Ball Play Community
Submitted By: Paul J. Long
, Ph.D

The meeting to establish the Williamsburg Baptist Church was held on the third Saturday of April, 1898, near the home of William Williams. According to the Rev. Glen A. Toomey, who wrote a book on the history of Monroe county churches, the first meetings were held outdoors. Those present at the organization meeting were: Joe Helton, O.R. Roberts, H. R. Teague, W. Only Williams, and Tom Giles. Joe Helton was made Moderator for the day and Tom Giles was made clerk for the day. Tom Giles read the articles of faith and letters were called for and received. W. Only Williams was elected Moderator (Pastor) for the year. W. Only Williams was the son of William Williams and his first wife, Amanda Johnson Williams.

The location of the Williamsburg Baptist Church was near the farm of William and Deliah Kirkland Williams. The church cemetery was located nearby and is still in use today (1997). The land for the church may have been provided by the Williams family. The record book from which this information was obtained did not mention when the church building was built.

Some of the early members of the church were: John Tyler, Samantha Tyler, Callie Tyler Cotrell, J. I. Tyler, William M. Williams, Deliah Williams, Harvey Williams, Brazil Williams, Pearley Williams, Sarah Williams, Millard Young, Annie Young, Riley Tyler, Mervy Tyler, Elzy(?) Tyler Mills, Sarah Williams Pearson, Ruff McGaha, Merrie Tyler, Humes Tyler, George Wishon, Mary Wishon, Madison Presley, Charlotte Presley, Nancy Tyler Burchfield, Martha Tyler, Harriet Tyler Arp, Sherman Tyler, Dick Cottrel, Callie Williams, Mary Williams, James Tyler, John Carmney, Thene Carmney, Tip Tyler, Mary Henry Tyler, Martha Tyler, Bill Tyler, Clercy West Yates, (?) Rodgers, John Butler, Cecil Tyler, Newt McKelvey, Fanny McKelvey, Hester Tyler, Mandy Tyler, Annie Tyler, Jobe Pressley, Mabel Pressley, Frank Williams, Dollie Williams, Easter Williams, Mary Rodgers, Grover Williams, Henry Debety, Polly Ann Arp, Sallie Arp, Cindy Williams, and Billie Debety.

129_bar.gif (3449 bytes)

The following preachers have been pastors of the Williamsburg Baptist Church:
W. Only Williams, 1898-1899
Rufus McGaha, 1899-1900
John Veal, 1999-1903
_______ Ward, 1903-1905
L. A. Jenkins, 1905-1909
John Franklin, 1909-1910
L. A. Jenkins, 1910-1916
Millard Young*
R. Patterson, May to Nov. 1916
Brazil Williams*
Amos Anthony, 1916-1920
James Millsaps, 1920-1921
Only R. Dotson, 1921-1924
James Kirkland*
Zeb Millsaps, Nov 1924- Church burned in 1926

*Note: Rev. Glen Alfred Toomey, in his history of Monroe county churches, shows Millard Young as pastor after L. A. Jenkins, Brazil Williams before Amos Anthony, and James Kirkland after Only R. Dotson.

The record book does not give any evidence that the church met any more for 16 years after the fire, until it was started again in 1942.

On January 31, 1942 a meeting was held at the home of Barney (Bonnie) Williams. Scripture was read by W. O. Beaty, G. G. Watson lead a prayer, and W. O. Beaty preached a sermon. The church was called to conference by G.G. Watson who was elected Moderator protem. Barney Williams was elected church clerk protem. The following building committee was nominated and elected: George Bryant, Nellie Bryant, and Pearley Williams. The building committee was to secure the funds and materials to construct a building 26 feet wide and 36 feet long with a 10 foot ceiling height. The land upon which the church was to be built was given to the church by Barney and Dena Mae Bivens Williams. The deed was made out to the trustees of the church, George Bryant, Nellie Bryant and Harvey Williams, and was dated June 30, 1942.

Meetings were held at Barney Williams home on February 1, 1942 and March 28, 1942. At the third meeting, Barney Williams was added to the building committee to help raise funds and build the church.

The church met at the old (Milligan) Methodist Church on May 24, 1942. And James (Jimmy) Dotson was elected Moderator (pastor) for the next twelve months. The church continued to meet at the Old Milligan Church on June 27, 1942, and November 4, 1942 and by June 25, 1943 the church had been completed and the meeting was held in the new facility. The church was heated in winter by a wood stove and the lights for nighttime service was provided by Aladdin type coal oil (kerosene) lamps that hung from the rafters. Coal oil was twenty cents per gallon in 1948.

The church made application for electricity from Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative on July 31, 1948, and on August 15, 1949 cooperative agreed to run a two wire service because the church only had a night service once a month. During 1949 lumber and materials were purchased to seal the church (ceiling and walls). Then electricity was turned on at the church on December 12, 1949, and the Aladdin kerosene lights were taken down.

The following persons served as church clerk during the period of 1898 and 1951: Tom Giles, J.I. Tyler, Millard Young, Brazil Williams, Sarah Williams, Barney Williams, Mrs. George Orr, Willa Mae Williams and Golda Faye Williams.

129_bar.gif (3449 bytes)

The following ministers have served as pastor of the re-established church:
James Dotson, 1942-1943
Enos Hunt, 1943-1948
Zeb Millsaps, 1948-1951
Clifford Debety Sept 1951-Aug 1955 (His first church)
Ernest Haynes Sept 1955-July 1957
R. R. Stokes July 1958-Mar 1961
William Riley Williams Apr 1961-Mar 1965
Ray Stewart Aug 1965-May 1966
Archie Russell July 1966-June 1976
John McKee, Jr. July 1976-Jan 1977
Archie Russell July 1977-Jan 1979
Roy J. Bivens Jan 1979-July 1981
Harvey Arp July 1981-Apr 1983
Charles Cooper Apr 1983-June 1991
Dennis Atkins July 1991-July 1996
Grady Butler July 1996-present(Feb 1997)

Some of the deacons in recent years are: George Bryant, George Orr, Gardner Williams, Leonard Walker, Ike Taylor, J. D. Compton, Reece Thomas, Ralph Hollingshead, Lindsey Hollingshead, Henry Debety, Dillard Williams, Frank Bivens, Terry Williams, W. C. Giles, Jr., Jim Watson, and Albert Amburn.

Some of the church clerks during recent years are: Mae Thomas, Raye Amburn, Janice Bivens, and Pat Amburn.

The church bought their first piano on December 1, 1951 and paid a minimum of $8.00 per month. It was paid off on Mar 11, 1952 at a cost of $90.00. The piano was tuned in April 1952.

In April 1952 the first locks were place on the church doors, and in July 1952 Grace Hawkins was elected to be the pianist, with Golda Faye Williams as her assistant. Other pianists have been Wanda Self, Lola Hollingshead, Lula Belle Giles, Lula Belle Taylor, Helen Cooper and Becky Williams.

In July 1951 a building committee was established to see about adding Sunday School rooms. The committee consisted of Reece Thomas, Porter Hawkins, Barney Williams, Ralph Hollingshead, George Bryant, Frank Bivens, Dillard Williams, and in August there was discussion about getting some new church seats (pews).

In January 1953 there was discussion on where to build sunday school rooms, in basement or on side of church. In February 1953 a decision was made to build sunday school rooms on the side of the church, and in March, Russell Pedigo was added to the building committee and made chairman of committee in April 1953. In November 1953 the building committee was assigned to build 3 more S.S. rooms on the back of the church. The building materials were obtained from Pedigao Lumber co., and paid off over a period of time. The debt was retired in May 1954.

In March 1954 the first insurance was purchased on the church, and Dillard Williams was elected the men's S.S. teacher, Dillard Self was S.S. Superintendent, Russell Pedigo was his assistant, Raye Amburn was elected as intermediate teacher, with Della Bryant as her assistant.

On August 22, 1954 the church voted to look into heating system for S.S. rooms, and in September 1954 an electrician was hired to put electric heaters in the S.S. rooms and have a larger switch box installed.

In January 1955 the church voted to buy 10 chairs for the choir and in February voted to buy 9 more chairs.

On August 20, 1961 Wanda Williams was elected to be the primary S.S. teacher, and on February 1971 Barney Williams was appointed to get the church roof repaired, and on July 18, 1971 Barney Williams was elected the church treasurer, and to moderate the service while Archie Russell was re-elected as pastor.

On January 19,1975 the church approved a motion by Troy Williams to build a church flue and obtain an oil heater for the church. In February the church voted to build a porch. and in August 1976 the church voted to obtain storm windows for the church.

On November 19,1978 the church voted to buy carpet for the S.S. rooms, and on January 21, 1979 Pastor Archie Russell has died, and Roy Junior Bivens was called to be the new pastor, and in December 1979 the church insurance was raised from $3,000 to $10,000.

On February 8, 1981 an emergency deacons' meeting was held to have the church porch rebuilt after being destroyed by a wind storm, and in April 1981 the church voted to have vinyl siding installed and to put gutters on the church, and to have 3 tables made for the S.S. rooms.

About 1985 the front porch was inclosed and bath rooms were installed, and

on October 14, 1987 the church voted to install propane gas heat.

In January 1990 the church voted to put vinyl siding on the remainder of the church. The church currently has electric air conditioning and propane gas heat.

About mid-year 1992 a new piano was given to the church by a Mrs. Sloan, and in June 1992 the church sold the following items in a closed bid: piano, air conditioner, gas heater, and 4 fans.

In June 1993 the church voted to have city water installed, and sold the well pump, tank, piping and well house. In August and September 1995 the church decided to proceed with the selection of colors for carpeting and pew padding. The cost was about $3,000. In March 1996 the church installed a handicap ramp by removing the front window next to the piano and changed a railing to meet fire codes, and changed the front doors to open outward.

The Williamsburg Baptist Church continues to grow and prosper and will celebrate its 100 year anniversary in 1998.


129_bar.gif (3449 bytes)

deign by

Monroe County Church Records

Return to Monroe County Records

Return to Monroe Home Page