Skip to content

A Brief History of the West Jefferson First Baptist Church — 1938

Scanned from the 1983 Minutes of the Ashe Baptist Association.

The West Jefferson First Baptist Church grew out of a Sunday School that was organized in the depot building after the railroad was built about 1912. The charter members of this church were: Dr. J. C. Gambill (dentist), Mrs. Effie Lowe Gambill, Mrs. Ed Dickson, Grover Dickson, and Daniel (Dan) Mullis. The pastor, Rev. George Reeves. Dan joined the church as a candidate for baptism. This group made up the charter members of the church. Mrs. Gambill was clerk.

The early records of the church from the time of the organization until the.mid twenties have been lost. Since the death of Dan Mullis, August 28,1980, the last charter member was gone.

The only record we can find is in the Ashe Associational Minutes during those years. The church joined the Ashe Association in 1916. In 1917 T. F. Roberts was listed as pastor, in 1920 T Grady Nanny was pastor, after Nanny was E. P. West in 1922. O. P. Mitchell came in 1923 and S.C. Blackburn in 1926.

The church has grown from the first six members to the present membership of 417, and from the 1916 reported budget of $1,543.34 to a budget of more than $84,000.00.

The first church building was located on what is now college avenue. It was about 100 yards from the Gambill house which is located diagonally across the street from the Methodist Church. The building was a square wooden building. The unique design was that it had two front doors, and the pulpit was located between the doors. There is some suggestion that this kept people from wandering in and out during service. No one had nerve enough to get up facing the preacher and walk past him on the way out.

During the pastorate of S. C. Blackburn the present church was built. The educational building was added during the pastorate of Rexford Campbell. Kenneth Morris serves the church as pastor at this time.