Our History

Recent History

     Trask HallIn 2002 the church received monetary and real estate bequeaths along with suggestions that a handicapped accessible Fellowship Hall be added to the corner of Main and Elm.  In 2003 a building committee was formed and a groundbreaking was held on October 8, 2003 and on October 29, 2003 the foundation was started.  A ribbon cutting and Open House was held on April 25, 2004.  Later in the afternoon of April 25th the Activity Center/Fellowship Hall was dedicated to the Lord’s witness and was officially named Trask Hall.  Trask Hall was named for C.F. and Lula Mae Trask, who had been long-time members of First Baptist Church and had held many leadership positions during their years of service in the church.

     Trask Hall has a total of 5832 sq. ft. and houses a large equipped kitchen, a meeting room, basketball/volleyball court, restrooms and a storage room.  Since the dedication service many activities have been held in the new facility including; wedding receptions, birthday parties, funeral dinners, missionary programs, summer housing for youth missionary groups, children’s activities, Pine Car Derby, Associational Programs, 5th

     Quarter events following school football and basketball games, Deacon’s breakfasts, Sunday School meetings, youth lock-ins, open play for youth and children and open for adult walking. Huntsville First Baptist Church has had 45 ministers serving over a span of 168 years and the congregation is currently without a pastor, but is looking forward to the call of a new pastor in the near future. Huntsville FBC glances at the past as they celebrate during 2005 in their 100 year old Worship Center and they focus on the future in Trask Hall/Activity Center, which was completed in 2004

Submitted by Dora May Craven

Early 1900's

1905     On August 4, 1909, the note for the indebtedness on the church building was burned. Brother W. A. Todd, who had come to the church as a pastor in June of that year, had in the first two (2) months of his pastorate, with the help of Mr. Eugie Jackson, raised $3,397.50, which cleared the church of a debt carried on the building for five years. Much credit was given to Brother Todd and Mr. Jackson for their work. Each morning for 2 months they knocked on doors of the members, collecting money on the church note. It was a delightful occasion on Sunday, October 4, 1909 when the First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Missouri was dedicated to the service of Almighty God. Joy and thanksgiving filled the hearts of the members for the sermons and services of the day. Brother S. M. Brown of Kansas City, MO preached the Dedicatory sermon and it was befitting that our pastor, Brother Todd, who had labored so earnestly to make this possible, should offer the dedicatory prayer. Every obligation had been fully met and a small balance left in the treasury. The day was propitious and will long be remembered (copied from church minutes of October 1909). Sometime later a parsonage was built on the lot adjoining the church building.

     In August of 1906, a tent meeting was held on the schoolhouse grounds. It was of three weeks duration and Rev H. A. Hunt was the evangelist. There were 112 souls saved during that meeting. The missionary Society (now called WMU) of this church was organized in 1873 and is the oldest society in the Mt. Pleasant Association. The Ladies Aid Society was very active also for many years, giving ice cream suppers, chicken dinners, dinner for the Old Settlers and sponsoring bazaars to help defray the expenses of the church. Women have always had a large part in the life of this church. The church minutes of January 6, 1897 state that the Ladies Aid Society presented to the church the Baptist Parsonage with all indebtedness cancelled and by motion the church extended the Ladies Aid Society a unanimous vote of thanks.     The church has ordained men to the ministry down through the years and produced many teachers and leaders who have gone out to help other churches; some have organized Baptist Churches where they have moved, there being no Baptist church in the community. Ours is a Missionary Baptist Church. The church minutes show that we give systematically to the Co-operative Program. We also give generously to the Lottie Moon Foreign Mission offering, to the Annie Armstrong Home Mission offering and to the State Mission offering.

     The First Baptist Church of Huntsville , MO has been called the “Mother of Baptist Churches.” This church helped to organize Mt Salem Baptist Church in 1856; also Pleasant Hill Church and Union church. Because of few persons attending services at the Sweet Springs Baptist Church, south of Huntsville, that church asked to become a mission of the First Baptist Church of Huntsville. Services were conducted there by supply preachers for several years. In 1966, the Huntsville Baptist Church called Rev. Kenneth Sears to become the mission pastor and in July was organized into a church body. The minutes state that other churches requested the Huntsville church to send a committee to assist in the settlement of a difficulty existing in their church. The Huntsville church always responded.

     In 1937, the Centennial of this church was observed. Rev B. F. Kennedy was the pastor at that time. In 1950 the parsonage was sold and removed from the church property, another parsonage having been purchased. An educational building, adjoining the church was erected on the site of the old parsonage. At that time the baptistry in the church building was extensively remodeled and the beautiful background picture was painted by an artist from Center, MO, who was also the minister of the Baptist Church there. This painting was made possible by a monetary gift from one of our members, Mrs. Paul (Martha) Grigsby.


1858     Some great revivals have been held in this church. These humble veterans of the Cross, although having very few conveniences in their early life enjoyed much of the grace of God and had many precious revivals and witnessed many happily converted to the Lord. The ministers who did the preaching received little remuneration in the way of money, but were made rich in the harvest of souls. The most remarkable revival held was in 1839 during the ministry of Brother William Duncan, who was assisted by Brother A. P. Williams. There were one hundred thirty (130) conversions and baptisms, one entire family of eight being among the number. Another great revival was held in January 1911 with Rev. Edward James as the evangelist. The meeting continued for five (5) weeks. The attendance was large every night and one hundred fourteen (114) souls were added to the Kingdom of God.     Our third pastor, Brother A. M. Lewis, urged church attendance. If absent three times you must appear before the deacon board. If absent one year you were excluded from the membership of the church. The First Baptist Church erected the first church house in the town of Huntsville about 1840 on East Elm Street across from the present Christian Church. The church worshipped in this building until the erection of the Mount Pleasant College. At that time the church house was sold and the money was placed in the Mt. Pleasant College fund with the stipulation that the Huntsville Baptists were to worship in the chapel of the college. The church house on Elm Street was sold for $2,000 for a public school building and was used as such for some time.

     In 1844, Patsey, a colored woman was received as a member of this church by letter from Virginia, there being no colored organization in the town at that time. In 1849 another colored woman was also received into the membership of this church. 

     The Mt. Pleasant College served this part of the state for twenty-one (21) years. On the morning of July 15, 1882, the college edifice burned to the ground, the walls only being left intact. Only the piano, organ, pulpit, Bible and hymn book were saved. There was no insurance on the building or furniture. Again, First Baptist Church of Huntsville was without a place of worship. The County Court granted the Baptists the use of the County Court room and the Methodist and Christian Churches also offered their buildings for our use. In April of 1883, the Baptists bought a lot on the corner of Library and Short Streets. After much self-denial and a lot of hard work a brick building was erected at the cost of $8,000. At this time there were 206 enrolled in Sunday School. The first BYPU (Baptist Young People’s Union) was organized in this church in 1895. By 1902 the church had outgrown the building on the corner of Library and Short Streets. A new industry had opened in Huntsville, coal mining. Miners came to Huntsville from England, Scotland, Wales and Italy, and new members were added to the church. The church building was sold to Mr. Grimes for a boarding house and a lot purchased on the corner of Main and Elm Streets, where a brick building was erected. The June 3rd 1904 issue of the Huntsville Herald stated that “the church building will be a very handsome structure. It’s dimensions will be 47 by 96 feet. The auditorium will be 45 feet square, with a Sunday School room 36 feet square on the west side and two rooms on the east side. There will also be a class room 16 feet square in the second story of the tower. The pulpit and the baptistry are in the southeast corner of the auditorium, with the choir loft above them. The seats will form arcs of a circle with the pulpit as a center. The seating capacity will be the largest of any building in town. Heflin and Sons will have the contract for the building which will be a credit to the town.” The church building was completed and ready for use in early 1905.


1840     The early pioneers who came to Missouri were a sturdy God-fearing race, who brought with them their religious ideals and proceeded to put these ideals into practice. These were men and women not afraid of hard work and the forest. With them also came the gospel of Jesus Christ.     In 1837, there being no Baptist church within a mile of the town of Huntsville, a group of dedicated Christian men and women banded together to organize a Baptist Church.

     The First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Missouri was organized August 27, 1837 in the home of Zephaniah Walden, with eight members present: namely, Theopilius Edins, Zephaniah Walen, his wife Elizabeth, Mary Thomas, Martha Dameron, Benjamin Terril, James Terrill, and Jane Poole. Edler Fleming Wilhite of Boone County and Elders Thomas Fristoe and William F Mansfield of Howard County assisted in the organization. Bother James Terrill was appointed church clerk and a letter was sent to the Mount Pleasant Association asking for admission into the association as a member of that body. In October of that year the church was received as a member of the Mount Pleasant Association of United Baptists. The church agreed to hold meetings on the third Saturday and the Lord’s Day following in each month.

     J. C. Shaefer and his wife were received into the church in September 1837 on letters of recommendation from the Baptist Church of Charlottesville, VA. These were the first addition to the little flock since their organization as a church. Mr. Shaefer served the church fifty (50) years as a church clerk. In later years, Mrs. John Harris, served in the same capacity for thirty-seven (37) years. Mr. Schaefer organized the first Sunday School in Randolph County in 1839, but the church minutes state that it was not until 1856 that the First Baptist Church voted to make the Sunday School a permanent part of the church.

     Meetings were held in the homes of the members. The old church minutes record that the members read scripture, prayed and exhorted (exhort means to urge or appeal by argument). The first visiting minister to the Huntsville church was Elder Scott, whose preaching and exhortation inspired new life and hope to the little flock yet without a shepherd.

     The first baptism in the Huntsville church was Delilah Terrill, April 1838. The first observance of the Lord’s supper was in May of 1838. I have in my possession the wine pitcher that was used in the early churches at the observance of the Lord’s Supper, being given to me several years ago (this was returned to the church by the family). In early years the churches used two large cups for serving the wine for the Lord’s Supper. The men drank from one cup and the women from the other (of course there were no such things as germ then). The two cups were filled from the large silver pitcher. In May of 1838, the first deacons were ordained, Zephaniah Walden and Thomas Hardister. Brother William Duncan preached on this occasion and assumed the relation of pastor of the church, stating that he wold serve the church as long as the Lord would enable him. He served the church as pastor for nine years. He lived thirty miles away and rode horseback. The early church minutes record that peace and tranquility prevailed.