The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, North Carolina is a special historical component of our community because the Baptists were the first denomination to construct it's own church building here in 1891 on the banks of New River close to the intersection of Ann Street and Old Bridge Street at what is now (2012) the Jerry Popkin Bridge. Several years before this, various denominations had religious services at the Masonic Lodge. It was used as a chapel and it was across the street from where the Baptist Church was built. R. P. Hinton was one of the founders of the church and he was one of the engineers who helped construct the railroad from Wilmington to New Bern. (This railroad was owned by Thomas McIntyre, an entrepreneur from New York city. It was a part of his lumber business and it and hauled timber and lumber only. The people in this area thought that he was from England because he gave the little towns along the way names like towns in England. I've heard this story ever since I was a kid and its a good one, but its not true. Rev. A.T. Howell was the one who initiated this project (---to build a Baptist church in Jacksonville) and the mother church was the Tar Landing Baptist Church (founded in 1876) which is located on Highway 258 between Richlands and Jacksonville. I've been a member of the Jacksonville Baptist church all of my life and I probably attended services at all of our church buildings The original church was organized in 1891 and the building was erected in 1892. This church was on Anne Street by the river and close to th intersection with Mill Avenue. Rev. Howell revisited our church in 1940 and shortly after this, the building was moved to the Nine Mile section of Onslow County. Several more buildings were erected. (comments made 5-9-2013: Approximately two years ago some members of our church History Committee were involved in a senior adventure. Edna Grace Marshburn, showed us that our church building had been moved to a new location. More details later--------). Sue Applewhite was in the group that found the original building. It is now the Bethany Baptist church on the Five Mile Road in Onslow County.
Additional Information: Bill and Mary Lockhart were visitors to our Church from June through September, 2013. They were from New Hampshire and they were very active in our church.9-15-2013: It was time for them to leave and then we received an e-mail dated 9-8-2013 about the wall hangings. I e-mailed Bill on 9-15-2013 that BJ and I had taken the wall hangings to church and that we thanked them for the gifts in the memory of our Christian fellowship.
William G. Lockhart became an Associate Teacher in April of 2013. As Bill and I were discussing this situation in our Sunday School classroom in May, 2013 Sparky Peed said that he would like to teach on Sunday, 6-9-2013. We said that would be O.K. Sparky taught the class. The title of the lesson was, GOD CHOOSES A PEOPLE. He liked teaching so much that he volunteered to teach next week.
In 1950 I was invited tp be a guest associate, teacher for the Men's Senior Adult Sunday School Class. I enjoyed teaching the class and as time went by I learned that it's members were actually "PILLARS OF THE CHURCH" . THEY WERE THE FOUNDATION. In fact, Billy Fountain was in charge of maintenance and kept the church building standing , clean and in good shape. Maurice Ledbetter and Jack Stone helped install our first church steeple in 1970 and I was one of the members of the Board Of Deacons. I thought that with members like this, we needed a more significant name. The first thought that came to my mind was King Arthur and his famous round table and his knights---THE CRUSADERS. As a child I read all of those wonderful stories of how these knights did good things for their fellow man. The senior adults mens' class became the Crusaders in 1950. Foy Jones was the Teacher and Stratton Murrell was the Associate Teacher. The membership from that time through 2013 is as follows: Jim Applewhite, John Bates, Nathaniel Brock, Ben Bryan (Ben and his wife Patsy are listed in the 2003 First Baptist Church directory. Billie Jean and I attended Ben's 80th birthday party on 8-22-2015),Clyde Davis, Jr. , Carlton Fleetwood, Billy Fountain, Albert Hurst, Gerald Hurst, Jack Johnson, Bill Kearney, Larry Kennedy, Jim Kramer (his wife's name was Lila) was an associate teacher for a short time and he died in2003. Alvin Lanier, Maurice Ledbetter, Bob Lock, Harry Lock, William G. Lockhart, Al Moore, Don Morgan, Mark Murrell met with our class on 12-7-2014, Stratton C. Murrell, Pat Patterson, Linwood "Sparky" Peed, George Rhodes, Gerald Skinner, Jim Sparks, Jack Stone, Garland Tuton, Ray Watt,. Bob Yarborough (his wife's name is Jeanette) joined at a later date and then became our teacher in 1980. Stratton was the Associate Teacher. And then in 2013, Bob could no longer attend our class. Once more Stratton became the Teacher. We follow the lessons in the Life way quarterly and the teacher emphasizes what is happening in the Jacksonville area according to our observations. It is essentially the SOCRATIC METHOD which is based upon questions and answers supplied by the group. When Bobby topped Sparky was scheduled to teach on 8-18-2013, but he called me Sunday morning and said he had terrible back pain and could not attend Church. I told Sparky that I appreciated him calling but the situation has been taken care of in that the teacher position is now classified as a team in that we have several associate teachers ( Stratton Murrell, Don Morgan, Bill Lockhart, and Sparky Peed)who are prepared to teach at anytime. This is the last Sunday that Mary and Bill will be with us. I taught the class (with some help from Bill).I did not attend Sunday School on Labor Day. At that time the class realized that I needed a back up system and the class appointed Don Morgan to be a part of the team system of teachers for the Crusaders. At this point I am the teacher and Don Morgan and Sparky Peed are the two temporary associate teachers. I hope that I will be permanent positions. As of 9-8-2013 the following members were present: Stratton Murrell, Gerald Hurst, Ben Bryan, Alvin Lanier, Don Morgan, Carlton Fleetwood, and Sparky Peed. On Thursday, November 21, 2013 I called Sparky to remind him that he was to teach our Sunday School Class this coming Sunday. But Sparky can no longer teach because of his health problems. This leaves Don Morgan (As of 10-25-2015 Don is still teaching. He and I were the only two members present.). and I as associate teachers. As of 2013 the term Sunday School has been changed to Life Way and the format is a more practical focus on
present time and life as it is lived today as based upon Biblical records thousands of years ago.
Since our class was organized in 1950 the following pastors have served our church:Grady Burgiss (1945-1951, W.B. Cone (1951-1952), Marvin R. Hare (1953-1957), Dr. Millard R. Brown (1958-1962), Robert M. Nation (1963-1969), Clyde L. Davis (1969-1976), E.J. Hines and Carl Poston served as interim pastors until James E. Sides 1977-1990---Rev. Sides died 10-23-2015), Mike Turner (1993-2008) Mike movd to South Carolina. He is the first pastor o our church to be listed on Facebook, Jason Brinker (2008- ). Jason was the first person to be on Facebook while he was a pastor of our church. (9-19-2014: To my knowledge, Jason is also the first pastor of our church to use the Lifeway facilities.
It is interesting to note that Mike Turner became pastor (in 1993) of the First Baptist Church at the original location down on the river and we were actually the only church in Onslow County on the river. And then the church was moved to Gum Branch Road. Jason Brinker became the new pastor in 2008 and the History Committee became more active. We put all of our material in order. And now we are advancing to a new dimension of church history. As of July 1, 2014 Roberta Fountain interviewed Stratton Murrell concerning church history and his personal experience at the church. He is the church historian. (AS OF 6-25-2015 Roberta is still edditting this interview). Stratton was born at Montford Point on 1-11-1928. Montford Point was a "suburb" of Jacksonville, N.C.
Notes from Dr. Stratton C. Murrell concerning our Church history: My father (Z.E. Murrell, Jr.) was the church Historian for the Jacksonville Baptist Church in the 1920s and I was appointed to this position in the 1980s. Sue Applewhite (Sue died 9-26-2014) was the Director of the Centennial concerning the founding of our church in 1890. She appointed me to be the Church Historian. I had no idea that this was the beginning of a unique adventure. Our Centennial was a great success and I wrote an updated History of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. Later on, Kim Kimball asked me to join the Onslow County Historical Society. And after that,Elliott Potter,
publishing editor of the Jacksonville Daily News, contacted the historical society, and made arrangements for some of our members to write stories about the history of Onslow County. It would be a weekly column with the title, OUR PROUD PAST. Publishing of this column started in 1999 and I was one of the group submitting stories. This was the beginning of a book that I would write in the near future. After a short time of writing the novelty wore off and I was the only one writing stories. And then the Daily News wanted me to write some stories for the LIBERTY which was it's subsidiary. At that time, Madison Taylor was the city editor of the Daily News. One day in 1999 we were discussing some of my stories and I told him that our family had stayed for a week at the Outer Banks to watch the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse being moved to a new location. I showed him some of the lighthouse stories I had written for the Lighthouse News and he got permission to publish one of these stories in the Daily News along with some other historical stories I had written. All of these stories were actually a preview to a most unique book. A short time later Billie Jean received a call from Madison saying that he had received a call from Arcadia Publishing in Charleston, South Carolina. They told Madison that they needed someone in this area to write a book about Jacksonville and Camp Lejeune. He said that he was sure that the two of us could write that book. Although I didn't realize it at the time I had already started writing that book. Madison realized that I had the credentials in that I was born and raisd in this area. At Wake Forest my two major studies were in General Science and History.
At the present time there is a church history committee, but there is no church history on the web page of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, North Carolina. 10-15-2014: There are several ways that we can correct this problem One way would be to add the history of the church as a comment, but when you do this you cannot add on information.You must have a category. Probably the best way to go is to put information on my web page and transfer the information at a later date. At the present date I need information on the beginning of our church on the Gum Branch road.