Church History 1869 – 1986

The Early Years

Baptist Chapel Church History – as written in 1986.

            In the beginning was--------------Joe Log Baptist Church:

Baptist Chapel Church, as we know it today, was started around the year 1869, over 117 years ago.  It was at that time called Joe Log Church.  Due to the location of the county lines, the church was located in Moore County.  No one knows why the name Joe Log was selected.  There are several people living today who remember the church as it was then, although they did not attend church there.  They attended school in the building – after the members of the church moved to the present location.

            The three people who remember it most clearly are Mr. Hubert Womack, Mr. Connie Howard, and Mr. Malcolm Dickens.  Of these three people we talked with, “Mr. Malcolm”, as he is affectionately called, remembers it best.  All three agree that the church was named Joe Log Baptist Chapel Church and that the church was begun by Mr. Elder C. Churchill.  Mr. Churchill was a member of Muddy Spring Church, now known as Juniper Springs; thus the saying that Juniper Springs was the mother of Baptist Chapel.

            Although Moore Union Christian Church was only a short distance from the location selected for Joe Log Church, travel then, to say the least, was slow and the denomination was Christian instead of Baptist, so began the formation of a new church.  You would have been considered fortunate to have a horse and buggy to travel by,  Many people walked for miles to attend the church of their choice, so the formation of Joe Log Church made a house of worship more accessible to the surrounding community.

            The information presented here from 1896 to 1913 is based purely on what Mr. Malcolm, Mr. Womack, and Mr. Howard remember.  We also have gathered information from Elnora Howard, who remembers how the church looked.  Apparently no records of any kind were kept on the activities of the church.

            The sketch presented here was done by Francis Chester who attends Baptist Chapel Church.  The sketch, although it is imaginary since there are no pictures available, depicts very well what the church must have looked like.  The building consisted of one large room with rough, hewn log benches.  The sanctuary of the church also served as the Sunday school rooms. Heat in the winter was provided by a wood stove.  The members cut and hauled the wood for heating and kept a plentiful supply on hand.

            There is no accurate list of members of the church.  The ones listed here were given to us by Mr. Malcolm Dickens and members of his family.  Nodie Womack, Addie Burns Lett and May Dickens played the organ for the congregation to sing.  There was no formal choir.  Mr. Will Dickens led the singing.  It was not known how often a month church was held, but it is assumed that the minister had several churches in his field and he had to divide his time between them.  Because of the difficulty in traveling, no Wednesday night services were held.  When your Sunday for church rolled around, it was considered to be a very important day and services were well attended.

            Mr. Spence Burns, lay person attending Moore Union Church, filled the pulpit at Joe Log when Reverend Archie Campbell, the minister from Campbell College was not present.  Mr. Campbell filled several pulpits at that time and the journey from Campbell College was quite a distance to come by horse and buggy.  These men were dedicated to their God and to their church.  No member was paid for their time spent in performing their duties in the church.  The minister received no set salary.  Collection was taken up on the Sunday preaching was held.  This amount was sufficient for all the weddings he performed, funerals he held, and visiting the sick and many other services he performed.  The minister was “pounded” every so often during the year.  This meant that the church community gave a pound of meat, vegetables, potatoes, flour, and even clothing that the family could use.  Anything the members had was shared with their minister.           Hymn books were few, and there were no trained voices, so the congregation was the Choir.  There was no Baptistery to use when a person joined the church.  The nearest creek or river was used for this purpose.  After you made a public confession of the Christian faith and were baptized, you were expected to follow the by-laws laid down by the church leaders.  If you did not live up to these promises, you were expulsed from the church.  If someone reported that a member had been drunk, in a brawl, using excessive profanity, or missing too many services, the member was called before the church leaders to give an explanation.  If the explanation was not accepted, you were expulsed from the church.  Women were expulsed for adultery.  Legend is that some members were turned out for trading horses on Sunday.  Perhaps their interpretation of the Bible is considered outmoded in these modern times, but if you valued your church and wanted to worship your God there, you obeyed the rules made by the members from their interpretation of the Bible.

            Joe Log Cemetery is still in the original place.  According to Emma Burns, the land for the church and cemetery was given by Jim and Sally Pittman.  Following is a list of the members and their families who were buried there.  Infant child of W.J. and M. L. Kelly 1920; Martha Dickens 1822-1918;  Sally Pittman 1853-1950; Louis Fred Measmer 1914-1971; Adath Kelly 1903-1926; William J. Kelly 1875-1955; Mary Black Kelly 1885-1962; Ruth Mamie Kelly Sloan 1904-1959; N.F. Smith 1854-1926; Adelaide D. Smith 1861-1917; Lassie Gilchrist 1897-1979; Charlie Gilchrist 1893-1979; five infant children of Lassie and Charlie Gilchrist.  The upkeep of the cemetery today is questionable.

            In 1913, perhaps because of an increase in membership, the members decided to build a new church.  James R. Howard gave the land for this, and Baptist Chapel was built.  Today we can only speculate as to why the name Joe Log Church was dropped.  The old building was left to be used as a one room elementary school.  There are many people in the community today who remember attending school there.  The building was later torn down and the lumber used for other purposes.  This left only the cemetery as a reminder of the church that was once there.

The church we know as Baptist Chapel was formed by the former Members of Joe Log Church.  Since Elder C. Churchill was formerly a member of Juniper Springs Baptist Church, and was instrumental in forming Joe Log Church, Juniper Springs is known as the mother of Baptist Chapel.  Other men helping to form the church were:  John T. Thomas, Thadeus (Fad) Thomas, Alexander (Alex) L. Smith, and James Robert (cousin Bob) Howard.  According to Mr. Connie Howard, these men cut and hauled the logs to the mill where they were sawed into the lumber needed with which to build the church.  The

James Robert Howard

lumber was donated and the work on the church was done by members of the community.  Mr. Connie Howard who gave us this information, and lives at a rest home here in Sanford, remembers how dedicated these men were.  The first minister of the church was the Reverend T. Sloan Guy.

In August of 1928, Baptist Chapel Church was struck by lightning and burned.  The building  and all church records were lost.  After the church was destroyed, the members started holding services in members’ homes and at Concord Methodist Church, located one mile up the road from Baptist Chapel.  Reverend J.E. Ascue was pastor during this time.  The men in the community donated and cut the timber and helped to rebuild the church.  Between the years 1929 and 1939, the church had been rebuilt in its present location.  Church services were again being held twice a month for preaching, with Sunday school every Sunday.  Since Mr. Ascue had several more churches in his field, services for Baptist Chapel were held in the afternoon. 


            The following pages consist of the minutes of the church taken by Robert Howard.  It is interesting to note that even almost one hundred years ago, some people realized just how important it was to keep an account of the day to day happenings in the church.  We are very fortunate to have these minutes.  Even though some of the words are barely legible, you will be able to read enough to get the gist of what went on in the church from Sunday to Sunday.

            Between the years 1919 and 1986, the pianists at Baptist Chapel were:  Duayne Bennett, Stephanie Brown, Virginia “Jenny” Boggs Crissman, Lora “Sweet” Dickens, May Thomas Dickens, Denise Howard,  Clara Howard Kelly, Linda Howard Patterson, Margaurite Thomas, and Ilene Smith Womack.  Stephanie Brown is our present pianist.  All of these ladies gladly donated their time and talent in the service of the church.  Only once did a pianist have to be hired.  These were Nancy Bradley and Pamela Womack.  Our organist is Wendy Womack Thompson.

Bible School 1951



Baptist Chapel 1974

The adult choir was organized in 1976.  Previously, members attending church services were asked to come up and sit in the choir loft to form the choir.  The song leader still led the singing and the whole congregation joined in.  After a formal choir was formed, choir practice was held during the week with a special song sung by the choir during each service.  The choir enters the choir loft from the back of the church.  After their special song is sung, the members take their seat in the congregation.  The first choir directors were as follows: Clara Black Howard,  Agnes Griffin McNeill, Vivian Currin McRae, and Peggy Moss Womack.  Clara Howard is our present director with Vivian McRae serving as assistant.

            In 1976, Peggy Moss Womack organized the first youth choir.  The ages ranged from 10 to 18 years.  Choir practice was held once a week, beginning in the fall and continuing through spring.   A special music program was presented by them once a month.  The choir group belonged to Youth Rally, which as affiliated with Little River Baptist Association.  Two delegates were appointed and attended meetings all through the year.  They were also involved with, and attended, many other activities;  Spring Banquet, Haunted House, Sweet Heart Social,  State Fair, White Lake outings, Carowinds, Super Citizens Banquet and Christmas parades. They went on night camping trips to the river, and had “Lock-Ins” in the fellowship hall, bake sales and sold candles and assorted cards.  As a community project, the young people of the choir, under the supervision of Peggy, picked up trash along the road from Baptist Chapel to Broadway.  They also visited the sick and elderly shut-ins.

            In 1975, the youth choir won second prize in the Sanford Christmas parade.  For this they received $50.00.  The theme of the float was “The Night the Animals Talked”.  In 1977 the Choir presented a musical entitled “They All Sang Jesus”.  This musical was received so well by all who saw and heard it, they were invited to several area churches to present it, including Roxboro Baptist, Moore Union Christian, and Hickory Mountain Baptist Church.  Another musical in 1979, entitled “It’s Cool In the Furnace” was also very popular and was enjoyed by all who heard and saw it.

            Peggy had the support of many members of the church who served as chaperones and furnished transportation.  Their one desire was to own their own bus.  Although many members of the church did not see the need and did not support it, the young people were determined.  With God’s help, and many fund raising events, they raised enough money to purchase a school Bus.  Homer “Skip” Kelly painted the bus and made some changes on the inside.  Peggy said that this was one of the greatest things the youth choir experienced during the time she was director.  As you see, she really kept them busy and interested in the work of the church.

            Feeling that the children in the age group under 10 years were not being involved enough in church activities, it was suggested that a choir for that age group be organized.  In 1974, the Cherub Choir was organized by Mary Smith with any child under 10 years of age participating. Mary’s assistants were Clara Howard and Ann Howard Carlyle.  Practice was held every Saturday afternoon.  The pianist was Denise Howard.  Some of the directors of the Cherub Choir were as follows: Clara Howard,  Ann Carlyle, Jerri Cain, Dianne Chester, Rhonda Smith Kelly,Delores Patterson and Barbara Jean Dickens.

Cherub Choir
Cherub Choir


            Between the years 1970 to 1972, new Sunday school rooms, rest rooms, water fountains, and the office were added.  The desk in the office was given by Lois Parson, Eddie Parson and Jerry Lynn Parson in memory of their husband and father, respectively, Ed Parson.  During the same period, the stained glass windows in the sanctuary were added.  By the year 1975, the present fellowship hall was added and brick siding put on the sanctuary.  Telephones were also installed.

            The first homecoming was held in the fellowship hall in September of 1976.  That same day, members gathered in the sanctuary for the afternoon song service and burned the note on the new addition to the church to signify that the fellowship hall and brick siding was paid for.  The note was paid of one year after the money was borrowed.

            Before the fellowship hall was built, dinners for homecoming were held outside on a long table between two large oak trees.

            In 1977, the minister, Mr. Clyde Johnson resigned from the church leaving Baptist Chapel without a minister.  Several members left the church at this time and went to Broadway Baptist.  In 1978, Reverend J.R. Estes was called to be the pastor.  Rev. Estes resigned in 1979, forming his own church in Broadway only a few miles from Baptist Chapel.  Again several members of the church left with the minister to form a new church.  The parking lot of the church was paved during the time Dr. Estes was pastor.  Reverend George Stallings served in the church as layman for several weeks before accepting the call as pastor of the church.  Previously, Baptist Chapel and two other churches, Broadway Baptist and Swans Station Baptist, had joint ownership in the church parsonage, since all three churches were in the same field.  In 1978, Baptist Chapel sold her share to the other churches and bought a house in Edgewater Estates located in Broadway.

            In 1982, Baptist Chapel had their first Harvest Sale.  This went over quite well with all the members contributing their time and crafts.  Tickets were sold on a quilt made by Elnora Howard and quilted by the women of the church.  Many articles were auctioned off at the end of the day with all the money going toward the building fund.  With God’s help and the help of of the members of the church and people in the community, Baptist Chapel was out of debt.

            In 1978, the deacons began having a deacons’ breakfast every second Sunday of the month. These meetings served not only as a time of fellowship, with each other, but as a time of prayer for any person with a problem or sickness, as well as the discussion and prayer for any personal problem that any member had.

            In 1986 the present storage building was added.  The members have also started a needy fund.  There is room in the fellowship hall to store canned food and a special offering is taken up the first Sunday in each month for that purpose.

            In 1984, Rose Thomas and Clara Howard formed the first Sword Drill team.  The members of each team are listed as follows:  Youth group led by Rose Thomas – Robert Howard, Stephanie Brown, Martin Howard, Carla Howard, Paula Smith, Donna McRae, Tommy Howard. Since there was an age limit for the team, several of the young people were dropped from this group.  These included Stephanie Brown, Robert Howard and Carla Howard.  However, Robert Howard, Stephanie Brown and Carla Howard helped out with the children’s group led by Clara Howard.  These members included:  Julie Howard, Amy Dickens, Amber Dickens, and Tara Carlyle.

            Two members of the team passed the church drill and participated in the associational drill.  From there they went on the State drill which was held in Asheboro.  These were Julie Howard and Tara Carlyle.  They both won a certificate with a seal on it for winning the church drill, the associational drill, and the State drill.  This was quite an accomplishment and the church was very proud of these girls, especially since this was their first experience.

            Baptist Chapel belongs to the Little River Association, which is now called Southern Baptist.  Looking back over the years, one can see that Baptist Chapel has had her “ups and downs”, but by the grace of God, and many loyal members, she remains an active and thriving church today.

                       Church officers were:  John T. Thomas, Jordan (Thad) Thomas, Alexander (Alex) Smith, and James Robert Howard.  These men were also teachers and deacons.  Mr. James Robert Howard (“cousin Bob”) was treasurer until his death in 1942.  Frank Hinnant was nominated church clerk and served for a short while.  Mr. Roland Howard, son of J.R. Howard, was elected treasurer and served until 1976.  Homer (Skip) Kelly, grandson of James Robert Howard was elected treasurer in 1977 and served until 1980.  Mr. Howard Griffin, another grandson was elected treasurer in 1981.  Mr. Griffin still holds the position today.  Many years later, after the first officers were elected and had served well, the members decided to appoint an assistant to the treasurer.  Mary Sue Brown, John Mackey, and Ronnie Currin served in this capacity.  Mr. Currin still holds the position today.

            As the years passed and the church grew in membership, more officers were needed.  Our Present deacons who are now serving are:  Tillman Howard, Edward Howard, Chris McRae, Rick Baylor, Joe Hinnant, Franklin Womack and Bill Smith.

Events, Activities and Improvements from the 1800’s to 1986

1913 – 1940 . . . . . .    People who wished to join the church were baptized in ponds and creeks.

                                    Fall Creek and Kelly Mill Hole were popular streams used for this.  In the

                                    Mid-forties, area churches who had a baptistery invited the ministers of

                                    Baptist Chapel to use their facilities for this purpose.

1913 – 1942 . . . . . .    Many business meetings were held by the pastors and deacons, such as

                                    electing new officers, setting the budget of the church, and paying the

                                    pledges they had made in order for the parsonage in Broadway.

1936 . . . .  .                 The first Bible School was formed in 1936.  This was held in the

                                    mornings.  In later years, it was held in the afternoons.  Today, it is held

                                    at night because of the workers in Bible School hold public jobs.

  1. . . . . The pulpit chairs, table and stand were given by the children of Everette

                                    Claudie Thomas in their memory.

1960 . . . . .                  Ed Parson formed the first Baptist Training Union (BTU).

1968 . . . . .                  The first church custodian was hired.  The position was held by Roland

                                    Howard.  This position is now held by Elnora and Stanley Howard.     

Pastor Joe Bennett 1959-1963

1971 . . . . .                  The Youth Choir was organized by Peggy Womack.

1969 – 1972 . . . .        Stained glass windows were added in the sanctuary.  Two Sunday school

                                    rooms were added; office and rest rooms were also added.

1973 . . . . .                  In August of 1973, the members voted to remodel the sanctuary.  The cost

                                    was around $15,000.  Enough money was raised by the members without

                                    having to borrow any.

1974 . . . . .                  The Cherub Choir was formed by Mary Smith.  This choir consisted of

                                    children from three to nine years of age.

1975 . . . . .                  The Fellowship Hall was built with brick siding added to the rest of the


1976 . . . . .                  Telephones were installed in the office and the fellowship hall.  In

                                    September of 1976, the first homecoming was held in the Fellowship Hall.

                                    After the dinner was over, before the song service, a “note burning” was

                                    held signifying that the building was paid for.

1978 . . . . .                  The organ was donated by the children of Alex and Lela Smith in their

                                    memory.  The parking lot was also paved.

1983 . . . . .                  Harvest Sales were held in order to add money to the building fund.

                                    Recognition was given to each person with a birthday, a penny for each

                                    year being added to the general fund.

1984 . . . . .                  The Cemetery Fund was started, the floor in the sanctuary was replaced

                                    and new carpet installed.  New hymnals were placed in the church in

                                    memory of, and in honor of, loved ones.  A vestibule was added to the

                                    front of the church.

1985 . . . . .                  The Deacons’ breakfast were started.

1986 . . . . .                  The Needy Fund was established.  This fund is used for any deserving

                                    person, whether or not they were members of the church.  A new utility

                                    building was added.  The cross in the choir loft was made by Wade

                                    Johnson, and given in memory of Frank Stewart by his family.

 Deacons From 1918 to 1986

Rick Baylor

Deas Dickens

Johnny Gene Dickens

Malcolm Dickens

Randy Dickens

Carl Elkins

Howard Griffin

Mack Griffin

Frank Hinnant

Joe Hinnant

Bobby Howard

Edward Howard

James Robert Howard

Stanley Howard

Tillman Howard

A.A. Kelly

Homer (Skip) Kelly

Gattis (Junior) Kelly

Ray McNeill

Chris McRae

William (Bill) Smith

Fred Spivey

Henry Stewart

Arch Thomas

John D. Thomas

Selby Thomas

Thaddeas Thomas

Franklin Womack

            Bobby Howard held the position of honorary deacon until his death this year.  Bobby held the office as deacon for 42 years.

            At one time, the church treasurer also did all the secretarial work.  That office is now divided into church secretary and church treasurer.  Our past secretaries are listed below:

Grace Howard Boggs

Jerri Kelly Cain

Ann Howard Carlyle

Eula Belle Dickens

Helen Howard Holt

Judy Lane Howard

            The secretaries serving in 1986 are:  Brenda Dickens Smith and Mattie Belle Stewart. Assistants are Barbara Jean Dickens and Franklin Womack.

            Baptist Chapel once had only five Sunday School classes.  They were:  Beginners, Primary, Junior, Intermediate, and the Adult Class.  The Sunday school teachers were dedicated Christians serving for many years.  Helen Howard Holt taught the Primary class for 50 years; Mamie Howard Buchanan taught the juniors for 25 years; Fannie Howard Griffin taught the Intermediate class for 50 years; Grace Howard Boggs taught the Beginner class until she married and moved her membership to another church.  The Adult class was taught by Alex Smith for 50 years.  Mr. “Alex” was also Sunday school superintendent and song leader.  He held an office in the church until he was unable to attend because of poor health.  Mr. Selby Thomas taught the Adult class after the death of Mr.“Alex”.  Selby held the position until 1985.  The Young  Married class was formed by Mrs. Stella Howard.  She taught the class until she was unable to attend due to declining health.