Friendship Primitive Baptist Church

A brief history of our church


Written by: Elder Joe F. Hildreth

Delivered on Sunday morning service for the celebration of Friendship's 100th Anniversary in 1993.

In giving thanks for this day it is important that we remember the faithfulness of those gone before and the heritage that has been left to this church and this community by the members of this church in "earnestly contending for the faith."

Friendship Church was constituted June 9, 1893, with the following members: Brother Jacob Robert Peters and his wife, Sister Barbara Peters, Brother J. D. Stickland and Sister M. E. Vaughn. The constituting presbytery were Elders B. R. Bray and J. A. Mims. The minutes say that they were "constituted into a church to keep a house for God." The next day four were baptized: W. T. Peters, William Taylor, William Jay, and Edna Jay.

Jacob Robert Peters and his wife came to Catoosa County in 1879 from Gwinnett County, Georgia. They were of the Primitive Baptist faith and held firmly to " that faith" even though there were no Primitive Baptist churches in this area of Georgia. Jacob Robert Peters was a railroad man working on the rails from Atlanta to Chattanooga. He and his family were living in a railroad car at Big Shanty (now Kennesaw) at the time of Andrews Raiders in what became known as the Great Locomotive Chase during the Civil War.

This is the fourth building that has stood on this property. The first was a school building in which the church was constituted. Friendship Church has erected three meeting houses. The school building was replaced by a small frame building. Brother Terrell Peters who has been a member here since being baptized June 8, 1919 (almost 64 years), has drawn a sketch of the original building which was torn down in 1944 after the second building was erected. This second building was a 30x40 concrete block building. In 1955 it was expanded 16 feet, rest rooms were added, and it was brick veneered. This was the building that has just recently been torn down for the construction of the current building. In 1969, a lunch room was built. This is the brick building recently moved to Ringgold and has become a gift shop on the main street after some adaptation.

This land on which the church is built was given by Augustus Peters, son of Jacob Robert Peters. A deed was not actually prepared until 1921. Brother Terrell Peters recalls quite well helping survey the land at that time.

Friendship Church has had only five pastors: Elders B. R. Bray (1893-1909), C. A. Clemons (1909-1921; Buried at the church cemetary, born 1860 - died 1938), J. W. Dempsey (1921-1953), Paul Childers ( Assistant 1940-1953 and Pastor 1953-1965) and Ralph Howell (1965- ). There have been only 3 clerks: Brothers W.T. Peters who served for the first year, Augustus Peters who served from 1894 to 1927, and Terrell Peters from 1927 to present. This makes 56 years for Brother Terrell and 87 years for father and son. (This information was correct as of 1993, when this history was presented at the 100th Anniversary meeting)

How the Lord indeed has blessed these people both spiritually and in material blessings. For instance, I noticed in 1902 that the church sent 75 cents to the association, this had increased 12 fold by 1918 when the church sent $9.00.