A Brief History of Franklinton Baptist Church
The Franklinton Baptist Church was organized in 1858 with Dr. W.M. Wingate, president of Wake Forest College as the first pastor. During the
early years, all races worshiped together. In 1865, the membership was 67 with 37 being African-Americans.
That church building is still located on the corner of South Main and Green Streets. It was sold around 1890 to the African-American congregation and became the First Baptist Church. After the sale of the building, the members of Franklinton Baptist Church held services in the Ballard-Cheatham Building at the corner of East Mason and Front Streets, until the cornerstone for the present sanctuary was laid in 1893. The building was competed in 1895, at a cost of $8,000.
Prior to 1903, only one change was made to the original sanctuary. This change was the addition of the classroom for men at the back of the sanctuary. The men's classroom remained in this location until it was moved to the Biddle Building during the renovation of the sanctuary in 1991.
The church was taken into the Tar River Baptist Association in 1858. Soon after 1860, the Franklinton, Flat Rock and Wake Forest Churches left the Association to help form the Raleigh Association in 1959,
While the Rev T.B. Justice (1903-1909) was pastor, a baptistry was installed to the right of the pulpit, a choir loft to the left and three classrooms behind the pulpit. This area remained this way until 1948, when Mr. Hubert Utley had it remodeled in memory of his wife. This renovation moved the choir and baptistry where they are today. During Mr. Justice's pastorate, the first parsonage was built.
The Rev. John T. Biddle (1935-1940) was the first full-time pastor of the church. In spite of the Depression, he was determined to build a Sunday School building. He collected roadside sand and made a sand pile at the back of the church. He borrowed a hand operated block mold that he placed next to the sand pile for all to see Every time he collected a few cents, he bought another bag of cement ad proceeded to make a few more blocks. The building was completed debt free and is called the Biddle Building. In 1952, Mr. P.P. Purnell drew the plans for the second education building and supervised its construction. This building became the Purnell Building. During the next decade, the north wall of the sanctuary was repaired , and a new parsonage was built where the old one stood. More recently, a reception area in the Biddle Building was added and a complete renovation of the Purnell Building was completed. In 2009, a storm damaged the roof of the Purnell Building, requiring extensive repairs.
Education and mission programs have been a vital part of our church history. Men, women, youth, and children participate in mission organizations. Sunday School, music programs, Bible study groups, Vacation Bible School, Children's Church and church fellowship
In the early 1970s women were elected t the Deacon Board for the first time. Mrs. Daisy Hale and Mrs. Annie Utley were the first to serve. Many women have served as Deacons, with Mrs Lucy Colbert and Mrs Adell Wynne serving as Chair of the Board.
Several of our members have served in the Baptist Association and State positions. Three served as moderators of the Tar River Baptist Association. They are: Rev Lloyd Jackson (1967), Mr Richard Morgan (1975) and Dr. C. Ray Pruette(1980 and 1993). Dr Pruette was elected to the General Board of the State Baptist Convention in 1986 and again in 1994. Mr Pete Colbert was elected to the General Board of the Baptist State Convention in 2001.
Those licensed into the Gospel ministry by this church are :Clyde Waiden, Jr (1980), Kurt Weeks(1990) and David Averette(1992). The church has ordained Dr John R. Ball(1956), Jim Rivers(1976), Grady Edwards(1977), James Payne(1980), David Averette(1994), Kenneth Lake(1999), and Joi Williams(2000).
Past pastors are remembered in the vestibule of the Biddle Building.
God has richly blessed Franklinton Baptist Church. We pray that we will continue to seek His will in the future plans for our church.
Dr Peggy McGhee, Historian