Halltown General Baptist Church

Halltown General Baptist Church

Excerpts from Halltown General Baptist Church History 1896-1996

Contributed by Kenneth Biggs

Preface, by Kenneth Biggs

For the love we have for the church.

James L. and Malissa Pitt made a deed April 10, 1878 for one and one half acres of land on the head waters of red river.

To Rev. John Wynne, W. N. Link and J. H. Anderson trustees of the Methodist E. Church South organized at said Place belonging to Fountain Head circuit and Gallatin District allowing other Denominations of White People Preaching orthodox doctrine the right to preach at anytime.

A two story log building 50 feet long by 40 feet wide was constructed of yellow poplar. This building was removed in the year 1912, by Quincy Pitt.

The order of Pale Faces, Camp Jackson number III held meeting in the second story of this building. The trustees for Pale Faces were Joseph McGlothlin, Jeremiah Turner and Perry Link.

Because of a rambunctious family by the name of Hall in the Community. People began calling the Community, Halltown.

As Methodism declined, the Baptist organized what is known today as Halltown General Baptist Church.

History of Hall Town General Baptist Church

On October 24, 1896, Halltown General Baptist Church had its beginning in a two-story log building located on the banks of Halltown Creek. Originally, the building was used by the Methodist Church. According to the records, in 1899, a new church building was built across the road on property donated by Jakie Houdyshelt.

There were ten charter members of Halltown General Baptist Church as it was organized in 1896. The pastor was Rev. Gus H. Austin and the clerk was Bro. Billy Brigance. The first minutes were recorded in 1901. In 1906, a Sabbath School was organized and in 1908, the Sunday School was established with Bro. William Adamson as superintendent. Halltown was a member of the Mt. Union Association until 1921 when the Portland Association came into existence. In 1929, Halltown was voted to be the mother church of the Portland Association.

In 1941, the church purchased the property where the original log house stood. It is our understanding this is where the parsonage sits today. During the first few years of existence Halltown held services only on the second Sunday of each month. In 1948, church services were started on the fourth Sunday in addition to the second Sunday services. By 1959, Sunday services for each Sunday in the month became a reality and by September of '59, Wednesday night prayer meeting was voted in. The first Vacation Bible School was conducted in 1955. Today, Halltown conducts a full program of church services which includes two Sunday morning worship services at 8:30 and 10:45; Sunday School, 9:45; and Sunday evening worship at 6:00. On Wednesday night a prayer service is held as well as a youth program ranging from toddlers to post teenage groups.

The church parsonage was completed in 1965, with Bro. Robert Thurman as the first pastor to occupy the home. In 1967, the church elected a building committee to prepare for a new church building across the road from the existing structure. Members of this committee were Bro. Mose Byrum, Vernon Briley, C. D. Biggs, Ben Rowland, and Harold Briley. The first sermon was delivered in the new sanctuary by Rev. Mose Byrum in December 1968. In 1973, this building was increased by a baptistry and two additional Sunday School rooms. In January 1976, Halltown purchased land and constructed a fellowship hall which was completed in May of 1978. The building has two large meeting rooms, a modern kitchen and a large dining/meeting area totaling 5,000 square feet of needed space. By 1981, the church saw a need for a Christian day care in the community and in 1982, Halltown Kinder Care came into existence. Also in '82, the church voted to extend its ministry by starting a tape ministry for the shut-ins of the area. The membership grew and in 1983, the church building was enlarged by a choir loft, a new baptistry, and a full educational wing which now houses the church offices and eleven additional rooms. On January 7, 1985, the church moved forward and employed a full time secretary, Marilyn Utley, and in 1986, the staff increased to include a Christian Education Director. Today, the church staff consists of three (3) full time and two (2) part-time employees.

In the Spring of 1988, Halltown Church purchased additional property adjacent to the fellowship hall and parking area. This purchase of land was made from Mr. Edwin Link, and in December of 1992, the church voted to donate five (5) acres of this land for the construction of an assisted living facility, Halltown Residential Home, Inc. This facility was completed and opened in 1995 and houses 21 residents.

According to the information available, our own records, and the Mt. Union and Portland Associational Minute Books, there have been over 1,000 conversions at Halltown in these 100 years. The membership has grown from the 10 charter members to 524 total membership.

Halltown Church Charter Members
Sanford Biggs
Hespair Ann Wilkinson Biggs
Allen A. Pitt
M. G. Garrison
Billy (W. I.) Brigance
Alice McGlothlin Brigance
Mary Ann Pitt Linear
C. B. Biggs
S. A. (Sanford Arthur) Biggs

Rev. Gus H. Austin

History of Halltown Sunday School

A few years following the organization of Halltown Church, a Sabbath School was organized in 1906 with Bro. Beir as superintendent and Bro. McCormack assistant. In 1908, the Sunday School was organized with Bro. William Adamson as the first superintendent and Bro. J. H. Link as assistant.

According to information which we have acquired, the Sunday School was conducted at Oakland School and remained there until the early 40'5. It is not clear why, but it is thought that Oakland was more accessible to everyone being on a main road. Possibly, also because of the meeting rooms, while at that time the church had only an auditorium for worship. In the early days, worship services were held once a month which was on the second Sunday, but after 1937 or 1938, the Sunday School met every Sunday and this was known as an "Evergreen" Sunday School program. The leaders of the "Evergreen" program were Bro. J. T. (Jim) Link, Bro. Delbert Link, Bro. Lonnie Link, Sister Callie Link, Sister Alma Jackson, and Sister Mat tie Payne. After moving the program to the church, the auditorium was used for s. S. rooms by dividing the area with curtains to accommodate various classes. Additional rooms were added to the church in 1949, 54, 58, 62, and 1984.

In 1961, Bro. Brown Covington made a lasting contribution to the Sunday School program which is still in existence today, and that is the awarding of an attendance pin for perfect yearly attendance.

Our earliest recorded Sunday School statistics available to us are from 1914 which shows an average attendance of 48 and offering received was $6.58. The following is the average attendance and money received for the listed years: 1921: 34, $5.00; 1934: 47, $41.06; 1944: 60, $61.48; 1950: 74, $308.48; 1960: 212, $894.51; 1970: 151, $1,566.34; 1980: 151, $2,797.91; 1990: 230, $5,493.20; and 1995, 201, $6,670.36.

History proves that the Sunday School has been a very strong arm of the church. We are indebted to a great number of people who have led and supported the Sunday School program. You will find a partial list of those who have served as superintendents and secretaries in the enclosed insert. The list is partial due to the information available to us.

Not any group within the church has a greater potential for gathering and preparing people for the Kingdom than the Sunday School.

The following is a partial list of those who have served as Superintendents and Secretaries of Halltown Sunday School. We regret and apologize if any name was left out.


Charles Biggs
William Adamson
I. T. Link
H. S. Adamson
Delbert Link
Luther Ray
Lonnie Link
Raymond Culbreath
Clarence Gillihan
Cleon Biggs
Vernon Briley
Blonnie Pitt
Richard Creekmore
Maynard Briley
Art White
Bob Culbreath
Donnie Briley
John Cook
Robert Briley
Keena Bradley
Kathy Cummings


J. H. Link
Alma Jackson
Hazel Gillihan
Lonnie Link
Lorine Lambert
Ernest Bowling
Edie Lambert
Callie Link
Christine Biggs
Evelyn Briley
Stella Pitt
Reba Thompson
Winnie Raybin
Helen George
Ann Briley
Faye Gregory
Joan Cook
Judy Perkins
Kathryn Anderson
Connie Briley

History of Halltown Ladies Aid

The work of a Ladies' group is evident in the early years of Halltown Church. The church minutes of June 8, 1918 say, "The church congratulated the 'Ladies Society' for having the church painted inside."

According to the information that we have available, the Ladies Aid, as we know it today, was organized around 1927 by Sis. Pearl Briley. Sis. Pearl Briley and Sis. Stella Link visited Walnut Grove Church to get information and help in organizing the Halltown Ladies Aid. In the early years of the Aid, the men took an active part in the meetings which took place in homes and lasted all day long. Lunch would be provided and it was noted that the men who worked in the fields came in for the noon meal. In later years, they continued to meet in homes, but in the mid '60s, the meetings started taking place at church. The dues were 10 cents per month in the early years with a free-will offering being taken at times to build the treasury. The present dues are 25 cents per month.

Our earliest recorded statistics available to us are from 1931 which show the membership to be 52 and the money made: $60.85, while the money paid out was $85.06. Other yearly statistics are as follows: 1934: members: 33, money made: $40.81, money paid out: $26.58; 1944: members: 34, money made: $62.99, money paid out: $19.86. 1948: members: (not recorded), money made: $115.75, money paid out: $132.90. Following the 1948 minutes the statistics were not printed any longer.

The Ladies Aid has been and continues to be an added arm of the church. They assist the ministries of the church by sending cards to the sick, sponsoring sunshine baskets for shut-ins, and a number of other activities. In recent years they have taken on projects such as covering the pews, securing the sign out front, landscaping in front of the fellowship hall, re-decorating the front entrance and steps, and purchasing an ice maker for the fellowship hall. The potential for this ministry unit is unlimited & we recognize them today.

The following is a partial list of those who have served as Presidents and Secretary/Treasurer of Halltown Ladies Aid.


Myrtle Thompson
Pearl Briley
Nona Smart
Estelle Broadrick
Margaret Thompson
Christine Briley
Reba Thompson
Pauline Thurnan
Elizabeth Briley
Josephine Culbreath
Erica Biggs
Pat Morris
Norma Faye Gregory
Marie Rowland
Florence Wilkinson
Irene Gregory
Jessie Mae Hester
Ruth Whitaker
Mary Briley
Rita Briley
Shannon Graham
Teresa George


Geneva Link
Lizzie Link
Eliza Hardin
Margaret Thompson
Callie Link
Ava Thompson
Nancy Byrum
Wanda Briley
From 1971 until 1987 the names of the secretaries of each Aid were not printed in the minute books.

Those Who Have Served Halltown Church These 100 Years

Gus H. Austin, 1896-1911
H. E. Harget, 1911-1912
R. C. Hardison, 1912-1913
Gus H. Austin, 1913-1933
E. C. Keen, 1933-1937
J. A. Brown, 1937-1940
B. A. Carroll, 1940-1942
Charlie Harper, 1942-1945
Howard Ditmore, 1945-1951
Paul Crowder, 1951-1954
Charlie Harper, 1954-1956
Harry Civils, 1956-1963
Robert Thurman, 1963-1967
Mose Byrum, 1967-1975
Clayton Hall, 1975-present

Assistant Pastors
Billy Bowers, 1973-1975
Mose Byrum, 1975-1976
Tim L. Williams, 1990-present

Albia Jackson, ordained in 1906
William Adamson, ordained in 1906
E. F. Link, elected in 1909
Bob Buntin, ordained in 1928
Hershel Gourley, elected in 1928
Sam Briley, ordained in 1928
Lillard Smart, ordained in 1934
Gil Thompson, ordained in 1934
Delbert Link, ordained in 1937
T. W. Briley, ordained in 1937
Cloyd D. Biggs, ordained in 1955
Vernon Briley, elected in 1956
Earl C. Ray, elected in 1956
Richard Creekmore, elected in 1956
Blonnie Tomlinson, elected in 1961
Wayne Briley, elected in 1970
Joe David Culbreath, elected in 1970
Steve Perkins, elected in 1985
Roy Scott, elected in 1985
Billy C. Wilkinson, elected in 1996
Robert Culbreath, elected in 1996
Richard Goostree, elected in 1996

J. W. Hardaway
W. B. Harris
W. I. Brigance
Hillard Biggs
Luther Ray
Lillard Smart
Vernon Briley
Odean Thompson
Floyd Suttle
Ben Rowland
Bob Culbreath
Homer Mayes
Roger Briley
Jim Brown
Ishmon Keith

Cynthia Austin
William Adamson
Mary Link
Walter Link
T. W. Briley
Myrtle Thompson
Pearl Briley
Margaret Thompson
Alma Jackson
Pearl Biggs
Ruby Ray
Blonnie Pitt
Edna Briley
Vernon Briley
Lonnie Link
Richard Creekmore
Alma Rhea White
Ben Rowland
Winnie Raybin
Ruth Whitaker
Ronnie Rowland

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