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Coulson Church of the Brethren

Originally published 14 Sep 1953, Galax Gazette (Munsey M. Poole)

Headline: Coulson Church of the Brethren Had Its Beginning Over 70 Years Ago; Beautiful New Structure Used First Time in 1952

This week, the Gazette features Coulson Church of the Brethren in its current series of church histories. The Rev. W. Robert Carter has furnished an interesting and greatly appreciated sketch concerning this church, of which the Rev. Donald Clay of Alum Ridge, Floyd County, is the present pastor.

The Coulson Church is locate on Highway 620 leading from Woodlawn northeastward toward Highway 52 and Shorts Creek and section.

The church history published as written, follows:

History of Coulson Church

The Coulson Church of the Brethren had its beginning more than seventy years ago when two Brethren elders, John B. Hylton and Jerry Slusher, of Floyd County, Virginia accepted an invitation given by a family named Montgomery, formerly of Floyd County, to come into Carroll County and preach. These services were held in the Liberty schoolhouse, near what is now Mt. Nebo School. Six people accepted this doctrine and were baptized with membership placed in the Topeco congregation. Among these first six were Israel N and M. Ann Coulson , parents of Mrs. of Cara C. Lineberry, who is at present our oldest member.

For the next several years these two elders and other ministers from Floyd County continued to come into the community about twice a year to minister to the spiritual needs of this steadily growing group. These Brethren traveled on horseback or by foot and made a circuit of the community, preaching at the Chestnut grove Schoolhouse on Saturday at eleven o’clock; at the home of a member at night; then to the Mt. Nebo School at eleven o’clock the next day, returning back to Floyd County on Sunday afternoon.

What is to us now only an hour’s drive, was to these pioneer brethren a full day’s journey. Therefore they found it difficult to get to the Topeco congregation for communion services. So at a time when the elders were making preaching tour the group decided to hold communion services in the kitchen of Brother Isaac Bryant’s home. The kitchen faced a hillside and benches were improvised upon the slope for neighbors who came to observe through the two large windows.

The membership continued to increase and the need of a church was greatly felt. Land for a building site was donated by James Landreth. Lumber and labor were donated by members and with a small amount of cash and a great amount of faith, a frame structure was erected in 1898. On November 1898, the membership met for organization with Elder Samuel G. Spangler as temporary moderator, and Elder Owen Barnhart was elected moderator for one year.

Since the post office at that time was Coulson that name was suggested by Elders Harden P. Hylton and Jerry Slusher and was adopted by the membership.

In September 1898, Elder Harden P. Hylton, a widower of Floyd County, married Sarah J. Carter of the community and moved here, bringing his letter of membership to this church in 1899. He contributed much to the growth of the church in its early years, serving as a minister and elder until his death in 1905.

The names Bryant, Coulson, Carter, Lineberry,. Lintticum and Mabe appear in the early records and prominent in the leadership of the church.

Since its beginning the church has been served by the free ministry. In 1901 Elder S. G. Spangler was elected Elder-in-charge, an office he held until 1921. A number of the Brethren elders of Floyd County cooperated with Elder Spangler and a plan was put into action whereby the church would be served by two ministers coming once each month and preaching on the 4th Saturday night and Sunday morning. some of the elders who participated in this plan and served the church were: elders Harvey Weddle, Samuel, Michael, Richard and Oliver Reed, Samuel, Mannon, Noah and Jesse Boothe, Jacob Hylton, Zebrum and Jacob Keith, Noah and Wyatt Reed and A. N. and C. D. Hylton.

In 1921, due to failing health, Elder S. G. Spangler resigned as Elder-in-charge and Elder J. B. Sowers, of the Freemont section, was elected. Since that time the church has been served by Elders Harvey Reed, Otte Ott, J. R. Jackson, and our present day Elder, Rev Everette Reed of Floyd County.

Five members have been elected in the congregation. In its early years Floyd Coulson, son of Israel and Ann Coulson was elected to the ministry at the age of sixteen. He had served only a short time before the Master called him home. T. M. Smith was elected and served a short time, then moved away. In April 1913, Hobert P. Edwards and W. Robert Carter were elected and installed. In 1919 Roby Shockley was elected and installed into the ministry. On May 26, 1919 Brethren Hobert P. Edwards and W. Robert Carter were advanced to the eldership and have served through the years as assistants to the Elder-in-Charge.

Much credit for our church growth, both spiritually and numerically should be given to the late Rev. Norman C. Reed of North Carolina. Brother “Norm” first came to us as an evangelist in 1912 and held a revival. After that, he was repeatedly called back to serve the church in evangelistic meetings through the years until he retired from the evangelistic field.

In 1949, with our membership totaling more than a hundred and the need for more Sunday School rooms long in evidence, discussions for a new church began and in 1950 with approximately $1000 in the treasury and an abundance of faith in our hearts, work on a new cinder block building with brick casing was started. The main auditorium is 32 ft x 52 ft with a wing on each side 16 ft x 20 ft in size. by June 1952, the construction on the new church was far enough advanced to be used.

The old building was sold at auction and moved off the grounds, and our first worship service in the new building was held on 5th Sunday in June with Rev. Briscoe Osborne of North Wilkesboro NC bringing the message. We are looking forward to a dedication service in the near future.”