The year was 1869. Ulysses S.
Grant was President. The War between the States had ended just four
years before and reconstruction of the South had begun. Hope was
beginning to take root in the hearts of the people and life was
beginning to return to some semblance of normality.
Rural life was hard in Madison
County. Travel was difficult. The only roads were dirt and they
were full of ruts in dry weather and in wet weather they turned
into mud holes. The only mode of travel was by horseback or by buggies
and wagons pulled by horses or oxen. The Bond Community desperately
needed a church that was easy to travel to. The nearest Baptist
Church was Providence and that was around ten miles away.
"0n July 15, 1869, after
preaching by the Rev. J. M. Power, the body met at the Stand near
the Madison Springs, Madison County. Called for delegates to request
the Eldership to constitute this church. To Mill Shoal Church, Brother
S. F. Beard; Rehobath Church, Brother R. E. Fortson; Zidon, Brother
S.F. Beard and W.H. Queen". This is the first entry in
the Clerks Book of Minutes.
The Stand referred to was more
than likely the store on Hwy. 29 that housed the Madison Springs
Post Office. Most country stores were known as stands. This building
is still visible from the road in the winter but is virtually falling
down. It is located about a mile north of Zeb's Bar-B-Q on the right
just before you get to the old Wildcat Bridge Road.
The second entry is one month
later on Saturday, August 13, 1869. The body met again at the Stand "for
the purpose of constitution a church." The Rev. J.M. Power
preached and J.R. Stovall was appointed to the chair as moderator.
The Presbytery consisted of the following names: Providence, J.R.
Stovall and Z.D. Stephens; Zidon, E.H. Crow; Mill Shoal, R.E. Fortson
and F.A. Fortson. The body called for their letters for constitution.
The charter members numbered 140. There were 61 white men, 75 white
females, two colored men and two colored women. Thus the new church
was born. It was called "The Baptist Church of Christ at Shiloh."
The name has never been changed, only shortened to "Shiloh."
Their first official act was to join the Sareptha Association as
a Missionary Baptist Church. November 15, 1870 they elected J.M.
Power as their pastor.
They had a church, but they
had no building to worship in. One of the members, J.E. Bond donated
the land for the church as long as it remained a Baptist church.
This land was up the road about two miles at the present day Bond
Academy School House. The church was built on the hill between the
school and Earl Sartain's house.
The original church burned in
1889. There is no record of how or why the church burned. For the
first twenty years the building served as a school for the local
children and when it burned Bond A cademy was built and the old
timers say they went to Sunday School at Shiloh in the Bond Academy
building after the new church moved to "Coonrod."
Many of the first members were
buried in the grave yard in front of the early church. Some of the
stones were still standing as late as the 1950's or early 1960's.
They were broken by school children and later disappeared. There
is no record of who was buried there.
Shiloh was a sister church of
Providence, Zidon and Mill Shoal. This means the church had the
permission and blessing of the other churches to form and they gave
up some of their members to build up this church. The other churches
realized the need of a church in the Bond community and did everything
possible to help this new church get started. Shiloh elected a delegate,
or "correspondent" as they called them, to go to each
church to seek out information and instruction. The churches only
met once a month and each met on a different Sunday so that members
and correspondents could visit the sister churches. Many times the
same pastors would serve all or at least some of the sister churches.
Between 1812 and 1850 the Baptists
had split into two groups; the Primitive and the Missionary. In
1850 there were only five Baptist churches in Madison County. When
Shiloh formed in 1869, she was the eleventh Baptist Church in the
county. In 1883 Shiloh joined the Hebron Association.
Prior to the Civil War blacks
and whites worshipped in the same churches. After the war the colored
members were not forced out but permitted to go if they wished.
Since they were not listed in the roll book with the whites, it
is possible their roll book was lost. Shiloh had at least four black
members. The blacks were, May McWhorter, Isaiah and Hagar Stovall
and Jerry Stovall. The Stovall family called for their letter in
1873. Mrs. McWhorter called for hers in 1889, twenty our years after
the war ended.
Thomas Peter Bruce donated the
land where the present church stands. Wood was cut from existing
timber to help build the church. it was just a one room frame building
with supporting pillars running down the middle isle. An outside
toilet was on the east side. A well was dug in 1905. It was on the
west side of the church and is now covered by Hwy. 174. The church
had a potbellied wood stove for heat, oil lamps for light, open
windows and hand held fans for air. There were deacon benches on
the right of the pulpit facing the preacher. It was called the "Amen
When you read the early minutes
of the church you get the feeling you are reading the proceeding
of a civil court. The Eldership of the church took very seriously
the church covenant and by-laws. I'm sure they were earnest in their
endeavors of dealing with what they considered "in" in
the church, but as you dig deeper into the church history you find
family feuding with family. Being a small community it seems
that most of the members were related by blood or marriage and,
as in all families, you will find friction.
The church rules were read quarterly
so that they would stay fresh on the members minds. May 12, 1871,
the first member was excluded from the church. A brother Murry was
found guilty of "taking that which did not belong to him."
A brother Cheek brought a charge against himself for using profane
For the next seventy-nine years
the charges and exclusions continued. The charges were as follows:
contempt, falsehood, profane language, using too much spirits, drunkenness,
adultery, fornication, heresy (Joining a church of another faith),
dancing, nonattendance, railing (fighting), cursing, gambling, and
un-Christian conduct (not paying a debt). The charges of adultery
were the result of a second marriage. This type of court ended by
In the early years of the church
money as an exchange was rare. Most of the people were farmers and
each family was self-sustaining. They raised and preserved their
food and grew grain and corn for their bread and cotton for a cash
crop. They also raised livestock including sheep. Their clothing
was made from homespun and hand woven wool. Most transactions were
by barter. Butter, eggs, milk and chickens were exchanged for needed
Chappel Tyner had a store where
the Fire Department stands now. He sold the necessary supplies that
could not be grown such as cloth, thread, sugar, salt, stove pipes,
lamps, matches, nails and coffee. When you realize how little actual
cash money was available, you can better understand the ledger of
accounts kept by the Church Clerk that reflected each members donation
toward the pastors salary and church up keep. All members were listed
in the ledger and it was totaled yearly. For the year 1907 with
a membership of 108 people the grand total collected for the year
was $95.93. The amounts given ranged from $0.25 to $5.00 with the
average being $0.50. Four men paid nothing that year. Failure to
support the church resulted in charges being brought and in some
cases they were excluded from the church. A letter would not be
granted until the member paid the church the arrears he owed.
The preachers of that early
era were truly "servants of the Lord." They certainly
weren't in it for the money. In 1889 the Rev. A.J. Cobb only received
$18.90 for the entire year, but you have to keep in mind he was
paid in many different ways by the members, as were all the preachers.
Conference was held on Saturday night with preaching and regular
services on Sunday. The preacher stayed as a guest with one of the
members on Saturday night and had Sunday dinner with another member.
He was usually laden down with jelly, fresh or canned fruits and
vegetables or a chicken or two for his journey home.
The first "Sabbath School"
was in 1883 with thirty members. By 1913 the membership had increased
to eighty. The membership of the church increased also with the
year 1918 being the peak year with a membership of 165. The August
Revivals or "Protracted Meetings" brought in a lot of
new members each year. August of 1913 brought in a record number.
Twenty new people joined at that revival.
As money was always a problem,
the Sunday School and the Church came up with various ways to raise
money. In 1918 the Church brought an acre of land behind the church
to grow cotton. In the spring the membership would plant and work
the cotton and in October they would harvest and sell it. The profit
would be divided between the pastors salary and the church. This
practice lasted until 1949. It was called "God's Little Acre."
In 1919 and 1924 the Church
had box suppers to raise money to put shingles on the church. In
1931 brother Scarbrough stated he had raised enough money to buy
tools to dig graves and to buy two locks. in 1939 they had a cake
walk at Norcross School and raised $17.52. The biggest project they
had was a Christmas play written and directed by Bessie Tyner. It
was given year after year and the proceeds went for repair of the
church. One of our Deacons, Dwight Fortson, says his first memory
of Shiloh was Miss Bessie's play. As he remembers, Henry Dove, Garland
Fortson and Jewel Christian Rolling were some of the characters.
From the minutes of 1934 we find that The Royson Record donated
250 programs. The expenses of the play were: stage, $5.55; wig,
$0.75; electric lights, $0.30; pins, tacks, powder, kerosene, $0.30.
The profit was $58.00. Electric lights? The church wasn't wired
for electricity until 1939. As it turns out Mr. Garnet Tyner, who
lived across from the church had a generator and he supplied the
power for the lights. The play was also given at the Sandy Cross
School. Dwight also says he remembers when wagons would be parked
all the way to Marvin Fortson's house. They were tied to trees and
In 1914 the church voted not
to allow people to hitch to the trees in front of the church. The
next year they "took action" against public vehicles parking
on the church yard.
In 1904 the Eldership of the
Church were invited to meet at Velpo to organize a new Missionary
Baptist Church. Velpo School was originally near Stovall's Crossing.
This church was Friendship and her first pastor was the Rev. Ransom
King. He was also the pastor from 1892 to 1893 at Shiloh.
Few people were schooled beyond
learning to read and write in those early years. This explains the
difficulty in reading the church minutes. I'd like to offer these
few examples. "Cesque (secure) a well for the church, case
of a Dulres (adultery), case of dubul magreg (double marriage),
call the roll for Absent Eves (absentees), take a collection for
him (hymn) books." They tried to spell a word the way it sounded
but the problem was that most of them spoke with a Irish brogue
much like the people of the Appalachian Mountains.
Baptizing of members was done
down on the old Fort Lamar Road about one fourth mile from the church
on the left. The pool was fed by a creek. When there wasn't enough
water in the pool other sites were used. Dwight Fortson said he
was baptized at Hardy's Wash Hole up Hwy. 174 toward Ila in 1942
by Rev. A.D. Coile. Others were baptized at the rock quarry and
at other churches. This continued until 1964 when the Church installed
its own Baptistery. Some of our present members who were baptized
at the pool on Fort Lamar Road include: Faye Adams Nash, Ellis Nash,
Ruth Collins, and Betty Carey.
The church building has been
through many changes and repairs. The church body voted times to
build a new church, but after much investigation they decided to
repair it instead. Timber from the church yard was used several
times for repair and flooring of the building.
In 1951 new Sunday School rooms
were built. Prior to that classes met in the sanctuary and curtains
to separate the classes. The church installed gas heat in 1957 and
in 1962 they installed the Baptistery, new pews, pulpit furniture,
a new front door and roofed the church again. pews were donated
by individuals or families that bear their name. By 1966 new windows
put in, four more class rooms were added as were two restrooms.
In 1969 the church was bricked and the churchyard was paved. Heat
and air were installed in 1973 and in 1976 the posts in the center
isle were removed. We built a fellowship hall in 1985 and in 1988
a steeple was placed on the church and stained glass windows were
The first organ was purchased
in 1905. It was a pump organ and cost $26.45 plus $5.00 In 1940
the organ was sold and a new piano was purchased. Otis Graham is
the proud owner of our old organ. Our present piano was purchased
in 1974. Ruth Collins bought the old piano and then loaned it to
the church for use in the fellowship hall. Our present organ was
purchased in 1977.
There have been at least two
splits in the church. The first group left in 1962 and formed Community
Baptist Church. The second split was in 1982 and formed the Trinity
Baptist Church. Many issues have arisen through the years that have
hurt the church but none so sensitive or devastating as that of
our church doctrine. A few of Shiloh's past pastors have tried to
bring in new doctrine that caused much division. Our church has
struggled through much adversity and overcome each problem by God's
Grace and His continued leadership.
It behooves the deacon board
as well as each member to protect the sanctity of our pulpit doctrine
other than Baptist.
To Raymond Tyner, because of
his love, devotion, and dedication to his God and to all and for
his ability to lead a church in crisis through its darkest hour,
I dedicate this history.
Charlotte Collins Bond