Eighteen persons appear as Charter members as follows:
Deacon Abram Rundell & wife, Mary A. Rundell
Deacon James D. Hill & wife, Lucy Hill
J. W. Knappin & wife
George Hisom & wife, Emmaline A. Hisom
James Coleman Parsons (died March 21, 1859)
Mrs. Anna Briggs Parsons (widow of Rev. James Parsons who died May 1, 1854)
Sarah Eliza Parsons
Anna Griffin (afterward Mrs. Stockwell)
Goodwin Fuller (father of Mrs. Eff. Benedict)
E. Q. Greenleaf
Elder Loomis was a man of some property, and through his efforts a church edifice was erected. He not only worked with his hands to build the church, but actually contributed about $600.00 toward the purchase of materials. This church was called Canton Village of Corners Church to distinguish it from the Alba Church. The new "Meeting House" was formally dedicated on October 9, 1861.
Before the coming of Elder Loomis, not only Wm. H. H. Dwyer, but James McDonald (the father of one of our present members, Mrs. Nellie Scott) were wont to meet with this group of Christians and speak or exhort from time to time. It must be remembered that Canton up to 1874 was a very small village.
My mother (Mrs. Fannie L. Parsons) had become a member of the church several years before I was born, and my sister Florence, who died in August 1873, had been a member several years before her death. Race lines were not drawn then, and Mary Ann Robinson, a colored woman, and my mother were baptized the same day, and remained friends as long as they lived.
Elder Loomis made his home with my father and mother during his pastorate here, and before the dedication of the new building he purchased and set out two rows of Arbor-vitae trees, on either side of the path leading to the church door. For two years he faithfully watered and tended these trees, which grew and thrived until 1895 when they had to be removed to make way for a larger house. Water wasn’t so plentiful in Canton in 1861, and Elder Loomis carried each Monday, two 16 quart pails of wash-water from my home to the church to water those trees whenever a "dry spell" threatened them.
John L. Watson came to Canton September 1, 1867, direct from College, and was ordained on October 25th. In the winter of 1871-72 twelve persons were added to the church by baptism. Rev. Watson resigned on September 1, 1873, and on January 1, 1874 the church installed Rev. George P. Watrous. Rev. Watrous and his wife had been missionaries in Burma. They had buried their eldest daughter, Julia, in Burma and another daughter, Dora Emma, was born there.
Up to January 1, 1874 James D. Hill, Abram Rundell and James McDonald had served the church as Deacons, and James C. Parsons, William Spaulding, Tracy O. Hollis, Wilson V. Bacon and James O. Whitman had served as clerks. Also, James McDonald, Judson Dann and J. B. Shakespeare had acted as Sunday School Superintendents.
During the first twenty years of its existence as a separate Church there were 144 members, 18 of whom were constituent members. At one time the membership dwindled to 13, but special meetings led by a student from Lewisburg in 1860 resulted in the addition of 18 members, and in 1869, another special meeting resulted in the addition of 8 more, and Eggleston Burroughs, a member of this church was ordained to the ministry. For a time after Elder Loomis left, James McDonald (a licentiate) supplied the pulpit.
My paternal grandmother, together with two daughters, a son and a son-in-law made five of the 18 constituent members. It has been my privilege to know every one of the 22 pastors of this church, also Wm. H. H. Dwyer and James McDonald. I was twelve years old the last time I saw Elder Loomis, when he stayed over night in my home.
During the pastorate of Rev. Francis Tuck the church was rebuilt, and for some time all church and Sunday School services were held in the big "Skating Rink" (known formerly as Vroman’s Opera House) and a good part of the church furniture was stored in unused rooms in my home. This "Opera House" was located near where the Johannis Shoe Store now stands.
This new edifice was formally dedicated in February and March of 1895. It cost about $8,000.00 and was dedicated free of debt. On November 23, 1929 this church building burned, but through the generosity of a son of Deacon Leroy Gleason, together with insurance on the property, we were able to erect the present edifice, which was publicly dedicated in September 1930.
The Memorial Windows:
Frances VanDyke, husband Henry and daughter Helen
There is no doubt the early members of the Canton Baptist Church were of stern and puritanical stuff. One prominent member became enraged at his shirt, and tore the offending garment, meanwhile giving his wife a lecture on her duties in regard to keeping his wardrobe in better shape. The wife took the torn shirt to the next service, and because the husband would not admit his offense and publicly ask for forgiveness, he was barred as a communicant of the church.
Another prominent member and his sister attended a dance, and at the next meeting, apologized for the act and were forgiven. This same man later sold papers on Sunday, and was compelled to admit his guilt and asked for forgiveness, but he continued to sell the offending papers.
The Alba Baptist Church was organized some years before Canton, Leroy or North Union, and persons who later attended these churches used to drive to Alba every fine Sunday to attend the services. Formerly there was much animosity and rivalry between the various Protestant denominations; such feeling seems strange now. One great point of argument concerned Baptism and was hotly debated. The Baptists had a baptismal pool in Mill Creek just below the Center Street bridge and the Disciples had theirs where the creek flowed past what is now Miss Sadie Parson’s residence, which is farther down stream. Thus when an argument between a Baptist and a Disciple waxed too strong, the Baptists would always complacently remark that the Disciples had to use the water that flowed from their pool.
Members of the Baptist Fellowship of the First Baptist Church of Canton.
Baxter, Mrs. Helen Renstrom, Mr. Donald
Brown, Mrs. Margaret Renstrom, Mr. Charles
Campbell, Mrs. Cleora Renstrom, Mrs. Mame
Campbell, Mrs. Herbert (Mildred) Rockwell, Elmer
Eckman, Mrs. Mary P. Roupp, Miss Florence J.
Faulkner, Mrs. Olive Savacol, Mrs. Clara
Faulkner, Mr. J. A. Simpson, Mr. Lawrence
Gleckner, Mr. Elwin Simpson, Mrs. Edna
Gleckner, Mr. Donald Spencer, Mrs. Dorothy
Gleckner, Mr. W. V. Spencer, Mrs. Geraldine
Herman, Mrs. Bessie Terry, Mrs. Kathleen
Huntly, Mrs. Florence Tillotson, Mrs. Rose
Innes, Mrs. Imogene Walburn, Mr. Gerald
Innes, Mrs. Barbara Walburn, Mrs. Bessie
Johnson, Mr. Frank Walburn, Mr. Harold
Larcom, Mr. E. J. Walburn, Mrs. Reita
Lloyd, Mrs. Grace Watts, Mrs. Kenneth
Lloyd, Mrs. Donna Wheeler, Mr. Fred
O’Hara, Mrs. Marie Williams, Mrs. Harry
Mason, Mrs. Bertha Williams, Mrs. Dorothy
Mason, Dorothy Williams, Mrs. Otis
Mason, Mr. William Williams, Mrs. Jessie
Newell, Mrs. Flossie
Newell, Mrs. Marjorie HONORARY MEMBERS:
Pierce, Mrs. Mary
Purvis, Mrs. Nancy Fletcher, Miss Ruby
Purvis, Mr. Lee Parsons, Miss Sadie
Eleanor P. Keagle (1896 – 1971)