This ALGenWeb County is maintained by Ann Allen Geoghegan Home | Contact Us | Search

New Prospect Free Will Baptist Church History

By F. A. Carroll

"In the year 1874, a preacher by the name of Chesshire came riding through the community, south of Texasville, one Sunday afternoon and when he reached the place where the church now stands, he stopped and began looking around.

He probably knew there was no other church around and he saw the community had become thickly populated. He also saw just across the road a small cemetery known as the Cook graveyard. So it occurred to him that it would be a suitable place to erect a bush arbor, hold a series of meetings and perhaps establish a church.

Going down the road to a nearby house, he spent the night. The next morning after breakfast he borrowed an ax, returned to the place and began clearing out a place in the thick woods beside the road. Several of the surrounding people went in with him as soon as they had erected a large bush arbor. They then went out into the surrounding woods, and cut logs and placed them under the arbor to be used for pews. After everything was completed he departed home. We have no record as to where he was from, but evidently some place outside the community.

On leaving for home, he told the people he would return the following Sunday morning to begin a series of meetings. On that Sunday morning at the appointed time he returned and found a fairly good sized congregation awaiting him, and thus the first sermon ever preached at New Prospect Church.

As the days passed more and more and more interest was manifested with several converts. People were coming from miles around on ox wagons, mule wagons, horse back, on foot, anyway to get there. By the time the meetings closed there was talk of organizing a church and after holding monthly services under the arbor for two or three months, they organized the church and named it Prospect. A few years later, to distinguish it from another Prospect a few miles away, it became known as New Prospect.

Sol Wright, who owned the land at that time, gave the church a deed of two acres of land and in recent years Ralph Brown has deeded an extra one-half acre joining the two acres to be used as cemetery purposes.

The first building was constructed of logs which were used until about the year 1888, when it was torn away and a larger frame building was constructed. We might add that it was here in this building a few years later Dr. Bob Jones, founder of Bob Jones College and who was a native of Houston County, conducted his first revival at the age of 16.

This frame building was used until about the year 1957 when it was moved away and the present brick structure, which was originally block, was erected. Ministers who have pastured the church after Chesshire were Joe Hendley from Abbeville, R. M. Kency from Kency, John Guilford, Daleville, Preacher Cherry, Poplar Head or Dothan, Charley Searcy, Abbeville, Will James, Terese, Luther Norris, Long, Columbus, Durward Adkinson, Ariton, Clarence Culpepper, Eufala, Gilbert Lacey of Dothan, and the present Wayne Parker of Midalnd City, Alabama.

The early members and supporters of the church were of the families of Cooks, Thurmonds, Dunlaps, Mathisons, Hicks, Wrights, Williams, Carrolls, Trawicks, Owens, Peels, Martins, Bushes, Bedsoles, Walkers, Adams, Browns, Knights, Hines and Beamons, with George Hix and Lum Adams as two of the first deacons and Ella Adams as first clerk."

This Page was Created February 2008 | Last Modified Saturday, 29-Nov-2014 21:21:24 EST