Beulah Baptist Celebrates Milestone
By Carley Wiggins
On Sunday, August 26th, Beulah Baptist Church celebrated quite a milestone in the history of this community church. The church was 100 years old.
There was a special service held in honor of this occasion and people came from all over to help celebrate this historic event. There was a near capacity crowd of present members, former members, friends and visitors who came to take part in the celebration. It would be impossible to tell the complete history of Beulah Baptist Church, but I would like to share some of the significant points that have allowed this country church to survive for one hundred years.
Way back in early part of the nineteenth century, the children of what was the Harllees Community had to walk to Oakland to school. Mr. Bate Hyatt and Mr. Daniel Lock cut timber from the nearby woods, and erected a one room log house on what was the Traywick place. This served as a school for the children on weekdays. The first teacher was John A. Norton. On Sundays, the folks of the community would have church in the building.
In 1912, the county built a two room building for a school and Mr. Bate Hyatt gave an acre of land for a church. The men joined together and erected a one-room frame building. Thus, Beulah Baptist Church was born and for the past 100 years has been a house of worship for the people of that community. From the beginning, the church was blessed with a large attendance. Folks would walk or come in horse and buggy from miles around. The church had a Sunday school, worship services and prayer services.
It was said there would be times that the one room structure would not hold all the people. Some would sit in the windows, some would stand outside and
Listen, unable to get a seat. Baptismal services would be held at Harllees Bridge in the Little Pee Dee River just down the road for new converts. In the beginning, the church had many pastors. Rev. Hiram Cook, Rev. Bullock, Rev. Woodel, Rev. Walters, Rev. A.J. Langley, Rev. Dock Bames, and Rev. Roy Arnette. The church would hold a two week revival each year.
In 1933, the first church was completely destroyed by lightning, the building burned to the ground with all the contents being destroyed. The leaders and members were not deterred; services went back to the school house and under the leadership of Rev. Roy Tyner, work began on rebuilding the church. Wednesdays were set aside as the day, the men would come together and work on the church. Soon the building was complete and for the next 37 years, this would be the home of Beulah Baptist Church.
During this time, the pastors were Rev. Roy Tyner, Rev. Stanwytch, Rev. Wade Gainey, and Rev. Enoch Caulder. During these years, Sunday school rooms were added and the front of the church was enlarged. In 1970, the church voted to demolish the old building and build a new facility. This is the Beulah Baptist Church of today. The same Mr. Hyatt that donated the original land for the church later donated two acres next to the church for a cemetery that is a well kept resting place for people connected with the church.
Rev. Enoch Caulder retired as pastor in 1983 after 35 years in the ministry due to health problems. At that time, Rev. Russell Kenneth Cox, a young man who was associate pastor became pastor for the next 26 years. Rev. Cox was also an English Instructor at Florence-Darlington Tech. He was a published author and writer. Rev. Cox passed away in 2010 at the early age of 53.
It was this writer’s privilege to have known both of these men and held both in high esteem. There are so many people who have been a big part of Beulah Baptist Church over the years, more than space will allow mentioning, but many people have told me over the years about Mr. and Mrs. Murdock McInnis who were very faithful for many years in all aspects of the churches functions.
The present pastor is Rev. David Owens whom the church called to serve on Sept. 5, 2010. I believe he will lead this church in the way God would have him to do and the church will continue to thrive. So many country churches have dwindled and closed over the years, but I believe Beulah will be here for a long time until the Lord comes to take his church home.
They have good people who are very dedicated to the work of our Lord and to his service. They continue to have a full schedule of services each week, when so many churches have closed their doors to night and mid-week services. This community is very fortunate to have such a church.