Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bethlehem Baptist Meetings 1873-1874

George Steele is beginning to play a major role in the history of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Although born in England (according to the census), he married Mary Mildred Lee who was the daughter of Lewis Harrison Lee and Margaret Julia Graham. We believe he is the large, bearded man beside Abner Medley in a gray shirt with white suspenders. This photo was taken in 1913 at the 60th Anniversary of the Jefferson County Baptist Association. For more photos from that meeting, click here. To read the documents in their entirety, double click on the photos to enlarge them.

p. 63 February 1873 ". . .Church made an effort to hire a preacher during the remainder of the Associational year in which they procured the services of Elder W. Stephens for the sum of twenty-five dollars. . ."
p. 64 May 1873 ". . .that the church take up a collection for the purpose of fitting up the church house with comfortable seats which was done and the money or a part thereof put in the hands of Br. Steele as committy to superintend the job. . ."
p. 65 August 1873 ". . .church gives the moderator power to appoint delegates to the Jefferson County Association to be held with the Temperance Mission Church to commence on Fryday before the second Sabbath in Oct. 1873. Said delegates are as follows Br. Elder Wm. McKay, Silas Pounds and the church clerk [John P. Lollar]. . ."
Sept. 1873, the Moderator read a letter which will be read at the Association but there is no indication as to the nature of the petition.
p. 67 December 1873 ". . .Saturday before the fourth Sabbath in Dec. 1873. No one came to church. On Sabbath came two persons. They left without any time set to come back. J.P. Lollar Clerk. . .
January 1874 . . .Brother Steele presented an account with receipt on lumber, bills for seats to be put. . ."
p. 68 January 1874 cont.
. . . money and pay Mr. Graham on lumber bill by motion of Br. Robert Wilson. Brother Wm. McKay put in nomination for pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church during the Association year ending Oct. 1874 with a unanimous vote. It was with some degree of reluctance that Brother would accept the Pastorate. The church agreed to pay Br. McKay the sum of twenty dollars for his services.
May 1874
. . .Br. Robert Wilson was appointed a committee to confer with Brother Couch ans report at our next meeting. . .
p. 69 May 1874 cont.
Also the case of Joseph P. Bridgeman [in 1870 census, Joe Bridgeman worked on Oliver Lee's farm which was near Wm. McKay and George Frost] was taken up for reconsideration as his whereabouts is not known to the church. Bro. O.T. Bittick will try and find his whereabouts and report at our next meeting. . Also, the 8th article was reconsidered and amends as follows that the Practice of Dram drinking in or at public saloons or dram shops has an Evil and Pernicious influence and should be abstained from by all Christians. . .Also the case of Br. L. Couch was taken up. The committy made his report and was discharged. Case continued until next church meeting. . .
p. 70 July 1874
The case of Br. L. Couch (Leonard Couch) was reconsidered. Br. Couch failing to come to time according to promise was dismissed from church. . . Br. Bridgeman wishes to be dismissed from the church as he thinks he is not fit to be a church member. The church by request dismissed Br. Bridgeman from the church. Also Brother George Steel moved that the building committy examine all the papers and ascertain the indebtedness of the church to the committy.
P. 71 cont. . . .George Steel and Robert Wilson would report at next church meeting.
Aug. 1874 . . .Robert Wilson and George Steele are delegates to Jefferson County Association at Sandy Church. Sept. 1874 . . .Pastor is sick and not able to attend.

P. 72 Dec. 5, 1874
Bro. Wm. McMurtay commenced a ___________missionary meeting aided by the help of Br. J.M.Henseley and Wm. McKay the latter during meeting we had many gospel sermons with powerful appeals in behalf of sinners. Our meeting lasted about twelve days. There was 31 professions, 19 added to the church, 17 by experience and baptism, one by letter, one reclaimed. Click here for the church membership records from this meeting.

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