Not too many years after the Civil War, somewhere around 1870, a group of people began to meet in their homes and in a schoolhouse near White Oak Springs. Also there was another group of people who were having prayer service about three miles away in Sneekout schoolhouse. Somewhere near 1880 these two groups came together and erected a church building called Pleasant Grove General Baptist Church, where White Oak Church now stands. The first records of of this body were kept in 1880 at this time. Rev. J. W. Stone was pastor and Bro. P. M. Reynolds, clerk. It had 23 members and the following deacons: Bros. A. B. Dills, John Reynolds, Thomas Williams. The regular meeting day was the third Saturday and Sunday in each month.
Rev. N. T. Duncan was elected pastor in 1886 and served until 1889. during this time 35 members were added to the church. In 1890 when Rev. E. N. Russell was pastor there was a successful revival with fifteen additions to the church. Elihue Price, clerk. March 1894, a committee was appointed to transfer the names from the old church book to the new book. The committee consisted of Bros. A. B. Dills, Rev. Herrin, and N. S. Fraser. Several had died and some dismissed by letter: There were only 38 members, Bro. N. S. Fraser, clerk, and served as clerk for 28 years, also choir leader.
As years passed by in August 1896 the members decided a new building was needed, so Bros. Bev. Herrin, J. B. Blackwell, S. K. Threlkeld, and N. S. Fraser were appointed building committee to build a new house of worship. After many efforts to induce persons to donate means the building was erected in 1898. Rev. W. A. Miller was pastor. A deed was made January 13, 1898, for a small portion of land that had been purchased from Bro. P. M. Reynolds and wife. A cemetery was started, where Rev. W. H. Head, Rev. and Sister Rufus Little, Rev. and Sister J. C. Brackett, Rev. and Sister J. F. Bumpus, Rev. and Sister C. H. Howard, and many others have been laid to rest.
The Third Sunday in August, 1898, J. E. Hart, Edd Ross, Bev. Herrin, S. K. Threlkeld were ordained as deacons. In March 1902, the Ministers and Deacons Meeting met with this church for the first time. Rev. Lonnie Todd was pastor and served until 1907. Rev. J. F. Bumpus was elected pastor in 1907 and served until 1917. Reburn Dunbar elected clerk and served until he was called into the ministry. A new organ was bought in November, 1910. Myrtle Nasbitt was organist.
The church building was too small. At a called meeting in October, 1915, a committee to raise money to cbuilda new church building was appointed. The committee: Bros. W. H. Fraser, J. E. Harris, RRev Herrin, Charley Watson, Rev. Blackwell. The new building was completed and the first business session was held in march, 1917. The first revival in the new building was in November, 1917. Rev. W. W. Oakley evangelist and pastor. A successful revival with 21 additions btothe church. The third Sunday in July 1918, Bros. J. E. Harris, Bert Martin, Edd Herrin, W. J. Dunbar were ordained deacons. Ethel Threlkeld, clerk and choir leader.
In the business session November 1921, the name of the church was changed from Pleasant Grove to White Oak General Baptist Church. October, 1922 Union Association met with this church for the first time. The Association met with the church in 1931 and in 1938. The first Sunday in April, 1927, with Rev. W. T. Winstead, pastor, a Sunday School was organized which is still going. Harvey Hatley was elected superintendent, where he served 16 years. Rev. Claude Threlkeld served as Bible Class teacher. RERevLaban Fraser, choir leader, where they served until they were called to the work of the ministry. the church had not had any system of raising finance for the expense of the church. In September, 1929, with Rev. Nealey Pearcy as pastor, it was voted to take an offering at Sunday morning services. At this time Reba Herrin, clerk; Daymon Vaugh, choir leader, and Beulah Fraser, pianist.
During the pastorship of Rev. C. H. Howard the church went on half time work. Bro. Bert martin has served as church treasurer for 28 years. RERevLeslie Nichols served as pastor from 1944 to 1947, during which time the church started paying the denominational budget. Elva Hatley was clerk. Rev. W. M. Frisby served as pastor 1947-1952. During this time electric lights, gas heat, new choir seats were installed. On the third Sunday afternoon in November, 1948, Rev. Ray Dorris was ordained to the ministry in a very impressive service. RERevO. B. Clark preached the ordination sermon. In 1951 the church went on full time work.
At the present White Oak is on the upward move with Rev. B. A. Mercer as pastor. They have an interesting Sunday School. Bobby Threlkeld is superintendent. Sam Hatley, secretary and treasurer. RERevDurwood Marks, auAutherarvey, Lillie Martin and Minnie Pemberton as teachers. Bro. Joe Pounds, choir leader. Edna Herrin and Beulah Pullam, pianists. Bible study each Sunday evening taught by Johnnie Hart. The present deacons: Bros. Edd Herrin, W. J. Dunbar, Bert Martin, Gammon Herrin, Johnnie Hart, Orman Martin. Ministers: RERevAbe Rich, Rev. Claude Threlkeld, Rev. Ray Dorris, Rev. Durwood Marks. Missionary, RERevCecil Green.
By Gladys Hatley
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