Ozark Tribune Sept. 13, 1904

 OZARK BAPTIST CHURCH

 

            In 1850 Rev. Joel Sims was sent as a missionary from the Eufaula Association and he got a few people together and held a meeting at the house of William Andrews, Sr., and there was much interest at that time, and later on Rev. Leroy Sims constituted a church at William Andrew’s house.  Mr. Andrews and wife, Mary, Francis and Sallie, his daughters, and his sons, William, Benjamin, Ira and Arter all joined and then they constituted the church on the following Sunday.  In 1851, Rev. Reuben E. Brown came and held a meeting under an arbor where the Ozark graveyard now is, the meeting was very interesting and asked an arm of the church that was organized as above, set out to be extended to the place where he was holding his meeting, and at that meeting Moses Matthews and wife joined the church, also Gordon Matthews and his wife joined at the same time.  Moses Matthews then offered to give a lot of land if they would move the church on it, and it was done, and this is the way the Union church was brought in existence.  Today there are three charter members of the church still living, they are W.F. Cox, Mary Howell and Francis Whitman who participated in organizing the church at William Andrew’s.  There was a church built at William Andrew’s place and when the church was moved to where it now is, William Andrews took the building back and a new church was built just east of the present cemetery of Ozark.  Mr. Andrews was an ordained deacon of the church that was organized at his place, and when the church was moved to its present locality Gordon Matthews was made deacon, and Rev. Leroy Simms was first pastor.  Rev. Caswell Smith, Rev. R. Deal, Rev. J.M. Poyner and other noted Baptist preachers have served the church all along.  During 1866, W.F. Cox was made a deacon which position he held a long time.  This handsome cut gives you the likeness [picture in article] of the Baptist church building now.  This building shows what kind of material the little handful of Baptist are made of.  Rev. H.L. Martin, when his health gave way and he retired from doing evangelistic work concluded he would undertake to raise the money necessary to build a new Baptist church.  Hew was ably assisted by the pastor, Rev. J.J. Hagood, and many of the noble and faithful members of the church.  It is a monument of sacrifice and love for the cause it stands out to represent.  The building is octagonal shaped with a nice auditorium and has a Sunday school and choir room, all of which can be turned into one very large auditorium by means of rolling partitions.  There are many handsome windows, three memorial windows, one to J.H. Sessions, one to Rev. Caswell Smith and wife and one to Rev. A.L. Martin and wife.  Everyone who sees the interior of the building pronounces it the prettiest in the state.  The pews are of the finest finish, in fact none are scarcely ever manufactured that are any finer than those in the Baptist church.  The membership is compose of some of the very best people of the city.  There are about 180 members, and a flourishing Sunday school of about 150 scholars.  The church is in a prosperous condition and is on the eve of a great upbuilding.  Out of debt and with bright prospects we predict the church will be a might power for good.  The church is elegantly furnished and carpeted all over.  The second church building was built by Stephen D. Parker and other good people in 1886, while Rev. J.M. Poyner was pastor and Rev. P.M. Calloway, Sr., preached the dedication sermon.  This last building was erected in 1902, Rev. J.J. Hagood being pastor.  Dedicated in fall of 1903.  Dr. Charles A. Stakely, of Montgomery, preached the dedication sermon.

 

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