History of Gallatin County, Part 14a
The Women's Club of Sparta is indebted to Mrs. W. M. Coates, of Glencoe, for the following interesting history of the Oakland Baptist Church.
In looking up the history of the Oakland church, we find that all the old soldiers, the charter members, have fallen on the field. Not one left to tell the story.
Was it not for a few of the second generation who are still with us, we would find it difficult to ascertain the correct dates. After investigating, we learn that what is now called Oakland Church was formerly known as Old Providence Church and was organized about the year 1820. This was a time when folks enjoyed religion and met to worship their God and have been known to come for many miles to worship together. Some came in wagons, some horseback, and some walked, a buggy being a great luxury. Shoes were also precious in those days. We have heard our grandparents tell of how in the summer time they would carry their shoes with them until nearing the church house, when they would stop and put them on, but they had time to do this as they did not have to powder their nose as we do now.
There were few churches and many miles apart and the roads were rough and rugged. But after all their trials and exertions to reach the place of worship they were rewarded by words of consolation from the Holy Bible and the beautiful prayers of their pastor. When the song Old Coronation was called for, the music upward rolled until you thought the Angel Choir struck all its harps of gold.
Thus in their beautiful and happy way of worship did they follow in Old Providence until a more prosperous day began to dawn, and the people began to look for convenient location and making plans for a better building in which to worship.
Then it was that the splendid site where Oakland Church now stands was selected, this was about the year 1860. Uncle Alfred Arrasmith being the happy possessor of many acres of land, very generously gave the lot upon which the church building was erected. Also the beautiful cemetery and locust grove near by it.
A committee of some of the most influential men was appointed to solicit aid and the people most generally responded to the call. Some of the school boys helped to haul rock for the foundation. This committee, as well as we can learn was composed of the following men: Josiah Ellis, Thomas Ellis, Elkaniah [“Eck”] Crouch, John Crouch, Ben Duncan, David Lilly, Alfred Arrasmith, Henry Crouch, Alfred Kemper (father of our citizen David Kemper) and others.
Uncle William Winters contracted to build the church house and with the help of members the house was soon built and a protracted meeting was held, lasting four weeks. During that time there were seventy-five that united with the church. Brothers John a. Lee and Pack Todd doing the preaching. These Christian men have long ago entered the Portals of their eternal home.
How well does the writer remember when a child hearing their voices in prayer and song at their regular meetings. Uncle Josiah Ellis or Uncle David Lilly usually led the songs. Old Oakland still stands a monument to their memory.
Date unknown. Believed to be from an early Gallatin County News.