by First Baptist Church
Historical Committee: Mary Sue Collins, Mrs. J. M. Duncan, Mrs. Fred Garrett
and Flora Dee Daughtry -
from the centennial
History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985
by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission
Coleman Baptist Church of Christ organized at Coleman on January 27, 1877
with the following brothers and sisters: Elder J. C. Averett, Henry F.
Averett, Elder W. C. Gates, Henry Paddleford, W. A. Savage, James Stephens,
C. N. Blair, Helen A. Averett, Annie J. Averett, MaryJ. Gates, Adelia C.
Paddleford, Amanda F. Savage, C. N. Blair, Elizabeth Garrett, C. A. Stephens,
and Emily Sinclair. It is said that Averett organized the church
and was elected as pastor. This record was found in the old church
book. Some pages are missing in the front of the book. The
minutes of the next month’s meeting were: “The members of Coleman
Baptist Church of Christ worshipping at Coleman, met in Conference on Saturday
before the 4th Lord’s Day in February. Preaching by Elder John C.
Averett. Visiting brethren invited to seats with us and the doors
of the church opened for the reception of members and right hand of fellowship
extended to the members of Coleman church commune every quarter commencing
on the 4th Lord’s Day in March and that the church accept the books presented
by Bro. Gates as a church book. No further business, conference adjourned.
Preaching the following day by Elder J. C. Averett.”
show that Henry Paddleford was the first deacon elected by the church in
1878. L. F. Collins came to Coleman in 1876, but did not become a
member of the church until he was converted in a meeting held by Dr. J.
D. Robnett in 1886. Mr. Collins was ordained as a deacon in May,
1887 and was elected chairman of the deacons when they began having officers
in the early years and served in that capacity until his death in 1943.
is the case in most of the older churches, the records are rather incomplete
in the early days of First Baptist Church. The old minutes of Pecan
Valley Association in its second session held at Lone Oak Church in Brown
County on September 14 and 15, 1877, show that the Coleman church joined
at that meeting by petitionary letter and was represented by Elder J. C.
Averett as messenger. Elder Averett was elected moderator of the
association and selected to preach the introductory sermon the next year.
For the first twelve years of the life of the church its meetings were
held in different buildings, first in the “Rawhide Courthouse” and then
in the upper story of a building over a store and then in the Presbyterian
building. In August, 1879, the pastor was authorized to appoint men
to select a suitable site for a building.
February 2, 1885, the church purchased the lots and material of the Presbyterian
building, which had been blown down in a tornado. When the storm
was over the lectern was still standing with an open Bible on it.
It is believed that this lot was on the northeast corner of West Elm and
South Neches Streets. February 28, 1886, J. F. Gordon, H. C. Pinkston,
and B. F. Rose were appointed to solicit funds for the erection of a building.
In March, the male membership of the church were made building committee
with instructions to proceed at once. Nothing else shows up in the
records until November 27, 1886, when the church voted to repair the church
seats and loan them to the Southern Presbyterians for an indefinite time.
Then on January 22, 1887, the church voted to accept the invitation from
the Southern Presbyterians to worship in their house when completed.
next reference to building was on November 2,1888, when the church decided
to build. The following committees were appointed: to purchase lot:
T. J. White, H. A. Halbert, and T. H. Strong; to solicit funds: J. F. Gordon,
B. F. Rose, and W. A. Foster; building committee: L. F. Collins, J. F.
Gordon, Amos S. Davis, J. R. Chadwell, and W. C. Perry. On November
28 of the same year Lot No. 3 in Block 12 was purchased. On December
22, 1888 the trustees reported that they had sold the south half of a block
in Clow Addition for $325.00 and had paid off some debts incurred in building
reference to a building was on June 9, 1889, when the minutes read: “Coleman
Baptist Church met for the purpose of dedicating the church building.
The dedicatory sermon was preached by Elder J. H. Boyett.” This was
during the pastorate of Moss Martin and was the first building for the
church. It was located where the present auditorium is located and
faced west on Colorado Street.
interesting facts are taken from old church records: May, 1903, electric
lights were installed. In 1907, a committee was appointed to repair
hitching posts on north and south sides of the building. June 7,
1916, the name was changed from Coleman Baptist Church of Christ to First
Baptist Church - 1889
present auditorium was erected in 1915 while Rev. J. J. Kellam was pastor.
At a little later date a Pilcher and Son pipe organ was installed.
In 1927, during the pastorate of Rev. C. F. Lancaster, the three story
educational building was erected.
Baptist Church, with first education building on left - 1950
Martin Cottage, former parsonage - 1950
the same time a parsonage was also built on the east side of the church
lot. In 1946, when Rev. T. Lynn Stewart was pastor, the education
building was connected with the auditorium, with the new addition housing
the Church Library, organized by Rev, and Mrs. Stewart, and several Sunday
Rev. R. F. Streetman was pastor the auditorium was remodeled and the entire
plant redecorated and air conditioned. This was in 1953-1954.
the pastorate of M. Ted Cotten in 1959 a beautiful parsonage was built
on Austin Street and the former parsonage was used to house a Sunday School
department. This house was named Moss Martin Cottage in honor of
the early pastor of the church.
April of 1970 the whole block, with the exception of one residential lot,
was bought. Under the leadership of Rev. Bill Merritt, plans were
made for the construction of Phase I of a new educational plant.
On December 17, 1972 ground was broken for the new educational building
and fellowship hall and the cornerstone was laid July 1973 upon completion
of the building. In 1974, the auditorium was renovated, redecorated
and carpeted, following the collapse of the ceiling, which luckily happened
during the night when there was no one in the building. Outside trim
was also painted during this time. January 8, 1975 a church bus was
purchased and a bus ministry was begun. The church cabin at the Heart
of Texas Baptist Encampment grounds on Lake Brownwood was donated to the
camp in 1975. In November 1975, lots across the street north of the
church were purchased for parking.
Baptist Church Fellowship Hall - 1984
building committee was elected in June 1978 to begin plans for Phase II
of the building program. In April, 1979, the church adopted the “Together
We Build” program and Louis Drake was hired as architect. In February,
1980, all Sunday School departments and church offices were moved from
the three story education building which had been erected in 1927 and demolition
of the building started. Moss Martin Cottage was moved in April,
1980, and demolition work was completed in July. On July 27, ground breaking
ceremonies were held and construction was begun. Building was completed
in June of 1981 and dedication services were held June 21, 1981.
Baptist Church, with new education building at left and Fellowship Hall
at right (rear) - 1984
members of our church have heard and responded to the call of God to special
service as preachers, music and education directors, missionaries, denominational
workers. The historical committee has sought to list these people
who have been members of our church and gone out to serve in a special
way: Letha Saunders, Cyrus Sewell, Dr. Roy McCulloch, Marylea Henderson
Wood, Carolyn McClellan, Kenneth Kelley, Lloyd Corder, Clyde Kelley, Lee
Hemphill, Virginia Adian, J. D. Cox, Jr., Jimmie Hamilton and Sara Ann
Strickland Kocher. Miss Cecile Lancaster, missionary to China and
Miss Elizabeth Truly, missionary to Nigeria, were at one time members of
our church. Letha Saunders and Blanche Simpson, missionaries to Brazil
have been a blessing to our church in recent years. Miss Simpson
passed away in January, 1983.
who have served the First Baptist Church are: John C. Averett, January
27, 1877; T. H. Lydstrom, December 1877; R. L. Baker, July 1878; D. M.
Matthews, August 1881; J. D. Robnett, November 1883; R. A. Sublett, June
1886 (1 month); J. D. Robnett, August 1886; Moss Martin, September 1888;
A. J. Tant, April 1890; R. F. Stokes, May 1891; J. B. Permenter, April
1895; J. R. Cason, May 1896; D. H. LeSueur, July 1897; W. S. Maddox, October
1889; C. C. Howard, August 1901; W. B. Holland, August 1904; J. D. Allen,
November 1906; J. J. Kellam, March 1910; F. E. Dawson, July 1919; W. Y.
Pond, January 1922; F. F. Dawson, May 1923; C. F. Lancaster, April 1925;
P. F. Squyres, September 1930; O. L. Savage, December 1934; Floyd Chaffin,
December 1938; T. Lynn Stewart, July 1943; Levi Price, April 1948; R. F.
Steetman, July 1951; M. Ted Cotten, May 1958; Lester O. Probst, October
1960; Horace Crowder, April 1966; Bill Merritt, June 1968, and Gary K.
Boyd, August 1, 1977 to the present. Roger Hammonds was called as
full time Associate pastor and began his work early in 1979.
April 24, 1887, it was decided to organize a Sunday School on the following
Sunday to meet in the afternoon provided there were no conflicts with other
denominations. Bro. Halbert was elected superintendent and Bro. Collins
was elected assistant. There are no records as to early enrollment
in the Sunday School, but in 1977, it had grown to 707, with 12 departments
and a Pastor’s Auditorium Class. During the forties enrollment reached
over the 900 mark with average attendance nearing 500. This was during
World War II and “boom” days. Other departments of church work grew
Edna Collins (sister of L. F. Collins and later married Marcoot) was elected
organist on August 10, 1893. The pipe organ was installed in 1917.
Mrs. J. M. Sewell was organist. Since that time, Mrs. Adele Adams,
Miss Will Gideon, and Flora Dee Daughtry have served as organists.
There is no record of early choir directors, but during the period between
1915 and the late thirties, there were at least 3 women directors, one
of which was Mrs. Ethel Nance, a daughter of Rev. Moss Martin. The
first paid music and education director was John H. Gary, who began his
work January 31, 1926.
March 10, 1898, a Baptist Young People’s Union (B. Y. P. U.) was organized.
The women are always interested in the work of the church and we find this
record dated July 16, 1886: “The ladies of the Baptist Church met for the
purpose of organizing a Society (for the benefit of the church fund.)
Organized with twelve members, this society was called Baptist Helpers
and continued through 1886 and 1887 with members busy with the project
of raising money for the church building. From July 1887 until August
1891, there seems to have been no active society, but an “Aid Society”
was organized on August 3, 1891. In 1893, the society was again called
“Baptist Helpers.” Money was raised by giving suppers, ice cream
festivals, and entertainments.
ladies approved the suggestion that they use their money to buy a lot adjoining
the church with the view of building a parsonage. The record in the
church minutes is as follows: “The Baptist Church of Christ at Coleman
sat in conference after 7:30 services. It was voted by the church
that we borrow $100.00 from the Ladies Aid Society to buy a certain lot
lying just east of the church building.” One writer makes this comment:
“Did the ladies offer to make the loan or did the brethren just conscript
it, and did they ever pay it back?” (The parsonage was built in 1902-1903.)
There are no records of a society from 1892 until November 1896, when a
group of ladies met again and reorganized. One of the projects of
1897 was to raise money to help pay on the church organ. (Not the
pipe organ.) They also paid for building a fence around the church
yard, carpeted the aisles and put in stained glass windows to match the
goal for 1927 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering was set at $800.00, a missionary’s
salary for one year. Each circle member pledged to keep a cent-a-day
jar for this offering. In 1946, a new Mission Action project was
introduced by Mrs. T. C. Hart - A Ready to Wear Room for the needy.
Another project for the year was making baptismal robes. Two ministerial
students, J. D. Cox and Jimmie Hamilton, were adopted. In 1954 the
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions was $3,506.89, the
highest received to that time. In 1976, the offering reached $3,818.79.
In accordance with Southern Baptist WMU policy, new terms and new plans
of work were adopted in 1970. W. M. S. became Baptist Woman, V. W.
A. and older C. A’s became Acteens. Younger C. A.’s and older Sunbeam girls
are now Girls in Action and younger Sunbeams are Mission Friends.
All boys from 1st grade through high school are Royal Ambassadors, which
had been transferred to Brotherhood direction some years previously.
Youth organizations have always been a major concern of W. M. U. and Mrs.
J. M. Duncan was C. A. Director for many years. The Girl’s Auxiliary
organizations have been a part of W. M. U. work in the church since the
1920’s, but a record of the work has been kept since 1962. During
the Week of Prayer for Foreign Missions in 1976, a very colorful and inspirational
Parade of Nations was held when flags of the more than 80 countries where
2700 Southern Baptist missionaries serve were presented. Lottie Moon
Christmas Offering goal for 1976 was set at $4,034.00.
of the other deacons of the church: Donald Baird, Bill Barsch, Jack Baucom,
E.B. Blackwell, C. F. Blanton, Seth Burkett, Dewey Cason, Alfred Chambers,
Arvel Cullins, B. J. Deal, A. F. Dodson, Dennis Gaines, Richard Garner,
Fred Garrett, W. T. Graves, Jim Guthrie, Wade Hemphill, Truett Hipsher,
Don Howard, Artie Irby, Robert Jameson, J. T. Laird, W. A. Lengefeld, D.
F. Loveless, Raymond Mathis, J. F. May, Jerry May, Herman Mercer, F. L.
Miller, R. B. McHorse, Tom Newman, Gordon Pearce, Robert Pearson, Harold
Phillips, Otis Powers, Pete Simmons, Bill Sneed, Fred Sparks, I. R. Wagnon,
Win. M. Wheat and Roy Winburne.