The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on October 10, 1950 · Page 86
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 86

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 10, 1950
Page 86
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Mid-Ccfttury Special Edition BIYTHEVILLE -COURIER NEWS Section E Page* 1 J5L\'THEV1LLE, ARKANSAS, TUKSDAY, OCTQBBK 10, Religion Vital Element in Progress of City ^Methodists Were First Organized Doubtlessly because » pcr- son.'s religion is an integral part of liis individual anil group life, the development of the church in any one place closely parallels the growth of that community. As a community leaves the settlement stage, the days of the circuit riiler draw lo a close nnd organized religion makes its appearance. As the community grows ill population and economic strength, so do the number and size of its churches Jncrease. • As a community feels the financial pinch of a depression, so does a facet of ils group life—the church. As "good times" impend in a community, its churches also prosper proportionately. So It has been In Blytheville, once a circuit rider's stopping point and now a city having 15 major churches within Its boundaries and 20 smaller churches both within i-Us limits and in rural communities W^ncarby. w Kirsl Prayer Said In 1511 Religion per se in this area can be Iraced to an era long before the existence of Blytheville or Mississippi County as each is recognizer! today. In fact, recorded history attributes the first prayer suid in this area lo Ferdinand DeSoto, who hi 1541 erected a 50-foot cross on the bank of the Mississippi River near what was later Barficld. His prayei —for rain. And history also records that his prayer was answered. Church records list a number circuit riders, as the traveling preachers of an era long past were known. This earjicst type of forma religion held sway until the mid- ISBO's, when organized religion ap pears U> have had its beginning, here. First Methodist— Brought here by the founder o the city. Methodism was ihc firs orjjanhwd religion in Blytheville. Ii 1882, the Rev. Henry T. Blylh came to the village of Chickasawba Later, he staked out the laud tha ^ to become Blytheville. , . "' Even then, organized religion was n term more relative than accurate. Blytheville then wns still on a circuit and services here were mire often held twice a month than once « week, Mel In School House Sycamore School House, erected of sycamore logs in 1853 on the northwest corner of the old cemetery site (now Sixth and Chicka- jawba), was the first building used as a church. It was ra/ed in 1893 and the logs given to a Baptist minister, the Rev. b. M. Richardson, for use tn building his home. The first church building here was Blythe Chapel, erected in 1875 on the old cemetery site. It was destroyed by fire In 1891—the year Blytheville was incorporated—and the next'building was evccted'the following year on Lake Street, where Hudbury School now stands. Now moved to Lilly street, this old building still stands. Fire struck again 35 years later mid forced the Mcthf'Lsls to re-build In January. 1926. a fire destroyed a brick building lhat had been built at Main and Seventh streets In 1909.' Construction of the present r^tujlding was begun In 1927. -•,: Another pioneer Methodist associated wilh the church here frotr ils beginning was J. F. Ruddell, who was superintendent, of the SunuX School when it was conducted in Hie Sycamore School House bcfon the Civil War. The Sunday Schoo was disbanded during the war, bu Mr. Ruddell reorganized It aftc: he returned from service. Also a pioneer teacher here, Mr. Ruddel remained ns Sunday Schoo! super intcndent until his death April 16 1905. Hecamn First Church in 1912 Blytheville became a station In the Methodist church in December, 1901, and the church here wns named the First Church in 1912. Methodist teachings were brought fo this area long before Ihis, however, by itinerant preachers. Early records show that the first such preacher to enter the stale was William Stephcnson, who conducted services In this area in 18'.6. Pecan Point, near Osccola, was a regular point on the circuit in the early 1800's. according to Missouri Conference records. The Rev. Tom Rodgcrs preached at Osccola. Mills Bayou and Barfield in 1841 although there, is no record lhat he travelled Inland to Chickasawba. In 1.846. Blytheville still was on Whe Osccola circuit. The Chtcka- "awba circuit Is listed, on Church records for the first time In 1874. From 1846 until 1862. when the Rev. Mr. Blythe was appointed, the following served as pastors for Ihe Blylhcville circuit: Calvin M. Slover, Alexander Avery,' Theophilus E. Garrell, James Rice, Silas Spur- ler, J.M. Rogers. John D. Coleman, William Wood. Franklin W. Thack- CT, James MtvcKcy. John Rhyme, Benonl Harris and Abel C. Ray. Chtirch records list the Rev. Mr. Blythe r-s tvi'r-inlcd. to serve tn 1862 and 1EW, 1865, and 1867 and ^^".•^f^l^SvipSb - '••'" '-^Stm ^^ Presbyterian CliurA —7 ~T;C. S ^*v2.f^ Kirst l.utlicnin Cliuieh Church of IKc Immaculate Conception Vv\\ Gospel Tiibci uncle MfT : Kirst Cliurcli of Hie Nn/arcne (dales are inclusive): Uic Rev. J. T. Inway. 1912-1915; the Rev. n.E.1,. Sherman, 1026-1929; lUo Rev. Self, 1899-1901; the Rev. F. C. Slcr- Heardcn, 1910-1919; Ihe Rev. W. T.!Q 1868.'The Rev. Mr. Harris, who first sewed in 1860, was re-appointed to serve in 1806, 1875-16 and 1884. Many I'astors Served Other pastors who served from 1664, to the turn o[ century includ- ed Dan W. F.ians, M. B, Harris, L. ledge, a Rev. Mr. Hcndon (or Hcn- D. Webb. William R. Young, W. R. dron), H. A. Story, R. M Manlcy Fester, F. M. Petley, R. M. McAllis- A, E. Holloway, W. E. Webb W P ler. Z. T. Griffin, Richard D. Moon, Wiiker and W. B. Roe. Z. W Richardson, L. G. Rogers, J. From 1899 until after World War R. Edwards, M. i\larle, J. D. Rut- 11, these pastors havt served here ling, 1902-IM4; the. Kcv. F. E. Taylor, 1905-1907; llic Rev. A.M.R. Branson. 1D08-1MW; the Rev. r. W. Thompson, 1920; Ihe Rev. ... ~. „ Watson. 1021-1923; Uic-llcv. G G ': VrvllCC Wo "> a ^- 1931-1936; the 1024; the Rev.'J. ' M. ! "• ''. vnl1 Wade, 1937-1938; the Gee, 1910-1911; the Kcv. A. E. Hoi- [ Hughcy, 1925; the Rev. Jedcr.son K. B. Williams, 1938-1941; the City Has 15 Churches; 20 Nearby S. B. Wllford. 1041-1940. The present pastor, the Rev. Roy I. Baglcy, first came hera tut act- Ing pastor In the summer of 1946, when • he succeeded the Rev. Mr. Wllford. I.aler that year, the Rev. Allen D. Stewart became pastor anrt served until 1919. In 1049, the Rev. Mr. Bagley returned as pastor. At present, a $2G9,444 sanctuary Is being added to the Methodist Clmrch building. To seat more than COO persons, It Is scheduled to bo completed during 1051, First Baptist — Ranking second In age as a church here but first in present membership Is the First Baptist Church at Eighth and Walnut Streets. Although the church was officially established In 1002, Baptists met as a group for services In Blythe- vllle us early as 1380. It was In IBUO that W. C. Rle, grandfather of Mrs. O. R, Rcdford of Blytheville, built a one-room log church on a plot of land given the Baptists by Jim Sawyer, grand- fnther of Mrs. Dan Ross. This Is known now as Sawyer's Cemetery. Paslor of this church wns W, I.. Fields of Tennessee. Services wer« held In this church until 1885, when a heavy snow that winter caved la the building's roof. It was never repaired and Ihe building later burned. The congregation then scattered, some going to the Mclhodlsb Church on Lake Street and others moving to Lone Oak. The Lone Oak Bnptlst Church wns built In 1888 and Joe M. Rlcli- imlson served for many years as Us paslor. Services still are conducted In Ihls church. • Organized' In 190Z In 1902, n Sunday School and later M church were organized when a missionary, W. F. Wright, came from Neltlclon to preach at Lonn Oak. While In Mils area, he held a. meeting at the Court House here— Uicn a two-story frame building. The first services were held In the Court House with the Rev. Mr. Wright M the church's first pastor. On June 1(1, 1903.'two lots wcrV purchased by church trustees for $150 and construction of n while frame building was begun on the site of the present structure.' Construction of the present brick :burch began in ion and was flushed In 1015. The church crcdIU lie Rev. I«. D. Summers, who became pnstor In 1913, for success- T ully completing this building project. Cost of this building and lt» "iirnishiugs was about S20,000. The olrl building was moved to West Ash Street and It became a Negro Methodist Church. One of the speakers at Ihe dedication of the church was A. o. t.ange, then superintendent of the Chicago Mill aud Lumber Co. He contributed the red gum used for the Interior woodwork. Later, bonds Issued to finance the construction wore burned by J. T. Collins and Mrs. Jack Blythe. Annex llulll In 1921 The Sunday School annex was built in 1921 (hiring the tenure of the Rev. W. W. Kyair us pastor, who served until 1925. It cost about 538,000 and bonds Issued for Its construction were burned In 1935 by Marlon Williams, Mrs. Martha. Lane. W. B. Thompson and .rini- m!c Tompkins. n grandson of J. p. Tcmpkins of Burdette. There were- three periods In tha church's history shortly before 1921, from 1934 lo 19.15 and from 1942 to 1013 — that the congregation was without the services of a pastor. Former pastors of the first Church here have been the Rev, Mr. Bray. 1902-1905: the Rev. j. T. Faulks. 1905-1906; Ihe Rev. Mr. Alexander, 19C6-1908; the Rev. C. F,. I'crryman r father of Mrs. W. M. Crowe). 1908-I0l:i: the Rev. L. D. Summers. 1913-??; the Rev. 'I', t*. Martin; the Rev. \v. W. Kyzar. 1921-1925; Ihe Rex. Perry p. Webb, 1925-1930; the Rev. Alfred Harwell. I930-I03V, the RCV. Alfred. Carpenter. 1935-1941. The present pa.slor, the Rev. E. C. Brown, came here In 1943. Under hi.i leadership, church membership increased from 1.175 In 1943 to 1.640 this year and Sunday School membership Jumped from 510 to l.ICO slnre 1943. Receipts Increase Total reccpits have Increased from $18,133.17 for the year ending Sept. 30. 19!f>. Toe church now has S162.599.53 ill its building fund. The First Church maintains *. Chapel Mission on Lilly Slrcet. The Rev. Doyle B. Blcdsoc served as mission pastor from 1945 until 1947. The Rev. Mr. Brown preached at both the church and thn mission In 1948 and the Rev. David •Smith became mission pastor in 1949. Present church officers Inchid* W. Marion Williams, treasurer. Mrs. Charles Ray Newcombe, church hostess; Miss Hazel Brannen, church clerk. Russell Baugh, chairman of the Board of Deacons and Sunday School superintendent; Herbert Joyncr, Training Union director; Mrs. Ted King, president of Women's Missionary Union; and Kendill Berry, president of Men's Iicv - [ See SCHOOL KUH.'llNG i'age 12 Rev. Section K

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