The Following was in an updated version of the history published in 1968.
Rev. Jesse A. Iwig agreed in the Fall of a9146 ttos erve the Dial Church and hold two preaching services each month at 9:45 A.M. He served in this capacity until 1949.
Rev. B. L. Peacock became pastor in 1950 and served till 1953. He was a very friendly man and a good mixer.
Rev. R. A. Patlow served as a supply 1954-55. He was noted as an outstanding preacher.
Rev. Harold G. Wise served the Dial Church from July 1955 to Jan. 1957. It is reported that h was very much like his name, Wise.
Rev. Samuel Rice served the church from Sept. 1957 to April 1962. Sammy was a rolly-polly good fellow who could be heard anywhere.
Rev. Robert P. Coffman came to the church fresh out of Seminary and served from June 1963 to August 1966. Robert is reported to have been a good boy who conducted excellent session meetings.
Rev. Arthur R. Osborne came to serve the Dial church and community in March 1967, and is the present pastor - enough said.
The following is a list of the present Church officers, July 25, 1968: Pastor and Moderator of the Session - Rev. Arthur R. Osborne.
Ruling Elders: (1948-1968) In 1948, H. S. Yant, died August 9, 1957. M. L. Milford, died June 8, 1958; J. F. Hall, died March 29, 1956; L. S. Williams - removed (inactive).
1968: A. D. Yant; C. E. Joyce; Elbert Nunnelley; Ray Yant (12-23-51); John E. Avery (12-23-51); C. E. Joyce, Jr., (2-20-59); H. J. Nunnelley (1011058); Girt Hill (1-11-58).
1948: John E. Avery - Elder, 1951; Milton Wells to Honey Grove Church Jan. 1954. Dumas Ray Yant - Elder, 1951; Harvey J. Nunnelley - Elder, 1958; Girt Hill - Elder 1958; W. A. Carter to Honey Grove.
1968: S. Warren Cooper; C. E. Joyce, Jr., 1951-1959 (Elder); Robert R. (Joe) Sale, 1955 - moved to Bonham; Wilbirn Thomason - 1955-1957 (Dallas); N. Martin Joyce, 1958; Charles R. Yant, 1959; Bobby D. Joyce, 1959; Robert H. Milford, 1959-1963 (Bonham); Lloyd McKee, 1962; Walter E. Reily, 1964; Charles Melton, 1966; Ronnie Reily, 1967; John A. Yant, 1967.
Present Church Members and the date of their joining: (1968)
John E. Avery
Pauline Wishard Avery
Mary Alice Avery
Mary Sue Carlock
Mattie Lou Jean Cooper
N. Martin Joyce
Ocie Pearl Avery Joyce
C. Earl Joyce
Mary Nunnelley Joyce
C. E. Joyce, Jr.
Melba Julsey Joyce
Bobby Joyce (inactive)
Carolyn Marie Joyce
Roger Earl Joyce
Ione Mudson Milford
Charles Melton (inactive)
Lloyd B. McKee
Luta Joakum McKee
Modena Hensley McCown
Elbert E. Nunnelley
Ora Dell West Nunnellley
Harvey J. Nunnelley
Bernice Lackford Nunnelley
Julia E. Roland
Walter Earl Reily
Ruby Mae Joyce Reily
Daphna Young Speer
A. D. Yant
Ruby Bell Yant
Dumas Ray Yant
Mary Grace Hudson Yant
Charles Ray Yant
Emily Jean Olson Yant
John Alexander Yant
L. S. Williams
Fred N. West
Mrs. James Holley
Mattie Simpson Hall
Mary Wilsie Hones Caldwell
W. R. Caldwell
Idea Scears McKee
Minnie Cooper Carter
James A. Holley
J. F. Hall
C. C. Roland
H. S. Yant
Perry West Yant
Ella Lane Milford
Murray Land Milford
Edna McKee Yant
Willie D. Jean
Cherokee Nickels West
Urbie Hall Hill
Once the boys stretched wire across the aisles before time for the service in Lane's Academy.
The Lewis Chiles family in the community is said to have had one of the very first surreys. It had two seats, brass trimmed lights on one side and fringe all around the top. Mr. Chiles drove very spirited horses to the surrey to bring the whole family to church. Once when the whole family drove to the tabernacle grounds for grove prayer meeting they found the prayer meeting already in progress. The preacher with a white linen duster over his clothing, was kneeling in prayer near the side of the road. As the surrey approached the preacher raised up and it scared the team so much that is was all Mr. Chiles could do to manage them He said, "Matt if he comes up again this surrey is sure going over."
During one of the summer revivals, held down at the old tabernacle, a group of the boys decided they had to have some amusement, so they took the sleeping babies out of their respective wagons and switched them around. In other words, they probably put little Willie Price in the Meek wagon and little Sam in the McKee wagon, and little red headed Lloyd in the Jean wagon, and son on. Of course, after the meeting was over that night the parents climbed into their wagons and went home, only to find somebody else's baby screaming in their arms. You can well understand and appreciate the commotion that took place about midnight that night, what without any telephones, having to ride all around the community trying to locate their own baby and get rid of their neighbor's. Mr. Bob Chiles still remembers the whipping he got over that.
And then the writer can well remember in the 20's the old carbide lights that we had at the Church. At the evening service the boys would hope for the lights to go out, so Bro. Welch would have to cease talking about the benevolences and dismiss us. Sure enough, those old lights would flicker. One of the brethren would run out and do something to the plant, then the lights would get brighter for a few minutes, but then, bingo, and the church was in darkness, and home we would go.
A few of the important as well as some of the amusing incidents connected with the history of the Bethel Presbyterian Church in Dial are worthy of recording.
The Dial cemetery is closely associated with the church. Sam Wise of Honey Grove helped with the burial of the first person who was Bobby Dial, brother of Jim Dial.
In the early days a large tabernacle was on the west side of the cemetery. The land for the tabernacle was given by Asa Crowson and the building of the tabernacle was a community project. A group of young men with a large number of wagons hauled the lumber to build the tabernacle from Pecan Gap. John Lane who was an elderly man at the time but a good carpenter was foreman of construction. This tabernacle was known as Lane's Camp Ground.
The Methodist people in the community built a Methodist church at Rock Point where they worshipped many years.
Members of the Campbellite faith came to the Honey Grove church.
The present Baptist church building was erected in 1909.
The name of Dial was given to the community when the United States Post Office was established there. It was named for the Jim Dial family.
Young boys of members of the community were always ready for pranks and often the preacher became the victim. When elderly Rev. Simpson was pastor the boys tied the back axle of his wagon (before buggies came into use) to a stump in the church yard. When he was ready to leave Rev. Simpson got into his wagon and holding the reins said, "There has never been a time when my team won't go when I tell it to." After the horses had been lunging back and forth trying to move the wagon, the preacher discovered what was the trouble. It is said that he was so angry he passed all the other wagons going home.
One of the preachers hunted for the saddle for his horse and all the while boys were pretending to help. He finally located it in the very top of a bid, dead, Bois d'arc tree where the boys had placed it.
When one pastor got ready to go home he found his horse turned around in the shaves and hitched with his head over the dash board.
SOME EARLY INFANT BAPTISMS
Williams Robert and Elizabeth Ann Hamilton were baptised by Rev. John McKee, October 10, 1948.
Thomas, a black boy, was baptised by Rev. John McKee, on Oct. 19, 1848.
Ann Eliza, infant, was baptised by Rev. John McKee January 30, 1849.
Samuel R. McCleary was baptised by Rev. John McKee June 24, 1849
John T. McCleary, infant, was baptised by Rev. John McKee June 24, 1849.
Elizabeth H. McCleary was baptised by Rev. John McKee Sept. 9, 1849.
Mary Harriett Baker was baptised by Rev. John McKee Sept. 9, 1849.
George Washington Robnett baptised by Rev. John McKee on September 8, 1850.
Mary Clay Robnett was baptised by Rev. John McKee September 8, 1950.
Columbus Alexander Hamilton baptised by Rev. John McKee September 8, 1850.
Emeline Ann McKee was baptised by Rev. Rudolph, October 13, 1853.
Mary Victor Odell was baptised by Rev. Rudolph October 13, 1858.
David Alexander McKee was baptised by Rev. Rudolph October 13, 1858.
Mary Jane McCleary was baptised by Rev. R. Jones October 11, 1859.
Martha Ellen McKee was baptised by Rev. R. Jones October 11, 1859.
Margaret E. McKee was baptised by Rev. R. Jones May 6, 1860.
Willie D. baker was baptised by Rev. S. W. McKee May 3, 1868.
Catherine Lane was baptised by Rev. R. R. Dunlap September 6, 1868.
Catherine Jane McKee was baptised by Rev. R. R. Dunlap Sept. 6, 1868.
Julia Piner and Frank E. Piner were baptised by Rev. S. W. McKee January 27, 1869.
John Edgar McCleary was baptised by Rev. W. A. Williams May 1, 1870.
George Bagby Baker was baptised by Rev. W. A. Williams July 3, 1870.
Amanda E. Robnett was baptised by Rev. W. A. Williams Aug. 6, 1870.
If we have omitted any names that should be on the list, or included any names that should not be on the list, please excuse us, as we have tried to make this as near correct as humanly possibly.
Thus we conclude the history of more than a century of the life of Dial (Bethel) Presbyterian Church. It is the story of the experiences of several generations who have made this history. In it we find joys, sorrows and struggles that go into the making of a Christian community. May the past serve as a pattern for the molding a future that will honor those whom we revere in telling this story.
|Harvey Nunnelley||August 2, 1925|
|Bernice Nunnelley||October 29, 1933|
|Ora Nell Nunnelley Thomason||July 26, 1934|
|Brennard Frank Nunnelley||August 5, 1940|
|C. C. Roland||July 30, 1921|
|Mrs. C. C. Roland||July 30, 1928|
|Wanda Jo Roland||July 26, 1942|
|Peggy Roland||July 22, 1946|
|Miss Ella Scears||July 14, 1881|
|Mrs. J. S. Speer||August 10, 1924|
|Martha Scears Speer Neel||July 25, 1928|
|Mrs. Cherokee West||November 11, 1901|
|Mrs. Cora West||December 23, 1906|
|Clyde West||July 31, 1916|
|Virginia Ann West||August 1, 1926|
|Mrs. Ada Wells||February 9, 1930|
|L. S. Williams||August 2, 1931|
|Mrs. L. S. Williams||August 2, 1931|
|Louie Williams||August 2, 1931|
|Mary Ruth Williams||July 22, 1934|
|M. E. Wells||October 3, 1937|
|Boyd Womack||July 31, 1938|
|Mrs. Perry West Yant||August 24, 1892|
|A. D. Yant||February 6, 1898|
|H. S. Yant||September 22, 1907|
|Rubye Bell Yant||July 29, 1918|
|Dumas Ray Yant||July 30, 1921|
|Grace Hudson Yant||August 25, 1922|
|Mrs. Edna McKee Yant||August 6, 1893|
|Neva Joe Hill Siebenthal||July 26, 1934|
|W. A. (Base) Carter||August 3, 1930|
|Mrs. W. A. Carter||August 3, 1930|
|Cooper Carter||August 3, 1930|
|Warren Cooper||July 3, 1932|
|Mattie Lou Jean Cooper||July 30, 1910|
|Mrs. Ruth Carter||July 27, 1937|
|Crawford Jean Cooper||July 31, 1938|
|Mrs. Mattie Simpson Hall||August 6, 1893|
|J. F. Hall||July 29, 1906|
|Ione Hudson Milford||August 3, 1913|
|Urbie Hall Hill||July 31, 1914|
|Girt Hill||July 31, 1914|
|James Holley||August 7, 1893|
|Mrs. James Holley||July 26, 1923|
|James Allen Holley||August 1, 1943|
|Mrs. Maggie Calterbaugh Jean||August 24, 1892|
|Martin N. Joyce||August 2, 1925|
|Miss Christian Jean||July 30, 1928|
|Earl Joyce||July 30, 1928|
|Mary Nunnelley Joyce||August 2, 1914|
|C. E. Joyce, Jr.||July 26, 1934|
|Gloria Joyce||August 3, 1941|
|Marshall Hunter Joyce||August 1, 1943|
|Bobbie Joyce||August 1, 1943|
|Mrs. Ella Lane Milford||August 1, 1915|
|Murray Hudson Milford||Jully 30, 1944|
|Robert Henry Milford||July 30, 1944|
|Mrs. Ida McKee||July 15, 1881|
|Inez McKee||August 6, 1896|
|Lloyd McKee||July 27, 1906|
|Mrs. Modenia Hensley McCown||May 26, 1912|
|Miss Lilian Nell McCown Blacketer||July 30, 1928|
|Mrs. J. J. Nunnelley||August 1, 1909|
|Elbert Nunnelley||August 3, 1913|
|Ora Dell West Nunnelley||August 2, 1914|
|B. P. Nunnelley, Jr.||August 2, 1922|
|1850-1859||Wm. Vannoy and Rudolph|
|1859-1863||Robt. F. Jones|
|1863-1865||Robt. R. Dunlap|
|1865-1867||F. D. Piner|
|1867-1873||W. A. Williams|
|1873-1878||Dr. S. W. McKee|
|1878-1881||Robt. F. Jones|
|1881-1882||G. M. Simpson|
|1882-1883||J. B. Nicholson|
|1884-1888||Robt. F. Jones|
|1888-1892||R. A. Gay|
|1892-1897||W. A. Kirkpatrick|
|1897-1900||R. A. Gay|
|1901-||R. F. Wilkins|
|1901-1904||E. H. Messick|
|1905-1912||S. M. Bennett|
|1913-1914||W. P. Hail|
|1915-1916||S. M. McPhail|
|1916-1938||A. B. Welch|
|1942-1945||J. H. Woddard|
|1946-||Jesse A. Iwig|
Following is a list of the present Church Officers, July 25, 1948:
Pastor and Moderator of the Session - Rev. Jesse A. Iwig
Ruling Elders: H. S. Yant, Clerk of the Session; M. L. Milford, Church Treasurer, J. F. Hall, L. S. Williams, A. D. Yant, C. E. Joyce, Elbert Nunnelley.
Deacons: Johnnie E. Avery, Milton Wells, Dumas Ray Yant, Harvey J. Nunnelley, Girt Hill
Present church members and date of their joining:
|Ocie Pearl Avery Joyce||August 2, 1911|
|Theo Avery||July 31, 1916|
|Johnnie Avery||August 3, 1918|
|Mrs. Grace Sockwell Avery||August 27, 1928|
|Richard D. Avery||July 31, 1938|
|John Thomas Avery||July 30, 1944|
|Clifton Wayne Avery||July 30, 1944|
|Mary Wilsley Jones Caldwell||August 26, 1890|
|Mary Sue Carlock||July 30, 1921|
|W. R. Caldwell||July 30, 1921|
With the passing of Brother F. P. West in 1918, the Dial Presbyterian Church lost one of its most faithful workers. Brother West served the session as clerk for many years, and his accurate record of the proceedings of that body has preserved for posterity the great events and happenings of the early church.
Mr. J. A. Meek served as clerk of session from 1918 until his death in March, 1931. Mr. H. S. Yant was then made clerk, a position which he holds at present.
In 1918 these names were added to the church roll: Ruby belle Yant, Howell Jackson, Katherine Milford, Clara Hudson, Inez Eddings, T. D. Hall, Johnnie Avery and Herbert Nunnelley.
In 1921 these people joined the church during the summer revival: Mary Sue Carlock, George D. Carlock, Jr., D. D. Roland, Naomi Roland, Robert West, David Frank West, Roberta Yant, McKee Dewitt Yant, Dumas Ray Yant, Gertrude McKee, Paul Nunnelley, W. R. Caldwell and Lena Avery.
Rev. A. B. Welch became pastor in 1916. The majority of the pastors at this time served Bethel half time and Ladonia half time. In August of 1922 the session voted to buy a car for Rev. Welch. Ladonia went in with the Dial Church and Mr. Welch got hi car. It was during Rev. Welch's pastorate that the church built in 1900 was torn down and the present build erected from the material. This was in 1925. Rev. Welch served the Dial Church as pastor for a longer consecutive period than did any other pastor of the church; he served 22 years from 1916 to 1938. He wanted to retire for many years before he did, but each time he requested the session to accept his resignation, it prevailed upon him to stay with the church a little longer. Finally in 1938, due to ill heath brought on by his age, the session reluctantly accepted his resignation. However, as late as April, 1939, he returned to the church on request, preaching a sermon and conducting infant baptist for Mary Ida Yant, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. Ray Yant.
During Rev. Welch's pastorate the church celebrated its 75th Anniversary, which was in 1921. Early accounts of the history of the church were read and it was a great day in the history of the church.
Rev. Lloyd Stowers served as pastor of the church from 1939 to December 31, 1941.
Rev. J.H. Woodard served the church as pastor form 1942 until his untimely death in 1945.
Rev. Jesse A. Iwig, the present pastor, agreed in the fall of 1946 to serve the Dial Church and hold two preaching services each month at 9:45 a.m.
In 1905 W. S. Thomas was elected treasurer of the church and H. M. Milford and W. W. West were made deacons. Rev. S. M. Bennett came to the church as pastor during that year also. At a session meeting during that year W. W. West was appointed to secure the services of a church sexton. The sexton selected was to receive an additional $3.00 for his services during the protracted meeting.
On December 23, 1906, Mr. J. A. Meek was appointed superintendent of the Sunday School. He services for many years. At a later date, perhaps in 1910, Mr. George D. Carlock, Sr., was made secretary of the Sunday School. He held this position for about thirty-five years.
In a session meeting on September 22, 1907, J. F. Hall and C. C. Cannon were nominated to be elected and ordained ruling elders. On November 28, 1909 A. D. Yant and Thomas C. Hudson were named deacons in a session meeting. In a session meeting on May 22, 1912, the names of A. D. Yant and Gus Chiles were presented for election and ordination as elders. At the same meeting the names of H. S. Yant and J. J. Nunnelley were presented to be elected deacons.
In 1906 the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the United States voted to merge with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. The only mention of this change in the records of the Bethel (Dial) Church is this notation appearing under date of October 4, 1904:
"A motion was made and carried suggesting the pastor to ascertain voice of the Church on the proposed union between the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A." There was only a little opposition in 1906 when the merger took place.
From the record book it appears that Rev. S. M. Bennett resigned from the church as pastor in August of 1912. In April of 1913, Rev.W. P. Hail became pastor. In 1915 Rev. S. M. McPhail became pastor.
Another revival in which several persons were added to the church roll was held in the summer of 1914, at which time these people jointed the church: Urbie Hall, Angeline Mann, Girt Hill, Willie D. Jean, Willie Price McKee, Herbert Yant, Seth Bertram, Raymond Covington, Ora Dell West, Fred West, Myrtle Gibson, Mary Nunnelley, Lillian McKee, Merle Avery, Allie Mae Jean. In the summer of 1915 these names were added: Murray L. Milford and Thomas H. Milford. In 1916 these names were added: Rama West, Ruth McKee, Ollie Mann, Theo Avery, Lou Ethel Chiles, Frank Covington, Clyde West and Frank Yant.
In 1915 the session voted to invite the Baptist brethren to come and worship with them for the Thanksgiving service, and also to bring their dinners and the Baptist pastor was to preach the sermon. The next year the Presbyterians went over to the Baptist church and the Presbyterian pastor preached the sermon.
At the November, 1918, meeting of the session, Mr. R. H. West and Mr. J. W. Hudson were recommended to the congregation to be elected elders, and J. R. Avery and H. M. Milford to be elected deacons.
In 1895 the Presbytery levied a per capita tax on all members of all church in the Presbytery. Bethel Session considered this tax "Subversive" and refused to pay it.
Another great revival was held in 1896 by Rev. W. A. Kirkpatrick, assisted by Rev. R. A. Gay. This is a partial list of the names added to the church rolls during that revival: Walter Marvel, Miss Kate Milford, Miss Nellie Wise, Miss Willie Wood, Miss Oda Wood, Miss Inez McKee, Ballard Dial, Hugh Spears, Luther West, Homer Myers, Grover Milford, Walter Lyday, Miss Polly Crowson, Miss Mable Ingrim, Sam W. McKee, Jim Lyday, Elmo Chiles, Frank Chiles, Claud Speer, John C. Barnes, Miss Blanche Woods, Miss Maggie Sears, Mr. Lev Chiles, Joe Lyday. In October of the same year Misses Medorah, Millie and Modena Hinsley joined the church.
The name of Brother J. A. Meek first appears as a Ruling Elder and member of the Bethel Session April 5, 1896.
The Rev. R. A. Gay returned to the church as its pastor in 1897 and servied as such through the year 1900.
In the record of the session meeting of September 4, 1898, the name of F. A. Hudson, Ruling Elder, first appears.
The 1898 the Presbyterians decided they wanted their own church building. In January of that year the session appointed a building committee to erect a church. At this time there were 125 resident members of the church and 50 non-resident members, making a total membership of 175. The land for the church was given by Jim Dial.
The new church building was dedicated on the first Sunday in September, 1900. Rev. R. A. Gay presided and Rev. W. A. Kirkpatrick offered prayer.
The church was a tall white wooden structure with a steep roof and a tall steeple on the southwest corner. The entrance was into a vestibule directly under the steeple. The pulpit and choir loft were on the east side. Heavy wooden partitions divided section into Sunday School rooms. The congregation was very proud of this church building and many wonderful services were held in it.
At a session meeting in 1902 a committee consisting of F. P. West, W. S. Thomas, Misses Mollie Hayes and Minnie Thomas was named to order a bell for the church. It was purchased and placed in the tower.
When news of the 1918 Armistice reached Dial, Mr. H. M. Milford, then trustee of the public school, came by and advised the teachers, Miss. Lucy Mae Meek and Mr. Gay Hudson, to declare a holiday for that day, November 11, 1918. Whereupon the students marched in a column of twos to the church, and Fred West, son of Mr. F. P. West, one of the committee who purchased the bell sixteen years previous, rang the bell in celebration of the event.
Rev. R. F. Wilkins was pastor during a portion of the year 1901. And from that time until 1904 Rev. E. H. .Messick served the church as pastor.
Mrs. G. C. Baler
S. B. Baker
Mrs. C. E. Perkins
Mrs. J. C. Broach
M. A. Shelton
W. D. Baker
Miss L. E. Baker
Miss Minnie Perkins
E. G. B. Shelton
In 1892, Bro. F. P. West was made a clerk of the Bethel Session, a position he faithfully filled until his death in 1918.
In the year 1892 another great revival was held at Dial. Thirty-one names were added to the rolls of the church. Among those names were:
Frank Milford, Miss Bertie Milford, Joseph Holley, Annie, Ellen and Bob Brumit, Miss Belle Holley, Willie Stewart, G. W. Covington, Miss Perry West, Miss Annie Covington, Miss Maggie Claterbaugh and Miss Ida Spurlock.
Rev. W. A. Kirkpatrick services the Bethel Congregation as pastor from 1892 to 1897. During the revival in 1892 there were a few names added to the church roll: Gwendolene Wood, Lela Dillingham, Ida Myers, Edna McKee, H. N. Marvel, E. P. Bray, S.A. Finley, Mattie Simpson, James Holley, C. C. Ears, J. W. McKee, R. G. Myers, Mrs. S. H. Myers, L. H. Myers.
Mr. L. D. Speer and Mr. W. T. Pickens were made Deacons of Bethel congregation on November 2, 1890.
On July 19, 1891, a new new organization, The Rock Point Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized and the following members of the Bethel congregation asked for and were granted letters of transfer to this new church:
J. D. Baker
G. B. Baker
H. A. Perkins
D. A. Perkins
Mrs. E. E. Smith
Mrs. W. N. Shelton
Wm. Walter West
W. T. Pickens
Mrs. M. B. Avery
M. B. Chiles (Miss)
Robt. H. West
C. A. Lyday
J. D. Crowson
Miss Josie Pickens
Mrs. Mary E. Holley
L. D. Speer
Mrs. M. N. Shelton
Mary Wilson Jones
A great protracted meeting was held from August 22 to August 31, 1890. Sixty additions were made to the church during the revival:
At a revival held the summer of 1883 these names were added to the church rolls: Sam McKee, Eddie Lyday, Irine Sears, Lizzie Ingram, Carrie Chiles, Bessie Williams, Ollie Williams, Minnie Sears, Minnie Perkins, Mrs. Ruth Crossland, Maud Price, Maggie Pickens, Mattie Chiles, Beckie Dalton and Birdie Pickens.
On July 4, 1890, Dr. S. W. McKee died and the session of Bethel congregation realizing the great loss to their church and community held a called meeting on July 6, 1890 and draw up resolutions calling attention to the fact that Dr. McKee had been a useful citizen and a practicing physician of this community for about 45 years and also an efficient member of Bethel Congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and pastor of the same for three or four years. A part of the resolution read,
"We, the members of Bethel Session now convened, do hereby tender to the bereaved family our sympathy and condolence with this pleasing and consoling thought that what is your loss is his eternal gain."
Mrs. Martha Sears
Miss N. A. Wood
Miss M. H. Wise
Thomas M. Baker
G. B. Baker
Miss M. F. Dial
S. B. Baker
Mrs. Sallie Lesnett
Mirss Ella Wise
Miss M. E. Shettle
Mrs. P. L. C. Baker
Miss M. E. Derrick
Mrs. O. C. Early
Mrs. J. A. Berry
Mrs. Sallie C. Baker
Mrs. Susie E. Duncan
Mrs. Polly Wood
Miss Ellen D. McKee
Miss Cordie Lane
Miss Lelia West
W. D. Baker
Miss Ella Sears
Mrs. Mary C. Claterbaugh
Mrs. Mary A. Dial
Mrs. Nancy Drennan
Mrs. J. M. Dilingham
D. C. Lesnett
S. A. Price
Miss G. J. Derrick
Mrs. J. C. Broach
Lucy A. Lane
Rev. R. A. Gay became Pastor of Bethel congregation in the spring of 1881. During the first year of his ministry, the Session ordered a new roll of the church made. A list of the members as of June 10, 1888 [sic 1881}:
J. W. Byrum
Mrs. Mary Wise
Miss Mary S. McKee
W. R. Baker
Mrs. A. M. Byrum
Miss Kate Lane
Mrs. Mary Lesnett
Mrs. Annie West
Peter L. West
R. B. Wise
W. D. Claterbaugh
Miss L. A. Pickens
Mrs. L. A. Lane
Mrs. Maggie M. Wise
Mrs. Martha Shettle
Mrs. E. E. Smith
J. D. Baker
The first Sunday School was organized January 27th, 1874. This quotation is taken from the minutes: "The Session of Bethel Congregation met in the home of Dr. S. W. McKee. The moderator, Bro. McKee, explained the object of the meeting. Whereupon the Session voted to organize a Sabbath School next Sabbath and the Session pledged themselves to sustain the school. It was also decided to hold a weekly prayer meeting."
R. F. Jones was the pastor of the church from 1878 to 1881 and Bro. G. M. Simpson served as such from 1881 to 1882. It was during the latter's term of service that the church added as some of its new members: Kate Lane, Cordia Lane, Mary Lane, Rose Hall, Wallace McKee, W. D. Baker, Geo. B. Baker, J. B. Odell, Robert Lane, Sam M. Wise, R. B. Wise, A. C. Yeager, Susan A. Wood Ida Sears, Ella Sears, Miss L. A. Pickens, and W. B. Vaughan.
This notation was given for Sunday, April 4, 1886: "Bethel Session convened at the church. Bro. and Sister F. P. West and daughter, Miss Lelia West, joined this church by letter. Bro. West, being a ruling elder, was duly elected as such in Bethel Congregatation."
In reading the minutes of the Session meetings during the years 1870 to 1890 it was noted that over and over again certain committees would be appointed to investigate rumors of immoral conduct among some of the church members. If the committee reported that such rumors were true, then the defendants would be admonished to live better lives. If the accused pled for forgiveness they were forgiven, but if they spurned the summons and went on their way of living, then they were cast out of the church. (From such a background no one needs wonder why the Dial community has always been a highly moral community.)
Mary J. McCleary
Cordelia B. Yeager
Sarah C. Baker
Martha E. Baker
S. W. McKee Pastor
A. J. Brigam Ruling Elder
David Drennan Ruling Elder
J. D. Baker Ruling Elder
J. C. Wise Ruling Elder
W. A. Dial Deacon
In May, 1873, shortly after Dr. McKee took charge as pastor, the Session met and ordered the clerk of the Session to "make a new church roll and enroll therein only the names of the regular attending and contributing members of the church."
And here is the list of the members of Bethel Congregation as of May, 1873:
From time to time people who had violated some of the laws ad laid down by the White Rock Presbytery would refuse to answer to summons to appear before the session on some charge and thus they were automatically suspended from the membership of the church.
No mention whatsoever was made in the minutes of the Session of anything unusual during the years of the Civil War. In 1865 R. R. Dunlap was pastor and David Drennan (Mr. Bob Chiles' grandfather) was clerk of the Session and, of course, as such was also a Ruling Elder in the church.
Members of the Session were expected to attend all meetings of the Session and divine services in those days, and if a member was absent he was expected to present his excuse at the next meeting of the Session. It was not uncommon for church members to appear before the Session to ask forgiveness for some un-Christian act. The Session would forgive them and "thereupon the members present gave them their hand as a token of their readiness to forgive."
In April, 1866, Brother J. D. Baker (Dan Baker's grandfather) was made a Ruling Elder in the church. Throughout the minutes of the Session book of the early church the name of Dr. S. W. McKee is found, not only as a Ruling Elder but as Pastor and Moderator of the Session. Dr. McKee (Mrs. H. S. Yant's father) was not only a faithful member of Bethel congregation, but he served the community as its doctor for forty-five years.
The first reference to pastor's salary was found in the minutes for 1868. Brother J. C. Wise was a delegate to Presbytery in that year and in his report of the proceedings of the Presbytery he told the Session that:
"I represented your interest to the best of my ability and procured the services of Bro. W. A. Williams one fourth of his time for the next twelve months for which I promised to pay $100.00 in specia or its equivalent."
In a session meeting in 1870 one of the Ruling Elders of the church asked for his church letter because he alleged that he had been mistreated by a portion of the church and especially by an Elder. After due consideration the Session passed this request to the next meeting and before the next meeting took place proper forces had been at work so that when the Session remet to consider the application, said application for letter was withdrawn, the injured parties having been soothed and harmony again restored.
Shortly after Dr. S. W. McKee became pastor in 1873 (1873-1878) he proposed to a group of the brethren that the church have a meeting on Tuesday, the 4th of July, to celebrate centennial day. The brethren concurred in the proposal and a great meeting was held on that day, July 4, 1873. In fact there was so much interest shown that the meeting went on until Saturday of that week when a heavy rain caused it to close. Bro. J. D. Baker, then clerk of the Session, had this to say about Dr. McKee's sermons at that meeting. "He preached with much zeal and power of the Holy Spirit as if impressed with the weight of the immortal souls of the unconverted part of the congregation resting on his mind. At the close of the sermon an invitation was given to the mourners to come to the altar of prayer. Several came weeping and crying for mercy. The church was made to rejoice, some of the members shouted and praised God i the highest ecstasies of joy, from a feeling of the love of God in their souls. Some old veterans of the Cross said it was the happiest 4th of July celebration they had enjoyed in their life. The meeting resulted in the glorious revival of the church and the happy conversion of eleven immortal souls. Much brotherly love and unanimity of feeling prevailed during the meeting."
Services were held in the log school building for years. Later the school was moved to the present location of the Dial public school and was known as Lane's Academy. The people of the four different faiths continued to worship together at this location in two different buildings until 1898.
Union revival meetings were held in the summers conducted by a preacher from each group. Often six weeks of meetings were held with the Presbyterians, Baptists and Campbellites each in charge of two weeks.
In the list of the earliest members of Bethel Church slaves of the members were listed. In most cases they were given the names of their owners, and had the early session records not added after each name this notation, "a black boy" or "a black girl," we today might not have been able to distinguish the black from the whites in reading the roll of the members.
An interesting feature found in the early day church records was the way the session took new members into the church. Such as: "The session met, whereupon Daniel McKee and Mary Hamilton came forward and conversed with the session on experimental religion and were received into full communion of the Church."
John McKee was the first Moderator of the Session and W. E. Hamilton the first clerk. Brother Joseph Wise, father of Mr. Sam Wise now of Honey Grove, was ordained Ruling Elder in 1863, but to attempt to mention all of the great men of the church would be hazardous because invariably some of the greatest would be unintentionally omitted.
The most unusual thing about the early church was the position it held in the community as regarding the social life of the community. And it is not unusual either, when you consider that in the time of the horse and buggy, it was impossible for anyone to travel any great distance to attend affairs that do compete with our church life today. The church was about the only place to go and many a romance budded and blossomed at the Sunday night services. And too, the church exercised a much stronger hand in helping keep the law of the community, as brought out in the various session meetings of those days. The Session would sit as an ecclesiastical court and actually try members who had violated church or civil laws.
In early days it was against the church law to attend dances and in one instance the Session issued a citation for about ten young men and women of the community and church to appear before it at a certain date to give answer for un-Christian conduct. At the appointed time those summoned appeared and the Session received their confessions and had this to say: "Confessions were received and sustained by the Session as satisfactory."
The minutes of the Session continued numerous other accounts of members being tried for un-Christian conduct. One man was tried for using "foul language" when an opposum bit through his thumb nail and thumb until the animal's jaws had to be pried open. On another occasion, after an elder had confessed being guilty of un-Christina conduct, he was forgiven and sent as delegate to Presbytery.
A trial that the church held in 1858 covered several pages of session minutes. A certain member of the church was charged with having used profane language on North Sulphur Creek, of having been intoxicated, and having retailed whiskey at home. This trial was spread out over several meetings of the Session and it must have created considerable excitement. Both sides of the case paraded witnesses before the session and the arguments were pretty warm. Finally the defendant was found guilty on all counts and he was suspended from the church. A crowd of spectators, waiting outside the church, were called in to hear the result of the trial.
J. J. Robinett
S. W. McKee - Elder
Thomas C. Baker - Elder
J. C. Record - Elder
W. E. Hamilton - Elder
J. G. Hamilton
T. R. Hamilton
Fred Titus - Elder
Mrs. David Dowdle
Dial (Bethel) Presbyterian Church
In early days the people living in the Dial Community met together for religious services in school buildings. The first school building was a one room log structure located west of the present John Nunnelley farm. This school was known as Bethel. The people of different religious faiths met together. The Presbyterians had the largest number with Baptists and Campbellites (the only name used by the group at that time) as the next largest groups. There were also a few Methodists. It was in this log school building that the Presbyterian Church was organized.
In 1846 those who believe as Presbyterians do asked to be taken under the care of the Red River Presbytery of the Cumberland Church. The constitution of this Presbyterian Church reads as follows:
"We, the citizens of Fannin and Lamar Counties, being desirous of having the Gospel preached and the other means of grace administered, do agree to form ourselves into a society under the care of the Cumberland Church and within the bounds of the Red River Presbytery and look to that Presbytery for such supplies of preaching as they may be able to afford. This society to be known by the name of Bethel Society."
Thus from this beginning back in 1846, the Dial Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. of 1948 continues to grow and had kept alive all through these years the wishes and desired of the first Constitution that the Gospel be preached and that the means of grace of God be made available to the citizens of Fannin and Lamar Counties.
Here follows a list of the charter members of the first church at Dial:
Copies of the original pages are also available HERE.
In presenting this brief history great care has been exercised to make it as accurate as is humanly possible Records dating back to 1846 were consulted and the older members of the church and citizens of the community outside the church were interviewed.
In spite of the author's anxiety to make this history authentic, errors will no doubt be found. Perhaps names that should appear will have been omitted. Such errors and omissions are regretted and the authors beg the reader's indulgence.
For the collection and compiling of the material which served as the basis for this work we are indebted to Mr. H. S. Yant, the present Clerk of Session as well as all who volunteered information, and to George D. Carlock, Jr., and Mrs. Jesse A. Iwig who compiled and edited this little book.
Jesse A. Iwig, Pastor
1846 - 1948
Dial Presbyterian Church
Jesse A. Iwig, Minister
Honey Grove, Texas