Eureka Baptist Church
Keysville, Virginia



A History Of The Eureka Baptist Church
Organized December 7, 1919
Keysville, Virginia
R.F.D. One
July 30th, 1967



In order that those who have sacrificed for the church be reminded more vividly, and those of us who have been united with this body by birth, marriages or other manner may understand more clearly the sacrifice, love and Christian fellowship that prompted this organization and supported its growth, this information has been collected.  Much of it has come from our written records, and by talking with the men and women, many of whom were boys and girls during our early history who have worked, prayed, and worshipped together this half century -- 1917-1967.
-- B.N.W.



(Taken from the Clerk's First Record Book of 1918)

"A little leaven leaventh the whole lump."  This great parable spoken by our Master nearly 2000 years ago still asserts itself in our Sunday Schools and Churches as Daniel Boone blazed the way from the Yadkin Valley into Kentucky and turned civilization westward; so a few people from North Carolina combined with a few good old Virginians blazed the way for the building of the Eureka Baptist Church.  This Church grew out of the Sunday School which was organized in the Spring of 1914 in the District School House with L. J. Yeaman as superintendent, who served faithfully from 1914 to 1920 -- combined with the faithful preaching of the Rev. Mr. J.A. Barnhardt.

The ground was cleared off and the church named Eureka Baptist Church in September, 1818.  The foundation was laid in 1919.  The church was organized with 74 members on Dec. 7, 1919, with Rev. J. A. Barnhardt as pastor; J. E. White, Clerk; and L. P. White, Treasurer.

On December 21, 1919, E. J. Green, J. L. Dunn, J. W. Watts and E. P. Locke were ordained as Deacons.

Two acres of ground were donated by J. W. Watts and help was generously given by the people of neighboring churches.  Special mention should be made of Mt. Tirzah, Mt. Nebo and Friendship Baptist Churches as well as from the Ash Camp Baptist Church. Members from these churches were workers in the old Eureka Sunday School of 25 and 30 years ago. This seed sown brought forth fruit.

This begins the story in the clerk's records, begun in 1919, even before our church was erected.  Actually the Sunday School, which was organized in 1914 operated only part of the year -- from the first of April through the Christmas season.

In the beginning (1914-1915) the Rev. W. A. Pearson, the pastor of Ash Camp Baptist Church, came occasionally on the third Sunday for preaching at 3 p.m.   On some warm Sundays, preaching was held in the shade of the building with the congregation seated on benches taken from the school building.  Even, some Sunday School classes were held in the shade of the trees in hot weather. Enrollment was 108 and attendance was in the 90's and sometimes even 100 per cent.

The Rev. Willie L. Yeaman, brother of  Mr. L. J. Yeaman, conducted protracted meetings in November of 1914, 1915 and 1916. Beginning in 1917, Rev. J. A. Barnhardt came frequently to preach on the third Sunday afternoons.  In July 1917 and 1918, he held revival meetings in the school house.  In November, 1919, he held such a meeting for which Mrs. Irene Wallace loaned her organ, which Mrs. J. A. Barnhardt played.  During this week of revival, 22 people made their profession of faith.

This was the foundation upon which the Eureka Baptist Church was built.  Those in our midst who have been workers since the earliest church history, can recall both the struggles and joys of creating a building and the intangible strength used by God to assist and unite a group of people working for a common interest -- the glory of God.

Of the original church officers only Mr. L. P. White survives, and he has been an active member, church officer and beloved Sunday School teacher continuously during the almost 50 years of the Eureka Baptist Church work.

The first mention of a church building came about in an informal meeting.  According to Mr. White, he and other neighbors were visiting in the home of the late John Wilson and Mrs. Fannie White Watts in the early part of 1917.  Mr. E. J. Green, one of the visitors made a statement that the community needed a church and that he would give as much as anyone else towards its construction.   Mr. J. W. Watts replied that he would give as much as Mr. Green and would also give the land on which to build the church.  Mr. Watts gave the timer standing on a specified 10-acre lot and the logs were cut by men interested in seeing a community church grow.

The donated timber was manufactured into lumber without cost by the various workmen of the community.  Plans for the church building were drawn by Mr. Otis M. Locke Sr., who supervised the construction.  With some hired help and much volunteer work, the auditorium of the present building was erected.

The women and children contributed to the community effort.  Various plans for raising money for equipment and supplies are recorded: ice cream suppers, box suppers, brunswick stews, annual picnics, bakes sales and lawn parties.  

Much fellowship was created by working toward a common goal;  the realization that the people actually are the church and the building only an instrument to be used in the worship of God; the gift of a Bible from Mt. Nebo Church; the gift of a table and communion set from Mrs. R. T. Chappell; the first funeral in the church -- that of  Mr. Perry Reinhardt and the first wedding -- that of Miss Cleo White and Mr. Charlies Edmonds.

On Oct. 31, 1918, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Watts deeded two acres of land to Eureka Baptist Church.  E. P. Locke, W. H. Cooke and J. E. White were elected trustees of the new church.

The Rev. J. A. Barnhardt, pastor of Ash Camp Baptist Church of Keysville assisted in the Sunday School held in the Eureka school house, located one-half mile South of highway 40, on highway 654.  Under his leadership the building plans materialized and the organization of the church began.  Mr. Barnhardt was called as the first pastor.

The first officers were: J. E. White, clerk; L. P. White, treasurer; E. J. Green, J. L. Dunn, J. W. Watts, E. P. Locke, L. J. Yeaman  and W. H. Cook, deacons.

The first mention in the minutes of a pastor's salary was on March 21, 1920, when $7.52 was collected on purpose.  The minutes on this date also confirms the church's affiliation with the Appomattox Baptist Association.  The field of churches included Eureka, Drakes Branch and Mt. Tirzah, at Charlotte C.H.

The church was completed in the early summer of 1920 but lacked pews and other furnishings.  The church is greatly indebted to Messrs. Tom and Charlie Watkins who furnished a number of large pine trees from which pews were constructed.

The first complete service in the new church was held on Aug. 14, 1920 with 50 members out of 74 enrolled present.

The opening service was also the beginning of the first revival meeting in the church.  The church did not possess an organ so one was kindly loaned to the church by Mr. J. L. Dunn. It was hauled to the church in a wagon and played during the revival by Mrs. J. A. Barnhardt and Miss Florence Wallace.  During the services, five people united with the church by profession: O. M. Locke Sr., Harrison Robinette, Misses Lois Hurt, Cindy Barnhill and Lena White and Mrs. Hattie J. Tharpe by letter.

Dedication services were held in June, 1921.

In May, 1921, the Rev. Mr. Barnhardt offered his resignation and was succeeded by the Rev. Fred T. Bobbitt who served two years. During the next seven years the church had four different pastors: Rev. J. A. Padgett, Rev. W. B. Ingram, Rev. S. B. Houghton and Rev. G. R. Pankey.  On Aug. 2, 1924 the minutes record that preaching was twice a month and the pastor's salary was $400 per year from the Eureka church.

In August, 1931, the Rev. R. P. Welch accepted a call to become pastor of the church.  Note is made in the minutes that the pastor could not cash his first salary check because of the closing of the banks.  The first addition to the church, a Sunday School room was built about this time with materials and money furnished by Mr. L. J. Yeaman.

During the next few years, the country was in the throes of the depression.  Often the church was in arrears in the paying of the pastor.  The records show that in 1934 the pastor's salary was supplemented by eleven chickens from as many families, which were valued at $8.62.

In November, 1935, M. P. Locke, L. P. White and O. M. White were elected trustees and in January the old Eureka school house property was sold.

Even in the adversity of the depression, the church prospered.  A number of additions were made and upkeep of the property was kept through donated labor and materials.

In 1952, the church voted to begin the rotation system for deacons -- deacons were elected to serve three years and were off for a year before becoming eligible to serve again.

The period 1952 to 1956 was one of progress, both spiritually and materially.  The church grounds were landscaped, the interior of the church was decorated, new pulpit furniture and pews were installed.

The first homecoming in the church's history was held in July of 1954.  On this occasion a brief history of the church was given by Mrs. Dorothy Locke, Mrs. Loyd White, Mrs. Annie D. Philbeck and Mr. Gordon Haley.  Guest speaker was the Rev. Watson Wallace, of  Naruna, boyhood member of the church who had assisted in the early construction.

In December, 1956, the Rev. R. P. Welch offered his resignation as pastor and retired from the active ministry.  Mr. Welch guided the church through one of its most difficult periods. In his 25 years as pastor his patience and faith must have been sorely tried many times.  The churches often had to pay his salary in farm produce and services.

In 1957, the church united with the Mt. Tirzah Baptist Church of Charlotte Court House in a two-church field.  In March of 1957, the two churches called the Rev. Robert Pratt to become pastor.  He resigned in December 1960 to accept a position with the Maryland Home Mission Board.

In 1957, the west wing addition to the Sunday School was added.  Stained glass windows were installed and given in memory of Mr. S. H. Collins.  Four chandeliers were given for the beautification of the church.

In April, 1961, the Rev. George Harris accepted the call to become pastor of Eureka and Mt. Tirzah Baptist churches.  Mr. Harris' father had conducted revival services in the church several times in the twenties.

Eureka affiliated with the new Southside Baptist Association formed in 1962.

The year 1964 saw extensive improvements to the church.  An east wing with three additional classrooms were added, oak paneling was installed on the wainscoting and woodwork and folding doors were placed in the rear of the church and a central heating plant was installed.  This extensive remodeling work was under the supervision of  Mr. Harlan S. White.

There is still much to be accomplished at Eureka, so no proper ending can be written to our story.  For strength we have the challenge and the inspiration of the founders of our church, and the promise of the Lord's message:  "I am with you, saith the Lord, and the Lord stirred up the spirit of the people and they came and worked in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God." -- Haggai.



AUGUST 14, 1920

SOLO: "BUILDING FOR JESUS" Solo by Mrs. J. A. Barnhardt


Mrs. J. A. Barnhardt, Mrs. M. L. Watkins and Mrs. Herbert W. Phillips from the Ash Camp Baptist Church were instrumental in organizing the first Woman's Missionary Society at Eureka in 1920.

The WMU has been the strongest organization in the church.  Many times they have been the source which many of the church's needs have been met.  They purchased of the church's first organ.  Money for the organ was secured through the making of a quilt, still in the Dunn family's possession brought the sum of $90.90.  A similar quilt was made in 1930 to help with the pastor's salary.

The WMU purchased a second organ and pulpit carpeting.

In 1948, the WMU was forced to disband, but in 1951 Mrs. J. F. Philbeck with the aid of Mrs. W. K. Daubenspeck from the Bethel Baptist Church of Phenix, reorganized the WMU.  Mrs. Dorothy Locke was elected president but served only a few months.  Mrs. Lloyd White was the next president who served until 1956.  Mrs. Mabel White was elected president in 1956 and is still serving in that capacity today.

The group has had WMU study classes, attended group meetings regularly and sent delegates to the State WMS meetings.  Mrs. J. F. Philbeck attended the Southern Baptist Conference week at Ridgecrest, N.C. in July, 1946.



Mrs. J. W. Watts, President; Mrs. A. W. Story, Vice President; Mrs. M. P. Locke, Secretary; Mrs. E. P. Locke, Treasurer.



Mrs. M. J. Locke, 1924-1930; Mrs. A.W. Story, 1930; Mrs. J. E. White, 1931; Mrs. O. M. Locke, 1932-1940; Mrs. F. L. Burgess, 1940-1945; Mrs. Amy Locke Nix, 1945-1946; Mrs. J. F. Philbeck; 1946-1948; No WMU, 1948-1951; Mrs. Dorothy Locke, 1951; Mrs. Lloyd P. White, 1952-1956; Mrs. Mabel White, 1956 --

SUNBEAMS: Mrs. J. E. White, 1920-1925; Miss Annie Dunn, 1925-1930; Mrs. O. M. Locke Sr., 1930-1931; Miss Anna Lee Locke, 1932.

GA: Miss Virginia Green, 1930-1931; Miss Alice Locke, 1932.

RA: Miss Lena White, 1930; Gordon L. Haley, 1953-1956.



Sunday School Study Courses were taught from 1919 through the early 1930's with leaders and teachers from the Virginia Baptist Board in Richmond.  Special mention is made of a two-week assembly of three churches at Drakes Branch Baptist Church in July, 1926.  Mr. E. J. Green furnished cars for transporting the Eureka members, including many young people.  First certificates ever awarded went to Lewis Green, Lloyd Green, Connie Dunn and others not mentioned.  The course was taught by Miss Lucille Hudgins of Richmond.



L. J. Yeaman, 1914-1919; W. H. Cook, 1920-1932; L. P. White, 1923-1925; J. E. White, 1925-1926; M. P. Locke, 1927-1938; J. A. McNeilly, 1938-1963; David Payne, 1963-1965; Harlan White, 1965-1966; David Payne, 1966--



J. Ed. White, 1920; J. Y. Williams, L. J. Yeaman, Mrs. J. W. Watts, Mrs. O. M. Locke, Mrs. J. F. Philbeck, Mrs. Fannie Watts Burgess, L. P. White, Gordon Haley, Mrs. D. H. Bailey, Mrs. Elizabeth Onnen Whiteley, Mrs. Beth Watts.



Miss Annie Dunn, 1926-1929; Ray White, 1930; Lewis Greene, 1930-1933; Miss Hazel Locke, 1933; Lewis Green, 1934-1935; Gordon L. Hailey, 1954-1958; David Payne Sr., 1958-1960.



John W. Watts, E. P. Locke, L. J. Yeaman, E. J. Green, W. H. Cook, L. J. Dunn -- 1919; A. W. Story, 1923; J. Y. Williams 1926; L. P. White -- 1933; O.V. Locke --1930; M. P. Locke, J. F. Philbeck--1936; J. A. McNeilly -- 1938; W. L. Judd, Gordon L. Haley -- 1954; J. Pierce Philbeck, G. Moody Lacks-- 1955; D. H. Bailey, Lewis S. Perkins, Donnie L. Haley, David Payne, Harlan White, O. M. Watts, Henry Wilmouth Jr., Russell Baker, Lawrence Keller, Robert (Bud) Wilmouth.



Mrs. Beth M. Watts, Mrs. Mabel L. White, Mrs. D. H. Bailey, Mrs. O. M. Locke Sr., Mrs. M. J. Locke, Mrs. Lloyd White, Mrs. Grace L. White, Mrs. Gordon Haley, Mrs. Henry Wilmouth Jr., Mrs. Annie T. Hughes, Mrs. Elizabeth Onnen Whiteley, Mrs. Iva D. Reinhardt, Mrs. Ethel Baker, Mrs. Gertie L. Collins, Mrs. Bernice Mc. Payne.



L. P. White, 1919-1925; M. J. Locke, 1925-1927; Mrs. J. E. White; 1927-1931; A. W. Story, 1931-1933; Miss Annie E. Dunn, 1933-1935; Miss Maude Watts, 1935-1936; Mr. J. A. McNeilly 1936 (still serving).



J. Ed. White, 1919-1927; J. S. Baker (2 months, 1927); Macy J. Locke, 1927-1929; Miss Faythe Meadows, 1929-1931; Miss Virginia Green, 1931-1932; A. W. Story, 1932-1935; L. P. White, 1935-1946; Harlan White, 1946 (still serving)



Mrs. J. A. Barnhardt, Mrs. Kitty Sherrill Locke, Miss Corinne Green, Miss Earline Fowler, Mrs. J. A. McNeilly, Miss Maude Watts, Miss Illa Reinhardt, Miss Jean Keller, Miss Edith Lacks, Mrs. Beth Watts, Mrs. Mattiemarie White, Miss Brenda White, Miss Anita Lucado, Miss Janice Hall, Mrs. Elizabeth Whiteley.



1917 - Woman's Temperance Union organized with Mrs. J.E. White as president.
1922 - Host to Charlotte County Interdenominational Sunday School convention.
1932 - Host to Charlotte County Interdenominational Sunday School Convention.
1964 - Host to Southside Baptist Association.  Rev. George A. Harris Jr., pastor of hot church was moderator of association.  



Annie E. Dunn, BYPU Secretary, 1930-1932; Gordon L. Haley, Clerk, 1952-1958; Mrs. Loyd White, Group Leader No. 1, 1952; Loyd White, Sunday School Superintendent, 1955; Russell P. Baker, Executive Committee, 1963.



Russell Baker, Daniel Bentley, Clyde Camp, Lewis Camp, Milton Camp, Grover Childress, Sam Gillespie, Roy Gunther, Clarence Hamlett, Edward Keller, Lawrence Keller, Moody Lacks Jr., Charles Langford, Robert Langford, Joseph Locke, Lewis M. Locke, Marshall Locke, Thomas Locke, E. Lucado, Donnell Nelson, David Payne, James Perkins, Addis Philbeck, Jessie Reinhardt, Charlie Tuck, *George E. Thompson, Gerald W. Watts, Johnny W. Watts, O. Mack Watts, Harlan White, Loyd White, Herman Wilkins, Clarence Wilmouth, Henry Wilmouth Jr., Roy Wilmouth.



1920 PASTOR AND OFFICERS -- Pastor: Rev. J. A. Barnhardt, Clerk--J. E. White; Treasurer, L. P. White; Deacons, John W. Watts. E. P. Locke, L. J. Yeaman, E. J. Green, W. H. Cooke, J. L. Dunn, Trustees: E. P. Locke, W. H. Cook, J. E. White.
1967 PASTOR AND OFFICERS -- Pastor: Rev. George A. Harris Jr., Clerk: Harlan S. White, Treasurer: J. A. McNeilly, Deacons: Lawrence Keller, J. A. McNeilly, Moody Lacks, Tommy Locke, O. M. Watts, Robert Wilmouth, Trustees: L. P. White, M. P. Locke, O. M. Watts.



Steering Committee: Mrs. Elizabeth Whiteley, Mrs. Virginia Lucado, Mr. Harlan White, Mr. L. P. White, Mrs. Beth Watts
Program Committee: Mr. George Harris, Mrs. Virginia Lucado, Mr. David Payne
Historical Committee: Mrs. Beth Watts, Mrs. Elizabeth Whiteley, Mrs. Annie D. Hughes
Publicity Committee: Mrs. Winnie Locke
Finance Committee: Carol Locke, Russell Baker
Special Invitations: Mrs. Dorothy Locke, Mrs. Ann Keller
Hostess Committee: Mrs. Grace White, Mrs. Winnie Locke, Mrs. Texie Keller, Mr. Harlan White, Miss Alice Watts, Miss Janice Hall
Music Committee: Miss Brenda White, Mrs. Louise Harris
Food Committee: Mrs. Mabel White, Mrs. Maude Hall, Mrs. Bernice Gunther, Mr. Roy Locke, Mr. Eddie Lucado
Church Committee: (Including Flowers): Mrs. Kitty Locke, Mrs. Gertie Collins



Rev. J. A. Barnhardt -- Dec. 1919 -- May 1921
Rev. F. A. Bobbitt -- May 1921 -- May 1923
Rev. J. D. Padgett -- May 1923 -- Oct. 1923
Rev. W. B. Ingram -- July 1924 -- July 1925
Rev. S. B. Houghton -- Dec. 1925 -- Feb. 1927
Rev. G.  R. Pankey -- Sept. 1927 -- May 1930
Rev. R. P. Welch -- April 1931 -- Dec. 1956
Rev. Robert Pratt -- March 1957 -- Dec. 1960
Rev. G. A. Harris -- April 1961 --



Made this 21st day of October in the year 1918 between John W. Watts and Fannie L. Watts, his wife, parties of the first part and E. P. Locke, W. H. Cook, and J. E. White (Trustees), parties of the second part.

Witnesseth.  That in consideration of a church donation and free will offering from parties of the first part to said Trustees, parties of the second part, and their successors in office the tract of land described below for the purpose of erecting thereon a Baptist Church known  as "Eureka."  The parties of the first part do grant unto the said parties of the second part and their successors in office with General Warranty all the lot or parcel of land, situated and being in Walton Magisterial District, in the county of Charlotte, State of Virginia and described as follows to-wit.  Beginning at a stone and double post-oaks O.M. Locke's corner, on the North bank of Keysville and Charlotte Court House Road and runs with said road N.83 3/4' W.14 poles on N. bank of said road, then N.5' W. 18 poles to an iron stake.  Then S.85' E.22 poles to a stone on O.M. Locke then with him S.21 1/2 W.18 poles to the beginning, containing two acres.