Oak Grove Baptist gathering history for Centennial Anniversary

Published 4:13 pm Friday, April 1, 2022

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community Columnist

One of Jemison’s oldest churches still in operation is planning its centennial anniversary celebration. Oak Grove Baptist Church, located on Hwy 155, will turn 100 on May 19. Oak Grove’s pastor of 14 years, Bro. David Hand said the celebratory day is being planned for later in the year in September. However, the church is currently collecting history and photos for the event from the community and welcomes public participation. Families that have historically been part of the church and those with historical photos are encouraged to contribute and attend the celebration.

The Oak Grove community has had multiple names since settlers initially began developing the area. Former names of the community include Clem Creek, Givhan, Wessington and Duke’s Switch.  The first mention of the community is when the United States gave a post office permit for residents that were developing the township. According to Chilton County Historian, Derric Scott, many small communities were frequently set up due to the railroad but dissipated later.

“Lots of small spots had post offices because for a brief time, lumber companies would come in, build a spur off the railroad to their mill, clear all the old growth timber and then leave,” said Scott. “For a time it would have a big population, workers, stores, etc.”

Scott said the community post office was located just north of the Highway 155 bridge (less than a mile away from the church) and operated from 1881-1893.

The initial development of the community helped attract families which led to the Oak Grove community today. Oak Grove Baptist Church was built in 1922 by Rev. Faulkner.

Those that have history or photos to contribute are asked to contact Shirley Emfinger at 205-955-3634. For more information, contact Oak Grove Baptist at 205-688-4091.