A Brief History of McCormick First Baptist Church

From our beginning as a mission work of Buffalo Baptist Church, which held a weekly Sunday School and preaching services when possible at Dorn’s Mine in the 1870’s, to our present position as McCormick First Baptist Church, our congregation has sought to serve God and our community. The church was organized and received into the Abbeville Baptist Association in 1878, with B.F. Miller serving as the first pastor. The church was then known as the Dorn’s Mine Baptist Church.In 1882 the name of our community and our church was changed to McCormick (McCormick Baptist Church) in honor of the famed inventor Cyrus McCormick and his family. McCormick, who had purchased a great deal of local property in 1871 from William B. Dorn for the purpose of gold mining, his wife, Nettie, and his son, Cyrus, Jr., took great interest in establishing a town and enhancing the community. Land was donated for various purposes, including the establishment of churches. Such grants, McCormick wrote, were “for the consideration of one dollar the further consideration of the love I bear for the cause of Christ and a desire to promote His heritage.” Lots 16 and 17 of Block E, at the corner of Oak and Gold Streets, were donated to our church, and our first sanctuary was erected there in 1884.

In 1920, during the pastorate of L.H. Gardner, land was purchased at the corner of Oak and Augusta Streets, and our present sanctuary was built. All of the land in Block E is presently owned by the church, having been obtained by generous gifts and timely purchases.

An educational building was constructed adjacent to the sanctuary in 1951, and the present parsonage was built in 1955-56. Both of these projects were accomplished during the pastorate of Dr. L. K. Simpson, who served the church for 16 years. The latest educational building facing Walnut Street was completed and equipped in 1963, during the pastorate of H.J. Gambrell, who served the church for 26 years.

The church incorporated and officially became known as the McCormick First Baptist Church in 1985.

Following is a listing of our church’s pastors:

B.F. Miller 1878-1880 and 1883 L.R. Hogan 1918
T.A. Reid 1881-1882 L.H. Gardner 1919-1923
J.A. Bell 1885 W.W. Sisk 1924-1928
H.C Smart 1888-1890 W.H. Barfield 1929-1930
G.H. Burton 1891 D.V Cason 1931-1935
George Bussey 1892-1897 Thad Persons 1935-1940
J.T. Littlejohn 1898 L.K.Simpson 1941-1957
W.W. Jones 1899 H.J. Gambrell 1958-1984
J.C. Mays 1902 D.M. Kauffman 1985-1991
D.A. Swindler 1903-1907 Steven M. Cheek 1992-1995
R.E. Duren 1908 Ryan B. Eklund and Other Interims 1995-1997
J.A. Martin 1909 Dennis Lynn 1998-2009
S.R. Bass 1910 Gary DeBerry 2009-2015
J.S. Harris 1911-1913 Michael Allen 2015-Present
W.R. Smith 1914-1918