1884 - 1984
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In 1884, Chester A. Arthur was President of the United States and W.D. Blazham was Governor of Florida, which had become a state in 1845. The town of Sanford had been founded in 1870 and was a part of Orange County. There were close to 2000 people in Sanford in 1884, and the Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal and Catholic Churches had already been founded. Another group of Christians now wanted a church - the Baptists.
On February 3, 1884, a group assembled in the Sanford Town Hall located north of Commercial Street on Palmetto Avenue. They met in a long, crude room upstairs in the building that looked old even then. This assembly organized themselves into a Regular Baptist Church.
The church was organized under the leadership of W.N. Chaudoin, Executive Secretary of the newly organized Florida State Board of Missions (1880). Rev. Chaudoin served in that position from 1880-1901. He was also President of the Florida Baptist Convention in 1889-1904.
J.W. Butts, pastor of the Orlando Baptist Church, assisted in the organization and was called to serve as pastor of the Sanford church for one-half his time. He preached at each church two Sundays per month.
The 18 charter members are as follows, with their previous church affiliation listed:
New Lisbon, Wi.
2. Mrs. John Fink New Lisbon, Wi.
3. Mrs.Virginia Denman New Lisbon, Wi.
(daughter of Mrs. Fink)
4. Mrs. Sophia E. Dupree Harmony Church
Hall Co., Ga..
5. James F. Prince Apopka, Fl.
6. Lucinda M. Prince Apopka, Fl.
7. Miss Mary Lambert Mercer Co., Pa.
8. Charles H. Tuxberry Saco, Me.
9. Abby A. Tuxberry Saco, Me.
10. Henry C. Tuxbury Saco, Me.
11. Louise S. Tuxbury Saco, Me.
12. Lawrence Sword Mt. Holly Baptist, N.J.
13. Caroline Sword Mt. Holly Baptist, N.J.
14. J.R. Kelly Talladega Co., Al.
15. Laura E.Kelly Talladega Co., Al.
16. Willie B. Kelly Talladega Co., Al.
17. Mrs. Lizzie W. Clark Augusta, Ga.
18. Mrs. Emma Cox Longwood, Fl.
The lot at Sixth Street and Park Avenue was given to the Church in 1884 for the sum of One dollar by the Florida Land and Colonization Company of London, England, and signed by Edwin Dawes, George Thompson and Anthony Morris, trustees of said company. The deed specifically states that the land was given for the express purpose of placing thereon a Baptist Church and should the land ever cease to be used as such the deed would become null and void.
( This information was taken from the " History of the First Baptist Church" by Grace Marie Stinecipher. Miss Stinecipher has given her permission for its use).
Volunteer on this project: Ms. Roberta Rose
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