some information on other churches in the community).
by: Winnette Stinson, 2004
I have taken the names of people and dates for genealogy
purposes. I am sorry this is not as complete as it might be. But, I felt people
and dates were more important than salaries, songbooks, etc.Typing is painful for me, and for that reason
this had to be as brief as possible.I
do hope some of you will find information that will help you along with your
research.I want to thank my
Mother-in-law, Ferrolyn Mosley Stinson of Florala, for providing the
information and materials required to complete this task.Winnette Stinson
"The History of the Church is the History and Growth
of the Community as well"
Ferrolyn Mosley Stinson
taken from the book
THE HISTORY OF
Southeastern Publishing Company
In the year 1816 a group of pioneers from the eastern
counties of Georgia,
moved areas around the ConecuhRiver,
into what is now Covington County, Alabama.
This was north ofAndalusia. December 7, 1821, CovingtonCounty was established, by the
Alabama Legislature. It was named for Brigadier General Leonard Waites
Covington. The first official census taken in 1830 showed the
population as 1,118 white and 404 colored.
The Earliest settlers in the Florala area homesteaded on the
south side of Lake Jackson. This is
nearer the present day site of Paxton, Florida,
than the actual city of Florala
today.One of the first of these
settlers was a man by the name of McDavid. He changed his name at
some point to McDade. For many yearsLakeJackson was known as McDade's Pond.
A map made in 1837 by J. L. Williams has the lake named as
David's Pond and other maps show it as Jackson's
Pond and still other's McDade's Pond. The exact date of the official name
change to Lake Jackson is unknown.
The first settler in the corporate Florala area was James
E. Hughes, who arrived in December 1865.The first post office was opened as Lake
City, Alabama on January 11, 1875 in the home of Mr.
Hughes. The name was changed to Lakeview on May 18, 1877, and was finally changed to Florala on June 22, 1891.Population increased to 500 by 1901.
The first Baptist church was organized in 1852, in Chapel
Hill, east of Florala. It is believed Mr. Allen, father of
Reverend D. C Allen, was the founder of this church.ReverendWiley Martin
was among the charter members.The date
of the first church services conducted in Florala is unknown.There is reason to believe Reverend
George Kierce, the pastor of the Chapel HillChurch, conducted services in a log
schoolhouse near the present day FirstBaptistChurch
prior to 1880.
Reverend P. D. Bulger was founder and first
pastor of our church.He was the son of
Brigadier General Michael J. Bulger of the Confederate States of America
and his wife the former Parmela Donald. General Bulger was an
attorney, ginner, and cotton broker in the Montgomery
area and he owned a plantation in Dadeville, Alabama.Reverend Bulger was born in TennesseeApril 14, 1828. He had on
full sister and several half siblings. His Mother died during an Indian attack
a few days after his sister Parmela was born.Reverend Bulger married Sarah Cockroft in Union
Springs, Alabama in the
year1850. Rev. Bulger served in the CSA and fought at Shiloh
and Chichamauga.After the war he
settled in Panther Creek south of Lawrence.
He delivered his first sermon at New HopeBaptistChurch
in 1871. After moving to Florala, where he also taught school, Rev. Bulger
organized several churches in CovingtonCounty and North West Florida.Rev. Bulger died February 2, 1923 and was buried in the Red Oak Church
The first official records of ShadyGroveBaptistChurch
are in the Zion Association Minutes of 1883 as follows:
"P. D. Bulger of ShadyGroveChurch,
was chairman of the temperance committee. Shady Grove pledge $50 for
association work, and $10 for missions." The minutes indicate, P. D. Bulger was pastor at Chapel Hill.Zion Association minutes for 1884-1887 were
not available. Minutes for 1889-1891 show P. D. Bulger of the temperance
committee, T. J. George of the education committee and M.
A. George, Sr. of the Sunday School and
missions committees.1890 records show,
P. D, Bulger was pastor of Shady Grove and Chapel
HillChurches and N.
R. Stewart was elected association clerk.Shady Grove dismissed 19 by letter during the
same year, 2 excluded, none added by baptism and
letter and showed 63 total members. M. A. George, Sr., J. A. Hart and N.
R. Stewartwere Shady Grove delegates.
No records were found to show charter members of the ShadyGroveBaptistChurch,
however, it is thought several of the members of Chapel Hill
were the organizers.It is assumed J.
E. Hughes, T. J. George, M. A. Hughes, Sr., N. R. Stewart and J. A. Hart
were some of the original deacons of this church.
December 20, 1899
the Reverend A. B. Metcalf was called as pastor. Z. T.
Blackmon was now the church clerk. August 29, 1900, a committee made up of M. A.
George, Sr.,Thomas Straughn and J. E. Hughes
was appointed to write a Decorum for the Church. Rev.
Metcalf resigned and Reverend Wiley Martin returned as pastor during 1901. Rev.
Metcalf was born in Ozark, AlabamaApril 10 1861.He served as pastor in churches in Alabama,
Mississippi and Georgia
and died in MontgomeryMay 18, 1947.
February 2, 1901Mrs. Julia H. Price asked permission to organize the Christians'
changed name to Women's Missionary Society and is known today as the Woman's
Missionary Union. Mrs. Emma Hughes was the first president. Other
charter members included, Mrs. Annie Royals, Mrs. Sissie Hart, Mrs.
Frances George, Mrs. Alice Hart, and Mrs. G. P. Heun.On October 23, 1901 Rev. W. W. Faulkner was
called and accepted.Tom Strather was
elected treasurer on November 20,
Reverend Wiley T. Martin was born in Jasper
on November 12, 1841.Records show at the tender age of eleven he
was a charter member of the Chapel HillChurch.He served four years in the Confederate Army
with Company B, 18th Infantry from Andalusia, Alabama.He was married to Nancy Caroline Cravey,
at New HopeChurch,
November 5, 1865 by Reverend
G. W. Kierce.In 1866 he was
ordained at the New HopeChurch
and served there until 1922. He organized the following churches in the area of
northwest Florida; Holt,
Milligan, Pilgrims Rest and Baker.He
was in DeFuniak Springs, Florida
1892-1922. He was a pastor for Laurel Hill, Florida, Hacoda and Sanford,
Florida and in Escambia
County, Florida until he died
in PensacolaDecember 22, 1922.
During this time the following people were members of the
First Baptist Church of Florala, also took part in the annual meetings of the
M. A. George, Sr. (One of the 1st
N. R. Stewart
J. A. Hart
John W. Watson
J. E. Hughes
D. C. Hart
Mrs. Julia Hughes
H. A. Hughes
F. G. Holley
T. J. George
W. B. Manning
A. H. Helson
Z. T. Blackmon.
Mrs. Julia Price
D. C. Allen 1893-1894
Wiley T. Martin 1897-1899 and 1901
A. B. Metcalf 1899-1900
Mrs. Emma Hughes
Mrs. J. F. Holley
October 4, 1903
Reverend Faulkner resigned and Reverend John T. Gables was
called.In this year the Zion Baptist
Association, formed in 1857, changed to the Covington Baptist Association, then
changed back to the original name in 1904. These following minutes were
recorded October 19, 1904
through August 11, 1912:
October 19, 1904,
Rev. Gables, resigns, a pulpit committee was formed and a report by the church
treasurer, Dr. J. P. Phillips, that the church raised $1,193.83
this year.M. A. George, SR.
was church clerk. Rev. Sam H. Bennett was called by the church
and began in November of 1904.
1905 reveals the method employed to raise money for the
preacher's salary for the year was to take up a subscription at the time the
preacher was called or re-elected. The Lake Jackson
site was selected for the church Baptism Services, on the beach near the
1906 - 50 copies of the Baptist Hymnal Praise Book and
chairs for the choir were purchased. The May 20 meeting shows the election of A.
N. Wilson, W., T. Stephenson, W. A. Mills, J. R. Shepherd, and L. H. Brassell;
to the building committee.The following
members were granted letters of dismissal for the purpose of organizing a BaptistChurch in Paxton,
Rev. & Mrs. D. C. Allen
Mrs. R. D. Cockcroft
Miss Alice Cook
Mrs. H. W. Pillum
Mrs. & Mrs. Sid Quick
Mrs. & Mrs. D. W. Royals
Mrs. Mary Robinson
Mr. & Mrs. A. J. Whitehurst
Rev. Sam H. Bennett
Rev. B. S. Bailey was called and
accepted.His salary was to be $900 per
Rev. Sam H. Bennett was born near Louisville,
AL. October 31, 1879 &
died December 11, 1951.
Educated in Public Schools in Louisville & Clayton, AL., he graduated from HowardCollege, and the Southern Baptist
Seminary. He was first called as assistant pastor at SouthsideBaptistChurch
in Birmingham, AL.His first church as minister was the 2nd
Baptist Church of Selma, AL. He came to Florala late in 1906 and served several
churches in Georgia
before retiring due to illness, and moving to Fairfield,
AL. He married Achsa Hall of Birmingham,
1907 A. N. Wilson became church clerk &
treasurer, succeeding M. A. George, Sr. A "Decorum of the
Church" was prepared by the Board of Deacons and approved by the church
the latter part of the year. February
2, 1908, Mrs. W. C. Whitt was elected church
organist. May 1909 H. A. Hughes, W. G. Matthews, and H. H.
McDougald were elected deacons.December 5, 1909Rev. J. S.
Edmonds was called as pastor.
1910 Brother J. R. Shepherd was elected
collector of home church expenses. In March of 1910 a baptistry was
installed.October 9, 1910J. S. Edmonds contract
expired. January 23, 1911, Rev.
E. M. Stewart received and accepted a call for an indefinite period of
time. The first Federal Census taken in Florala was during 1910 and showed a
population of 2,439.The end of this
year the church membership totaled 260. The History Committee was not able to
get biographical data on Rev. W.W. Faulkner, John T. Gables and J.
July 1911, M. A. Helmes & T. A.
Goodwin were elected deacons.Mrs.
James T. Craley was elected organist. Rev. Stewart tendered his resignation
effective August 31, 1911.August 13, .1911 the resignation was accepted
and James P. Doster & J. W. Pendrey were elected
deacons.October 1,1911Rev. J. N.
Vandiver was called as minister.
Rev. E. M. Stewart was born September 22, 1879 and died December 26 1954 in Greenville,
AL. He received his license to preach at
age 15 and was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Greenville,
Alabama.He was Chaplain of the Alabama
National Guard while a student at HowardCollege.He was minister of a number of churches
throughout Alabama.After retirement he lived in Florida
and severed as interim pastor at several churches.
1912 - W. N. Matthews was elected deacon. J. T.
Hughes was appointed treasurer of the 1st BaptistChurch building fund. J. R.
Shepherd was the clerk for the annual meeting of the Zion Association.Rev. Vandiver was selected as the
delegate to the Southern Baptist Convention.
1913 - Report of Obituaries, from the association minutes
grave a tribute to J. R. Shepherd, and W. A. Mills, deacons of FirstBaptistChurch.Rev. D. R. Parker was called and
accepted, replacing Rev. Vandiver who resigned.
Rev. J. N. Vandiver was born February 26, 1878.Educated in Pisgah, Alabama schools
and HowardCollege and the Southern Baptist Seminary.Ordained 1906 at HowardCollege, retired in 1948 from the
ministry. He died in Mt. Pleasant, Texas,
1914 - J. W. Pendrey was Sunday School Superintendent
and clerk of the FirstBaptistChurch. Messenger's
sent to the Zion Association in October 1915 were Mrs. G. A. Peterman &
Mrs. G. P. Huen. They were the first women to be included as messengers to
an associational meeting.H. A.
Pettus served as the Superintendent of Sunday School for 1915. Rev. T.
V. Shoemaker became the Pastor in 1916, replacing Rev. Parker.
Rev. D. R. Parker was born on July 9, 1887, at Thomasville,
Alabama.He was ordained at Leroy, Alabama
in 1907, and died in Munson, Florida
on October 20, 1918.
1917 - J. P. Doster became Sunday School Superintendent;
T. A. Goodwin began as clerk of the church.April 3, 1917 1st Baptist Church of Florala
was incorporated under the Laws and Statures of the State of Alabama with H.
T. Hughes, J. W. Hart, J. H. Evans, W. H. Hurston and G.
W. Reeves being elected for a five year term as trustees.(Pg 36, Corporations Book. 2, Covington Co., ALProbate Records
5/5/1917)May 21, 1917, J. E. Hughes gave the church a deed
for business property at Fifth Streetand Fifth Avenue in
Florala. Rev. A. E. Page replaced Rev. Shoemaker 1918 as Rev. Shoemaker
resigned to enter the U. S. Army as a Chaplain.
Rev. T. V. Shoemaker was born at Mount
Hope, Alabama on February 8, 1876.He served churches in Birmingham,
Dadeville, Camp Hill, and Hamilton
in Alabama, and at several places
in Georgia.During WW I he served as Army Chaplain in France.He died near West Point,
Georgia on November 7, 1939.
1918 - Zion Association meeting was cancelled due to the
nationwide Flu Epidemic that year.
1920 - In October Dr. N. Patterson replaced Rev. Page
as pastor. T. A. Goodwin was clerk and treasurer, and Walter H. Hurston
was Superintendent of Sunday School. Pastor's salary was established at $3,000
per year. Dr. Patterson was also an able architect. He designed and drew the
plans for the First Baptist Church of Florala.
Rev. A. E. Page born November 9, 1879, educated at HowardCollege and Southern Baptist
Seminary in Louisville, KY.
During his 50 years of service to the ministry he served churches in Texas
& Alabama.He came to this church from NicholsonvilleBaptistChurch
(Alabama).While serving as pastor of some of the
churches in Alabama he also
taught school.He taught at CovingtonCountyHigh School
while he was pastor of the new FloralaFirstBaptistChurch.
A Building Committee consisting of Dr. Patterson as
chairman, J. W. LeMasitre as vice-chairman, J. T. Hughes as
treasurer, T. S. Goodwin as secretary, and E. P. Rodwell, Sr.,Mrs.
Walter Brown, Mrs. D. A. McPhail, and Mrs. Laura Hughes as
members. The old building was torn down and the new building was constructed in
1921. The Sunday School membership was 251.(Info taken from the Zion Association
minutes) December 11, 1921
J. T. Hughes and G. W. Reeves were elected deacons.A committee consisting of G. W. Reeves, B.
H. Meadows and T. A. Goodwin was appointed to confer with the official
board of the LockhartBaptistChurch to discuss the consolidation
of the two churches due to the complete loss of the LockhartChurch by fire. December 25, 1921. The church
conference elected officers to serve during 1922.These were: J. E. Hendley, J. E.
"Daddie" Hughes, J. T. Hughes, H. A. Hughes, T. A. Goodwin, W. A.
Matthews and G. W. Reeves, deacons; B. H. Meadows, treasurer;
T. A. Goodwin, Clerk; and Miss Birdie Hughes, organist.
January 22, 1922
the dedication of the new church building was held.Following is the:
Sunday, January 22,A. M.
Birdie Hughes, presiding.
Song, 272.Congregation Standing
Invocation.Rev. J. F. Price.
"On Our Way Rejoicing."Lerman.
Lesson.Read by Rev. A. B.
Solo, by Miss Ruth
by Rev. C. C. Wilkerson.
Solo, by Mrs. E.
F. Goldsmigh, of Atmore, Alabama
Sermon, by Rev. C.
Ross Baker, D.D., of Dothan, Alabama
Ceremony, conducted by the Pastor.
Dr. N. O. Patterson was talked into coming from Tuscumbia,
Alabama and taking up God's work in Florala.
The church hosted the annual meeting of the Zion Association
On October 11 and 12. J. E. Hendley was the clerk for this meeting. An
intermediate B.Y.P.U. with Lorraine Griffin as president was
reported.Y. W. A. was reported with Mrs.
Claude P. Cawthon as counselor.G.A., R.A., and Sunbeams were not listed in the report from the FloralaBaptistChurch.
December 1923 the following officers were elected to serve
for the year: J. E. Hendley, J. T. Hughes, T. A. Goodwin, G.
W. Reeves, and J. A. Stokes (Clear Springs Mission), deacons; T.
A. Goodwin, clerk and Sunday School superintendent; C. W. Garrett,
treasurer; and Miss Birdie Hughes, organist, J. E. Hughes was
elected deacon emeritus for life.C.
D. Matthews and W. H. Hurston were elected for ordination as
1924 Miss Kate Johnson was elected treasurer for that
year. No minutes have been available for 1925-26. In 1927 C. M. Neal was
elected for ordination as deacon.Reverend
Ellis was moderator and J. E Henley was clerk for the Zion Association
meeting in 1928 and 1929.
1930 Mrs. G. E. Ellis helped organize the first Royal
Ambassador Chapter.Mrs. L. D. Clepper(Verna Mae Evans) was the first leader. Charter
members of the R.A.'s include Victor Rudd, Talmadge Chamblis, Billy Wilson,
Jack Wilson, Jack Rudd, Eugene Stewart, Jack Morgan, Doyle Turner, James
Kinsaul, Leroy Mickler, J. Cox and J. Warren.
The decade of the Great Depression began in 1930.It reached the lowest point in 1932-33, and
then gradually became normal again.The
church suffered greatly during this time without funds to operate. During this
time, work with the young people's programs increased.Training Union was
started and Mr. J. E. Hughes pasted away. Rev. Ellis resigned in
the fall of 1932 and the church called Rev. Robert T. McLeod.
Rev. George E. Ellis was born October 28, 1881, and died August 30, 1951.He graduated from JacksonvilleBaptistCollege,
in 1911 and received a degree from the Baptist Seminary, Louisville,
Kentucky in 1915.He held pastorates in New
Mexico and Texas
prior to coming to Florala.After
Leaving Florala, he was pastor of a church in Gladewater,
Texas for several years.Later he became vice president of MarshallBaptistCollege
and a professor of Bible. He received honorary degrees from BobJonesUniversity
This may be continued when the census for 1940 are
published.I feel much of the balance of
information is in regard to the living, therefore, I
will stop at this point.