Historical reflections of Spring Branch Baptist Church
The beginnings were humble, but God blessed and sustained Spring Branch Baptist Church for 168 years. The Rev. Sims Robinson, George Bailey and others began meeting under a bush harbor in 1848. As one pioneer recalled, there was no fashion, but instead devotion.
At that time the site was in Marion County. Today it is part of Florence County. Not much is known about those early beginnings, but 66 years later Annie J. Timmons saw that the congregation needed a place for worship and on Nov. 30, 1914 she deeded around two acres of land for a church and school.
The church made progress through the years under the leadership of the Reverends Wright, White, McFadden, Coker, W.F. McFarlin, A.J. Streater, D. Anderson, Bass and McIntosh. In 1926, the Rev. J.C. Bristow took the helm of leadership and served faithfully for 38 years.
Under his leadership, the church building was torn down and rebuilt in 1954. Bristow was called from his labor to his reward on Feb. 22, 1964. The following deacons were pillars in the beginning of the church through their leadership, administration, teaching and spirituality of the church: Deacon Luke Eagleton, Deacon Arthur Eagleton, Deacon Levi McAllister, Deacon Henry McAllister, Deacon George “Sam” Bailey, Deacon Raymond Bailey, Deacon Nathaniel Collins, Deacon William “Bill” Jackson, Deacon Bill James and Deacon Willie “Bubba” Eagleton.
Later Deacon Kenneth Spears Sr., Deacon Nathanial Brown, Deacon Allen Jackson, Deacon George Spears Sr., and Deacon Arthur Thomas were added. Other deacons serving the church included Deacon Andrew Grant, Deacon Curtis Eagleton Jr., Deacon James McAllister and Deacon O’Dell Spears. Also, God lead Deacon Harry Capehart to make Spring Branch his home.
A church renovation included adding two Sunday School rooms, a kitchen, a fellowship hall and enlarging the ladies restroom. Deacon Nathaniel Brown shared his expertise and talents in masonry and carpentry during the renovation. In 1989, the front of the church was enclosed to create a vestibule.
Prior to 1995, stained glass windows were installed. Then in 1995, the pulpit was renovated to allow more space. Light fixtures were changed, a baptistry, padded pews and carpeting were added to beautify the sanctuary. In 1997, the church parking lot was paved and the yard landscaped.
The church purchased a van and a marquee in 2000. Also land was purchased and a new cemetery cleared, adding about nine acres to the original two acres. The Rev. J.W. Walker retired in 2001 and the church was without a pastor. However, worship continued with various ministers delivering the Word and prayer kept the congregation united.
The Rev. Eddie L. Lesaine was called to the church and installed as pastor on March 1, 2003. Since then church attendance, membership and participation has continued to grow. During his tenure, planters and flowers were added to the grounds. New choir robes, office equipment, communion set, new roof and steeple were also added.
The sanctuary has been modified, parking lot resurfaced, ice machine and deep freezer purchased. The church’s benevolence and scholarship funds have grown tremendously over the past years. Deacon David Barr and his wife, Sister Ealine Barr, joined the Spring Branch family.
Also, Pastor Lesaine ordained three members to the deacon ministry: Deacon Clarence Brown, Deacon James A. Thomas and Deacon Obed Thomas Jr. Last year, the youth ministry formed a youth mimes group and praise dance team. The late Pastor J. W. Walker had a vision to build a church fellowship hall, but the Lord called him home before it could be built.
His vision was carried to fruition under the leadership of Pastor Lesaine and the new facility was dedicated on April 2 as a part of the 168th anniversary celebration. Sons of Spring Branch Church who were called to ministry: The Rev. Jessie James, the Rev. Flander Singleton, the Rev. Willie Eagleton, the Rev. Russell McAllister, the Rev. James Jackson, the Rev. James Eagleton. Also, the Rev. Joseph Timmons, the Rev. Richard Collins, the Rev. George A. Sellers, the Rev. William L. Thompson, the Rev. Robert Spears, and the Rev. Robert Daniels.