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Shady Hill Baptist Church

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Church History

Shady Hill Missionary Baptist Church began as an idea in the minds of a small group of farmers, after the Civil War in late 1867. This church was to be located in the Pick Siding community, now known as the Somerset Community. The Pick Siding Community was named after a sawmill owner. Mr. Louis Coley, a former "Negro slave," who bought and owned a large farm, donated an acre of land to the endeavor. Mr. John Mangum and Mr. Jack Tapp were other leaders of the group.

The Church was first called, "Coley Chapel" and located near the Oxford highway on the Louis Coley Plantation.

With no money or building, a brush harbor was erected as the first church. Benches were made from slabs from mr. Picks Sawmill, for weats. The first pastor was Reverend Haywood Wilson, of Denniston, Virginia. The 30 or 40 members were former slaves who had attended white churches, but had strong christian beliefs, and a desire for their own place to worship.

The first official meeting was held in the Spring of 1868. As the weather turned cooler, the congregation began to think of a more substantial building.

After relocating to the present location, Reverend Wilson and members of the Deacon board, who also served as Trustees decided to change the name of the church to Shady Hill Baptist Church. To enclose the arbor, slabs were bought from the mill and nailed, overlapping each other, to the sides, to form the walls. Stones daubed with clay were used to build two large fireplaces at opposite corners - one for the women and the other for the men. A pulpit large enough to accommodate two or three visiting preachers was erected.

There was no music to accompany the early singers, but and organ was placed in the church around the turn of the century.

Baptizing of the early membership was held during July or August at various places where the water was flowing, usually at Flat River, the Louis Daniel Creek, the Jim Jones Creek, or the Louis Peace Creek. The tradition was established based on the belief that the running water would wash away the sins of a member beter than still water. The first baptismal pool was built on the church grounds in 1940.

The prospective members' morals were closely examined by the pastor and congregation, and they were extolled to show in good faith that they, the members, truly repented of their sins before they were accepted into the fellowship of the church. The pastor encouraged them to walk in the newness of life.

Mr. John and Mrs. Minnie Cates deeded a half acre of land to the church in 1952, and the congregation bought more land, and built newer church in 1955, the third building to be erected by the congregation.

The following ministers have served as pastor: Reverend Haywood Wilson, Denniston, VA; Reverend Nelson Johnson, Reverend Samuael Johnson, Boydton, VA; Dr. Simon S. Wilson, Wilmington, NC; Dr. Harvey Johnson, Boydton, VA; in 1900, Dr. A. R. Patillo, Oxford, NC; 1905, Dr. J. A. Turner of South Carolina; 1907, Dr. A. B. Vincent, Raleigh, NC; 1909, Dr. A. P. Wyche, Henderson, NC; 1911, Reverend J. T. Peace, Oxford, NC; 1918, Reverend J. M. Taylor, Creedmoor, NC; 1922, Reverend H. D Eaton, Creedmoor, NC; 1937, Reverend C. R. Faison, Raleigh, NC; 1940, Dr. L. J. Alexander, Wise, NC; 1944, Dr. J. M. Jackson (Shaw University), Raleigh, NC; 1948 Reverend L. J. Shipman (Shaw University), Raleigh, NC; 1950, Reverend S. F. Dailey (Shaw university), Raleigh, NC; 1955, Reverend H. Albert Smith, Boston, MA; 1976, Dr. Herbert O. Edwards, Sr. (Duke University and Morgan State University), Durham, NC; 1987, Dr. Ronald L. Swain, Sr. (Shaw University), Raleigh, NC, and 1988 to present, Dr. James A. Richmond, Sr. (NC State University and Shaw University), Durham, NC.

Under the leadership of Reverend H. Albert Smith and Dr. Herbert O. Edwards, Sr., extensive renovation was done to the edifice.

During Homecoming in 1998, notice was given that a "Groundbreaking Ceremony" was planned for construction of a new edifice, other major renovations, and landscaping.

Under the pastorate and leadership of Dr. james A. Richmond, Sr., more land was purchased, and a new edifice was completed in February 2001, with the previous edifice being converted into a fellowshi hall. Membership of the Shady Hill Baptist Church is approximately 600.