History of the Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church
By Walter Glen Baisden

According to Hardesty History of Wayne County, Stonewall District: "The first religious society was that known as Bethesda Baptist Church, located on the left fork of Twelve-Pole River five miles southeast of county seat. It was organized by Rev. Goodwin Lycan and Thomas Harmon on the 20th day of July 1835 with a membership of 26. Rev. Lycan, one of the founders, became the first pastor and Milton Ferguson the first church clerk". Hardesty History of Wayne County was published in the early 1880's.

The membership in 1835 was 36 names. Membership roll of August 3, 1878 was 136. In 1895 there were 21 more names added. The church was organized in a home then moved to a log building near the Two Mile Road. This building was used as a schoolhouse until destroyed by fire around 1900.

In 1881 a new frame church, 30 feet by 40 feet with a 9 foot ceiling was built on property belonging to Lewis S. and Margaret (Osborn) Ferguson, who were charter members. The lot was about half acre. Later Brady and Elizabeth (Dickerson) Justice gave about 1 acre to the church. The church was built with 2 doors facing Twelve-Pole Creek because of the wagon road running along the creek. Twelve-Pole Creek was called a river in the 1800s then was changed to Twelve-Pole Creek. When I (Glen Baisden) was just a small boy, helped Chapman Adkins changed the doors to double doors in the other end of the building. The purpose was to keep the teenage boys from going in and out during service. The railroad and hard road had been built by then. When the early settlers rode horses there would be a jockey ground set up near the church where they would trade horses. Aunt Vick Mills said they would walk to night services with pine torch lights and later with lanterns. There was a large pot belly stove for heat when I(Glen Baisden) was young.

Pearley Jackson owned a house, where Marie Watts lived, that burned. The neighbors formed a water brigade and passed buckets of water from Twelve-Pole to throw on the side of the church that kept it from burning. Mom helped, but us small children weren't allowed to cross the swinging bridge, but watched from the side of the hill. It peeled paint and scorched the side of the building in one place.

We lived close to church but some walked over 2 miles and attended regular. It was during the Depression and people weren't able to give more than a little change and a lot of times my father had to give Mom money to order literature. Since money was scarce they would have a pounding for the preacher and everyone would bring food.

All evening services were on Saturday evening and at the time you never heard of Sunday evening service. The pastor usually pastured two or more churches so he only came once or twice a month. There were only a few cars and I remember Dad giving a pastor a car. I (Glen Baisden) have seen cars get stuck in the mud on the Route 37 road. When the snow would be real deep, Dad and we kids would be the only ones at church, so he would read scripture and have prayer with no songs because none of us could carry a tune. During World War II he would ask for a silent prayer for the boys in the service. Garland Copley, owner of Builders Supply, built Sunday school rooms on the back of the church. The church still owed $1500.00 on these rooms when the church burned.

There was a Christmas play on Christmas Eve and a couch was borrowed from Lucy Blankenship. When the play was over the couch was set off the platform on top of the floor furnace without anyone realizing it. Lowell Sellards had bought the two floor furnaces. The church burned that night December 24,1954.


               Newly rebuilt church                             Present Day Church