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"History of First Baptist Church, South Boston, Virginia".

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HISTORY OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, SOUTH BOSTON, VIRGINIA

Given at Meeting of Dan River Association - October 22, 1975

The man, who might be called the father of First Baptist Church was Mr. R. Hunter Beazley, grandfather of Carroll and Hunter Headspeth. Mr. Beazley organized a union Sunday School in 1876, which became a Baptist Sunday School in 1878. In 1879 this little group was meeting in the public school building, located about where the Guest House now stands. In 1879 Mr. Beazley, Mr. R. W. Lawson, Mr. E. B. Yancey, and Mr. A. B. Willingham began operations for the erection of a suitable home for the school. The Rev. H. G. Crews, pastor of the Dan River Baptist Church, who had preached at the Sunday School on many occasions, encouraged the men to consider organizing a church. The nearest Baptist church was Dan River, four miles away.

A meeting was called at the offices of R. E. and W. I. Jordan to consider the matter. A "Church Extension Society" was formed with R. E. Jordan, president, J. V. Brookes, Treasurer, and R. H. Beazley, secretary. Mr. Crews was appointed to solicit funds. It is interesting to note that the first gift was from Judge Barksdale, of Beth Car Baptist Church, Halifax (then Houston), His gift of $100.00 was soon added to by a gift of $200.00 from Captain E. B. Jeffress. The Rev. Thomas King, pastor of Grace Baptist Church gave the flooring and delivered it to the site. When the Dan River Association met in August, 1881 that body gave $200.00 to the project. Gifts came from as far way as Richmond, and from other denominations. Business men in general gave liberally.

In the fall of 1881 the contract was let for the construction of a 40' by 60' brick building on a lot purchaed from Captain Jeffress at about the site of the present building. The South Boston Baptist Church was formally organized on April 29, 1882, with 27 charter members, 14 men and 13 women. They were: Messrs. R. E. Jordan, R. H. Beazley, W. V. B. Moore, J. D. Terry, A. B. Willingham, Samuel Webster, R. W. Lawson, J. M. Jordan, J. N. Thomas, W. T. Carter, W. D. Hill, A. B. Willingham, Jr, E. B. Yancey, and R. C. Beazley; Mesdames Betty F. Jordan, Carrie Beazley, Minnie Willingham, Sarah Webster, Clara Moore, Drucilla Terry, Rosa Apt, Maggie S. Lee, Mary Faulkner, Betty H. Wilkinson, and Alice Webster; and Misses Annie Beazley and Mary Lizzie Willingham. Deacons elected were R. E. Jordan and A. B. Willingham, treasurer, E. B. Yancey, and clerk, R. W. Lawson.

Pastors, who have served have been: The Rev. George W. Beale - April to December, 1882; The Rev. I. M. Mercer - May, 1883 to May, 1885; The Rev J. M. Luck - October, 1885 to March, 1888; The Rev. S. H. Thompson - November, 1888 to February, 1893; The Rev. J. W. Wildman - April, 1893 to 1904; The Rev. P. A. Anthony - 1904 to 1910; The Rev. J. R. Doan - 1910 to 1922; Dr. T. Ryland Sanford - March, 1923 to December, 1925; Dr. A. B. Conrad - Spring of 1926 to end of year; Dr. George Dewey Stevens - 1926 to September, 1930; Dr. F. C. Riley - December, 1930 to December, 1950; Dr. H. Walton Connelly, Jr., - July, 1951 to July, 1957; Dr. W. Franklin Cale - November, 1957 to July, 1975.

At the time of this writing, the Rev. Ray B. Pollard, Jr. has been called and will assume the pastorate on November 1, 1975.

Interin Pastors have been: Dr. Edward Pruden, Dr. Henly Fugate, Dr. Sam Hill, Jr., and Dr. Thomas A. Bland.