THE FIRST HISTORY OF SPRINGFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH

This is the beginning of Springfield Baptist Church as it was told to me, Rosa Braxton Parrish (great niece of Cyrus Wilkerson), by my mother, Mrs. Sarah Wilkerson Braxton and her sister.

She said long before the Civil War her mother and father used to take them over to Uncle Cyrus’ to prayer meetings.  He and his mother and two sisters used to have prayer meetings quite often on Sunday afternoons and Sunday nights.  On the fourth Sunday the neighbors would come, who were slaves and they would sing and pray together.

 Near the beginning of the Civil War the slaves’ owners heard that the slaves were praying to be free.  This made them uneasy and they sent messages for them to stop.  Uncle Cyrus didn’t pay any attention to the messages and kept right on praying and singing.  After they got the message three or four times they decided to move from the house and yard.  They moved the worship service to the field where a spring flowed through.

At the spot it was bound on three sides, two sides by a creek and one side by thick briers and honey suckle vines which left only one way to get in.

Ned Wilkerson, Cyrus’ young brother, promised to stand guard while they carried n prayer meeting.  When the pattyrollers heard that Ned was standing guard they left the people alone.  The term paddyrollers was a term used by slaves to describe the groups of white night riders (patrollers) wh o looked for and broke up secret slave meetings in an effort to prevent slave revolts.

Under Cyrus’ mother and two sisters kept the meeting going all through the Civil War with the help of any of the slaves who could steal away, because they knew if they were caught they would be well whipped by the pattyrollers.

The meetings were held in the field where the spring and consequently this is where they got the name Springfield.

After the war the slaves moved up in the piney woods near Zion.  Uncle Cyrus and his mother and sisters decided to move the meeting place to one of the sister’s land which is just across the road in front of the church.  It was still called the Springfield Meeting.

First they had a brush arbor, then a log building and later on they had a framed church on the side of the road.

You may wonder how the Wilkerson’s could have had prayer meetings and other people not; well, the Wilkersons were always free because they were of the Cherokee Indian tribe.

My mother, Sarah Wilkerson Braxton, was born in 1845 and there were two children other than her.

written May 30, 1956