GROVE HILL MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
Submitted by: Sweetie B. Jackson
A Report Presented to Local History Programs
Texas Historical Commission, Austin, Texas
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
GROVE HILL BAPTIST CHURCH
EARLY CHURCH 1883-1919
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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
In 1964, the Grove Hill Baptist Church called Rev. Harvey L. Goode
Deacons/Officers: James Amboree,
Ira Jackson, Johnny Jackson, Lewis Jackson Sr., Clevelon Jones,
Sammie Spradley and Lemon Wade.
Trustees: Orange Amboree and Andrew
Choir President: Sis. Lenora
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.
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
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.
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
Sunday School Superintendent: Lois
Educational Coordinator: Alice
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.
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"