HAMPTON'S FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
Built In 1788 the Baptist church (right)
|was leveled for the new building in 1953. Total enrollment of the church is 750 in 1978.|
Color Photos Copyright ©2004 Yvonne Deloach, all rights reserved.
First Baptist Church of Hampton
BY BETTY RUTH CREWS
The Lowcountry of South Carolina has played an important role in the economic, cultural, political history of our nation. In addition this section of our state has made notable contributions to the development of our Baptist heritage. The first Baptist came to South Carolina in 1682-1683, settling on Port Royal Island.
In the immediate vicinity of Hampton several churches antedate the Hampton Baptist Church. Sandy Run was organized in 1834, Sand Hill in 1848 and Hopewell in 1856. These churches might well be considered parent churches for the church in Hampton. It was out of the concern of these congregations that a mission point was established at Hoover's Station near the present site of the town. The minutes of the Sand Hill Baptist Church indicate the interest of these churches in this work. The church adopted the following resolution:
"resolved that we take 'public collection on the Sabbath in July next to aid and assist in the building of a Baptist Church at Hoover's Station on the Port Royal Railroad." The building erected by these small congregations still stands near its original location on the Crocketville Road (Hwy. 601), adjacent to the Charleston and Western Carolina Railroad. Since 1885 it has been used by Huspah Baptist Congregation as a place of worship.
We can well imagine the difficulties as the very small group of Baptist Christians attempted to maintain their church and carry on God's work. In the face of discouragement and very limited means these Christians did not give up. Rather they undertook to expand. The town of Hampton had been established. In 1878 a courthouse was constructed, and the center of town moved from the neighborhood of the railroad station and the church. Realizing the need to be "uptown," the congregation decided to move.
In 1889 work on the new church house was undertaken on a lot said to have been given the church by the late George H. Hoover. The building Committee for this project was composed of Major W.H. Mauldin, W.F. Commings and George Brunson. Local labor was utilized in the construction of the Church and in 1890 the congregation occupied the church for the first time. To celebrate the occupancy of the new building in Hampton the Savannah River Association held its meeting here November 12-15, 1891.
The year 1895 saw the election of E.M. Peeples as Sunday School Superintendent and Deacon. For fifty years Peeples served as Superintendent, and in 1945 the church honored him by creating the office of Superintendent Emerites, electing him to this capacity. E.O. Lightsey was `made' Superintendent and R.H. Anderson was elected treasurer, to succeed J.N. b Rivers who had served in this capacity since 1921. Mr Peebles continued to serve as life-time deacon and chairman of the deacons until his death April 15, 1958.
As the membership grew more land was needed for expansion. In the years 1907, 1917, 1939, and, 1958, land surrounding the property was acquired from W.S. Smith, Miss Mamie J. Hoover, Mrs. J.W. Willard and Mrs. Helen Walker.
Until 1939 the church had not had a resident pastor on a permanent basis. Feeling that the church would be strengthened by the presence of a resident pastor, even if his services were to be shared with other churches, the congregation decided to erect a new parsonage building in 1939.
During these years the dream of a new building was kept alive. A building committee was appointed and this committee immediately began consultation with architects and builders. On February 17, 1952 the committee presented to the congregation a set of plans for the new sanctuary and educational building. These plans were adopted and the church authorized the committee to proceed with preparations for construction, and on February 23 1952 the congregation officially voted to begin construction. By November 9, 1963 the old sanctuary was demolished, and the congregation worshipped in the basement of the new building on November 15, 1953. The structure was completed in late December and the entire building was used for the first time on January 3, 1954. On that date all existing attendance records were broken.
Over the years a number of members of the church shared a concern for a mission in the Community that might reach into areas relatively untouched by the church. After months of prayer and preparation the church formerly undertook to establish the West End Baptist Mission on December 6, 1959.
The women of the Church, long the energizing force of the congregation, organized a Woman's Missionary Union in 1901 with 20 members. Mrs. J.C. Lightsey was elected the first president and 1906 Mrs. Lightsey was seceeeded by Mrs. E.F. warren. Mrs. E.M. Peeples was elected president in 1919 and served in that capacity until 1952. The membership increased from 18 in 1919 to 250 in 1952. Others who have served a President of this organization throughout the years are the following: Mrs. B.J. Shealy, Mrs. S.T. Everett, Mrs. C.M. Boyles, Mrs. C.T. Atwell, Mrs. C.P. Hunter, Mrs. W.E. Ramsey, Mrs. E.O. Lightsey, Mrs. B.B. Clark, Mrs. J.L. Holland, Jr. Mrs. C.H. Drawdy, Mrs. Horace Ben-nett, and Mrs. W.E. Ramsey.
The pastors who have served this congregation are the following; John G. Williams, W.L. Sublet, J.W. Bishop, E.W. Peeples, V.I. Masters, G.E. Spruill, J.R. Funderburk, W.H. Dowling, S.P. Cogburn, R.W. James, J.F. Funderburk, O.J. Frier, O.A. Ewe, O.S. Ulmer, L.H. Gardner, L.E.M. Freeman, Frank Fisher, D.E. Richard-son, L.E. McCormick, Julius H. Corpening, Silas Garrison, Frank Ling, Robert Lovell and Kenneth Word.
The Church has also had at one time an assistant pastor and Rev. Ling served in this capacity. The Ministers of Music and education in this order have also served the congregation tremendously, Franklin Hooks, Ashley Johnson, Robert Jones, and at present Jerry Helderman.
In the 95 years, Hampton Baptist Church has served God and man faithfully. God has guided her life as she has tried to fill a place in the plan of the ages. Providing encouragement, inspiration, comfort and hope, the church continues in the present age to serve her Lord and glorify God.
This article Copyright ©2004 Hampton County Museum, all rights reserved.
First Baptist Church of Hampton
Located on Jackson Street in Hampton, First Baptist Church of Hampton boasts a new beautiful park with beautiful benches and lamp posts in front of the church. This beautiful church also has a bell that on special Sunday mornings when the air is clean and the sun is shining you can hear the beautiful bell tones of this church ringing throughout the town.
Baptist were in Hampton as early as 1763. In Hampton County there are many Baptist Churches. Churches that started as bush arbors and since then into beautiful structures. Baptist work has continued to grow through the years with wooden buildings with small sanctuaries and little or no educational facilities, these have been renovated by modern brick buildings and up to date educational buildings.
Copyright ©2004 Yvonne Deloach, all rights reserved.
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