Pitt County NC pitt county map

Bethany Free Will Baptist Church

Centennial Bulletin

Our generous donor: Bill Thaxton

  This document was printed in 1980 to mark "her one hundredth year of love, service, fellowship, and dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ."

  The original is a spiral bound phamphlet consisting of front and back covers of lightweight, slick finish cardboard with a color picture of the church exterior (front) and interior (back). The document itself consists of 12 double sided pages of heavy grade, slick finish paper.

  Bethany Church is located on NC Hwy 903 about 2 miles north of Rountree near the intersection of Norris Store Road (SR 1116). Winterville is located about 3 miles southeast.

  The original bulletin is the property of Mrs. Minnie Bell Craft Thaxton, direct descendent of Eli (Elias H.) Craft and Wright (William Richard Wright) Nobles, both of which are listed as charter members. Transcription was done by William L. Thaxton, Major, USAF (Ret.), the son of Minnie Craft Thaxton.

  ** You will find several "transcriber's notes" in the document. These were entered for clarity when this document was shared with my NOBLES research group. The notations have been researched and are accurate. --Bill

  The following is a series of excerpts from the Bethany Free Will Baptist Church annual report (centennial edition) published in 1980. The history, cemetery roster and other sections chosen could be of interest to those researching families in the Rountree Community near Winterville, Pitt County, NC.

  ** Bethany Free Will Baptist Church - 1879-1980

  On November 6-8, 1879, The General Conference of the Original Free Will Baptists of North Carolina met at Pleasant Grove Church in Wayne County. The minutes record that "on motion of Elder D. Davis, the church at Bethany, in Pitt County, N. C. be received and entered on the minutes." Bethany was listed as having 26 members and a contribution to the conference of $1.00. Thus, Bethany Free Will Baptist Church officially united with the Free Will Baptist denomination in its service to the Lord.

  The first congregation worshiped in a log structure with a dirt floor which was located on the opposite side of the road from the present church. Shortly thereafter, in August of 1880, one acre of land was donated by William Smith and Ivey and Susan Allen to serve as a permanent site for Bethany Church, which is the same site the church is located on today.

  Elder J. T. Craft was probably instrumental in organizing Bethany Church and was the first pastor at Bethany. He was received into the ministry at the same conference meeting that Bethany was received into the conference.

  The first church building on the permanent site was constructed in 1881 and was built on the same spot where the current church is today. It was a one-room wooden frame building with a roof of wooden shingles. There were two doors, one on the right and one on the left of the front wall of the building facing the road, and a stove sat in the center. Three windows were spaced evenly on each side of the building. The pulpit was located at the front center of the interior with a regular window on each side and a higher, though smaller, window directly above the speaker’s stand. These windows were the only source of light available for daytime services. The choir sang from the right of the pulpit, and the piano was on the left, the same setting we use today. A well and watering trough for houses could be found near the road on the right side of the church. A giant oak tree shaded the front yard and remained there until the late 1920’s.

  Bethany progressed quite rapidly in its early days and after only eight years, in 1888, the official enrollment was exactly 100 members. Services were held each third Sunday and the church was served by many learned and dedicated pastors.

  Sunday School was probably organized at the very beginning of Bethany Church. In earlier times, Sunday School met on Sunday afternoons with classes meeting in the corners of the original building. David Norris served as the first superintendent and continued to serve for many years. Few of us can now remember the faith and devotion of former members such as Mrs. Annie Brown, who was six years old when the first church was built and who taught Sunday School in the old church for 25 years. And Mrs. Lula McLawhorn, who was also a longtime teacher. Mrs. Eva Edwards taught the adult class for many years and the class bears her name today. Former congregations have memorialized with marble plaques the devotion shown the church and Sunday School by Mrs. Clarissa Rebecca Langston, who was a longtime senior class teacher and who passed away in 1916; by charter member E. E. Dail, who passed away in 1917; and by B. Thomas Nobles, who passed away in 1962. Today, these marble plaques can be found on the walls of the historic room at Bethany Church.

  In March, 1919, the Bethany Aid Society was organized by Mrs. Rosa Sutton with 13 charter members. The name was used interchangeably with the Ladies’ Aid Society, the Ladies’ Auxiliary, and is referred to today as the Woman’s Auxiliary. The Society met monthly in various members’ homes until completion of the educational building in 1953. The members worked diligently in supporting the orphanage at Middlesex, as it was known at that time, and in supporting the church in any way possible. Its role is still much the same today, and the ladies additionally maintain the church interior and educational building and support all denominational enterprises.

  Also in 1919, the membership began plans for a new church building. With the leadership of Pastor R. F. Pittman and the labors of the membership, bricking of the church began in January, 1922. On the third Sunday in April, 1925, the Reverend R. F. Pittman dedicated to our lord the new church at Bethany. The total cost to the membership was great personal sacrifice, a lot of love, and $7338.26.

  In April of 1946, two Sunday School rooms were made by building pull-down doors, creating a room on each side of the vestibule. In January of 1949, two additional Sunday School rooms were completed by adding a room on each side of the main church building, which opened into the front interior of the church.

  The third Sunday of October, 1953, was another milestone at Bethany. That day, Reverend J. T. Forrest, who was the current pastor, dedicated the new educational building at the church. November of the same year marked the beginning of half-time services, and at that time, the Reverend N. Dan Beaman began his ministry at Bethany Church.

  In January, of 1955, while still under the ministry of Reverend Beaman, a motion was carried to build a parsonage. Exactly one year later, the Reverend Walter Reynolds and his family moved into the new home. Cost of the parsonage, other than gifts of labor and materials, was $7,303.98. In September of 1957, full-time services began at Bethany, and Reverend Reynolds continued to serve the congregation.

  In 1960, under the leadership of the Reverend J. Garland Teasly, Bethany began a renovation program. The exterior was repaired and painted white, ant the sanctuary was completely remodeled and is still unchanged. A Gothic theme was selected in keeping with the exterior design of the building. All furniture is oak with an American Walnut finish, and the floor is fully carpeted. The end of each pew is carved to match the cathedral style of the windows. A unique feature of the sanctuary is the divided chancel with center aisle, placing the altar, which is the historical and Biblical symbol of man meeting God, as the focal point of the church. Upon the altar are a cross and two candelabra. Behind the altar is a red dossal cloth, symbolizing the presence of the Holy Spirit. The new sanctuary was consecrated to the Lord on May 7, 1961. Pastor Teasly declared the house set apart from all profane and common uses and consecrated to the service of God forever. Dr. W. B. Raper was the guest speaker and dinner was served on the grounds. Total costs of remodeling were $7,467.56.

  Stained glass windows were installed in 1968 under the pastorate of the Reverend W. A. Hales; and an additional three rooms were added to the educational building in 1977, under the pastorate of the Reverend Bobby Taylor.

  The Layman’s League was reactivated in 1967. The League’s role in the church today is to maintain the church grounds and property and to support denominational enterprises.

  In March 1969, under the ministry of the Reverend A. B. Chandler, the Youth Fellowship Auxiliary, the Ambassadors for Christ, and the Cherubs youth groups were organized. That same year a deep well was drilled.

  Now in her 100th year, Bethany Church is served by the Reverend C. L. Patrick, who capably leads us by his words and deeds.

  ** Bethany’s charter members at organization in November, 1879:

  Ruling Elders: Caleb Tripp, Theodore Slaughter, and John Elks

  Deacons: Elbert Dail and Luke McGlohon


Mr. and Mrs. Henry Allen
Mr. and Mrs. Wright Nobles
Mr. and Mrs. Luke McGlohon
Mr. and Mrs. Eli Craft
Mr. and Mrs. Ben Norris
Mr. and Mrs. T. N. Manning
Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Slaughter
Mr. and Mrs. William Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Elbert Dail
Mr. and Mrs. Arden Tucker
Mr. and Mrs. Major (H. B. ) Smith
Mr. and Mrs. John Elks
Mr. and Mrs. Liner Manning

**Pastors Serving Bethany Church
**In Its First 100 Years Of Organization

The Reverend	J. Garland Teasley	Sept., 1960		Oct., 1962
Elder James T. Craft			1880			1899
Elder Redin Corbett			1899			1907
Elder Fred McGlohon			1907			1908
Elder M. A. Woodard			1908			1909
Elder T. N. Manning			1909			1910
Elder J. Phillip Woodard		1910			1911
Elder George C. Vause			1911			1912

The Reverend	J. C. Griffin		1912			1917
		R. F. Pittman		1917			Oct., 1922
		J. C. Moye		Nov., 1922		Oct., 1923
		R. F. Pittman		Nov., 1923		Oct., 1927
		J. C. Moye		Nov., 1927		Oct., 1932
		R. F. Pittman		Nov., 1932		July, 1938
		J. C. Moye		Aug., 1938		Oct., 1949
		J. T. Forrest		Nov., 1949		Oct., 1953
		N. Dan Beaman		Nov., 1953		Aug., 1956
		Walter Reynolds		Oct., 1956		Aug., 1959
		Bill Fulcher		Sept.,1959		Aug., 1960
		J. Garland Teasley	Sept.,1960		Oct., 1962
		E. C. Morris		Dec., 1962		Aug., 1964
		Wayne West		Sept.,1964		Aug., 1966
		Michael Pelt		Aug., 1966		July, 1967
		W. A. Hales		July, 1967		June, 1968
		A. B. Chandler		Feb., 1969		May, 1975
		Bobby Taylor		Aug., 1975		June, 1978
		C. L. Patrick		Nov., 1978		1980…

	Minutes of the first forty years of Bethany Church were misplaced many
 years ago.  The pastors for this period were listed in an article written by
 Mrs. George Dail in January, 1958.  Although the list may not be all-inclusive,
 the particular years of service of those ministers would cause them to reasonably
 fall into the time frame as listed above,  Since Elder James T. Craft was
 enrolled as a minister of the gospel of (sic) the same year as Bethany Church was
 received into the Free Will Baptist organization, it is not unreasonable to assume
 he was instrumental in its organization and served the congregation for the full
 19 years he was a minister.

** Clerks Serving Bethany Church
In Its First 100 Years of Organization

Unknown					1880			1898
H. B. Smith				1898			April,1919
J. F. J. McGlohon			April,1919		Jan., 1922
Lizzie McLawhorn Jolly			Jan., 1922		Sept.,1939
Mary Ida McLawhorn			Sept.,1939		Oct., 1942
Eva Edwards				Oct., 1942		Oct., 1952
Elsie B. Edwards			Oct., 1952		Oct., 1955
Phyllis Dail				Oct., 1955		July, 1956
Betty Speight				July, 1956		Oct., 1958
Arlene Cayton				Oct., 1958		Sept.,1960
Dot Dail				Sept.,1960		1980…..

** To the Glory of God --- A Special Gift

Gift:			By:			In Memory Of:

Hammond Organ		The Children		Mr. & Mrs. Charles McLawhorn
Baldwin Piano		Mrs. Clara Dail	
Altar Accessories		His Children	George N. Edwards
Altar			George N. Edwards	Mrs. Eva L. Edwards
Lectern and 
Pulpit Desks		The Children		Mr. & Mrs. Luther Dail
Holy Bible		L. C. Speight		Mrs. Addie D. Nobles Speight
American and
Christian Flags		Mr. & Mrs Neal Bass	Mr. & Mrs. Luther Dail
Register Stand		Mr. & Mrs. Joe Tripp	Mrs. Addie and Alice Speight
Chancel Carpet		The Children		Mr. & Mrs. Charles McLawhorn
Lights						Addie Speight and Mrs. Alice
						And Mr. Lewis Speight
Outside Bulletin Board	Mr. & Mrs. Don Langston		
Church Sign		The Children		Mr. & Mrs. George Dail
Red Dossal Cloth	Mr. & Mrs. Norman Savage	
Choir Robes		Mrs. Mildred Savage
Landscaping		Mr. & Mrs. Charles Wells Wainright
Heating System
Education Building	R. H. McLawhorn, Sr.
Church Heating and 
Air Conditioning	The Luther Dail Family	
Front Pew Rails		The Children		Mr. & Mrs. Norman Savage
Oak Pew					        Lula Nobles & Bill Bullock
Oak Pew		Jacques F. Edwards Family
Oak Pew		The Family		Rev. & Mrs. J. C. Moye
Oak Pew		The Children		Mr. & Mrs. C. B. Nobles
Oak Pew		Chester Worthington	Mr. & Mrs. L. F. Worthington
Oak Pew		The Children		Mr. & Mrs. Charles McLawhorn
Oak Pew		The Family		Mrs. Martha McLawhorn and Mrs. 
							Mary McLawhorn

** (Transcriber’s Note: These are Mary Craft McLawhorn <1886-1968> & Martha
 Craft McLawhorn <1886-1954>, twin daughters of Elias H. & Jane Carraway Craft)

Oak Pew 	Luther Dail		        Mr. & Mrs. E. E. Dail
Oak Pew		The Family			Robert A. Cannon
Oak Pew		Mr. & Mrs. Archie Nobles	Tom Nobles
Oak Pew		Mrs. J. C. Dudley		Mr. & Mrs. Lewis H. Norris
Oak Pew		The Children			Mr. & Mrs. Joe Craft

Oak Pew		Charlene, Julia & Elsie Edwards	Charles V. Edwards
Oak Pew		Their Children			Mr. & Mrs. J. L. Nobles
Oak Pew		The Family			Mr. & Mrs. Arden Manning
Oak Pew		Mr. & Mrs. Norman Savage	George L. (Tom) Edwards
			And George N. Edwards
Oak Pew		The Jack Dail Family		Viola Davenport
Oak Pew		Mr. & Mrs. Robert Bruce Cannon
Stained Glass Window	The Family		Luther Dail
Stained Glass Window	The Family		C. B. Nobles and Banner Nobles
Stained Glass Window	The Children		F. H. Wainright and Lucy Wainright
Stained Glass Window	The Family		C. N. Nobles

** (Transcriber’s Note:  This is Clarence Nathaniel "Nat" Nobles <1889-1968>,
 son of Joshua Lawrence and Florence Craft Nobles)

Stained Glass Window	Mrs. Callie Cannon & Children	R. A. Cannon
Stained Glass Window	Chester Worthington		Fate & Mary Worthington
Stained Glass Window	J. B. Speight			Addie Speight,Oscar Speight,
							Alice Speight & Lewis Speight
Stained Glass Window	The Children & Edna		Joe & Mary Craft

** (Transcriber’s Note:  This is Joe Craft <1877-1956>, son of Eli H. & Jane C. Craft
 and Mary Etta Nobles <1880-1940>, daughter of  Joshua Nobles and Louisa Sermons)

Stained Glass Window	Tiny Manning			Jim Manning
Stained Glass Window					Jane Carraway Craft & Eli Craft

** (Transcriber’s Note:  This is Elias Hoyt Craft <1835-1917> and Jane M. 
Carraway Craft <1846-1925>

Stained Glass Window					Lillie Roberta Tucker
Stained Glass Window	The Children			Bill & Lou McLawhorn
Stained Glass Window	The Children			Mr. & Mrs. George Dail
Stained Glass Window	Their Sons			Charles & Brownie McLawhorn
Stained Glass Window	The Children			Marion & Sallie Cayton
Stained Glass Window	The Children			Nobles & Mavis Craft
Stained Glass Window	Mrs. J. C. Dudley		Mr. & Mrs. Lewis H. Norris
Stained Glass Window	Lewis Speight			Mrs. Addie Speight


**Register of Bethany Cemetery

 Ivy Allen
B:  1824
D:  June 15, 1902
Age:  78

Martha E. Avery
Wife of Richard Avery
B:  June 1, 1833
D:  January 20, 1920
Age:  87

Richard Avery
B:  June 2, 1840
D:  June 12, 1886	
Age:  46

A. T. Baldree
B:  September 23, 1828
D:  June 3, 1901
Age:  73

Delitha Baldree
Wife of A. T. Baldree
B:  October 18, 1832
D:  January 24, 1895
Age:  63

Martha W. Baldree
B:  March 3, 1858
D:  December 21, 1910
Age:  52

Percy R. Baldree
B:  May 2, 1922
D:  April 23, 1934
Age:  12

Robert Lee Baldree
B:  September 14, 1865
D:  June 25, 1923
Age:  58

Timothy Baldree
B:  June 5, 1860
D:  January 23, 1924
Age:  64

Veodie Baldree
Daughter of Timothy & M. W. Baldree
B:  September 29, 1882
D:  November 2, 1882

Infant Son of W. L. and Thelma Baldree

Little Winnie Baldree
Daughter of R. L. and S. W. Baldree
October 28, 1909

Daniel Webster Beddard
Age:  52

Rebecca Beddard
B:  1838	
D:  October 23, 1922
Age:  84

Oliver Beddard
B:  January 21, 1821
D:  September 20, 1898
Age:  77

Emma Ward Britt
B:  September 20, 1865
D:  December 1, 1938
Age:  73

James E.  Britt
B:  September 1, 1854
D:  October 24, 1917
Age:  63

Bradley M. Cayton
Son of J. T. and Myrtle Cayton
B:  April 6, 1930
D:  March 1, 1934
Age:  4

James T. Cayton
Son of J. T. and Myrtle Cayton
B:  September 6, 1932
D:  December 24, 1932

Laura Dean Cayton
Wife of S. A. Cayton
B:  May 23, 1875
D:  February 5, 1945
Age:  70

S. A. Cayton
B:  September 11, 1863
D:  April 12, 1932
Age:  69

Annie M. Crawford
Wife of W. H. Crawford
B:  October 4, 1886
D:  July 25, 1919
Age:  33

J. J. Cullifer
B:  March 28, 1859
D:  December 29, 1930
Age:  71

Lucy L. Cullifer
B:  1832
D:  May 9, 1904
Age:  72

Mattie M. Cullifer
Daughter of  J. J. and B. A. Cullifer
B:  December 12, 1895
D:  October 22, 1905
Age:  10

Nellie L. Dickerson
Daughter of W. Y. and Mary A. Dickerson
B:  September 18, 1906
D:  March 19, 1907
Age:  1

W. Y. Dickerson
B:  February 11, 1877
D:  October 15, 1910
Age:  33

Viney Elks
Wife of Samuel Elks
B:  March 7, 1812
D:  March 17, 1883
Age:  71

Elizabeth Letchworth
B:  December 29, 1811
D:  May 29, 1887
Age:  76

William E. Mozingo
B:  March 28, 1922
D:  August 11, 1922

Bethany Elizabeth Nobles
Wife of W. R. W. Nobles
B:  July 27, 1838
D:  March 24, 1923
Age:  85

Henry W. Nobles
Son of W. R. W. and Bethany Nobles
B:  October 9, 1882
D:  October 22, 1909
Age:  27

W. R. W. Nobles
B:  October 27, 1840
D:  June 3, 1914
Age:  74

David Norris
B:  1861
D:  June 30, 1921
Age:  60

Benjamin Tripp
B:  July 28, 1876
D:  February 4, 1935

Bessie J. Tripp
Wife of Joseph Tripp
B:  October 27, 1888
D:  October 3, 1911
Age:  23

Bobbie Ann Tripp
B:  June 17, 1962
D:  July 14, 1965
Age:  3

Elizabeth Tripp
Wife of Lynn Tripp
B:  February 15, 1853
D:  February 24, 1901
Age:  48

Lynn Tripp
B:  1848
D:  June 9, 1901
Age:  53

Martha L. Tripp
Wife of Joe Tripp
B:  March 28, 1883
D:  October 29, 1909
Age:  26

Mollie Tripp
Wife of Benjamin Tripp
B:  March 26, 1876
D:  October 31, 1898	
Age:  22

R. H. Tripp
B:  July 2, 1886
D:  July 29, 1887
Age:  1

Sudie Allen Tripp
B:  September 9, 1866
D:  June 28, 1923
Age:  57

Mary Williams
B:  1840
D:  December 1915 Age:  75

Infant Daughter of
W. A. and N. E. Wingate
B:  August 19. 1906

Martha White
B:  1841
D:  February 18, 1898
Age:  57

**There are five unknown 
wooden markers

 (Transcriber’s Note:
  	A physical survey of the Bethany Church Cemetery
 by Mr. William Kittrell found the following discrepancies
 between the actual headstones and the record presented in
 this bulletin.  
  <1>  Dates for A. T. Baldree on headstone are 
      b. September 3, 1828, d. June 3, 1914.  
  <2>  Spelling of the name of Vedie Baldree.
  <3>  Spelling of the name of Oliver Bedard.
  <4>  Death date for Laura Dean Cayton February 3, 1945.     
  <5>  Spelling of the name of Lucy L. Culifer.
  <6>  Data for G. B. Letchworth b. September 2, 1811 d. June 21,
      1906 listed on the back of the stone of Elizabeth Letchworth.
  <7>  Birth month for Martha L. Tripp b.  November 28, 1883.)    

Return to Pitt County

Our sponsor     USGennet.org logo http://www.USGENNET.Org