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Yellville, Arkansas

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Church History

     There are four possible dates for the beginning of Baptist churches in Yellville.  According to H. D. Mortonís History of White River Baptist Association, and available minutes that have been preserved, a Baptist church was organized in 1844 by Elder M. M. Watson. Watson was called as pastor.  Records are not available to indicate how long this church was functional. It may have become a victim of the Civil War.

     The second date is April 8, 1900.  Baptists met to organize the Yellville Missionary Baptist Church with 12 members present.  G. C. Harris of Mountain Home was called as pastor. He preached one Sunday a month, as was common during those years when a scarcity of ministers made it necessary for one man to serve several churches.

     Not long afterward, the name of the organization was changed to First Baptist Church of Yellville.  On August 11, 1900, the church requested membership in the White River Baptist Association.  Services were held in the courthouse and the building of the Presbyterian congregation until January of 1906 when recorded evidence of that body ends.

     A third church, pastored by J. P. Lovelace was organized in 1910 but apparently did not last very long.

     The current First Baptist Church was organized on April 26, 1913. Ground on the corner of Estes and Broadway was donated by A.W. Estes, J.L. McCarty and W. H. Thompson.  Twenty-one persons began a Sunday School. William Clem was elected superintendent.  In November of 1913, the group had a dedication service for a new building and T.G Angel and W.H. Bryant were ordained as deacons.

     In 1934, the annual report showed a membership of 62 and a pastorís salary of $150.00 a year. Donations to the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program were $18.00.

     Slow but steady growth was experienced during the years from 1935 though 1950.  Records show a membership of 158 in 1950; 186 in 1951; and 300 in 1953.  A new sanctuary was dedicated in 1953.  The old sanctuary was partitioned into classrooms and the entire structure was covered with native red stone.  Much of the work was done with volunteer labor.

     In September of 1955 the property north of the church was purchased for a site for the parsonage.  Later, more property west of the church was acquired for parking space.  Also in 1955, a baptistry was installed.

     Between 1956 and 1962 two missions were established, one at Summit and another at Tomahawk. Both later became churches in their own right.

     In 1972, more educational space was added to the church with the dedication of Angel Fellowship Hall.  In 1975, the annual letter to the association shows a membership of 377 and a property value of $115,000.  On July 16, 1989, a new sanctuary with seating capacity of over 300 was dedicated.

     The years following saw many changes as the church expanded its ministries and today membership stands at over 600 and property value is well over one million dollars.