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Blue Ridge Church with the Tabernacle to the left.

Blue Ridge Church with the Tabernacle to the left.

Annual Blue Ridge Homecoming & Blue Ridge Cemetery Association Meeting will be next Saturday, April 18, 2009. Business meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m and will be followed with a picnic lunch, visiting, and cemetery decorating. Any donations for upkeep would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in donating leave a comment and we will email more info to you.

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Circa 2003 by Rev. David Keith

Circa 2003 by Rev. David Keith

On Saturday before the fourth Sunday in March, 1878, Carlton Baptist Church was organized. T. M. Byers was the moderator and J. M. Evans was church clerk. The first pastor was Rev. R. M. Cumbie and the first deacons were Dewey Pierce, J. A. Rowland, Martin Jones, and Joe Hicks. J. A. Rowland was the first Sunday School superintendent.

Charter members were F. M. and Mary Carlton, R. M. and Mollie Cumbie, W. J. and Nancy Hicks, J. M. and S. J. Evans, J. R. and Martha J. Nix, J. P. Nix, C. A. Miller, James Nix, Callie Center, William Miller, Bettie Smith, James S. Carlton, Cynthia Pierce, Drewry Pierce, Nancy Pierce, Napoleon Pierce, Penelope McCarty, and James S. McCarty.

R. M. Cumbie was born 1 January, 1849, in Barber County, AL.  Converted at the age of 20, he was baptized by D. B. Burt into the Damascus Church.  He came to Texas in 1870 and was licensed by Concord Church of Henderson County.  Cumbie was ordained by Carlton Baptist Church on the third Sunday of November, 1881.

Carlton Baptist Church was admitted to the Comanche Baptist Association prior to 2 September, 1881, when Carlton hosted the Comanche Baptist Annual meeting.

No rain fell in Hamilton County from January, 1886, until August 31, 1887; hence severe drought conditions prevailed.  The Saturday morning session of the Comanche Association  in September, 1887 adjourned to the river bank for a baptismal service.  Sixteen of those baptized were from Carlton.

On 3 December, 1885, R. M. Cumbie, Drewry Pierce, H. L. Lynch, J. E. Stringer, J. H. Everett, and J. T. Cumbie, Trustees of Carlton Baptist Church purchased for ten dollars from W. C. Murphree and wife, D. A. Murphree, a tract of land on which to build a church house.

The first church was a one room structure. Carlton Baptist Church was admitted into the Hamilton County Baptist Association on 14 August, 1891.

Interior of the auditorun taken around 1997.

Interior of the worship center taken around 1997.

Early pastors were:

  • J. H. Vinson, 1891–1895
  • J. H. Cunningham, 1896–1897
  • J. T. Beam, 1898–1899
  • T. P. Speakman, 1901

Early church clerks were:

  • J. C. Finley, 1891-1900
  • W. McKenzie–1901

Early messengers to the annual association meeting were:

  • 1891–W. Graham, F. M. Richburg
  • 1892–W. Graham, J. W. Porter, F. M. Richburg, James Wilson McKenzie
  • 1893–J. H. Vinson, A. Boatwright, F. M. Richburg
  • 1894–J. N. Adams, J. W. Richburg
  • 1895–Warren Graham, James Wilson McKenzie, J. N. Adams, B. G. Richbourg, J. H. Vinson, J. W. Porter, Randolph Hunter “Randall” Gibson
  • 1896–F. M. Richbourg, J. C. Finley, Warren Graham, J. W. Porter, Randolph Hunter “Randall” Gibson
  • 1897–A. L. Fisher, James Wilson McKenzie, A. G. Bingham, Rev. Warren Graham
  • 1898–James Wilson McKenzie, R. Adams, V. B. Mitchell, J. M. Adams, Sisters Lou Mitchell and Orelia McKenzie
  • 1899–Revs. Randolph Hunter “Randall” Gibson, J. T. Beam, Warren Graham, and Brethren J. M. Adams, James Wilson McKenzie, F. M. Richbourg, W. S. Fisher
  • 1900–James Wilson McKenzie, Rev. Warren Graham, J. A. Rowland, Sister Orelia McKenzie
  • 1901–J. T. Gibson, James Wilson McKenzie, J. A. Rowland, J. W. Richbourg, Randolph Hunter “Randall” Gibson, M. L. Gibson

A new church building was completed in September, 1917 by J. L. Thompson. This was the last building Mr Thompson built before his death. The first couple married in the new church were Rev. Clarence Allen Morton and Miss Hallie Adams. The baptistry was added in 1945. On 25 October, 1953, an educational building was dedicated. The parsonage was remodeled in 1977.

More About Carlton:

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Front view of the church.

Directions: From the southeast corner of the courthouse square in Hamilton (intersection of Hwy. 36 and Bell Street) proceed east (toward Gatesville) 3 blocks.  Turn right (south) on Reagan Street which will also be FM 932 & FM 1241.  After 5 blocks FM 932/1241 turns left on Standefer Street for one block and  right on S. Dempster Street.  Four block later FM932/1241 turns left (east) and leaves Hamilton.  Almost a mile out of Hamilton FM 932 turns left to Aleman and FM1241 continues straight.  Stay on FM1241 about 3.5 miles.  Watch for a church-shaped sign (across the road from a tall faded-pink water tower) pointing to Blue Ridge Baptist Church.  Two gravel roads join FM1241 at this point. The west portion of the Blue Ridge Cemetery will be on the left side of the road. Take the gravel road on the left and proceed east to the end of the road.

The Blue Ridge Baptist Church was organized 10 July, 1880, as the Blue Ridge Missionary Baptist Church of Christ and my great-grandparents, James Lemuel Grisham, Sr. and his wife Margaret Amanda Jones Grisham were among the charter members. When Margaret Amanda Jones Grisham died 18 November, 1936, she was the last remaining charter member. Other charter members were William Robert Richey, Sarah Ann Wright Richey, and likely W. S. Stephens.

Church Deed

Church Deed

Apparently Blue Ridge was admitted to the Hamilton County Baptist Association in 1880 (one of only two years for which associational minutes are not available.) This church has the last remaining tabernacle (which was built in 1912) in Hamilton County. On 24 January, 1891, a lot was purchased from John Hannah Brown for the sum of ten dollars. (Hamilton County Deed Records, Book 6, Page 172.) On 30 April, 1892, James William Massie was given a contract to build a church building by the building committee which was composed of John Hannah Brown, Christopher Columbus Powell, James Marion Allen, L. P. Foster, and E. A. Willis. Massie would be paid $100 on 1 November, 1892, and fifty dollars in work. He was to construct a 44 ft by 26 ft building within three months. In 1923 the church was remodeled with a south wing added so that the building was “T-shaped.” A Delco power plant was added at this time to provide lighting. Electricity was added in 1939. A Sunday School room was added on the east side in 1976. In 1988 the Texas Baptist Men built a fellowship hall with a kitchen, bathrooms, and water.

Blue Ridge Church with the Tabernacle to the left.

Blue Ridge Church with the Tabernacle to the left.

My father, Robert Verne Crain, was a deacon and treasurer in this church for many years. My mother, Clara Elsie Fergusson Crain, taught the ladies Sunday School and was Church Clerk for many years. I was church pianist during my years of high school

More About the Blue Ridge Community:

More About Blue Ridge Baptist Church:

See more ABC Wednesday.

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