Volume 8, Number 6 - Winter 1984

Lilly Ridge General Baptist Church
Excerpts from Ozark County Times
by Lucille A. Brown

Lilly Ridge General Baptist Church located off of Hiway 160, three miles east of Gainesville, recently dedicated a new modern sanctuary. The original church was organized in 1912 with the following charter members: John Newton, Carrie Newton, George White, Clara White, Thomas F. Blacksher, Effie Grisham, J.R. Beard, Francis Beard, M.S. Beard, Josie Blacksher, Emma Pleasant, Eva Hogard, Rilla Lamb, Walter Cole and Samantha Cole. The congregation met in the Lilly Ridge schoolhouse until 1951 when the first sanctuary was built. The name of the ridge and school came from a family named Lilly who were early settlers in the area and donated land for the school and cemetery. The school building was constructed in 1879.

The ministers who led in organizing the Lilly Ridge Church were Revs. J.W. Sullivan, Asbury Honeycutt, and Deacon W.E. Young. Others participating in the organization were George White, deacon, W. J. Cole, church clerk and deacon, Thomas Blacksher, treasurer and J.W.

Sullivan, moderator. Mrs. Edna Blacksher has been a member of the church longer than anyone else. She joined the church in 1915 and remembers approximately 15 members gathering together for Sunday School and Church. The memberhsip now numbers 102.

Nineteen ministers have served the church from 1912 to 1978 when the present pastor assumed his duties. J.W. Sullivan (1912-1913) served one year and was followed by John Hathcock (1914-1916). Brother Sullivan came back as pastor and served four more years (1916-1920), succeeded by Brother Hathcock who served one year (1920-1921). The other pastors and the years they served were: J.P. Hathcock (1921); D.A. Honeycutt (1921-1924); H.I. Hart (1924-1928-1930); Charles Phillips (1929-1929); W.H. Stevenson (1929-1930-1931); Nell Reich (1931-1933); Lloyd Norton (1934-1936 and 1941); Walter Scott (1936-1940); Willie Hillhouse

1942-1946); Raymond McGinnis (1946-1948); John Wray (1948-1955); John Grist (1955-1956); Allen Ledbetter (1956-1961); Truman Miller (1961-1970); Dean Trivett (1970-1971); and Farris Evans (1971-1978). The present pastor is Joe Gaddy.

The church clerks, now deceased, and their times of service were W.J. Cole (1912-1916); Bertha Blacksher Watson (1916-1923); 1926-1928 and 1934-1956; Agnes Blacksher Smith

(1923-1926); and Ollie Sowards Crawford (1928-1934). In 1956 Maggie Gaddy was appointed clerk and served until 1965. Ida Mae Huse, who now holds the office, was elected.

Church deacons who have served were George White, Walter Cole, Thomas Blacksher, Albert Blacksher and Henry Huse, all deceased. Alfred Gaddy has also served as past deacon. Present deacons are Elijah White, Fray Duggins, Glen Ingram and Wayman King.

The new sanctuary is completely modern, and well furnished by generous contributions from members and friends of the church.

During the dedication services for the new sanctuary many in the congregation must have reflected on how the past history of the church, thankful that the church just as in the community for worship services where all are welcome. It is a place where the landmarks of life are celebrated births, conversions, baptisms, marriages and finally where the passing of a life is recognized and mourned.


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