Black's Grove Church
Quad River News--Jan. 16, 1985
By Bill Gladstone
As buildings go it didn't have a very long life, but
in its relatively short life it served two different denominations
and sat at three different locations.
The church pictured was built in Black's Grove by the Missionary
Baptists in 1858. The church sat a short distance east of the
Whorton cemetery. It is credited with being the first church built
in Worth County.
In 1869, not too long after the town of Grant City was established,
the church was moved into Grant City. The building was taken apart
and hauled into Grant City in sections. It was rebuilt at the
corner of Eighth and High Streets. The residence of Ron McNeese
is at that location now (1985).
What group moved the church and why they moved it seems to remain
an unanswered question. The November 19, 1896, issue of the Worth
County Times devoted nearly all of its paper to an article about
the churches and ministers of Grant City. In part the article
"As early as 1858, before there was any Grant City, there
was organized here (I am assuming that the editor is referring
to the church that was organized in Black's Grove because I can
find no evidence that any Baptist Church was formed anywhere around
the area where Grant City was established. WGG) a Baptist Church,
which continued until the breaking out of the Civil War, when
its members were separated. It was again organized in 1874 with
8 members. (This organization was undoubtedly in Grant City, WGG).
This later organization discontinued about the tear 1881, and
the church building was purchased by the members of the Christian
Church of this place."
The record shows that the church was sold to the Christian congregation
in the year 1883. It remained at the location for another 10 years
and in October 1893 it was moved north and placed on a basement
where the Christian Church now stands. When it was moved it was
enlarged and remodeled and an 1894 news article describes it as
being the largest church in town.
I would venture the guess that when the church was originally
build it did not have the vestibule and bell tower. The Worth
County Times of June 14, 1894, relates that the church was blown
off of its foundation in a storm in June, 1875. Some two years
later it was hit by lightning and "the front was nearly demolished".
It is my speculation that the vestibule and bell tower were put
on either when the front was rebuilt after the lightning damage
or after it was moved north in 1893.
The picture shows the church sitting at the north location.
The building was torn down in 1902 to make way for the present
day Christian Church.
To sort of get the loose ends gathered up for the Baptists; they
got their act back together in 1895 when, on March 22, they again
reorganized. There were eighteen members, ten women and eight
men, when they got things going again in 1895. There is room here
for a little technical argument over whether it was really a reorganization
or an organization. Even though the newspaper article of 1896,
cited earlier, referred to the church as the Missionary Baptist
Church, church records tend to indicate that at this organization
they affiliated themselves with the Southern Baptist Convention.
They held both Sunday School and church services in Houser's Opera
House for a couple of years. In 1896 they began construction of
a new church which was located across the street south from the
postoffice. This building was extensively remodeled in 1911.
In 1963 the Baptists built the educational wing of their present
building and the old church was demolished. In 1970 the sanctuary
was added to complete the structure.
I enjoy doing historical research, no matter how time consuming
and difficult, if the pieces all go together but this one has
been frustrating because things didn't fit together very well
from 1869 to 1881.
The Worth Gentry County History 1882 doesn't say anything about
the church. The material in the Worth County Centennial book doesn't
gibe with the material I was able to find in the newspapers of