December, 1860. "Grove Hill" was the area near the Brown Plantation homesite. It was the site of the original "Grove Hill" church which was also used as a schoolhouse by the slaves and their descendants. The old church is now gone but the cemetery remains in use today by members of the Grove Hill Church which is now located in Block I of the present Pledger townsite.

 

 

GROVE HILL BAPTIST CHURCH
EARLY CHURCH  1883-1919

 

PART I

 According to the history of the church deed, the Grove Hill Baptist Church, purchased land for church property August 31, 1883, at the cemetery location for the sum of fifty-seven dollars.


One year later, 1884, the first church was organized by the late Rev. Jack Yates and London Branch. Information about the construction of the church is unknown.


According to history, Rev. Roman Hill, was recorded as the first pastor of the Grove Hill Baptist Church. The numerical membership is not known, but the membership was effective in attendance. Pastors that succeeded Rev. Roman Hill were as follows: L. Wormely, Smith Jackson, D. Johnson, R. Douglass and Henry Dew. All range from the time frame of 1884-1919, at this location.


In 1919, the Grove Hill Baptist Church, relocated to the Uptown Pledger Townsite, at the present location. The construction of the church building was led by Bro. Frank Amboree.


It is recorded that the pastorate of ministers during this era (1919-1929) are as follows: J.W. Wiggins, W.N. Jones, L. King, J.E. Jenkins, F. Paige and C.H. Brown Sr. Deacons were: Hillard Matthews, William Jedkins, Matt Spradley, Issac Spencer, Elizah Ammerson, Briton Monroe, C.H. Hubert and later, Smith Jackson Jr. and John Gailes.


It is believed that the first Sunday School was organized in 1925.  The Sunday School's officers and staff are as follows: Superintendent: Sis. Bessie Paige (1925-1959) followed by Bro. McKinley Jackson; Assistant Superintendent: Robert Willis; Secretaries: Henrietta Bogan, Odessa Plummer, O.D. Jenkins and Willie B. Jackson; Teachers: Bro. Neal Kemp, Jimmy Anderson, S.H. Jackson, Burden Judkins and J.C. Gailes (1925-1930).

 

PART II
    

 During the time frame of 1919-1929, it is believed that the following ministers held pastorship of the Grove Hill Baptist Church: J.W. Wiggins, W.M. Jones, L. King, J.E. Jenkins, F. Paige and C.H. Brown. Rev. C. H. Brown concluded his pastorship in 1929. The surviving records make it impossible to ascertain the pastors who served from 1929 until 1934.

 

PART III

 
Rev. W. E. Walker was called as pastor for the Grove Hill Baptist Church and served for fourteen years (1934-1948. The deacons who served with him were: Floyd Amboree, J.C. Gailes, Johnny Jackson, Sam Jackson, Clevelon Jones and Sammie Spradley. Trustees were: J.C. Gailes, Andrew Jackson and Tom Spradley.


During this same era, Mr. I.P. Plummer and John Laws renovated the church building. The first music department was begun in 1940 under the leadership of Rev. W.E. Walker. The first piano was also purchased through the efforts of Sis. Eleanor Banks. History records thirty-six choir members.

 

PART IV

 
In 1949 Grove Hill Baptist Church, called Rev. E. Edmond as shepherd of the flock.

 

Officers: Sunday School Superintendent: McKinley Jackson; Assistant Superintendent: Sis. L.E. Amboree; Secretary: Willie B. Jackson; Mission President: Sis. Alma White; B.Y.P.U. President: Floyd Amboree; Church Clerk: Bro. James Amboree; and Treasurer: Ira P. Jackson.

 

Deacons: Floyd Amboree, James Amboree, Johnnie Jackson, Ira Jackson, Sam Jackson, Clevelon Jones, Sammie Spradley, John Gailes and Lemon Wade. Bro. Lewis B. Jackson Sr., was ordained deacon in 1962.

 

Trustees: Bro. Jim Jackson, Orange Amboree and later trustees: Tom Spradley and Joseph Spradley.

 
The first youth group was baptized by Rev. E. Edmond and the youth choir was organized in 1956 by Sisters Nancy Edmond and Sweetie B. Jackson.

 

Musician: Sis. Sweetie B. Jackson

 

Matrons: Ruby Williams, Nancy Edmond and Sis. Janie Moses.

 

Directress: Sis. Beatrice Pope of Eagle Lake, Texas.

 

Choir: Eulalia Gailes, Rosa Mae Higgins, Estella Hayes, Helen James, Charles Stone, Amanda Williams, Joyce Williams, Mable D. Williams, Johnson Williams and Queen Esther Williams.

 
During this time hardwood floors were installed in the church. Construction was led by I.P. Plummer and John Laws. Rev. E. Edmond was a very Spirit-filled leader. He was very concerned about the young people's family standards and B.Y.P.U. training. A fatal heart attack in 1963 ended Rev. Edmond's fourteen years of Spiritual leadership.

 

PART V

 
In 1964, the Grove Hill Baptist Church called Rev. Harvey L. Goode as pastor.

 

Deacons/Officers: James Amboree, Ira Jackson, Johnny Jackson, Lewis Jackson Sr., Clevelon Jones, Sammie Spradley and Lemon Wade.

 

Trustees: Orange Amboree and Andrew J. Jackson.

 

Choir President: Sis. Lenora Amboree.

 

Ushers: Sis. V.L. Jackson, Henrietta Jenkins, Velma Plummer, Ollistine Straughter, Alneater Stredic, Christine Stredic and Chester Thomas.

 
During this time, new church pews and a water well were purchased. The membership appeared to grow spiritually and financially. Thereafter, the church membership was impugned with alleged allegations that caused controversy and unrest between members of the congregation. It appeared that, based on those allegations, Rev. Harvey L. Goode resigned at pastor in 1965.

 

PART VI


In 1966, Grove Hill Baptist Church called Rev. Fred Landry as pastor.

 

Deacons and Officers: Floyd Amboree, James Amboree, Ira Jackson, Johnny Jackson, Lewis B. Jackson Sr., Clevelon Jones, Sammie Spradley and Lemon Wade.

 

Trustees: Orange Amboree and Andrew J. Jackson.

 

Choir President: Sis Lenora Amboree.

 

Ushers: V.L. Jackson, Henrietta Jenkins, Velma Plummer, Ollistine Straughter, Alneater Stredic, Christine Stredic and Chester Thomas.


Renovations were also made during this time period. The construction was spearheaded by Bro. Orange Amboree and company. The pulpit area was enlarged and the design of the choir loft was changed. A cafeteria and rest rooms were also completed. Work on the baptistry was also begun.


The first organ was purchased in 1970 while Rev. Fred Landry was pastor. In January, 1971, Rev. Landry resigned as pastor.

 

PART VII

 

Profile of Frank R. Cones


Frank R. Cones was born to Rachel and William Cones in Hillsboro, Texas. He was the youngest of 12 children. From age three he was reared in Sugarland, Texas by Cora and George Scott, his maternal aunt and uncle, whom he referred to as Mama and Daddy. Both sets of parents and eight brothers preceded him in death.


He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Butler College in Tyler, Texas. He continued his education at Texas Southern University toward a Masters Degree.


On October 28, 1939, he married Frances Hall who preceded him in death on February 8, 1958. He married Hazel G. Cones on May 3, 1959. Together they had three children.


He was baptized by the late Rev. C.W. White at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Sugarland. While a member of Damascus Baptist Church in Houston, he was called to the ministry on June 10, 1941. He organized the youth department there in 1943. In 1961, he was selected to be a missionary for the Independent Missionary Baptist General Association of Texas (IMBGA). As a missionary, he ministered to a number of congregations throughout the district, the hearts of those hearing the message.


Frank R. Cones, the seventeenth pastor of Grove Hill Baptist Church (1971), was endowed with riches from God. Moreover, as pastor he was willing and ready to serve as the shepherd of his flock.


As a servant of God, Pastor Cones showed himself as a pattern of good works in doctrine, integrity, gravity, and sincerity. He was the epitome of strong character and unselfishness in his leadership of the Grove Hill Baptist Church.


On August 22, 1995, Pastor Cones had served twenty-four years as pastor. His greatest concerns were to be a friend to the community, the young people, other ministers and pastors and senior citizens and minister to their needs.


In 1991 he implemented Bible class teaching, and the Revival Institute classes that were active, inspirational and helpful. He often expressed through song: "If I have wounded any soul today, If I have caused one foot to go astray, If I have walked in my own willful way, Dear Lord, forgive."


During Rev. Cones term as pastor, the following

accomplishments were achieved:

 

Renovations: A concrete beam and brick structure, 19' x 38' x 18'. It included a steeple, detached bell tower, a new roof, personalized names of loved ones on windows, new light fixtures, new ceilings, new kitchen, carpeting and flooring, bathrooms, central-air unit, heaters and an overhang at the front entrance. The church seating capacity was increased to 345; pulpit area 12; choir loft 50; and cafeteria seating 40.

 

Deacons and Officers: Robert Spradley, J.D. Amboree and Charlie Harris Sr.

 

Trustees: Unice Spradley Sr., R.L. James and Herman Spradley.

 

Church Clerk: Deborah James.

 

Bookkeeper/Treasurer: Eulalia Waddy.

 

Ushers: R.L. James, Unice Spradley, Herman Spradley, Todd Harris, Charles Harris, Cheycara Latimer, Tyrell Laws, Lakeisha Laws, Trinette Waddy and Eric James.

 

Choir Officers: President, Charlie Harris; Vice-President, Eulalia Waddy; Secretary/Treasurer, Deborah James; Musician, Sweetie Jackson.

 

Missions President: Dorothy Spradley.

 

Sunday School Superintendent: Lois Spradley.

 

Educational Coordinator: Alice Jones.

 

Pastor's Aid: Sis. Sidney Higgins.

 

Deceased Deacons and Officers: F. Amboree, J. Amboree, J. Jackson, L.B. Jackson, L. Wade and S. Jones.

 

Deceased Trustees: O. Amboree, A. Jackson.

 

Deceased Church Clerks: J. Amboree, Sis. E. Jones, Martha Washington, and L.B. Jackson, treasurer.

 

Deceased Sunday School Officers: McKinley Jackson and Willie B. Jackson.

 

Deceased Choir Members: Ruby Williams and Elmor Jones.

 

GOT ALL: Charity Gailes (Famous words of Wisdom) "Every Tub Has to Sit on Its Own Bottom"

 

          
* GROVE HILL MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH *

NAMED FOR AN AREA NEAR THE BROWN PLANTATION HOME SITE, GROVE HILL BAPTIST CHURCH WAS OR-GANIZED IN 1884 BY THE REV. JACK YATES AND LONDON BRANCH. THE ORIGINAL CHURCH BUILDING ALSO SERVED AS A SCHOOL FOR THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY.  A NEW CHURCH STRUCTURE WAS BUILT ON THIS SITE IN 1919. AS THE CONGRE-GATION EXPANDED, A SUNDAY SCHOOL, MUSIC DE-PARTMENT, CHOIR AND YOUTH GROUP WERE ESTABLISHED. IMPROVEMENTS TO THE BUILDING INCLUDED ENLARGING THE PULPIT AREA, AND BUILDING A STEEPLE AND A DETACHED BELL TOWER. THE CHURCH CONTINUES TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY AS IT HAS FOR OVER 100 YEARS.**1996
 


FORMER MEMBERS OF GROVE HILL MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH

 The following names are recorded in the obituary files of the church. Most are buried in Grove Hill Cemetery and the Jackson Cemetery in Pledger, Texas.
 

Amanda Amboree

Floyd Amboree

George Amboree

Harriett Amboree

James Amboree

Omar Amboree

Orange Amboree

Virginia Amey

Eligah Ammerson

Courtney Anderson

Patsy Armstrong

Bessie Battle

Kathern Bedford

Haywood Bennet

Clarence Bogan

David Bogan

Matthews Bogan

Cash H. Brown*

Creasy Brown

Amanda Carnie

ED. Christal

Martha Christal

Frank R. Cones*

Dora Cooper

Harrison Cooper

Peggy Cooper

Nancy Crawford

Henry Dew*

R. Douglas*

E. Edmond*

Nancy Edmond

Joe Emmerson

Charity Gails

John Gails

Fannie Gordon

Henderson Grover

Horace Harris

Calvin Hubbard

L. Hubbard

Maggie Hubbard

Mary Hubbard

Washington Hubbard

C. H. Hurbert

Aaron Jackson

Andrew J. Jackson

Andrew Jackson

Bertha Jackson

Betty Jackson

Eugene Jackson

Fred Jackson

Helen Jackson

Ish Jackson

Ira P. Jackson


J.C. Patterson

Johnnie Jackson Sr.

Jordon Jackson

Leandrea Jackson

Lewis Jackson Sr.

Mary Jackson

McKinley Jackson

Millie Jackson

Moses Jackson I

Moses Jackson II

Sarah Jackson

Sam Jackson

Smith Jackson Sr.*

Smith Jackson Jr.

Vivian Jackson

Willie B. Jackson

Willie Jackson

Bessie James

Ruby James

Sandy James

Steve James

Texana James

T.W. James

D. Johnson*

Altha Jones

Bryant Jones

Charles Jones

Clevelon Jones

Elmor Jones

Fredricka Jones

L.E. Jones

Lee Jones

Mattie Jones

Sammie L. Jones

W.M. Jones*

Florence Jenkins

John Jenkins*

Buster Judkins Jr.

Burton Judkins

L.D. Judkins

William Judkins

Neal Kemp

Rhynie Kemp

Virginia Kemp

L. King*

Dorothy Lewis

Frank Matthews

Genova Matthews

Hillard Matthews

Clifford McCoy

Mamie McCoy

Susie McCoy

Vernell McCoy

Briton Monroe

Jessie Moore

Scott Miller

Betsy Paige

F. Paige*

Jim Paige

Katie Paige

John Plummer

Velma Plummer

Bet Revis

Frances Revis

Turner Revis

Isabell Robins

Eliza Simmons

Doc. Spencer

Isaac Spencer

John Spencer

Mattie Spencer

Sophia Spencer

Adella Spradley

Bessie Spradley

Gurtie Spradley

Hattie Spradley

Jeff Spradley

John Spradley

Joseph Spradley

Matt Spradley

Samuel Spradley

Tom Spradley

Amanda Straughter

Ollistine Straughter

Alneater Stredic

Christine Stredic

Washington Stredic

Jane Thompson

Joe Thompson

Rosa Thompson

Tommy Thompson

Lorice Townsend

Lemon Wade

John John Waddy

R.J. Waddy

Martha Washington

Henry Warren

Alma White

James White Sr.

Waymon White

Geneal Wiley

Phillip Wiley

Dorothy Williams

Johnson Williams

Mable Williams

Mentha Williams

Ruby Williams

 

* Deceased Pastors

 

 

Copyright 2010 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

This page was created
Apr. 6, 2010
This page was updated
Apr. 6, 2010
   

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