Thaxton Baptist church history


The Thaxton Baptist Church was organized in 1856 and was known originally as the Wolf Hill Church.  It served at first as a "union" church of Baptists and Methodists. 

The church's first structure was a small wooden building located east of Route 681, four -tenths of a mile south of Route 460.

In 1900 a new church was erected on a lot donated by Thomas G. Newman.  This second Wolf Hill Church building was located where Route 681 and Route 460 connect, not far from the present Wolf Hill Cemetery. It was a white frame building with three rows of seats and two doors, one on the left for men, and one on the right for women. There was a "stile block" to aid women in getting off their horses which they rode side saddle.
In August 1902 the church voted to change it's name to  Thaxton Baptist Church. 

On March 2, 1913 members of the member's of Thaxton Baptist voted to build a new church building at the church's present site in Thaxton on a lot given by Dr. William O. McCabe. A vestibule was added in 1922. In 1932 the church approved a basement to be built under the church building.

In June of 1948 an organ dedication service was held. This Hammond organ was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Allen in memory of their son, John.  On Sunday morning, October 10, 1948, a fire broke out in the church building a few hours before services were about to start and caused $12,000 to $14,000 worth of damage.

Sunday School could not be held that day, but later in the morning, after the fire was under control, a special service was held in the churchyard.  On the following Sunday, services were held at Thaxton Elementary School. By the next Sunday arrangements had been made for the church to begin meeting in a canning factory in Thaxton

the present church building

Within a few days of the fire it was decided not to attempt to repair the old building, but to build a new one.The contract for the new church building, the fourth in our church's history, was let for $48,674.48.  Work was begun on December 3, 1948, and the building was completed on May 26, 1949.  It was dedicated on August 21, 1949.  In five years and three months after the fire, the new building was all paid for.  A note-burning service was held in January 1954.

In the summer of 1954 the church began a church library and voted to name it the Wayne Toms Memorial Library in honor of one of our young people whose death occurred just before he was to be the speaker for Youth Day.

On April 30, 1972 our church approved the plan for building our present educational building.  On February 10, 1974, the church voted to begin construction on the educational building which cost $177,450.  On November 17, 1974 the new educational building was dedicated.  On November 10, 1985, our church dedicated new pulpit furniture and church pews and a new Allen organ.  The Allen organ cost $20,145 less a $2,000 trade-in.  The pulpit furniture and communion table were given by the Carl T. Grant family in memory of him.

In 1986 the church decided to tear down the old house and shed (property formerly owned by W.H. Hatcher) between our church and Epworth United Methodist Church.

The church approved a recommendation of the Long-Range Planning Committee on April 15, 1987 that nine stained glass windows be installed in the old sanctuary at a cost of $9,492.  On August 9, 1987, these windows were dedicated "to the glory of God the Father, who has called us by his grace, to the Glory of God the Son, who loved us and gave himself for us, and to the glory of God the Holy Spirit, who illumines and strengthens us."

On February 11, 1990 a note burning service was held to celebrate the payment in full of the indebtedness  on the Educational Building. Rev. Johnson Gupton, during whose pastorate  the building was constructed, was a guest speaker for the service.

In April 1990 the church approved that central air conditioning be installed in the Educational Building and Fellowship Hall at a cost of $29,010.  In August 1990 the church approved the construction of a children's playground on our property that would be built by volunteers from our church. 

the history of membership

Early records listed male and female members separately on church rolls.  In August 1893 only male members were listed in attendance at church business meetings.

The first mention of women voting in a business meeting of our church was July 27, 1895.

Church membership was taken very seriously in the early years of the church.  Matters of church discipline were very often a part of church business meetings.  Members were called before the church, or members appointed to visit them, to give an account of conduct such as drinking or selling "ardent spirits", dancing, dishonoring parents, absenteeism from church services or failure to contribute support to the church.

Quite often the minutes of the next business meeting would record that those contacted were penitent and they were restored.  Some were excluded because they did not repent and their names were erased from the church roll.

The following is recorded in business meeting records of 1892: "Brother Wood reported from Sister Jones that she has a piece of a barrel on hand and when that was out she would have no more to do with spirits. Then Brother J.M. Moore was appointed to see Sister Jones and tell her that if she cannot stop selling spirits, she will be excluded." (July 23);  "Sister Jones gives no satisfaction, so after much delay on the part of the church, Sister Jones was excluded."  (August 27).

In 1989 the church voted to receive into it's membership any person who had been baptized as a believer by any mode upon satisfactory statement of his or her faith in Christ. 

History of evangelism and missions

Our church has consistently and continuously been interested in missions.  Records indicate that as early as 1870 our church made donations to missions.  Albeit small, even then, our church was interested in reaching out to others.  In 1895 four women were appointed as a committee "to make up box provisions, clothing, etc. to send to the orphanage at Salem."

Revival meetings were effective means of evangelism in the history of our church.  In August 1902 "a great meeting was held" and there were "34 members received and 27 baptized."  During a ten day revival meeting in September 1909, 82 were received for baptism , one by letter.  In June 1938 revival meeting there were 51 additions: "by baptism 44; 2 restored; 5 by letter."

In the early 1900's baptisms were held in Dr. W.O. McCabe's ice pond.  His wife pinned little rocks in the hems of the ladies' dresses to keep them from floating.

When Reverand C.M. Roberson was pastor of our church, he preferred to have baptismal services in Goose Creek where it bends near Mount Zion Baptist Church.

In 1932 the church began a bus ministry in order to transport people from the community around the Wheatland School and Rocky Ford community to our church for Sunday School.

Our church has a long history of faithful financial support for missions endeavors.  In a July 1918 Women's Missionary Union meeting "two ladies pledged themselves for one dollar a month for missions, two ladies pledged all their Sunday eggs, and the others promised the best they could do

Missions involvement in our church has not only been by ladies.  Records from 1905 indicate there were missions organizations at our church which were "not composed entirely of women." 

history of communion, the cemetery and thaxton community center 

On December 24, 1892, "the church decided one gallon of wine be bought by the church" for communion. A silver communion pitcher and two goblets (one for men, the other for women) were given to the church by Rosa Newman McCabe.  Mrs. J.H. Rusher for many years canned the grape juice and baked the unleavened bread used for communion.  Mrs. Rusher passed the recipe for the bread on to Mrs. Mary C. Allen.  Mrs. Allen also canned the grape juice and donated the last two communion sets to the church.

Records from 1954 report: "the Youth center is looking into the land situation and we are to cooperate in any way possible."  In 1955 the church decided to "take the money from the Building Fund to pay for the land bought for the Community Center, and as people pay their pledged , this is to be put back."  In 1967 our church approved the building program at the Community Center.  Our church along with Epworth United Methodist Church currently owns and operates the Thaxton Community Center

In August 1905 the church instructed the Cemetery Committee to "look for location, find out how much land they could get and the price, then report back to the church."  In September 1905 the Cemetery Committee reported that "we could get the land from Brother Newman for $30 per acre."

On September 15, 1922, the church approved our church's cemetery, the Wolf Hill Cemetery locates near the intersection of Routes 460 and 681, be surveyed and divided into sections.

In 1991 the church approved an investment trust for the perpetual care of the cemetery be established and be administered by the Virginia Baptist Foundation.