Zion Hill Is One Of Oldest Churches

The Gazette
October 5, 1939

Zion Hill Baptist church, located eight miles northwest of Farmerville, was organized September 4, 1841. It was organized and church services held in a split log school building one mile east of the present site of the building. This school building was used for church worship until the close of the year 1848.

Charter members were: David Hendrix, John Ferguson, Betsy Handly, Mary Wainwright, Samuel J. Larkin, Samson B. Thomas and Shadrick Jones.

Ellen Hodge was the first member to join after this and is credited with being the first new member to be baptized by the church.

On Oct. 5, 1841, the church met in a business meeting and elected two deacons and a church clerk. David Hendrix and John Ferguson were the members elected as deacons and David Hendrix was also made church clerk.

For three years after the organization of the church, they were unable to secure the services of a pastor and religious services were carried on by deacons and members of the church until July 20, 1844, when the Rev. Haywood Alford visited the church and was called to its pastorate, making him first pastor.

In the early days of the Zion Hill church negroes were admitted to membership, as in all old churches during slavery. They were seated in the rear of the building, where seats were provided for them. and never occupied by the whites. On November 24, 1844, a negro man named Mason united with the church, being the first colored member.

Feb. 24, 1845, David Hendrix resigned clerk of the church and T. B. Pollard was elected.

In September, 1848, a building committee, J. E. Jones, John Matthews and J. T. Matthews, were appointed to act as a building committee for the first church building. This building was made of split logs, with seats of the same material. A big chimney was at the end. The building was erected on land belonging to R. Frank Rabun, and for 46 years remained his property until Nov. 1893, when Rabun donated the land to the church.

In August, 1845, a committee — J. M. Hendrix, James E. Jones, John Matthews, William Austin, Powhattan Boatright, Mose Pearson and William Rabun — was appointed to locate a site for a church building. They recommended that it be erected at Cooley’s Spring; their report was accepted.

Following Rev. Alford, the following were among the earlier pastors: Sampson B. Thomas, 1846-1849; Jesse Tubbs, 10 months. A revival in September of ’49 resulted in 49 additions to the church. The baptism was int he Boatright creek. George Everett was next pastor, one year; Jesse Tubbs, again, three years; Rev. S. B. Thomas, three years; Joab Pratt, eight years; S. C. Lee and S. T. Tubbs.

In 1866 a new building was erected, the second floor of which was used as a Masonic hall.

Rev. L. B. Abbett was called as pastor in 1871.

In August, 1876, after Rev. Abbett had served five years as pastor of the church, the church then called Rev. John P. Everett as next pastor, who accepted the call. He was a son of Rev. George Everett, and was born in Dallas County, Alabama, March 20, 1826.

In 1845, Rev. John P. Everett united with the Okmulgee Baptist church in Perry County, Alabama, and in 1847, after serving in the Mexican War, he moved to Union Parish, at which time he united with Springhill Baptist church of Union Parish, and on December 23, 1851, he was married to Miss Sarah Jane Buckley of this parish.

In 1854, he was licensed by Springhill church to preach the gospel, and in 1855 he was ordained by that church as a minister. Then for 37 years he preached to many of the churches in Union Parish and elsewhere until his death, June 21, 1891.

Eld. L. B. Abbett succeeded Rev. John P. Everett in 1880. The next year Rev. D. H. Burt joined as leader to succeed Rev. Abbett. In July of the same year, W. D. Reagan was ordained and made a deacon.

In November, 1883, after the Rev. Burt had served for two years. Rev. A. J. Calloway became pastor. He served until Jan., 1885, when Rev. William Hunt was called. In Jan. 1888, he was succeeded by Rev. L. B. Abbett. In Oct. 1889, Rev. Abbett was called indefinitely.

In March, 1893, Jesse Odom was ordained a deacon, Rev. Abbett resigned in 1894 and was succeeded by Rev. W. T. Smith, who served until Sept. 1896, when Rev. M. F. Gathright was called. He served until Aug. 1898, when Rev. B. F. Tubbs was called. He served until January, 1900, to be succeeded by Rev. D. H. Webb.

J. N. Tucker was made a deacon in Oct., 1902.

The present building was erected in 1903. Later pastors have been D. K. Sawyer, J. V. B. Waldrop, B. F. Milam, John L. Hicks and T. B. Hart.

The above is a brief history of the church up to 1912.


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