The  Early History of Beulah Baptist Church

By Becky Chaney

Beulh Baptist ChurchOn July 10, 1850, Elders T. J. Holman and N. L. Clarke met with  a group of believers at the meeting house known as Old Enon located in the  Beulah Community to establish a new church. Elder Holman preached the sermon and  the following persons presented letters: (in order) Cullen Sims, William Graham,  Archibald Laird, Mary Sims, Rachel Graham, Sintha Graham, Malinda Laird, Dianah  Johnson, Mary Reece, Mahala Pullen and Elizabeth Pullen. Upon examination, the  presbytery found the brothers and sisters in faith and order and of a sufficient  number to keep house and were declared an independent Church of Christ under the  name of the Beulah Regular Baptist Church of Christ. Brother N. L. Clarke was  the first called pastor and William Graham, the first church clerk.

During the early years, services were held monthly on Saturday and Sunday and a  business meeting or conference followed. Minutes of these meetings list new  members received, members granted letters of dismissal, disciplinary actions of  the church, and other actions of the church which required a vote of the  membership present.

The church was admitted into the Mt. Pisgah Association on October 2, 1852.  William Graham was elected as the first deacon on June 20, 1854, and a committee  was appointed to select a place for a new church building on the same day. Early  pastors included N. L. Clarke, M. C. Thomas, D. Killen, Daniel Dove, Alvin  Gressett, A. Winstead, and J. M. Moore. William Graham served as church clerk  until October 25, 1858 when William J. Lovett was appointed. Mr. Lovett served  until he asked for a letter in January 1859, and Alvin Gressett was appointed in  his place. Other early clerks included W. G. Young, Archibald Chaney, and J. E.  Graham who began service on October 25, 1869 and served well into the twentieth  century.

The first complete listing of early church members that I have seen may be found  in the church minute book in 1867 as follows:

Names brought forward in the Book (1867)

(The notes such as letter, excluded, or dead found written by some of the  names were probably added at a later date.)

Males

William Graham, Deacon
T.J. Reynolds, Deacon
Joseph White, Deacon
John B. Abney, Deacon
Archibald Chaney, Clerk
Alvin Gressett , Supply
Bailey Chaney
C.K. Graham
J.W. Dorman
H.L. Laird
James Rowell
Daniel Hitt
William Rowell
John A. Young Letter
Lefeate Williams
C.P. Odom Letter
William A. Graham, Dead

Edward Laird
William Odom Letter
T. M. Elebee
John Bynum
D.L. Young Letter
Benjamin Harrison
W.L. Young Excluded
Eli Odom Letter
D. R. Young Letter
John Cleveland Letter
E.P. Parks
L. Beaman Letter
G.W. Moore
F. D. Dansby
Wm. R. Hailey
J. Rowell

Females

Carline Williamson
Anna Chaney
Elizabeth Parks
Sarahann Harrison
Cyntha Harris
Lucinda Bynum
Margaret E. Dorman
Christinia Gressett
Dianah Reynolds
R.A. Reynolds
Sarah Ann Sims
Mary J. Sims
Juliann Williams
Narretta Harrison
S. A. Sims Excluded
Sarah Ann Graham
Nacy (sp. ?)White
Dianah B. Dorman
Emily Scot
Nancy Glenn
Jane Rowell
F. Rowell
Sarah Ivy Dead
Harriet J. Williams
Nacy (sp.?) J. Johnson
Jane Rowell
July Ann Young Letter
Eliza Swann
E. Rowell
Mary J. Glenn
Jane Glenn
N. Roberson
A. Roberson

Elizabeth Odom Letter
Margaret A. Chaney
Catherine A. Chaney
Mary M. Harrison
Rachel Graham
Caroline Myers
N. Harrison
Rebecca Daverson
Cintha Graham
Rebecca Woodward
Fanny Barefield
Mary Young Letter
Elmary Chaney
Lucia M. C. Abney
Rutha Johnson
Sarah Hitt
S. A. Cleveland
M.P. Young letter
Rebecca Odom
Narsis Gill
E. J. Reynolds
Savanah Dansby
A. D. Gressett
Juliann Graham
Mary Martin
Sarah A. Hailey
Nancy C. Hailey
Emily E. Hailey
Thursia Ann Williamson
Rebecca _________
Rachel Reynolds
Thursday (?) Williamson

Colored

Hager E. Chaney

Bella Chaney

Martha Thomas

Lucia Thomas

Joe Thomas

Tom Keen

There continued to be black members of the church until 1914.

A number of other names appear in the early minutes that were not members of the  church in 1867. These include Tabitha Sims, Frances Hancock, Martha J. Dollar,  Elam and Sarah Laird, H. N. Reece, Pearson and Martha Holman, W. B. Nelson,  Catherine and Letty Abernathy, George, Margaret, Susan, Richard, and Virginia  Wiggington, William Thomas, Alton McDowell, Mary Herrington, Jane McMullen,  Sarah Jones, Elijah Nichols, Spencer and Mary Hailey, Malinda Hailey, Enoch and  Nancy Holman, Lucrecia Dollar, Henry Walton, Mary Walton, Samuel and Mary  Ferguson, Lewis Smith, Freeman Jones, Caroline Hicks, Jesse and Lydia Bynum,  Sarah and Louisa Parker, Robert and Saphrony Banks, John T. Reece, Malinda and  Jane Laird, Lettice Raburn, J. W. and Sarah Raburn, Isaac Chaney, John  Williamson, Jesse Young, Polly and Rebecca Jones, Bird and Martha Holyfield,  Gilbert Holyfield, Charles and Margaret Chaney, John and Susan Munn, Celah Ann  Jones, Eli Woodward, John Johnson, Lavina Usury, Elizabeth Hayman, G. A. and  Anna Johnson, Lucy Cooksey, John B. and Jane Johnson, Berry Whitehead, Hiram  Nichols, Margaret Munn, Perry Ponder and others.

The value of church minutes as a genealogical record, especially in a  "burned-out county", is evidenced by the notation in the December meeting, 1856,  of the death of Brother Cullen Sims, one of the charter members of Beulah  Baptist Church. In researching my own family, I was delighted to find the  following notation made on a Saturday night in late October 1858:

"The doors of the church being opened at Isaac Chaney's house, he was received  by experience for baptism and was baptized and received into full fellowship of  the church. Also received Saturday night by experience for baptism was Charles  Chaney."

Years later, a distant cousin told me the family story which had been passed  down in her family. Isaac Chaney was dying of throat cancer when he became a  Christian. Afterwards, the church took him on the back of a wagon to the river  to be baptized. He died about a week later.

The first time I visited the church, I felt a strong connection. After years of  family history research, I now realize that I am related or connected by  marriage to almost half of the people buried in the two cemeteries there. On  July 9, 2000, a cousin and I attended the sesquicentennial Homecoming  celebration held at the church. I thank God for the history and continued  witness of Beulah Baptist Church.

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