Historical marker dedicated at Salem Baptist Church in 1959

Published 7:14 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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From the October 19, 1959 Troy Messenger is this story about the historical marker dedication at Salem Baptist Church.      

A marker of considerable historic note in the religious life of Pike County, and the Salem-Troy Baptist Association, was unveiled and dedicated at Salem Baptist Church, Brundidge, Sunday, Oct. 18, in a ceremony attended by about 150 people.  Most of the Baptist churches in the county were represented, and some came from other sections.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

The marker, which was made possible by the cooperative efforts of the Salem Baptist Church, and the Association, is the first marker of its kind to be installed in the bounds of the association.  It commemorates the beginning of religious work in Pike County.

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The Salem Church is the oldest church in the county, having been organized in 1824.  Its long history of 135 years has been marked by many events which have greatly enriched the religious life of this section of the state.

Mrs. Margaret Pace Farmer, president of the Alabama Historical Society, and a historian of note, said in her welcome address given during the marker program, that Baptists over the state of Alabama had taken the lead in writing religious history.  She said, also, that Pike County Baptist lead the state.  “Out of 34 churches in the county 28 have written histories,” she said.

Mrs. W. D. Colley, who has been a member of the Salem Church for more than 50 years, gave a comprehensive history of the church which she had written.  She noted that the Salem Baptist Association, the Baptist General Association, and the Salem-Troy Baptist Association were organized in succession in the Salem Church.  She related that the church was first a log structure, like most of the churches built in the early history of Alabama, and that four wooden buildings had been erected as the church grew in numbers, before the present modern brick building was erected in 1930.

Dr. Wilder Helmbold, historical librarian at Howard Collect, Birmingham, gave information regarding the Alabama Baptist Historical Society, which he said coincided with the work of the historical societies of the associations being carried on in the state.

Rev. Frank Lyon, present pastor of the Salem Church, gave an address on “The Salem-Troy Baptist Association.”

The marker was presented to the Salem Church by Rev. L. H. Shrauger, Jr., association missionary, and accepted by Fred Davis, chairman of the Board of Deacons, on behalf of the church.

The marker was unveiled by Judson Colley.  He is a son of Dr. J. O. Colley, Sr., who preceding his death last year, had done much work towards getting the marker installed.  The  dedication prayer was by Dr. W. P. Wilkes, a native of Pike County, and a former moderator of the Association.

James E. Ray, moderator of the Association, presided at the dedication service.  The invocation was given by Rev. Duane Day, pastor Goshen Baptist Church.  The response to the welcome was by Dr. John H. Thomas, Jr., pastor First Baptist Church.

Special music was rendered by the Salem Church choir.  The congregational singing was lead by Rev. Don Crapps, music director for the association.  Mrs. John Frye was the organist, and Mrs. Don Crapps was the pianist.  Preceding the unveiling of the marker, the congregation ang “How Firm A Foundation.”

The program committee composed of Rev. L. H. Shrauger, Jr., chairman, Mrs. W. D. Colley and Mrs. Allen Sheppard, Dr. C. T. Ammerman, who moved to Montgomery this year, was formerly  the chairman.

Refreshments were served in the church basement following the program.  The serving committee included Mrs. Frank Lyons, hostess; Mrs. Roy Holmes, co-hostess, and the ladies of the W. M. U. of the Salem Church.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.