Baptizing at Bald Knob Church, Ohio Co. KY
Submitted by Janice Cox Brown
An Oral History Story
When we asked my grandmother, Eva Caroline (Smith) Cox (1889-1988)
to tell us about when she was baptized, she told this story:
“Why yes, I wouldn’t mind telling you that. Well, it was there at Bald Knob Church. And the revival was going on. But now in that day and time, they would say “protracted meetings” are going to start. And of course there was a lot of boys and girls, and people saved. And Ella and I was two of them. And we were baptized in white dresses. And Pearl Leach. She was an awful sweet girl. It was in the afternoon at a pond.
“We were the only three that were baptized. The rest of them were sprinkled. And that was Uncle’s cousin, Pearl Leach. I just can’t recall where we went. There was a pond of water. I know that. There was no bank – it was level ground, and they had a little house where you went and changed your clothes after you were baptized. And they all went to the baptizing. Pa took us – and we all went in the wagon…well part of us. Some went in the buggy. (Laughing). I can’t hardly remember, but we were all there. There was a lot of folks there. It was in the afternoon.” (part of this story was also retold in a June 1982 tape.)
“Bald Knob was a Methodist church, but you had your choice to be immersed or sprinkled. The preacher’s name was Embry – Brother Embry.
“And we were the only three that were baptized. All of the rest of them were sprinkled. I was about sixteen or seventeen. It has been a long, long time ago. They used to have such wonderful meetings there. They really did. They had a mourner’s bench. And everyone would come up and be prayed for and all.
“Sometimes we visited other churches. Oh yes, we always went to church. Bald Knob had prayer meeting on Wednesday nights…every Wednesday night we always went. And then if there was something on Saturday night, we went. On the third Sundays, there was services. But that was the only service. But they would have church at Mt. Pleasant, or down at Select, or at Mt. Zion. And we would go. We always went to church. Sometimes, in the afternoon, they would have singings. And dinner on the ground…homecoming…they called it. And everybody would come and spend the day.
“Bald Knob was where Ma and Pa belonged, and Grandma Sanders, too. They all went to church there. That church is old. They have kept it up real good. It was about two miles from our home.”
(Ella in the above story is my grandmother’s younger sister, who married Roy Thompson Stewart, son of John Henry Stewart and Susannah Miranda Cox. Pearl Leach, born 8 March 1893, married Ansel Jacob Westerfield, and they had four children. She was the daughter of Alonzo Blackstone Leach and Hannah A. Hayworth. Pearl’s obituary indicates she died from the flu 24 January 1919 at her residence, age 29; buried at the Brickhouse Cemetery. “Uncle” was Everett Sandefur who married my grandmother’s older sister, Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith. Everett, 1885-1954, was the son of Lucian Sandefur and Mary Emily Leach.)
The Old Bald Knob Church
Photos above: Brickhouse Cemetery next to the old Bald Knob Church where my grandmother attended church, and where her parents, James Thomas and Sarah (Sanders) Smith, and her grandparents , Charles and Fidella (Porter) Sanders, and many other family members are buried.
Tape Recording dated May 1, 1977