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Mt. Pleasant Church (Baptist) Celebration the 100th Year Anniversary  


Address given by Mrs. Margaret Kelso on Sunday April 3, 1938

Green County, Missouri

   

          I am very happy to think that my life has been spared, and glad and proud that I can stand today as a representative and a descendant of the founders of this old church that has lived to bless this community more than one hundred years. I am now eighty-three years old, almost, and among the very first things I can remember is coming to this old church in an ox wagon, right up the creek on a rocky winding road from the old log cabin home. My father, mother, baby brother and I. I could not have been more than three or four years old. My father stood up with a long switch in his hand and tapped the oxen along now and then to keep them moving at all. To keep them in the road he would say, “Gee, Lamb,” and Lamb would gee to the right , or, “Haw, Laddie, “ and Laddie would haw to the left. We did not need any speed laws then, We had to go slow.

 

          The old church was built up high off the ground. A door there for the women to enter and a door for the men. The steps were heavy lime-stone slabs. There were two wide fireplaces. One there for the women and one here for the men. In the winter the seats were turned facing the fire and the pulpit was placed between. The pulpit was boxed in and there was a narrow door in the side for the preacher to enter, and when he stood up we could just see his head and shoulders, and when he sat down we could not see him at all. During the Civil War I have seen men come to church and sit with their guns between their knees during the service.

 

          There were several log cabin camps about where the cemetery is now, and the people were just as faithful to church as they were to plant their crops in the spring. And what wonderful revivals they did have! I have seen people enter the church shouting, leave shouting and go shouting all the way home. People attended for miles around from every direction in every kind of conveyance except buggies and automobiles. We hardly knew what a buggy was like then and an automobile was an unheard of thing.

 

          Almost all the first settlers were from Tennessee, many of them from the same county and the same neighborhood, and they settled and lived near each other here. Many of those old founders that attended church here regularly when I was a child I remember well. There was the Barham family. He was one hundred and twelve years old when he died and he is buried in this cemetery. He used to come and visit in my father’s home. We were delighted when we saw him come and we ran to open wide the gate and he would ride right up to the door on his pony and mother would place a chair by the pony and help him on to the chair, then into the house. I thought it was wonderful when I could bring him a cup of cold water. He used to take me on his knee and sing lullaby’s, some of them I remember yet. When the visit was over he would go on his rounds and visit others. He loved everybody and everybody loved him.

 

          Then there was the Murray family, the Carr family, the Tatum family, the Folden family, the Wilson family, the Robertson family, the Gilmore family, the Peck family, the Boston family, the Killingsworth family, the Johnson family, the Grant family, the Williams family, the Thomas family, the Grantham family, the Justice family, the Rookard family, the Myers family. All attended church regularly when I was a child. Many of them, if not all of them, had their membership here and a number of those families are represented here today. There are two preachers that stand in my memory that preached here when I was a child. Father McCord Roberts and Daniel Murphy. McCord Roberts lived a Ebenezer in Polk County. McCord Roberts was an outstanding Christian, finely educated. He could translate the scriptures from the Greek. He held his audience spell-bound, both young and old. I sat as a child and listened to him preach and never grew tired. He used perfect language, but the most simple terms any child could understand. He was fine appearing, tall and straight, his hair was white and he wore a short pointed beard. Father Murphy was rather frail looking and stooped. His hair was white. I never saw him dressed in anything but brown home-spun suits. He was poor in material thing, but rich spiritually. He often stayed several days in the neighborhood visiting the families, and if the family for any reason could not attend church he would call the neighbors together and have the service in their home. I remember attending one such service with my father and mother. The people were old and had an afflicted daughter. How I treasure my memory of those dear old preachers. How faithful they were, going all over this county on horse back, exposed to every kind of weather, to spread the gospel and establish churches, and when I think of them now and realize how needy some of them were and how poorly paid they were, I want to cry.

 

          And those dear old pioneer fathers and mothers. How wonderful they were. What a splendid heritage they left us. How they toiled. How brave they were during every kind of hardship. The night was never too dark or too cold for them to go to a neighbor in distress. I have heard my mother say that when she and father went to house-keeping they moved into an unfinished log cabin with a dirt floor. A fire was made in the wash kettle until father could make a fire place and chimney. She made her bed down on the floor until he got time to make a frame for her bed. And when she got her beds made on those pole frames and spread on clean covers she stood off and admired her room and thought it was so pretty and she was so proud.

 

          I have heard my father say that my great-grand-father Gilmore made five trips from Tennessee to this country all alone on horse back, through the wilderness to site the land. On the fifth trip he staked out his claim and went back and brought his family. Several families came with him in oxen wagon and they were six weeks on the way. My father was six years old at the time. Grandfather built a house not far from the spring. My Grandfather Gilmore and my Uncle John Gilmore are mentioned in the old record as being present when this church was organized, the third Sunday in January.

 

          The church was organized in my Uncle John Gilmore’s home about a mile and a half north, and a little east of here. After Uncle John died in the time of the war, his widow was left alone and the bush whackers come one night to rob her home. She kept Uncle John’s thing in a room and they were taking his clothes and gun and she begged them to leave her dead husband’s things. They knocked her down, kicked her and beat her over the head, and she did not live long. The same night the same crowd robbed our home. They would curse and abuse mother, shove her around the room, tore up the place and robbed us of everything they found that they wanted. Aunt Lucy came to see us and she would sit in a corner and cry and tell us how they abused her and her face was a black as flesh could be. She died not long after in the house where this church was organized. I could go on and on. Many thing I could tell you, but I musn’t take up any more of your time. But friends, I would like to say this before I close. I love this old church. It is holy. The ground around it is holy, sacred ground. Here our fathers and mothers feet have trod. Here they met to worship God. Here their bodies lie to wait the resurrection morn. Here many of us first found the peace that passes understanding. We cannot let this old church die. We ought to rededicate this old church. We want it to live and grow. We want it to be a home and a haven of rest to you and your children and your childrens’ children as  it has been to us. And when they celebrate another hundred years of this church may they of that day rise up and call you blessed.


References

Courtesy of :

Partee Center for Baptist Historical Studies

William Jewell College

Liberty, Missouri 64068