History

History

THE CHURCH ON THE HILL (taken from history 1897-199 by Jane Johnson Hamm).

 

Laura Ann Robinett and her sister (Sara Jane Robinett) came to Florence in 1898 to live in the Sweet Water Community of East Florence.  They roomed with a Mrs. Mitchell and worked in the Cherry Cotton Mill.  The closest place of worship for the two young ladies was Poplar Street Christian Church at the time; later changed to Poplar Street Church of Christ.

 

They walked in all kinds of bad weather to church for a period of time until they “begged” the elders to help them get a congregation closer to their jobs.  C.E. Holt and J.T. Harris are responsible for a new congregation in East Florence.

 

The church met in the Robinett home on Minnehaha Street for some time, later they worshipped in a building belonging to the Florence Pump and Lumber Company on Aetna Street.  It is assumed they met there until a building could be built “on the hill” December 1899.

 

This is the most accurate information we have found and Irma Matthews Plott remembers what she was told as a child.  She is over ninety years old and living in Rogersville Alabama.

 

The information below is as accurate, as one who remembers being there and what their ancestors said.

 

The church building was located on the corner of Ironside and Woodard Streets in East Florence.

 

The small white frame building was approximately 30’ X 40’ and faced north Huntsville Road.

 

There were two large doors at the main entrance and about twenty on steps leading to the doorway.

 

Several windows were on each side of the building, east and west and were raised during the summer months. There were no screens on the windows.

 

A bell tower room, small in size, was located on the east side and used as an entrance from the alley.  A large bell was on top and rang at 9:00am and 9:15am every Sunday morning and evening and there were a few taps when the classes were over.

 

There was a potbellied stove used during the winter months for several years.  Some said the building was always cold and they huddled around it.

 

Gas lights were used, as the only means of light, until 1927 or 1928.

 

During the 1930’s a baptistery was installed and also a floor furnace.  The building was added onto and included class rooms on the north and south sides.  Folding doors were used to close the rooms for class and opened to make more seating room for services.

 

1899 FLORENCE TIMES ITEMS: (taken from history 1897-1997 revised 1999 by Jane Johnson Hamm).

 

December 26, 1899…”Our churches are progressing nicely.  We have a new Christian Church just completed.

 

1900: January 19, 1900 “Services every Sunday at the Christian Church in East Florence. Bible Class at 10:00am, Preaching by Elder A.P. Holtsford..

 

1900: June 29, 1900 “Elder C,E, Holt of Iron City, TN. will preach in the East Florence Christian Church on the first Sunday in July, morning and evening services, also on Saturday evening preceding.” 

 

1900: September 21, 1900 “Elder C. E. Holt is conducting a protracted meeting in the East Florence Christian Church.  Services every Sunday evening at 7:30. Everybody is invited.”

 

NOTES FROM G.C. BREWER’S BOOK:

 

1900: The little group that met in his home learned of a young man by the name of J.J. Castleberry that was holding a meeting in Lauderdale Co.  The brethren got permission to use a large lumber shed for a meeting.  They got seats hauled in and covered the ground with sawdust. They whitewashed various posts and prepared the shed for the meeting.  Brother Will Freeman led the singing.  Brother Castleberry proved to be a stirring, fervent young man and much interest was shown in the community.  209 people were baptized (including G.C, Brewer). The Denominations fought his meeting and threatened to run him out of town and challenged him to debates..July 1900.

 

1901 FLORENCE TIMES ITEMS:

 

January 25, 1901 “Elder John Underwood preached at the Christian Church in East Florence, both Saturday and Sunday nights.  Elder Grissom preached Sunday 11:00am.  Probably will call Brother Underwood to preach for them next year.”

1901: February 15, 1901 “Prof. Quillen was here on Sunday to have a singing class. He sang Sunday and Sunday night at the Christian Church.

 

1907: Preaching at the Christian Church in East Florence at 3:00pm, C.E. Holt, Minister.”

 

1913: July 4, 1913 “Evangelist Isaac C. Hoskins assisted by Evangelist J. T. Harris is peaching at East Florence every night this week.  Take 8 O’clock street car and arrive on time.”

 

1914: April 17, 1914 “Preaching at Christian Church in East Florence by Isaac C. Hoskins.

 

1920: December 10, 1920 “Meeting at Weeden Place School house at 7:00pm. Rev. L.T. Farrar will preach on the subject, “The Church”.

 

1928: August “Goodpasture of Poplar Street will hold East Florence Meeting in large tent used for evangelistic services on Lee Highway near East Florence Church of Christ.  H. A. Sims is in charge of song service.  Sunday 11:00 am, week days 8:00, public is invited.”

 THE FIRST 50 YEARS ON THE HILL (taken from history 1897-199 by Jane Johnson Hamm).

 

PREACHERS:

With the passing of people and years, these records handed down by word of mouth and the Florence Library are my sources for accuracy. Jane Johnson Hamm.

1897      C.E. Holt

               J.T Harris

1900      A.P. Holtsford

1900      J.J. Castleberry meeting with 209 baptisms

1900’s    Joe Holt/G.C. Brewer

1910       Charles Holt

               Will Behel

               W.R. Harris

1918        Smith Chambers meeting with over 100 baptisms

1920’s     Charles Morris

                Paul Hanlin

                Henry Hanlin

                J.H. Horton

                Ira North

1930’s     Lewis T. Farrah

                Paul White

                Bro. Keys

1935        Bro. Barrett

                Bro. Greenhall

                Henry Stanfield

                E.O. Coffman

 

1936        Farris Smith 1st full time located preacher

                Paul White

                John Underwood

1940’s     Earl Prater

1941        Barney Keith

1946        Eston Macon

1947        Ralph Snell

_____________________________________________________________________________

1905-1936 MEETINGS:

 

Gardner Hall

A.E. Emmons

C.A. Overturf

B.C. Goodpaster

John Horton

 

ELDERS:

Robert E. Lanier

William Morgan Matthews

D.M. Potts (Adolphues)

James McAllister Romine

David Rickard

James Franklin Eastep

James Lewis Sims

Louis Coburn

Edward James

Frank Wanner

 

DEACONS:

Charles Edgar Polk

Emmett Rickard

Will Romine

 

TRUSTEES:

Chester Cox, Sect./treasurer

Earl Jackson

W.C. Cole

Hugh James

Ed. M. Stafford

Nelson Williams

Frank Wanner

 

SONG LEADERS:

Will Freeman

G.C. Brewers/brothers

James F. Estep

James Coburn      

THE SECOND 50 YEARS (taken from history 1897-199 by Jane Johnson Hamm).

 

1950 thru 1997

ELDERS:

Tom Gamel

Lester Newton

Edward James

Milford Graben

Edward Briggs

James A. McDaniel

Paul Cary

Grady Black

G.W. Wiliams

Roger Vaughn

Dickey Howard

 

DEACONS:

J.A. McDaniel

Melvin Thompson

Emmett Holden

Glenn McGee

Charles Hunt

Charles Daniel

Carvin Crapps

Charles Alexander

Bud Thrasher

E.D. Seaton

Bobby Harris

Gene Hale

Lester Butler

M.F. Brown

Elvis Beasley

 

SONG LEADERS

James Coburn

Melvin Thompson

Milford Graben

J.A. McDaniel

Fred Bevis/Gene Gooch

Earl Jackson

Edward James

E.T. Gilbert

Dewayne Gilbert

Mike Hamm

Mike Howard

Dickey Howard

NEW BUILDING AT 1800 HUNTSVILLE ROAD FLORENCE ALABAMA

 

PREACHERS:

1950-1955       Terrell Pruett

1955-1956       Barry Anderson

1956-1962       Charles A. Holt

1962-1970       Barney Keith…2nd time

1970-1974       Robert Harkrider

1974-1979       Raymond Harris

1979-1984       Johnny Richardson

1984-1990       Dwane Derrick

1986                Eric George part time

1990-1997       Gary Patton.

 

 

OTHER PREACHERS AT VARIOUS TIMES:

 

Herbert Hunt

Brother Bozeman

Tab Hill

Brother Perkins

Brother Ealey

Brother McCluskey

Harold Young

J.A. McDaniel

Charles Daniel

Charles Hunt

Ed Harrell 

EAST FLORENCE SUPPORTS TWO NEW CONGREGATIONS

 

Underwood Heights Church of Christ:

 

In 1969 some of the Christians saw a need for a conservative congregation in the Petersville area.  They met in an old store building on Cloverdale Road with about thirty-six people.

The congregation at Underwood Heights Church of Christ moved into the new building June 1971 on Hayes Street.

The first full time minister was Donald Townsley

 

 

Helton Drive Church of Christ:

 

In 1976 there was an overflow of people at East Florence and the need of another congregation.  Several families began meeting at McDaniel Storm Window plant on Patton Street until a new building was completed at 2250 Helton Drive. 

The first full time minister was Steve Patton.