‘The Church Still Stands’

Story by Anita Minor and David Lindsey

During remodeling construction in January 1998, their church building caught fire and burned. At the time, Elder Stumbaugh stated, “The building is gone but the church still stands.”

Thirty years after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803… fourteen years after Arkansas was organized as a territory in 1819… three years before Arkansas was admitted to the union as a state, and twenty years before the Civil War started, the foundations of the present-day Point Remove Primitive Baptist Church were laid.

On Saturday, Oct. 18, the church will celebrate 175 years since their first constitution was written. They encourage the community to join them with a “block party” which will include free food, music, games, horse and buggy rides and more family-friendly activities.

Elder Harold Stumbaugh, who has served the congregation as pastor since 1983, recently shared original copies of ledgers, photographs and memorabilia collected throughout the church’s 175-year history. The collection was miraculously saved despite a 1998 fire which destroyed their previous building located at 510 North Knoxville in Russellville.

Blessed with Rich History

The year was 1833, on the fourth Saturday before the Lord’s Day in August. The church, known early-on as the Regular Baptist Church of Christ at Point Remove, was established in Griffin Township (Pope County, south of Appleton.)

In an area just above Primm Bridge (which spans Point Remove Creek) and between Hacker Creek was a community called Glass Village, named after Chief Glass of the Cherokee Indians. Glass attended the church, called Glass Village Church, with Richard Griffin and his wife, who was also Cherokee. (A second church, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, was built in 1839 near the location of the Regular Baptist Church. In history books, both churches are referred to as Glass Village Church. Some say only one church was at Glass Village.)

Charter members of Point Remove included the first pastor, Elder James Bruton (Brewton); Thomas Yeates, John Isabell, John Gray, Jerimia King, Avis Yeates, Rebecca Isabell and Polly Ennis.

By 1838, the Church had grown to include 34 members. By June 1841, Ephraim Lemley Sr. donated land for a church building with lumber donated by a saw mill in Appleton and erected by the members.

In July 1881, the church’s name was changed to the Primitive Baptist Church of Christ at Point Remove. By 1891, a number of churches were constituted in Pope County by Point Remove. They included Gum Log Primitive Baptist Church (PBC), Mt. Zion PBC, Friendship PBC, Johnson County; New Hope PBC, Johnson County; and Shiloh PBC, Atkins.

Pastors serving between 1863 and 1901 included: G. W. Bashan, Thomas Moudy, G.W. Berryman, Wm. A. Williams, G.M. Snider, T.P. McCain and J.C. Venerable. A period of transition followed during which the church dissolved briefly before reorganizing in Nov. 1907.

The early members of Point Remove met in various homes at least once each month. In the summer of 1890, a new building was constructed by Jim Webb and D. Lewis with material donated by John H. Hickman. Labor was paid for by Will Ross. The building located across the road from the present Hector elementary school, was used by three Baptist groups including Primitive, Missionary and Freewill, and was used as a school in 1890 until 1920.

In 1925 Point Remove and Gum Log Church agreed to consolidate and build a new building at Atkins. The church building at Point Remove Creek was taken apart, hauled in sections with teams and wagons then re-assembled under the direction of Joe Duvall at a site in Atkins. The first service was held in Atkins on the fifth Sunday in May 1925. The Gum Log church building was torn down and moved to Atkins. It was rebuilt as a home for Elder J.H. O’Neal and his wife, Sister Savannah Evelyn Henley O’Neal.

Pastors that followed included A.W. Bullock, A.B. Cochran, T.P. McCain, J.H. O’Neal, J.C. McClellan, Virgil Holland, R.F. Sandage, Austin Johnson, Earl Lewis, Roland Green, Lowell Miles, H.D. Fulmer and Bill Lee.

Point Remove Church at Atkins consolidated with the Church at Russellville in 1976 and became known as Point Remove Primitive Baptist Church in Russellville. Elder H.D. Fulmer served as pastor until 1983.

In 1983, Elder Harold Stumbaugh began as pastor and serves the congregation until the present day. Stumbaugh, born near Dover, was ordained at Pleasant Union Primitive Baptist church in Senath, Mo., and married Sister Mary Tyer (Stumbaugh) on Dec. 20, 1952. The couple has three children, Dianna, Steve and David; eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

During remodeling construction in January 1998, the church building caught fire and burned. At the time, Elder Stumbaugh stated, “The building is gone but the church still stands.”

Point Remove is extremely appreciative of The River Valley Baptist Association, who allowed the church to use their building until a new one was completed in June 1998. They, in turn, allow groups such as Hospice In-Home Services and Senior Companions, to use their building for meetings.

The church is very community-minded, stress its members. “The church congregation is made up of  people of diverse ages, from newborn to 94 years of age. They welcome all to come visit…especially those who don’t have a ‘home church.”

The congregation has been involved in several projects, such as donations to Main Street Mission, the Pregnany Crisis Center, preparing breakfast for those displaced by Hurricane Katrina , and the Help Network organization.

 

 

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