From the Opp News February 1928
Contributed by Robert Taylor, JAN 2002
The hundredth birthday of Old Good Hope Primitive Baptist church located five
miles northwest of Dozier just in Covington County, was celebrated on February
1st by a large congregation.
Elder J.W. Jones of Jones Mills, Alabama; was present and stated that he had been coming to Old Good Hope for 53 years. His first visit to the old church he said was to a singing convention, 53 years ago. Since then he has been a regular visitor.
The records of the old church are incomplete until about the time of the Civil War. But there is much of interest to most people in this part of the state for many of the natives of this section could trace the church affiliation of some of their ancestors back through Old Good Hope Church. . And some of our statesmen public official are direct descendants of members of this old church. For example, Col. J. Lee Long, of Greenville, speaker of the House of Representatives, is a grand son of Elder Soloman Long, who joined the this old church by letter in 1831 and became one of the well known pioneer preachers of South Alabama.
Old Good Hope church was constituted on February 1, 1828, by Elders Thomas Wall and A. Travis, presbytery. That same year, Daniel Dozier joined the old church and was baptized. He was a native of South Carolina and had lately moved to the wild woods swarming with bear and panther near Long's Bridge on Patsaliga River, when it was ten miles to the home of his nearest neighbor. The church was located some five miles from Daniel Dozier's homestead.
Daniel Dozier is the father of the big Dozier family in Crenshaw and Covington countries. He soon developed a gift as a minister and was ordained. He with Elder Long became preachers of that part of the state in their day.
Some two years later, about the year 1831, Elder Daniel Dozier sold his claim on Patsaliga River, some ten miles northwest of Dozier, To Elder S. Long. Elder Dozier moved to a new place at the present site of the town of Dozier settling about a half mile north of the business section of the present town that bears his name. He raised his family here and his blood strain runs through the veins of almost of every native citizen of the present town of Dozier.
On the tombs of these two pioneers in the pretty cemetery across the road from the old church are found the dates of their birth and death. Elder Dozier was born in South Carolina Aug. 15, 1805 and died Nov. 4, 1878. Elder Long was born March 5, 1800 and died, Oct. 12, 1895, at more than 95 years of age. Several other preachers, well know in their day, who lived and died later, are buried in the big, well kept cemetery. Among the are Levi T. Wells born May 29, 1842, and died March 5, 1909, and Simeon D. Wiggins whose wife was Elder S. Long's youngest daughter, born Feb3, 1851, and died June2, 1913. Elder L.M. Dauphin, it is thought , was laid to rest there. Elder Thomas Wall, who helped to organizer the old church 100 years ago, was buried at a family cemetery near the Dozier-Long home stead near the Pastsaliga River.
In the early days of the church for more than a half century, several colored people had membership in the old church along with white people. According to the membership roll "Colored Brother Kitt" joined and was baptized in 1846, and " Colored Brother, Berry", in 1859. There were two colored male members on roll as late as 1873. They were B. McTyier joined by voucher and Daniel by baptism. A certain portain of the meeting house was appropriated for the use of the congregation.
Later, when the colored membership was greater, they were granted letters of dismission for the purpose of organizing a church for colored people and they moved out a short distance and established their own church which is still functioning with Elder J.T. Ashely, of Camp Hill, Alabama; as their pastor. Their pastor is also much respected by white people wherever they know him and by request preaches to white people several times a year. These Negroes are all of the old type and humble, knowing their place. Some of the colored members of this faith attend almost every service at the old church until this day and were at the celebration of her hundreth anniversary.
There was but one day's meeting, in the middle of the week, and the weather disagreeable, but the house was filled to capacity. The services consisted of singing, prayer, preaching, and short talks on the identity and other phases of the church. At the noon hour a sumptuous dinner was spread in great quantity and every person present had an opportunity at another big feast.
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