A new historical marker recognizing the long history of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Dayton was unveiled Saturday, March 26, in a ceremony led by Liberty County Historical Commission Chairman Linda Jamison.
Liberty County Judge Jay Knight also read a resolution proclaiming Saturday, March 26, 2022, as Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Day in Liberty County.
The church, located today at 801 Colbert St. in Dayton, was organized in 1871 at Goat Hill, three miles northeast of Dayton under the leadership of the late Rev. Sip Baldwin.
A few years later, the membership made the decision to move the church building from Goat Hill and a new site was chosen. One-half acre of land was purchased by the church from Mrs. Alabama Cole and Mrs. Mary Cole-Smith.
Materials were gathered to start construction but “bogged” down on the property of Isaac Combs who then generously donated his land. A small wooden building was constructed and pastored by Reverend James. The building was a small, wooden shed, with two sides coarsely boarded for protection against the weather with seating on both sides, leaving just enough room for the pulpit. The community came together and worshipped in this modest church which was also used as a school house.
With growing membership, a new building was constructed under the guidance of Reverend W.C.F. Jones. In 1949, a building fund was organized under the leadership of Reverend J.W. Brent. Reverend O. J. Beasley became pastor in 1955 and construction of a new building commenced. The first service in the new building was February 1958. The cost of the building was $16,200 with the membership coming together and retiring the debt in four years.
In 1983, under the leadership of Reverend Amos I. Horton, the facility was expanded to include a pastor’s study, finance room, cafeteria, fellowship hall and additional classrooms.
The church membership continued to grow under the leadership of pastors, Reverend A.D. Jones 1960, Reverend H. J. Harvey 1992, and Reverend R. H. Gilmore 1995. Ministries include senior citizens, women’s mission, family night, young adults, praise dancing and choirs.
In January of 2012, Reverend Carl D. McNelty was called to serve Pleasant Hill Baptist Church as pastor and continues to serve the congregation and community in this historic church. Pleasant Hill Baptist Church is one of the earliest churches in Liberty County and an integral part of the community.