Pleasant Hill Baptist Church 170th celebration

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church 170th celebration

Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2008 3:00 pm
By: By Joyce Lee and Shirley Cheatham

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church 170th celebration

Pastor Bro. Mac McCaleb
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On Aug. 4, 1838, a small group of Christians met on a hill south of Martin and formed a Baptist Church that was small in membership but possessed a love for God and each other that has kept its people together through major wars and the Great Depression.

Now, 170 years later, the buildings and the faces may have changed, but the church still stands on Old Troy Road as a testimony of the continuing commitment between the people of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and their God.

To celebrate that rich heritage and seek God’s blessings for the future. Pleasant Hill will have a 170th celebration Aug. 3, which will be one day away from 170 years to the day since it was chartered.

It is one of a very few churches in Weakley County that have reached this milestone.

Many bits of historical memorabilia have been gathered, including the original charter and minute books.

Perhaps most cherished would be the first minute books, which for many years were feared lost. These books were recovered, when the sesquicentennial committee was gathering information for the 150 anniversary.

The first three minute books covered about 40 years. The word went out and it was discovered that the daughter-in-law of the first church clerk, Gus Gardner, had them, which it turned out involved only two books.

So, Mrs. Norene (John) Gardner presented them to the church. The books were found in the bottom of a trunk in the attic by her husband.

With that discovery, the church has all of its minute books, which are complete except for a blank portion from 1856-1880.

The best we can tell no entries were made during the Civil War, and we really don’t know what happened to the church during that time.

Minutes do indicate that, like other churches of the day, quite a few members were slaves, who according to common practice were not allowed inside white churches for a number of years.

Another historical find during 150 anniversary search was the location of lumber from the original church building, which has been long since replaced.

The lumber was taken from the original building that was built in the 1850s and torn down in 1885, a portion of which wound up in W.G. Rudd’s barn, located about a mile from the church.

Rudd’s grandfather had purchased half of the materials from the church, and Rudd let the church retrieve the yellow poplar wood from a crib.

It was rough sawmill lumber and contained holes where the square nails were affixed.

Today that lumber forms one of the centerpieces of the historical exhibit, thanks to the handiwork of carpenter Wesley Kellough, who turned it into a beautiful display case for other memorabilia.

Among the relics is an old pulpit Bible from the 1800s.

The hall between the sanctuary and adjoining building is lined with 8xl0 framed pictures of former pastors, with all but 12 known pastors pictured.

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church would like to put the word out for former members, friends of the church and interested people from all surrounding communities to come celebrate our 170th anniversary on Aug. 3. The extended services will begin at 10:20 a.m.

Those attending will receive keepsakes to commemorate the event, including one very important item that every church usually kept in the pew, crammed behind the hymn books — hand fans. Usually funeral homes provided the rather necessary fans, but Pleasant Hill has had a number of them made for the special occasion that show the church on one side and its history on the back.

Pleasant Hill Church was organized on Aug. 4, 1838, by several Christian brothers and sisters who longed for a place to gather and worship the Lord Jesus Christ. By September 1845, a letter to the association showed the membership at 54.

An interesting fact is the original charter contains among its signers the name of Elizabeth Gardner (Crockett) who later married Davy Crockett’s nephew, John. John and Elizabeth Crockett have descendents who are active members of Pleasant Hill Church.

We are told that through the years God has led His people to build at least four different buildings along with a brush arbor up to the year 1980 to accommodate the growth of the church. The Lord has called approximately 20 men from the body to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The church is now happy to welcome their new pastor Bro. Mac McCaleb and his family. Bro. Mac is from Southaven, Miss. He and his wife, Kim, have been married for 12 years. They have two children, Joshua, 10, and Sarah Beth, 22 months.

Aug. 3 is also the regular homecoming date and beginning of the summer revival. As is the custom there will be a noon meal on the grounds, and everyone is welcome to stay and enjoy the food and fellowship. Bro. Wayne Perkins will be the morning speaker with Bro. Brady Weldon holding the remaining services ending Wednesday, Aug. 6.

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