|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Cemetery survey complete as of 2-22-14.
History of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church
Written by the Late Rev. T.A.J. Beasley
(Date unknown - Herman Dugard, was the present pastor at the time of article)
The exact date of the organization of this church cannot be fixed definitely. However, it is certain that the church is a little more than one hundred years old. The church was organized about one mile west of the present site near the Reese Roberts old home and worshipped in a hog house. The information that came to me years ago is that at first the membership numbered about fifteen members. How well these few pioneer servants of Christ wrought in laying the foundation for the great good that this church has done in this community eternity alone can reveal.
The church later moved to a site just across the road north of Mt. Gilead cemetery and near the old spring that still flows from under the hill. Here by the old spring the church erected a log house in which they worshipped for sometime.
Finally, a framed unceiled building was erected where this building now stands and was used for years as a place of worship. In this old building many were led from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light under the faithful preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ by men who sought not their own glory but to glorify Christ. Those who attended service here in those eventful days, those meetings that began at evening - at early candlelight - can never forget the earnestness that inspired the souls of those who met and sang and prayed, and who shouted when they witnessed the conversion of their own children and those of their neighbors. Somehow, we would like again to lay aside the soulless meetings of today, and get one more thrill that stirred the souls of even the unsaved when the pioneer witnesses sang and prayed till heaven came down their souls to greet.
Then came the erection of this present building, which structure was made possible by the untiring efforts of such men as Uncle John Reid, F.M. Wynn, S. A. Windham and others. Their names were written in heaven, and though most of them have gone Home, their lives still live on to bless their posterity. I will mention one word, however, to Uncle Johnnie Davis . One day when I was helping work on this building he was planting out some of those locust trees that still stand. I said, "Uncle Johnnie, are you putting those out of us boys to sit under?" He said, "Yes, but when you do, I'll be sitting in the shade of the tree of life on the other side of the river of death." Those words and trees are sacred to me.
In its earlier days, I was informed of the following who pastored or supplied for the church: James Andrews, Jimmie Stovall, Daniel Potter and A.B. (Uncle Berry) Smith. Thus comes a long list of pastors, including Isaac Smith, I.P. Randolph, J.A. Landers, C.W. Smith, H.G. West, J.J. Pannell, A.J. Jones, J.S. Grubbs, D.S. Tidwell, Percy Ray, J.P. Kirkland, and Herman Dugard, the present pastor. Some of these men served twice as pastor, notably H.G. West and I.P. Randolph cover a period of more than sixty years. By far the longest pastorate was that of Eld. Isaac Smith, covering a period of more than twenty years, and what a faithful pastorate it was? These pastors all wrought well, and of the sixteen who have served as pastor, six have gone home to be with the Blessed Shepherd, and ten are still with us.