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The Alabama AlGenWeb Archives

Oldest County Church

Articles from 1976 Journal-Register Newspaper

Oldest county church

The Journal-Record - Bicentennial Edition
Thursday, July 1, 1976
Section C, Page 3


Hepsiba is said to be the oldest church in the county. The Rev. Bob DUNCAN
preached a sermon there on its 105 anniversary in 1908. The church was torn
down several years ago and the members moved to other churches.

This church belonged to the Liberty Association of the Oiginal(sic) Order
of Baptist. The two other churches in this county belonging to this
association were: Lovejoy and Mount Joy. Other churches of this association
in Mississippi were: Marietta, New Ramah, and Ebinezar. Those in Franklin
County were Zions Rest and Bates Hill.

The following are some of those who preached and served as pastors at
Hepsiba: Henry CLARK, Bud STILL, James SUMNER, Wesley STIDHAM, John CARTER, Eli FREDERICK, Oscar HESTER, George STIDHAM, John GREEN, and R. C. DUNCAN.

The first Shottsville church was made fro hewn logs. The roof was of
cypress boards and wooden pegs were used for nails. It was located about
two miles north of the present location and was called New Bethel. It was
about twenty-four feet by twenty-four feet with a door on each side. Church
services and school were held in the same building. The building was
erected sometime around 1840. In 1836 the REEDS and STONES moved here from South Carolina. John STONE may have been the first member. Early residents
were the EMERSONS, ROBINSONS, and SHOTTS. they came from Lawrence County and settled along Bull Mountain. The preacher was a circuit rider who
preached at different churches every day. John ARNOLD was a local preacher
who marked everyone off the church roll who had folks who went north after
the Civil War. John COWDEN was the preacher around 1892 and stayed in
Hamilton. Samuel REED was an early Class Leader.

The Shottsville Cemetery was started in 1840 with the grave of John Stone's
little daughter. His wife was buried there (sic) the church was moved to
its present location beside the cemetery. It was a frame house. The people
came to church in covered wagons drawn by steers. Some came from a long way
for the Saturday night service and would spend the night in their wagons to
be there for the Sunday service. Later many traveled by horseback. The
ladies had side saddles and riding skirts. There were places at the church
to tie the horses and blocks from which to mount.

In 1908, a singled, two-story house was built. It also served as a school
and an Odd Fellows Lodge. It was destroyed by fire and in 1936 the church
was built by Rev. HANCOCK that served until the present building was

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