The Baptist Churches in Washington County belonged to Bentonville Association until 1871, when the Fayetteville Baptist Association was organized. The Bentonville Association is now in its forty-eighth year.

The Missionary Baptists did not begin the organizing of churches so early as some of the other denominations by several years. The oldest congregation of which any record could be found is styled Friendship Baptist Church. It was organized about three miles southeast of Springdale, in May, 1847, by R. C. Hill and J. F. Mitchell. Among the first members were Joseph Baker, James Meek, James White, Isaac Horton, Rhoda Baker, Elizabeth Meek and Nancy Fitzgerald. James Meek was the first deacon, and James White, clerk. The next year a small frame building with a chimney at each end was erected. It was used as a house of worship until 1861, when the present building was put up. Among the pastors who have served this church have been the following: J. F. Mitchell, Joseph Baker, Louis Heath, B. D. Gray, T. B. Van Horn, Asa Brown, Z. M. Vaughn, G. Bryant, A. D. Slaughter, E. Newton, J. C. Renfro, C. P. Tupper, J. T. Boyd, R. Hall, Mac. Slaughter, G. P. Hanks and J. B. Stark.

Mount Vernon Baptist Church was organized in 1848, by R. C. Hill and Joseph Baker. Among the pioneer members of this church were Isaac B. and Samuel H. Vernon, Brinson Sears, Sarah A. Meyers, Nancy Vernon, Emeline Phillips, Christiana Henson, Ann Pinkman and Elias Moncy. The last named was the clerk. The first house of worship was destroyed during the war, and a school-house was the meeting place from 1866 until 1877, when a frame building, 20×40 feet, was erected upon land donated by Dr. O. D. Slaughter. Among the preachers who have administered to this congregation may be mentioned Rev. Joseph Baker, O. D. Slaughter, R. Allen, T. Boyd, A. Huckaby, W. F. Green, C. P. Tupper, M. Slaughter and H. C. Calvert. The present membership of this church is seventy-five.

Valley Grove Baptist Church was organized in 1855, with the following constituent members: T. B. Van Horn, James Shults, Sarah Shults, Jackson Dyer, James F. and Sarah Hood, and Benjamin F. and Susan Boone. T. B. Van Horn was chosen moderator, and B. F. Boone, clerk. The congregation worship in a union meeting-house, which was erected in 1870, on the northeast quarter of Section 1, Township 15, Range 29 west. A former building was destroyed during the Civil War. Among the pastors of this church have been T. B. Van Horn, William Blakely, James Campbell, W. G. Slinker, J. Mayes, J. M. Haycraft, A. Huckaby and J. Crawford.

About June, 1866, a Baptist Church, formerly known as New Prospect, but now called Sulphur City, was organized by Elders John Mayes and James Isacks. The former became the first pastor. His successors have been J. C. Renfro, W. G. Slinker. J. Crawford, A. Huckaby, J. A. Smith and J. H. Calvert. The first house of worship was a log building, erected by the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians. The meetings are now held in a house erected by the school district.

Weddington Gap Baptist Church was organized on March 20, 1871, by Elders E. Baker and Elijah Burkett. The deacons elected were John England and George Dickison, the first of whom is still occupying that position. Among the other members were H. M. Davis, John T. Davis, Melvina F. Davis, Edward England and J. A. Cooper, who was the first and is the present clerk. Among the pastors have been C. Williams, H. J. Scruggs, J. B. Harralson, J. Robertson, T. H. Day, L. H. Palmer and H. C. Winstead. The congregation up to this time have worshiped in a school-house and Methodist Church, but is now completing a building.

Oak Grove Baptist Church is situated on Fall Creek. The congregation was organized on July 25, 1875, by Thomas Smith, with twelve members. G. M. Farmer and J. Swinford were chosen deacons, and J. Rogers, clerk. Since its organization the church has baptized thirteen members, licensed two ministers and ordained two deacons and one minister. The present officers are G. M. and C. O. Farmer, deacons; J. M. Carter, treasurer, and C. O. Farmer, clerk.

Mt. Gilead Baptist Church situated at Dripping Springs, eighteen miles south of Fayetteville, was organized on September 2, 1877, by Elder M. Smith, with nine members.

The Fayetteville Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1857, at a private house about two miles south of Fayetteville, by John, Sarah, Martha and W. Z. Mayes, J. W. Buie, Sister Watson, Amanda (afterward) Peer, and a few others. The pastor was the Rev. Elder John Mayes, and their services were held at the various homes of the members until they were interrupted by the war, in 1863. The membership was then scattered and the records all destroyed, but in 1866, under their indomitable leader, the Rev. Mayes, nine of the old members resumed worship at a church in Fayetteville, and during the first month admitted thirty members. Their meetings were held in the Masonic Hall and other places until about 1879 (?), when through the untiring zeal of Rev. Mayes, acting as pastor and carpenter, their present neat frame structure on College Avenue was completed, at a cost of, probably, $1,500. It was dedicated by Rev. J. P. Eagle, of Lonoke, Ark. Compelled by the weight of years to resign his pastoral duties, Rev. John Mayes was succeeded in his work by the following pastors: Revs. T. P. Boone, B. W. N. Simms, C. W. Callahan, M. L. Ball and Dr. B. G. Maynard, the present incumbent, who was formerly president of Tazewell and Mossy Creek Colleges, Tenn. The church has now a membership of about 118. It also has its various subordinate organizations, Sabbath-schools, etc.

The Springdale Missionary Baptist Church was organized about 1870, as Liberty Church, by Elders Bryant and Putman, and formed part of the Fayetteville Missionary Baptist Association. The moderator was Elder B. Putman, and W. A. Hunter was church clerk. The other members were John and Louisa Hychloter, Margaret and Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Margaret Baggett, Lucinda Baker. Fanny A. Putman, Isaac and Phoebe Lynch, William M. Blakely and James Meek. The society built their first church in the north part of Springdale in 1872; it is a frame structure, valued at about $1,500, and was dedicated by Elder Putman the following year. The Masonic order and the Primitive Baptist society have a financial interest in the building. Under the charge of the following pastors, the membership has reached seventy-five: Revs. B. Putman, H. R. Barnes, T. P. Boone. O. D. Slaughter, W. F. Green, I. C. Robison, C. P. Tupper, Elder Huckleberry, John Mayes, B. W. Neal and A. M. Kennan, clerk.

The Valley Grove Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1855 by Rev. T. B. Van Horn, with the following members: James Shultz, Sarah Shultz, J. Dyer, James F. and Sarah Hood, Benj. F. Boone and Susan Boone. Rev. Van Horn was chosen moderator, and B. F. Boone became clerk. The first building erected by the society was some time previous to the war, but during that conflict it was burned, and no house of worship was had until the erection of the present one in 1870. It is a frame structure, situated in Section 1, Township 15, Range 29. It is a union building, also occupied by the Cumberland Presbyterians and a Methodist society. Rev. Van Horn’s successors have been Revs. William Blakely, James Campbell, W. G. Slinker (?), J. Mayes, J. M. Haycraft, A. Huckaby and J. Crawford. The society has thirty-seven members.

Vineyard Missionary Baptist Church is another member of the Fayetteville Association, organized December 14, 1867, but there seems to have been an organization before the Civil War, which erected a good frame church in 1859. At the reorganization in 1867 there were but seven members: Elders G. Bryant and Asa Brown, Thomas Kimbrough, Sarah Kimbrough, J. S. Butler and M. E. Greer. Some of their pastors have been as follows: Rev. T. B. Van Horn, Elders G. Bryant, F. R. Ferguson, J. W. McCurly, A. J. Estes, T. P. Boom, G. A. Latinn (?), C. P. Tupper and T. H. Day. The society has eighty-four members.

The Valley View Missionary Baptist Church has a membership of twenty-nine persons. Its records have been destroyed. It was organized June 24, 1877, by Elders J. C. Peters and J. C. Swainford, with the following officers: deacons. A. E. and W. R. Bridges, and clerk, W. D. Bridges. Their church building, a neat frame, is located on Lee’s Creek, about two miles north of the Crawford County line. The following ministers have filled their pulpit: Revs. J. C. Peters, Aaron Peters and W. C. Eads.

Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, of the Fayetteville Association, became a separate society on May 11, 1879, by the agreement of the following members: Elder Joab and Sarah Caviness, Elder Mathias and M. A. Spyres, Joseph and Polly York, Peleg Rigsbee and daughter, Winifred, and Mahlon and Rhoda A. E. Spyres. The society previous to 1881 held their worship under a brush arbor in summer, and in private houses in winter. During the latter year, however, they erected a hewn log house, 20×24 feet, located on Lee’s Creek, four and one-half miles southwest of Woosley. They have plans afoot at present for the erection of a frame church, 26×35 feet. Under the administration of the following pastors the membership has reached sixty persons: Rev. Elder Joab Caviness, Elder M. Spyres, Elder Keggel, Elder J. D. Woolsey and Elder M. H. Spyres. Their present officers are Deacons, A. T. Hopkins and Mahlon Spyres, and clerk, Henry Spyres.

Little Elm Missionary Baptist Church is a large society of seventy members, who have a small frame church about nine miles west of Fayetteville. The church building is valued at about $200, and was built in 1883, as a union church, before which date meetings were held in a school-house. The society was organized in 1881, by Rev. Elder T. H. Day and Deacon M. W. Marrs. D. K. Clevenger, C. T. Clayton, James Jackson, Anice Day, Mary J. Clayton, Sallie Beaver, Lucy Slaughter, Bella Gibson and Mary Shelley constituted the membership. Rev. Day served as pastor for six years, and the present minister in charge is Rev. H. B. Borders.

Rock Spring Missionary Baptist Church, meeting about two and one-half miles northwest of Rhea’s Mills, at a school-house, is a comparatively young organization, whose existence began in 1882, on the third day of September, by the agreement of twelve members. The first pastor was Rev. T. H. Day, and Deacon S. W. Gleason and Clerk J. P. Jordan were the first officers. Rev H. C. Winstead, pastor, and R. Diment, the church clerk, constitute the present officers. Thirty-three members form the present society.

Fairmount Missionary Baptist Church, another young society of twenty-nine members, was formed in March, 1886, by Elder M. Spyres and Deacon A. S. Hopkins. Besides these G. Spyres, John Jackson and Richard Daniels were the first members. The society was formed at a school-house two miles northwest of Winslow, and have so far been unable to provide a separate building for church purposes. Rev. M. H. Spyres is the pastor in charge, and B. F. Johnston the church clerk.

The Garret Creek Missionary Baptist Church is a flourishing society of twenty-eight members, under the pastoral charge of W. C. Eads. J. W. Tapp is the present clerk. When the society began its separate existence, in September, 1886, as a member of the Fayetteville Association, the following members and officers were enrolled: Deacons, A. F. Sooter and G. W. Walton; clerk, Thomas Baker; E. V. McBroom, J. T. Smith, Annie Rickets, Elizabeth Fleming, Louisa Smith, N. M. Walton and Nancy Sooter.

Evening Shade Missionary Baptist Church, whose pastor is Elder J. C. Williams, has a membership of twenty-five persons. Its elders are Joseph Malone, Robert Fallen and Mr. Parish.

Back to: Washington County, Arkansas History

Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.