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Catfish Creek Baptist Church
        Photo by Sheila Berry, 2001


Organized in 1802 as Catfish Baptist Church by two ministers, Robert Thomas and William Bennett, one of whom served as the first pastor to the original congregation of eight males and three females. No connection has been established between this organization and a church of the same name which functioned approximately from 1750 to 1790 in the same general area.

--Stokes, "The History of Dillon County, South Carolina"

Catfish Creek Baptist Cemetery Transcriptions


1970 Brochure, contributed by William Snipes, 1997-1998:

Catfish Church Historical Marker, Photo
 by Sheila Berry Catfish Creek Baptist Church was one of the places picked out to be on the tour of interesting places in Dillon County's observance of the South Carolina Tricentennial. The church was host on this day, which was September 24, 1970, as many visitors came and received refreshments and information about the church.

On this occasion a brochure of the church, prepared by C.B. ALLEN, was distributed to interested parties. A copy is herewith given for the benefit of the church record.

Brochure of Catfish Creek Baptist Church

I. Organization

The Catfish Creek Baptist Church was organized in 1802. It was organized as the Catfish Baptist Church and functioned under this name until a few decades ago, when the work "Creek" was added to relate to the stream from which it took its name.

There might have been, in the vicinity of the present church building, an earlier one of the same name that ceased to exist about 1790 and yet provided the spiritual roots of the present church. However, there is not enough proof of such as yet to warrant the present church to lay claim to this connecting link.

It is uncertain whether the organization of the present church took place on its present site or about a mile away and in the vicinity of the Sellers Old Mill area of Little Reedy Creek. It is certain that the immediate background influences for the church, if not its formal organization, grew out of prayer meeting services in the home of Henry BERRY, who lived in this general area; that at some undetermined later time a rude log house of worship was built in proximity to the Henry Berry home; and that still later a similar house of logs was built on the present site of the church. The intervals of time mentioned, so far as the records show, could all have been of relatively short duration or might have been over a longer span. One can only conjecture, therefore, as to where the church was actually organized.

The time of construction and use of this first building cannot be pinpointed any more than the exact site. One can only say it grew out of a need for a special place of worship. The time most surely antedated the birth of the church in 1802. It is quite conceivable that the building, as well as the services in the home of Henry Berry, preceded by months, or even years, the actual organization of 1802.

II. Buildings

The first house of worship, as already indicated in connection with the organization of the church, was located about a mile away from the present site and in the area near to Seller's Old Mill, which is east or northeast of the present church site. The structure "was a house rudely constructed of pine logs with no floor but pine straw, in which the people met and worshiped."

Regardless of whether the church was organized a mile away or on the present site, this first place of worship could not have been used long, if at all, after 1802; for two more houses of worship soon followed on the present site. Henry BERRY, who is mentioned as an early member, is said to have "owned land extending from his home to the public road where the church is now located, and beyond; and he offered to donate the lot for the new location."

The first building on the present site was of similar construction as the first a mile away, and already described. In fact, it is quite possible the earlier building was dismantled and rebuilt on the new site. It was "located on the eastern or northeastern corner of what is now (1967) the old cemetery and bordering on the public road."

Evidently the church was growing in numbers and resources, for after a brief time -- after 1802 and before 1812 -- a second building was erected on the present site. This new structure "was built of cypress boards, riven and drawn smooth with a knife. The planks for the floor were hauled from what was then known as Legette's Mill, near Beaverdam, in Marlboro. It stood where the body of the faithful Stephen A. HARGROVE sleeps." This building was used until 1849. During this time the church experienced one of its most fruitful periods.

In 1849 a third building was constructed and in approximately the same location as the second. One is led to believe that the growth of the church demanded a better facility than the second on provided. However, in spite of the evidence of a great deal of harmony and wholehearted support. even to the point of liberal financial support from non-members, a disagreement between the contractor and the building committee prevented the building from ever being completed as was originally planned. The oncoming war of 1860-1865 might have had some bearing after a few years passed. Most likely the uncompleted portion related to only the interior portion, for the building was used for many years.

This building is described by Dr. W.C. ALLEN, who grew up in this church and was later its pastor, as follows; "I remember this same old building when I was a small boy and was taken there by my parents. It was very dark, almost black on the outside from the weather, and probably thirty of forty feet, with home-made pews and pulpit, and right much weather-beaten, as I recall."

The War of the Confederacy wrought its havoc, but the church rode out the storm and by 1883 was again experiencing great leadership and the addition of substantial members. There was felt the need of a new church edifice, and the present building was erected. (Some illegible description)

The building itself was made of long-leaf pine timbers. The workmanship was superb, especially in the light of the tools available at the time. The kind of materials used and the spacious elegance of design reflect tribute to the farsightedness and artistic appreciation of the planners. Moreover the construction of done in a relatively short period of time. The cost was born by the members as the work advanced.

The building speaks for itself. For a church edifice of 1883 it must have been quite imposing. Its pews were made by hand out of the same choice material as the building. The doors employed a track instead of hinges. A baptistry was provided for within the building instead of in a separate structure, as was common at the time.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the furnishings was the chandeliers, which the writer is informed "were said to be very expensive, and were purchased in Charleston." They were designed for oil lamps and were so used until about 1946, when they were converted to the use of electricity.

An educational plane was added to the main building in 1948. The porch was added in 1970. These have a history of themselves, as well as certain alterations about the pulpit and interior of the auditorium at one time or another. However, the main building is substantially the same today as in 1883; and this treatment of the church plant makes no attempt to provide all factual data since 1883. This matter is for the larger history of the church.

III. Influence and Contribution

The church has exerted a profound influence upon the spiritual life of the community and state. It has contributed much in the way of denominational leadership.

Several churches have largely been formed out of Catfish Creek Baptist Church. The Antioch Baptist Church, no longer existent, was formed in 1829 by the dismissal of thirty-six members for such purpose from Catfish. In 1886 twelve members were dismissed to help form the Olive Branch Baptist Church. A little later, a substantial number were lost to help form the Latta Baptist Church. Doubtless other churches drew upon the mother church in one way or another.

At least eleven members of the church have been ordained by the church as ministers of the gospel, and one has gone out as a missionary. Besides, many equally dedicated laymen have made their mark as Christian witnesses.

Among the ministers mentioned there have been those holding high posts of leadership, not only as preachers but also as denomination trustees, moderators, secretaries, editors, and expositors of the Bible. At leas four have received honorary degrees from Furman University.

The church has always been closely identified with the denomination life of Southern Baptists. It has contributed liberally with finances to the mission and other benevolent causes. A larger percentage of its budget is still devoted to these causes than is true of most churches in the Association of which it is a part.

Never large in numbers, the church has had its struggles, but it has survived the adversities and gone forward in Christian witness and service. Its present membership of about one hundred fifty resident members can be trusted to carry on in the best tradition of the predecessors.



He was a kind-hearted man; his Christian walk was straight forward,
his light was steady,
he loved the church,
and the church loved him.
He fell on sleep, April 7th, 1894 in the 74th year of his age,
and after being a member of this church for 55 years.

"Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is Peace"

A. B. AllenAug 23, 1903  
Anna Grace Allen   
Annie Allen (Dew)   
B. Sheppard Allen   
Benjamin AllenAug 22, 1898  
Cora Lee AllenAug 10, 1913  
David E. Allen  Dismissed Jun 13, 1914
E. E. Allen   
Ellen Allen (Dew)Aug 22, 1897  
Ernestine AllenSep 8, 1906  
Eva Gertrude AllenAug 10, 1913 dismissed Mar 2, 1924
Florence AllenAug 23, 1903  
Franklin Pierce AllenSep 22, 1901  
George Allen  Dismissed Apr 13, 1918
Henry Bethea AllenSep 22, 1901  
James Furman AllenAug 10, 1913 Dismissed Mar 26, 1922
James Furman Allen, Sr.Aug 10, 1913 dismissed Mar 2, 1924
John J. AllenSep 22, 1901  
M. E. T. Allen  Died Jan 10
Mary Alice AllenAug 10, 1913 dismissed Mar 2, 1924
Minnie Allen Nov 10, 1900 
Nettie L. Allen   
Rufus Smith AllenSep 22, 1901  
Tracy Napier Allen   
Alice Ammons   
Bennie AtkinsonSep 22, 1901  
L G. Atkinson   
Lillie Atkinson   
Viola Monroe Atkinson   
Nancy J. Barentine   
Alice Baxley Aug 26, 1906 
Helen Baxley   
Willie M. Baxley Aug 26, 1906 
Francis E. Berry (Rogers)   
Lucinda A. Berry   
Madge Berry Apr 7, 1900 
Andrew J. BetheaAug 22, 1897  
Annie M. Bethea   
Florence M. Bethea   
James Stephen BetheaSep 22, 1901  
Mary Lutie BetheaAug 23, 1903  
Sarah Ann BetheaAug 27, 1905Aug 11, 1908 
Stephen BlackmanAug 22, 1897  
Mattie Bullar   
Ed Byrd May 14, 1903 
Georgie CampbellAug 27, 1905  
John D. CampbellAug 27, 1905  
L. Bascom CampbellAug 27, 1905  
Susannah CampbellAug 27, 1905  
J. C. Christmas Restored Aug 23, 1908 
Nancy Christmas   
Mary Coleman May 10, 1900 
Mary CookSep 22, 1901  
Isla L Crumpler   
Mary Ann Daniel Sep 11, 1897 
Lawrence E. DewAug 22, 1898  
Emma Fanegan  
Ada W. FineganAug 23, 1903  
Bertha FineganAug 22, 1898  
Frank FineganAug 22, 1898  
Amie Lee ForeAug 23, 1903 
Ed M. ForeAug 23, 1903  
Carlos GeorgeApr 22, 1906 
Rupert GeorgeAug 27, 1905 
Sallie George May 10, 1906
James GravesAug 27, 1905 
Mollie GravesAug 27, 1905  
Mary Haselden  By Baptism Sep 13, 1908
Vonnie Haselden  
Beatrice HatchellAug 22, 1897 
Elijah HatchellAug 22, 1898 
Lottie Hatchell Mar 10, 1901
Annie Hayes  
A. HaysSep 22, 1901 
Bessie Hays (Coleman)Aug 27, 1905 
Francis Hays (Price)Sep 22, 1901 
H. B. Hays Sep 8, 1900
Hillary HaysSep 22, 1901 
Ida Hays May 13, 1899
John Hays May 13, 1899
Mary E. Hays May 13, 1899
Montgomery HaysAug 27, 1905Aug 8, 1908
P. B. Hays May 13, 1899
R. W. Hays May 13, 1899
Debora Jane Herring Aug 26, 1905
Mollie HoganAug 22, 1898Oct 13, 1917 
Clarisa Jackson  Dismissed Jun 13, 1914
Nancy Jackson   
A. C. Jackson  Dismissed Jun 23, 1907
Jeter JacksonAug 22, 1897 
Carrie Johnson Oct 8, 1905
Martha Johnson  
Mary Kersey  
Florence Kersey (Kirby)  
Martha Kirby  
Mary Lane   
Golda Porter Lee   
Florence LoveAug 22, 1897  
John R. Love Oct 25, 1903 
Mary LoveAug 28, 1904 
M. C. Love   
Ellen Bethea Manning   
Mary Ann McDaniel   
Maggie S. McInnis  
R. P. MillerAug 22, 1898  
Helen NortonSep 22, 1901 
James OwensJul 11, 1909 dismissed by letter, Feb 6, 1916
Margaret Owens (Woodle)Jul 11, 1909 dismissed by letter, Feb 6, 1916
Maggie Owens (Woodle)Aug 27, 1905 
Effie PorterAug 22, 1898 
Flora Porter (Woodle)Sep 22, 1901 
Fred PorterSep 22, 1901 
Estelle Bethea Powell  
W. M. RouseOct 11, 1908 Dismissed by letter, Dec 7, 1912
Sallie Garner Taylor  
Celia Ann Turbeville  
Ed H. TurbevilleAug 23, 1903 
Lottie W. TurbevilleAug 22, 1897 
Addie WatsonAug 27, 1905 
Addie Watson  
Thomas Harris Watson Sep 22, 1901 
William Henry WatsonSep 22, 1901 
Josephine Whitington Jun 10, 1899
Eva Blanch WigginsAug 23, 1903 
Robert W. WissAug 22, 1897 
Ida Woodle Nov 11, 1899
J. W. Woodle Apr 9, 1899
Nellie E. Woodle Jan 12, 1908
Kate A. Woodle  
Luke E. Woodle  
Willie L. Woodle  
Carey C. Woodle  
Colon M. Woodle  
Mark Woodle Oct 23, 1904
Luke E. Woodle Oct 23, 1904
Lillie B. Young  
The Catfish Baptist Church in conference day before 2nd Sunday in
Dec 1838.
Granted bro. James Blackman a letter of dismission upon the condition that
he (Blackman) shall pay his subscription to the church.
Adjourned Wm Adams, Mod, E. Jackson, CC

The Catfish Baptist Church in conference day before 2nd Sunday in
Jan 1839.
Rec'd for baptism Delilah Danniel, Adah Graham, Nathaniel Danniel,
Nicholas Huggins, Simon Adams, Charles Kirby and Beverly Kirby.
Adjourned, Wm. Adams, Mdr, E. Jackson, C.C.

Male Members 1st Jan 1858

Moses COOK
John COX
Henry Cox

Female Members 1861

Julia TURNER				Beatrix JACKSON
Elizabeth TURNER				Elizabeth BERRY
Phebe COATS				Elizabeth BLACKMAN
Martha COATS				Mary DEW
Mary COATS					Mary A. TURNER
Sarah COATS				Mary J. TURNER
Rebecca SWEAT				Martha A. POWERS
Ophilia TURNER				Julia A. COOK
Pemelian TURNER				Susan COATS
Mary OWENS				Martha CARTER
Addie GRAHAM				Mary LEE
Flora BETHEA				Levejane HORTON
Adaline POWERS				Delila DANIEL
Marinda JACKSON				Nancy SWEAT
Susan BIRD					F. E. JACKSON
Elizabeth CALDER				Harriet LOVE
Elizabeth COOK				Elizabeth STRONG
Elizabeth BEERY				Harriet POWERS
Sarah BERRY				Ann R. BERRY
Mary DEW					Susan BERRY
Nancy TART					Mary Ann HARGROVE
Ann BERRY					Mary MILES
Elizabeth MILES				Penelop CENEDY		
A. A. GEORGE				Harriet HOOD
Mary GEORGE		The Church has 99 members, Jan 1861
Jane WATERS		29 male and 70 Female members.
Nancy ROGERS				J. A. J.
Martha FORE
Elizabeth OWENS
Telatha Crawford
Martha J. HAYS
Elizabeth TART

The Catfish church in conference day before 2nd Sunday in Oct 1865.
Called Elder Joel Allen to the pastorate of this church.
Adjourned, D. Berry, Mdr., I. R. Jackson, C.C.

The Catfish church in conference day before 2nd Sunday in Dec 1865.
Excluded D. F. Berry.
Adjourned, Elder Joel Allen, Mdr., I. R. Jackson, C.C.

The Catfish church in conference day before 2nd Sunday in Jan 1866.
Excluded Mary Owens, Margret Christmas, Nancy Sweat, Martha Carter
and Margret Tart and Lizzie Strong.
Elected H. C. Dew Treasurer.
Adjourned, Eld. Joel Allen, Mdr., I. R. Jackson, C.C.

The Catfish church in conference day before 2nd Sunday in Apr 1866.
Excluded Mary A. Jackson.
Adjourned, Eld. Joel Allen, Mdr., I. R. Jackson, C.C.

The Catfish Church in conference on the day before 2nd Sunday in
Aug 1866.
Excluded Beatrix Smith, Mary Hays, and Nance E. Hays, and Susan Berry.
Adjourned, Elder Joel Allen, Mod.; I. R. Jackson, CC

Jas DuPre delegate to the union meeting, Sept 1866.
Eld. Joel Allen, Mod; I. R. Jackson, CC

The Catfish Church in conference day before 2nd Sunday Oct 1866.
Exluded Collin Fletcher.
Called A. R. Pittman to the Pastorate of this church for next year.
Adjouned, Eld. Joel Allen, Mod; I. R. Jackson, CC

The Catfish Church in conference day before 2nd Sunday in Jan 1867.
Excluded Noah Sweat and wife.l
Dismissed Elizabeth Fletcher by letter.
Adjourned D. Beery, Mod;, F. A. Berry CC  P.T.

The Catfish church in conference day before 2nd Sunday in Feb 1867.
Excluded Jessee Easterling
Appointed Jas Dupre, Dennis Berry, B. W. Jarnigan, I. A. Hargrove and
H. C. Dew a committee to investigate certain slanderous reports circulated
against the Rev. A. R. Pittman.
Adjourned, Eld. W. J. L---, Mod;, Jas Dupre, CC

The Catfish church in conference day before 2nd Sunday in March 1867.
Dismissed Samuel Thompson and Mary Ann McDaniel.
Delegated H. C. Dew and Jacob Coleman to the union meeting.
Jas DuPre reported for his committee that the reports against the Rev. A.
R. Pittman are utterly false.
Adjourned, Eld. Joel Allen, Mod;, Jas DuPre, CC

The Church at Catfish met in conference the day before 2nd Sunday in
April 1867.
Dismissed by letter C. C. Whittington and Mary Lee.
Adjourned A. R. Pittman, Mod.; Jas DuPre, CC


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