NOTE: The following is a copy of text from the booklet prepared for the Centennial Celebration in 2003. Photos have been omitted. Some changes may have
occurred since 2003, such as the URL for the Church Web Site. (Edited and provided by Charles and Georgia Owen)
In 1903 Teddy Roosevelt was President, the Wright Brothers flew their first airplane and Oak Hill Church had it's beginning.
The Oak Hill United Methodist Church had it's roots far beyond the memory of it's present members.
According to the deeds recorded, Oak Hill was first a `union' church owned and controlled by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, the Cumberland Presbyterians, and the Primitive Baptist Church. The first deed was signed on October 11, 1902. On February 23, 1903 Frank Hankins signed his interest over to Eugene Francis and J. W. Barnes. This transaction apparently did away with the Union Church. The deed states that it is to be owned and controlled by Oak Hill Church. We don't have a record of the names of the founding members but we know there were at least three because they are recorded on the first deed for 2 acres. They were Eugene Francis, Frank Hankins and J. W. Barnes. A circuit named Wheeler, whose minister was W. W. Edge, was replaced in 1904 with the Mooreville Charge, so it is possible that Reverend Edge was the founding minister of Oak Hill.
We are not sure when the first person was buried in the cemetery because there are some unmarked graves; 1906 was the earliest dated grave that was found.
From 1903-1949 Oak Hill had a total of 26 recorded Pastors. Most of them stayed only 1 year. The longest any of the ministers stayed was 4 years, and that was G. B. Love from 1924-1927. One of our Ministers served two different times. Rev. Guy Ray served in 1915 and again 1928-1930.
Oak Hill survived and was probably a great comfort in 1917 when the United States declared war on Germany.
During the 1920's familiar names began appearing on the rolls of Oak Hill. Many of us will smile when remembering: Mary Ellen Estes, Mr. Sam Chambers, Mrs. Ethel Chambers, Fermon Morgan, Mrs. Gaither Wren, Mrs. Eppie Baker, Nona Hall, Whewell and Jewel Morgan and Homer and Mary Moore. They joined many others already on the church log. We do not have the dates of when the early members joined, but we know that our early church had many with the last names of: Wren, Barnes, Cantrell , Morgan and Hill. The Church had a great deal of new members in the late 1920's. Nineteen people joined Oak Hill in August 1927! A record 47 members were received into the church while Rev. G. B. Love was pastor between 1925-1927. In 1929 the Stock Market crashed but Oak Hill didn't.
The 1930's brought the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the beginning of World War ll and Social Security. Adolf Hitler became Fueher of Germany but there was GROWTH going on at Oak Hill..........Eighteen members joined Oak Hill in the month of August 1932. In the Summers, groups of children attended Singing School and Piano Lessons at Oak Hill. Reverend J. W. Holliday was the Pastor. Some of the most memorable new members during the 1930's were Swift Houston, Roberta McGuff, Mrs. Allie Berryhill and Eula Morgan.
The 1940's were troubled times for our nation. The World News was dominated by World War II and our entry into the war after Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. During this time, as some may remember, only one of the two front doors of the church could be used because one side of the steps leading to the doors was broken; a minor inconvenience compared to what was going on in the World.
Another world event occurred in 1948 when Israel became a nation. In the world of Oak Hill Methodist Church, new members included Maudie Houston, Gwen Morgan Garrett, Pat Estes Yant, Lois Hamner and Bud Estes.
The first church was a wood frame building, which stood until 1952. A new church was built with a large new sanctuary and three small Sunday School rooms at the back of the building.
Oak Hill was on the Mooreville Charge which included Mooreville, Allen's Chapel, Andrews Chapel, and East Tupelo until 1953. J. C. Christian was the pastor at the time. Brother Christian organized a M Y F. Stella Lamb was the leader. Bud Estes drove members to meetings that were held in the surrounding area. We hear that these meetings were a lot of fun! Members included were Pat Estes Yant, Helen wigginton, Bud Estes and Doris Lamb.
Harriet Christian organized the Women's Society of Christian Service; (WSCS). On September 17, 1951, Mrs. O.M. Hale from Wesley Methodist Church spoke at the
first meeting about organizing the WSCS and the duties of the officers. Mary Moore served as the first president. Jewel Morgan was the vice-president. Stella Lamb was the secretary/treasure. Eula
Morgan was the secretary of missionary education and service. Maudie Houston was the secretary of christian Social relations and local church activities. Pearl Summers, Mabel Hill, Mary Ellen Estes,
Roberta Mcguff, Alice Barnes, and Nona Hall were also present for this first meeting. Mrs. Hale closed the meeting with this poem:
I am only one
but I am one.
I can't do everything
but I can do something,
and by his grace I will.
During the second meeting a collection of $2.15 was collected. $1.10 was spent to order literature. Nancy Wren joined at the meeting.
In early 1955, Oak Hill joined together with East Tupelo Church, (Now known as St. Mark), to form a smaller circuit. A new parsonage was built and Brother Glen Wiygul was the first minister to serve the new charge and the first pastor to live in the parsonage.
In the 1950's and early 1960's, (when there were only three Sunday School rooms), we had a Children's class, a Junior's class, a Senior's class and an Adult class. The Children's Class consisted of all children until about the 5th or 6th grade. Then they were considered Juniors. The Senior Class was for older teenagers and young adults. Everyone else went into the Adult Class taught by Mr. Flavious Cook and Roberta Mcguff. Mrs. Eula Morgan taught the children's class for many years. Another much loved and remembered teacher was Mrs Etma Phillips. My goodness! She taught the Junior Class for so many years...of course a lot of the kids in her class were her's!.....B. L., Bobby Joe, Dianne, Judy and June were all members of her class at one time or the other. As a member of the Junior Class, you could look forward to a trip to Okolona Park one Sunday afternoon during the Summer. Somehow, Mrs. Phillips managed to arrange rides, (she did not drive), lunch, bathing suits and snacks for the class to enjoy. (At the time, Okolona was the only place you could go that had a REAL swimming pool that was open to the public.....it was the place to go if you could .)
On May 21, 1961 a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the education building. This addition included a fellowship hall, two Sunday School rooms and two bathrooms. Paul Lackey was the only hired carpenter for this project. Mr. Claude McCullough, Jack Williams, Homer Moore, Fermon Morgan, J. T. McCullough, Bill Lee, Berry McGuff, Buddy Edwards, F. H. and Larry Hamner, Swift, Neal, Jim, Jerry and Ken Houston worked at building this addition. Bud Estes remembers being a `gopher' along with Hoyt and Shelby Moore. Jim Houston remembers Mr. Claude sitting in a chair and being the `boss'. He, Jerry and Kin even quit for a few days. We think they were just taking a break. These men worked hard after they got off from their regular jobs. The women worked too. They brought the evening meal to the men at the church. Mouths still water at the thought of Mrs. Johnnie McCullough's sweet potato cobbler.
Brother Jack Williams reorganized MYF. This MYF had some members that have been described by counselor Billie McCullough as....as big as giants, mean as snakes, and sweet as sugar. Why? One Christmas the members swapped names as usual and brought presents for each other. After everyone had opened their presents, there was one beautifully wrapped present left on the table. The MYF-ers informed Billie that it was for her. As she started to open it, her husband, J. T. had a sneaky suspicion that something was up and told her that he had better open the present. Good thing....her present was a real dead snake! Now we understand her description of those MYF-ers. They included Susie Hamner DuVall; Andrea McGuff; Debbie McCullough Edge; Polly, Mary Helen and Jim Bryson; Shelia and Sammy Edwards; Beverly and Sandra(Sissy) Scruggs; Don Houston; Gary Hamner; David and Danny Mears; Dianne Phillips Wigginton; Judy Phillips McGaugh; June Phillips Lyle; Adelia Garrett; Bobby Joe and B.L. Phillips; John and Ray Wigginton; Wayne Osborn; Phillip Webb; Andy Gregory; Eddie Barnes; Richard Conway; Mary, Kenneth and Gerald (Pig) Hand; Sarah and Bobby Moore; Barbara Bishop; E.J. and Richard Watts; Linda Harris; Billy Winders; Arvy Harris; and Mitchell Kidd. Counselors were J.T. and Billie McCullough; Bud and Bobbie Estes and Lois Hamner.
Veatrice Williams reorganized the W.S.C.S. and Lois Hamner served as the first president.
The women had a fund-raiser; a fried chicken dinner. The ladies came to the church to cook the chicken. Well, they overloaded the switch box and the power went off and the women had to take the chicken back home to fry it. After all, they had sold tickets for the event. Who would want to deal with a bunch of hungry people that had already paid for some gooooood fried chicken?
In the 50's, 60's and early 70's the members of the church had a custom of `pounding the preacher' and his family. `Pounding the preacher' was a lovely thing to do. It was normally done when someone MOVED IN. The church members would bring a pound of something for the family......a pound of coffee, a pound of sugar, a pound of flour......really it was more like a sack of sugar, a sack of flour......mostly supplies for the house and could be anything for the house. Sorta like a shower!
In 1964, the MYF had a Christmas program that was about a snowstorm. Snow is very rare here but almost always associated with Christmas. They had rehearsed ALL afternoon and it started snowing while they were at the church. It really got serious before the program was over, but they had `gone too far to turn back!!!!' `The KID pianist', Susie Hamner DuVall, got sick and fainted about 45 minutes before the program was to begin. She had to be taken home immediately. Anita Franks took her place and played for the program. It must have been QUITE a surprise for Anita......a member of the audience.
Here is an example of a treasurers report given on September 26, 1965.
Balance on hand-June 1.............$484.40
Disbursements to date................$1,080.41
Balance on hand.........................$604.47
To meet our budget each week we need $70.00
Our record last Sunday
Present for morning worship......67
On June 20, 1965, with Page Box as the pastor, Oak Hill's first bulletin was printed but not without controversy. Every time the subject of a bulletin came up
some of the members argued that it would take all the spontaneity from the services-----they felt that we could NEVER insert anything into the service that was not listed in the bulletin. This
usually came up when we had new pastors, who was not aware that Oak Hill had their OWN ideas about our service.
From the Sunday, December 5, 1965 bulletin:
"We are grateful to Berry McGuff for volunteering to light the heaters early Sunday morning. It is mighty nice to have the church warm when we come to worship on a cold day."
Present church members remember two old gas heaters at the back of the church. If you sat at the back, you `burnt up' and if you sat at the front, you froze until just before the service was over.
On April 15, 1966, the Men's Club was chartered The charter members were Jim Bryson, F.C. Cook, Brother Page Box, Page Box Jr., Swift Houston, F.H. Hamner, S.B. Chambers, Ken Houston, Hoyt Richey, J.T. McCullough and Paul Bryson. The Men's Club has continued with a steady growth in membership.
On July 3, 1966, the first central heating and air system was installed. The trustees, (Sam Chambers, Bud Estes and F.C. Cook), borrowed $1,000 to buy it. On Nov. 20, 1966, one of the $500 notes was paid off. Luckily, Oak Hill had J.T. McCullough and Neal Houston in the congregation. The two of them were CONTINUOUSLY working on the heat and air.......it seemed like nearly every Sunday they had to adjust, fix, repair or `light' that unit.......AND you could ALWAYS count on it going out during the HOT July or August Summer revival.
In 1969, The second annex was built. This annex consisted of four Sunday School rooms, one bath room and a choir loft was built where the three small classrooms had originally been. The pulpit was renovated and carpet was laid in the aisle of the sanctuary. A complete renovation was made to the sanctuary in 1973 and new padded pews were added. Pews were donated in memory of T.C McCullough, Fermon Morgan, Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Cantrell, Mrs. F.L. Bobo and Mr. and Mrs. S.R. Yarbrough. Brother James Perry was the pastor. The dedication of the education building was held on March 31, 1974.
In the late 1960's, Susie DuVall, Judy Phillips McGaugh and Cathy Gordon worked with a Children’s Choir on Monday nights while the adults were having Prayer Meeting. There were anywhere from 10-25 children in that choir, and we ALWAYS had a Christmas program. It was decided that we needed Choir robes for the programs, so Ruth Christy, Lorene Vanlandingham, (Miss Van), and Pat Houston volunteered to make little short white capes with big red bows for the choir. During the Christmas program, there was the traditional Christmas story on the stage and the little choir, up in the choir loft, wore their capes and held flashlights covered with cellophane of different colors, under their chins to light up their faces while singing.....so sweet!
Through the years, Oak Hill has had many of it’s members to serve our country in the Military. Flavous and Luck Cook lost their son, Clyde, in WWII, and they regularly kept his memory alive by giving memorials in his memory. Among their gifts to the church were two collection plates, two large white urns for flowers, and two small wooden stands, (originally made for the urns), made by Mr. Cook. The stands are still in use today.........mostly used for stools!!! Mr. and Mrs. Cook were generous to Oak Hill. He was a painter by trade, and was ALWAYS willing to use his skills to paint and upkeep the church. Mrs. Cook sewed table cloths, altar cloths and Communion Cloths for use at Oak Hill.
In the Fall of 1971, Oak Hill had a Lay Witness Mission that lasted all weekend. Witnesses came from Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi to witness for Christ and to share their testimonies. Brother James Perry was our Pastor. The Holy Spirit was STRONG and MANY souls were saved.....many of those saved were already our Church Members. After this week-end, Our Church was revitalized and membership rose and dedication to Christ was fervent. Church and Sunday School attendance soared. Several mid-week Sharing Groups were formed. Many members of our Church volunteered to go on Lay Witness Missions to other churches. There was another Lay Witness Mission in the Fall of 1972. It was well attended and successful also.
In 1976, a foyer was added to the front entrance of the church.
In the mid-1970's the MYF was re-organized. Oak Hill had a large group of teens and pre-teens and Johnny and Judy McGaugh, John and Dianne Wigginton, Ken and Pat Houston, Hoyt and Johnnie Richey and Hugh and Susie DuVall took on the task of Counselors. As you might expect, ‘kids attract kids’, and before long, it wasn’t unusual to have between 50-60 kids at the church every Sunday afternoon. The recipe for the success for the MYF was simple, work, play, eat and worship. In order to fund extra activities, the Youth took the job of cleaning the church, selling candy and peanuts and having various other fund-raisers! One of the biggest money makers they ever had was the infamous ‘ROCK-A-THON’ held in the parking lot of Todd’s Grocery at Indian Hills.......Each child took pledges to be paid by the hour. Everybody had their own rocking chair and rocked on a Friday night- Saturday morning from 6 pm till 6 am.......There was a 5 minute break at the end of each hour, and they would run across the road to J.T. and Billie McCullough’s house or up to J.T.’s shop for a bathroom break. (No doubt it was a long night for the McCoulough household.). Members of the church took time-about coming all night long, to urge the rockers on and to bring food and games. The fund-raisers were primarily used for a Retreat, which was always held from Friday through Sunday, ustally early in the Summer. Several retreats were held at Tishomingo State Park, but the ‘Mother of all retreats’ was the year they went to Atlanta. A Bus and driver was chartered from The Children’s Mansion and off they went. They stayed in a motel and attended an Atlanta Baseball game, went up on Stone Mountain and went to Six Flags over Georgia while there. Everyone was relieved to return home—ALMOST unscathed!
Another wonderful tradition for the MYF and the church was the annual ‘Hillbilly Hoe-Down’, held at several places, but our favorite was the Hodges Arena. The Tobacco-Spitting Contest, the Prettiest Turtle Contest, the Turtle Race, the Watermelon or Pie Eating Contest, the Sack race, and the Buck-Dancing Contest were some of the favorite activities. Perhaps the funniest thing was the Costume Contest, to see who looked like the REAL HILLBILLY! Seems like every MYF-er was required to play volleyball.....(this was before we even DREAMED of a Life Center.) Poles were put up at the end of the Fellowship Hall and a real net was strung and ‘dog eat dog’ games were held, almost every Sunday afternoon. Other Churches wanted to play Oak Hill, and our team of OAKIES took them on! Sometimes our team played in their air conditioned life centers, and when they came to Oak Hill, we showed them how to play on GRAVEL!!!!! And like it!!!! Our team had quite a few GOOD players, and of course, when you played with us, you had to play by the ‘OAK HILL RULES’ which could change at any minute. Because there was always devotionals and prayer at MYF, several members were led to Christ. It was important to the Counselors that programs were planned and guest speakers were invited to encourage the youth in their walk with Christ in their everyday living. One of the things that particular MYF did for our church was to landscape the grounds. Most of the shrubs that are around the church today were donated and planted by that MYF. Some of the members of that MYF group were : Tim, Ed, Rick and Randy Houston; Lorie Hamner Wigginton; Michael Hamner; Susan DuVall May; Stacy DuVall Cobb; Debbie and Jamie Christy; Scotty Richey; Jeff, Donna, Lisa, Sondra and Jamie Franks; Susie McMurray; Martha Baker; Don and Sissy Stembridge; Billy and Mitchell Yant; Pam Yant Renick; Joe and BB Estes; Sherri Estes Johnson; Jane Blassingame; Mary Estes Abel; Terry Herring; Sherrie and Kay Lackey; Richard, George and Stacy Wilson; Terry Wallace; Pam and DeeDee Hardin; Martha and Janie Douglas; Leisha Cox; Brenda Estes; Scotty and Michael Harris and any number of other friends and ‘friends of friends’
On January 14, 1977, two acres of land was purchased for a future parsonage and in June 1977, the entire building was bricked by Bud Talley. On one of the coldest days of 1978 the steeple was erected with the help of J.T. McCullough’s crane and his expertise in using it. Rick Houston rode with the steeple to the top of the church to help keep it steady. Others that helped were: Neal Houston; John Wigginton; Tom Hardin. Brother Doc Jeter was serving as the pastor.
The Phillips family donated a complete set of three-piece paraments to Oak Hill in 1981. These beautiful paraments are still used today.
On November 14, 1983, the church voted to get stained glass windows for the church at a cost of $625 per window.
In 1988, the church accepted a donation of an American flag and a Christian flag in memory of Ivy Wigginton from John, Dianne and Hope Wigginton. The flags have a home at the front of the church. They are a constant reminder of our beautiful Country and our wonderful freedom. Children that attend Vacation Bible School each Summer also enjoy these flags.
On January 9, 1989, the church voted to accept the Brice McKissick scholarship fund. Brice’s parents, Buddy and Pat McKissick established a memorial scholarship. It continues to be funded by periodic offerings and special fund raisers. This year the Men’s Club held a Super Bowl Sunday Chili Supper. All proceeds went to the scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to active members with good grades that are entering college. As of this year, this scholarship has been awarded to six members: B.B. Estes, Stacy DuVall Cobb, Leslie Hamner, Will Abel, Jason Yant and Pat Abel.
In the early 90's, a celebration was held honoring Roberta McGuff for teaching Sunday School at Oak Hill for 50 years. Typically, she taught the Adult or Young Adult class. Also, during this time, the sanctuary underwent another renovation. The walls were painted white, maroon carpet was added and new chandeliers were hung. A lighted wooden cross was hung on the back wall in memory of Alford, Gaither and Elmo Wren by the Lanphere Family. We are worshiping in this sanctuary today. In 1995, more lovely sounds were added to the church with the addition of an organ. Dorothy Morgan Pierce donated it in memory of her parents; Blanch and John Morgan. Shelia Yant became our first organist and continues today.
Also, in 1995, the dream of building a Christian Life Center was developed under the leadership of Brother Danny Dabbs. The slab and dirt work was completed in August of 1997. Brother Danny transferred to Oxford in September of 1997 without seeing the completion of the Christian Life Center. In 1998, Brother Jimmy Jackson suggested using engraved bricks in the sidewalk in front of the Christian Life Center. These bricks were purchased and personalized in honor or memory of loved ones. Brother Jimmy was the pastor during the time of completing the Life Center. Brother Danny Dabbs returned for the luncheon and dedication of the CLC on May 30,1999.
In 1997, the Women’s club completed and offered for sale the first cookbook. The cookbook was complied of favorite recipes from church members. It is a wonderful cookbook because Oak Hill is filled with great cooks.
Amazing.....I doesn’t seem like drivers are cutting doughnuts in our church parking lot anymore. Oh! Maybe it is because Oak Hill’s parking lot was paved in 2001. We sure don’t miss seeing the evidence.....those big rings in the gravel.
Throughout the years Oak Hill has been blessed by dedicated song leaders and pianists. Whewell Morgan served as song leader for many years. Many have fond memories of ‘Mr. Whewell’. People could hear him coming before they could see him......Well...During daytime Summer revivals, held the same time as VBS, people could hear Mr. Whewell’s roadgrader coming to church. He worked on the roads, but he also managed to get to the revival. He would park his roadgrader under the trees and come into church to lead the singing. Talk about didication!!! He was song leader until he passed away. Bud Estes reluctantly took over and did a good job. Other song leaders included: Tim Houston; Hugh Coker; Hugh DuVall and Mary Abel. Hugh DuVall and Mary still share the Job.
Pianist included: Erin Barnes; Helen Barnes cockrell; Mildred Pearce; Luck Cook; Mrs. John McCay; Gwen Garrett; Pat Yant; Evelyn Estes Willis; Anita McGuff and Susie DuVall. Susie is our pianist today. We believe Susie considers playing the piano....EASY. ..when compared to trying to keep the song leader, (Hugh) straight.
Oak Hill has received many wonderful donations over the years. Pulpit chairs were donated in memory of Mabel Estes Hill by the G.W. Scott Family. Offering plates were donated in memory of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Morgan Senior. Virginia Gillentine gave the picture in the foyer in memory of her parents, Whewell and Jewel Morgan. A silver communion service set and two wooden offering plates were given in memory of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Morgan Sr. By Mildred Pearce. Aaron and Arcada Morgan donated pictures. One hung on the back wall of the sanctuary until the renovation in the 90's. Lysha Lentz cross-stitched the beautiful picture of The Lord’s Supper that hangs above the piano in the fellowship hall. In 2001, thanks to Marge Cason, one of the oldest pieces of furniture in our church received new life. She totally refinished what was once the Altar table.....many of our members didn’t recognize the table when it was finished. We treasure all of these wonderful items.
The 21st Century has brought new challenges to our church under the current leadership of Brother Wally Cason, a very talented artist, as well as a fine pastor. Brother Wally has given Oak Hill Church a gift of two watercolor paintings that will forever be a part of our church.
We have many projects that we hope to complete in the future. The church has an on-going project to complete the playground that will be very beneficial to our future generations. A special fund has been established for this cause, in memory of F.H. Hamner.
Also, we hope to finish the inside of the CLC, complete with flooring for our gym and additional classrooms in our upstairs area.
The cemetery will continue to be a part of our church and the community with support from our Men’s Club and the Oak Hill Community.
Jerome Sheffield has established a web site. The goal of this Web Site is to reach our fellow members and other people who have an interest in God’s Word. This site is a ‘work in progress’. The address for the website is: www.oakhillumcms.com
We will depend on future generations to carry on the work that has been started at Oak Hill Church and PRAY daily for guidance from GOD to remain strong.
1903-------------There was no Mooreville charge in that year, but a Circuit named Wheeler, whose minister was W.W. Edge, is replaced in 1904 with the
Mooreville Charge. It is possible that Reverend Edge was the founding Minister of Oak Hill, but our records do not state that.
1905------------To be supplied
1906------------Jas. McIlroy and G.W. Gordon
1940-41---------J.L. Nabors Jr.
1952-53---------J.Q. Perkins--------Oak Hill was on the Mooreville Charge until 1953.
1975-75---------B.C. Nunn 1
1984-86---------Raiford P. Wallace Jr.
1987-88---------Jerry B. Beam
NOTE: Until the 1950's, Annual Conference was held in December, so the minister appointed at Conference began
serving his appointment in January of the following year.