The Story of Summerton Baptist
Most children like to boast of the youth of their mothers but we boast of the age of our mother, Calvary Baptist Church. We love her dignity, as well as her history filled with torch bearing for our King. She is one of the three oldest churches in our state.
In 1859 some members of Calvary Church met at the home of Honorable James H. Tindal for the purpose of organizing a church. They erected a bush arbor on a wooded spot on the Nelson Ferry Road on Taw Caw plantation owned by Hon James H. Tindal and his wife, Mrs. Sarah Allen Tindal. This spot is soon to have a marker presented by Mrs. W.H. Anderson who was Miss Emily Tindal, grand-daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Tindal. Here they worshipped for many months until Honorable James H. Tindal deeded them a choice site on the Nelson Ferry Road. Later he gave the land for a cemetery nearby.
The most active in instituting the new church according to the records of J. D. Rutledge, the first clerk, were: Hon. James H. Tindal, Col. T. H. Connors, R. K. Rutledge, W. W. Holladay, R. B. Harvin, and Dr. W. W. B. James, William Bryant,. John Shepherd, besides Annie F. Connors, Ellen Harvin, Hulda Shepherd and others.
The Rev. D. W. Cuttino was the first pastor. He served eleven years.
A building was erected at Taw Caw in 1860. The war conditions made the procuring of the seats, floor and pulpit a sacrificial effort. During the conflict Wheeler's men occupied our church building for several weeks. The weather being bad at the time, the soldiers attempted to put sand on the floor and to build a fire. This came near being disastrous.
The bankrupt conditions following the war prevented the necessary repairs so when the Negroes of the Baptist faith offered to purchase the property, the offer was accepted. The church and lot sold for $400.00.
In Summerton one half acre of land was purchased from John C. Lanham. A building committee consisting of J. D. Rutledge, W. W. Holladay, and the Rev. L. D. Bass, our pastor at that time. This frame building, one large room, was in use in 1887. Land for a cemetery on the same street was donated by Hon. J. H. Tindal. Col. Thomas H. Conners was the first Superintendent of the Sunday School.
Pastors who served after 1887 were: The Rev. E. A. Edwards; The Rev. W. E. Hughson; The Rev. T. C. Hickson, The Rev. H. A. Whitman, The Rev. E. A. Wells, The Rev. Rice, Dr. E. E. Ayers, and The Rev. B. C. Lamply, who died here. Supplying for several months were The Rev. J. K. Fant and The Rev. H. A. Sublette.
The Rev. Manning A. Connor served as pastor for ten years. The Rev. J. N. Tolar began his ministry in 1907. His wife was active in Kingdom interests. He was the inspiration and guide in building our church as it now stands. The building committee in 1910 was composed of 0. C. Scarborough, C. H. Touchberry, T. H. Harvin, and A. P. Brock.
The Rev. Myron W. Gordon followed. At the beginning of his ten years of fruitful ministry he succeeded in having the entire debt lifted from the property. Mrs. Gordon was president of the Woman's Missionary Society and was an active partner in all phases of the work.
The Rev. J. A. Ansley with his family, Mrs. Ansley, Mary, Joe, and Whit, spent several years as our shepherd.
The Rev. Wendell White during his ten years with us endeared himself to the citizens of Summerton as well as to us by his untiring efforts and his genial manner. Mrs. White was largely responsible for our new carpet at that time.
The Rev. W. R. Buchanan came to us with his bride to begin his first pastorate. He used his talents as architect, contractor and cabinet maker in our Educational Building, which was erected by faith, prayer, and perseverance. We named this the Buchanan Educational Building. The Rev. and Mrs. Buchanan, a gifted consecrated couple, now serving as Home Missionaries in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She left an imprint on the hearts of those with whom she came in contact that will never be erased.
The Rev. Charles A. Cowherd, now a zealous missionary in Indonesia, supplied for us for one year. He will always be remembered for his earnest efforts and his deep consecration.
Major W. R. Deal, Chaplain serving at Fort Jackson, supplied for us for many months.
The Rev. William A. Huey began his ministry with us in 1942. Much credit is due him for again making the church debtless. His sweet voice added much in our choir. With Mrs. Huey as superintendent of the Primary Department in our Sunday School the enrolment doubled.
Col. R. E. McCaskill, a retired Chaplain, now supplied for us for nearly two years. He being a Presbyterian often alluded to himself while serving us so efficiently as a "Bapterian''. He endeared himself to all Christians in our town.
Our next pastor was the Rev. Ernest E. Hite, Jr. He was married while here to Miss Emily Harvin, a descendant of the Harvin family the members of which are much in evidence in our church history. Together they labored well in God's vineyard. Our Church grew and prospered while they gained a special place in many of our hearts during the seven years he served us. During his pastorate we installed our organ and tower music system and built a brick parsonage next to the church.
Following the Rev. Ernest E. Hite, Jr., was our present pastor, The Rev. C. Ware Madden, Jr. He, too, found his life partner here and was married in our church to Miss Mazie Anderson. The two seem to complement each other. They are working always, in more ways than can be seen, to advance the cause of Christ, not only in the church, but also in the community. Their consecration and zeal inspire others to do their best for our Master. Since he began his pastorate with us we have built an educational annex, which provides for two nursery departments, a primary department, a junior department, and an intermediate department. The cost of this building was $12,500.00.
We dedicate this Annex today. We shall call it the J. T. Touchberry, Sr. Annex because of his liberality in giving the extra land needed, a large part of the money, and many hours spent in supervision of its construction, besides his long service as Superintendent of Sunday School.
Serving on the building committee for the Buchanan Educational Building were: J. T. Touchbeny, Sr., Dr. W. H. Carrigan, H. H. Hilton, Mrs. J. F. Grayson, Sr., Mrs. R. H. Bateman, and Mrs L.R. Watt, Sr.
The building committee for the parsonage which was erected in 1918 on one half acre of land given by T. H. Gentry were: L. G. Rollins, D.. J. Touchberry, Dr. M. G. Howle, Mrs. J. F. Grayson, Sr., and Mrs. W. L. Mills. For the annex those who shared the responsibility of building were: Gregg T. Touchberry, W. B. Davis, Jr., Henry B. Dingle, G. I. Mim s, Mrs. J. F. Grayson, Sr., Mrs. W. L. Mills, and :Mrs. John . C. Holladay.
There are those who have served for many years in the same capacity through the last half of the history of our church. J. T. Touchberry, Sr., Deacon 1911 has served as Superintendent of Sunday School since 1920 and as Church Treasurer since 1909. A. P. Brock served for many years as Superintendent of Sunday School. Mrs. J. I. Cain, until recently, was the only Cradle Roll Superintendent we have h a d through the years. Mrs. J. F. Grayson·, Sr, is the only Choir Director we have had. J. H. Gentry has been Organist and Secretary-Treasurer of the Sunday School for over thirty years. A. E. Brock was Church Clerk from 1911 until his death this year. Mrs. Jno. P. Brock prepared for Communion until she was ninety years of age, when l\h. W. H. Carrigan assumed her duties. Sunday School teachers in our present group who have taught for years are Mrs. n. B. Mellette, 30 years; Mrs. J. F. Grayson, Sr. 40 years; Mrs. T. C. Howle, 42 years; and Mrs. T. I. Walk e r, which passed away recently, 30 years.
Those who have served as deacons are: J, T. Touchberry, Sr., C. R Touchberry, Sr., J. A. Brailsford, W. D. Alsbrook, L. N. Hinson, J. E. Kelley, W. D. Allen, J. W. Wells, L. G. Rollins, W. S. Walk e r, L. G. Skelley, G. I. Mims, A. P. Brock, D. C. Ma son, 0. G. Keels, Dr. W. H. Carrigan, J. D. Rutledge, J. F. Grayson, Sr., T. H. Gentry, F. W. Josey, J. H. Gentry, R. H. Bateman, T. C. Howle, and W. L. Mills.
Faithful Trustees during the years have been: 0.C.Scarborough, A. P. Brock, Hugh Touchberry, C. R. Touchberry, J. F. Grayson, Sr., H. A. Truesdale, L. G. Skelley, R. H. Bateman, and E. M. Touchberry.
Those who have been ordained for the Ministry in the last half of our history are: Rev. Tillman Touchberry, Rev. John McCleod, Rev. Charles A. Cowherd, Rev. Furman Touchberry, & Rev. W. A. Huey.
From our ranks have come several who have chosen professions to aid others: Rev.John McCleod, who now teaches at Mars Hill Baptist Junior College; Rev. Furman Touchberry, pastor of the Baptist Church in Branchville; Rev.Tillman Touchberry, a beloved pastor who served in our state; W. H. Carrigan; Dr. Ben Harvin; Dr. M. Gordon Howle; Dr. Frank Harvin; Dr.Julian H. Scarborough; Miss Lida Scarborough; and Misses Margie and Effie Scarborough.
Our history would not be complete without mentioning the fostering of missionary societies and the organization of the Santee Woman's Missionary Union by Mrs. 0. C. Scarborough, one of our consecrated members.
Our membership has grown from 191 members to 252 today. Our Sunday School is larger than ever in our history. We have each organization functioning well in our church. Our W. M. S. was A-1 again this year. Our receipts for all causes in our 1954 associational year amounted to $20,472.24.