The History of the Walton Christian Church, appeared in Vol. I, No. 1 of the church newsletter in 1938. The author is Rev. J. M. Ervin.
The history of the Walton Christian Church dates back to the year 1875. In that year the small group of Disciples who had located in and around Walton called Rev. J.W. Beasley to conduct a revival meeting. This meeting was held in the Baptist Church, then located on Church Street. Another meeting followed in 1876, resulting in the organization of the First Christian Church. Rev. Beasley was called to be its first pastor. For a period of about three years services were held in the Masonic and I.O.O.F. hall, and in the school house, which stood at that time at the fork of the Stephenson Mill Road and the Beaver Grade. Sometime during the latter part of this period the congregation held a Church Festival and made $125.00, which was used to purchase a lot for a building of their own. The first site decided upon lay between High and Church Streets. Feeling that this was not the most desirable location, Mr. Adam Senours contributed $80-.00 more to purchase a site on High Street. Mr. Stephen Waite, Mr. Warren Lermond, and Mrs. James (Jimmie) Saunders led in a movement to erect a permanent structure for this group. Mr. Waite, along with other members of the church, razed and moved the old Antioch Christian Church building that stood on Banklick Creek near Banklick Station to this site. The timbers in this old building, along with some material donated by the L&N Railroad and others, were used in constructing the church that was erected and dedicated in 1879.
Among the charter members were: Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Waite, Mr. and Mrs. George Ransler, Mrs. Fred Schafer, Mr. H.C. Dahling, the Senours, Mrs. Hiram Fry and daughters, Emma and Mary, Mrs. Lucy Durr, Mrs. J.C. Cross, and Mrs. Fannie Stephens and others. Some of the early leaders in addition to the charter members were: Mr. Will Ransler, Mrs. Luella Watson, Mr. Robert Cleek and family, Miss Barbara Gibbs, Mrs. Nane Vest, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Percival, Mr. and Mrs. George Lipp; Robert, Foster, and Flem Jones, Mr. James Saunders, and Mr. Warren Lermond. The Church from its beginning enjoyed a normal growth.During the first years, such men as R.B. Neal, R.T. Matthews, W.W. Ridgeway, Rev. Stanley, Rev. Perkins, James Lawson, J.W. Rogers, along with Rev. Beasley, held successful revivals. Those who are still living speak in highest terms of appreciation for their service. Such men as H.W. Elliot, George Peale, Rev. Vawter, L.A. Kohler, Walter M. White, Russell Briney, Richard Wallace, R.E. Moss and others as noted, served the congregation as pastors in days gone by.
With the turning of the century more rapid progress was made. In May, 1905 a movement was initiated to "have preaching two Sundays in the month instead of one." No record is available of the month or year this objective was realized. But in the years that followed the church grew in numbers and its influence extended. In 1911 the individual communion service was introduced, a gift from Mrs. Art Stamler. There were improvements added from time to time. Like all other churches it had its hardships to overcome, but in spite of these it moved steadily forward.
In 1916 Rev. E.C. Lacy was called to be the first full time pastor of the church. Under his leadership, the present building was erected. It was dedicated on May 5, 1918 by Rev. C.W. Cauble of Indianapolis, Indiana (now deceased), at a cost of approximately $20,000. A large portion of this was raised on the day of dedication. Following this event, Milo Atkinson then of Memphis, Tennessee led the church in a two weeks revival. In the twenty years that have elapsed since the dedication, the attendance and membership have almost doubled. In 1937 the basement was completed and all indebtedness wiped out. Ministers who have served the church during this period are: E.C. Lacy, J.D. Waters, A.C. Brooks, G.W. Nutter, E.C. Boose, Rev. Erenfight, Sam Allen, C.A. Woesner, and J.M. Ervin.
(This history compiled and written by J.M. Ervin, May 5, 1938)
OFFICIAL BOARD FOR YEAR 1938
ELDERS: C.S. Chambers, chairman; Clayton Percival, vice-chairman; Oscar Chandler, treasurer; C.W. Ransler, Robert Moore, and J.G. Pennington.
DEACONS: Ben Menke, V.D. James, secretary; Harris Moore, Walter Whitson, Ben Doan, and Stanley Bush.
FINANCE: Oscar Chandler, chairman, J.G. Pennington, Stanley Bush, Mrs. Walter Whitson, and Gilbert Groger.
PULPIT & WORSHIP: C.W. Ransler, chairman; Clayton Percival, C.S. Chambers, Harris Moore, V.D. James, Miss Florence Elmore, and Mrs. Olivia Wills.
PROPERTY & CARE: Clayton Percival, chairman, Wallace Grubbs, S.W. Durr, Miss Lib Ingram, Mrs. Helen Conrad.
TREASURER REPORT FOR FIRST FOUR MONTHS
Receipts: By envelope: $612.55, Loose Offering: $42.22, Total $654.77.
Expenditures: Total $649.51
Balance, May 1st $5.26.
HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH SUNDAY SCHOOL
The history of the Sunday School dates back to the organization of the church. In the beginning attendance was small, but when the church moved into its own building in 1879, greater interest was taken in the Sunday School. Rev. Beasley, the first pastor, was a great believer in the Sunday School. Even upon the Sundays when there was no preaching service, Sunday School was held and the Lord's Supper observed. These services did much to keep up interest among the members of the church and to strengthen their spiritual life. Mr. Stephen Waite and Mr. George Ransler were among the first superintendents. In those days literature was not so easily accessible as now, and Sunday School lessons consisted mainly of reading of the Bible and comments by the teacher. During the first forty years of its history the attendance was increased to an average of more than sixty per Sunday. The story of its growth in the last twenty years can best be told in the following chart:
Superintendents who have served during this period are: C.W. Ransler, V.P. Kerns, B.F. Stansifer, C.S. Chambers, Oscar Chandler, Nick Welsh. Mr. Chambers is now serving a second term. Last year the total offering for local expenses was $227.27, and about $40.00 for missions.
The present officers of the Sunday School are: C.S. Chambers, superintendent; Nick Welsh, asst. superintendent; Miss Florence Elmore, secretary; Miss Luke Gordon, asst. secretary, Miss Lib Ingram, treasurer; Miss Marjorie Conrad, pianist, and Mrs. Olivia Wills, asst. pianist.
Since 1935 separate worship services have been held for the members of the Beginners, Primary, and Junior classes. Mrs. Naomi Wilhoit, Miss Virginia Moore, and Mrs. J.M. Ervin have served as leaders for this group.
Present teachers of the Sunday School are: Men's Class, V.D. James; Ladies Class, Mrs. Robert Moore; Willing Workers, C.W. Ransler, Older Young People, Wallace Grubbs; Young People, J.M. Erving, Intermediates, Mrs. Harris Moore; Junior, Mrs. Helen Conrad; Primary, Mrs. E.N. Steeley; Beginners, Mrs. Stanley Bush.
HISTORY OF THE LADIES AID SOCIETY
The history that follows is taken from the minutes of the society as of October 15, 1936, and was written for the society by Mrs. Barbara Ransler, one of the charter members.
"The Walton Christian Church on High Street was built in 1879. About 5 years later, Oct. 1, 1884 the Ladies Aid Society was organized under the direction of Rev. Perkins, the minister at that time. Fourteen members were enrolled, three of which are still living: Mrs. Louella Watson, Mrs. Fannie Chambers, and Mrs. Barbara Ransler. Mrs. Laura Youell was the first president. Mrs. Emma Lermond was the first secretary-treasurer. Later on when the membership increased this office was divided. The president was often changed, but not so with the secretary and treasurer. They had become accustomed to the work so we thought it best to keep them longer. It is needless to say how we worked, but 'I think the best thing we ever did was to secure the lot on which the new church now stands.' It is a great pleasure to see the society growing in numbers and spirit."
The purpose of this organization is to lend assistance to the church in any way that it can. Its present work consists mainly in keeping up the parsonage and supporting special projects in the church. There are about fifty members enrolled. Its income is derived from dues and special projects. The meetings are held in the homes of its members. An annual meeting is held at the church in October.
Present officers of the society are: Mrs. Helen Conrad, president; Mrs. Georgia Arnold, vice president, Mrs. Lula Huey, secretary; Mrs. Irene Bush, corresponding secretary; Mrs. George Fisher, Treasurer.
HISTORY OF THE WOMEN'S MISSIONARY SOCIETY
The women's Missionary Society was organized in December 1919. Mrs. Louise Loos Campbell, then president of the Kentucky Woman's Board of Missions, came to Walton at the invitation of Mrs. A.P. Stephens. A meeting was held with a number of the ladies of the church attending, and a Missionary Society was organized. Twelve charter members were enrolled, most of whom are still living: Mrs. Stella Showers (deceased), Mrs. Susan Hance (deceased), Mrs. G.R. Rankin, Mrs. C.W. Ransler, Mrs. A.P. Stephens, Miss Lib Ingram, Miss Alpha Hance, Mrs. Estelle Grodon, Mrs. C.S. Chambers, Mrs. Robert Moore, Mrs. Addie Bush, Mrs. Lena Mann. Rev. A.C. Brooks, pastor at that time was made an honorary member.
The first Officers were: Mrs. A.P. Stephens, president; Mrs. G.R. Rankin, vice president; Mrs. G.W. Ransler, secretary; Mrs. Stella Showers, treasurer. Mrs. Stephens served the organization 14 continuous years as president and another term of two years later. Other presidents have been Mrs. R.G. Moore, Mrs. Walter King, and Mrs. Harris Moore.
The purpose of the organization is to promote the missionary enterprise, both by supporting the missionary work on the home and foreign fields and by creating interest in the cause in the local church. At one time there were 78 members. The largest offering ever given in a single year was $800, during the Golden Jubilee Celebration. At present there are 35 to 40 members, and the financial goal is $120.00.
Present officers are: Mrs. Harris Moore, president, Mrs. Lena Mann, vice president, Miss Lib Ingram, treasurer, Mrs. Gilbert Groger, treasurer, Mrs. Sam Sleet, literature secretary.
HISTORY OF THE WILLING WORKERS
The Willing Workers Class was organized in the fall of 1925. Up until this time the class of young ladies, taught by Mr. C.W. Ransler, had never taken up a special project of its own. After Mrs. J.C. Acree, a former resident of the Ky. Widows and Orphans Home, came into the class, she made a motion that the class support one orphan in the home. This involved the raising of $100 per year, and necessitated some kind of organization. After a visit by J.S. Hilton and some of the girls, an organization was affected and the name Willing Workers adopted. Mrs. J.C. Acree was elected as the first president. Mr. Ransler was chosen as its sponsor.
As the class grew, it accepted the support of two orphans. The money for the support of these orphans has been raised by dues from members of the class. Other special projects such as plays, Garden Parties, and bakery sales have been sponsored by the class for the purpose of raising money. Besides supporting two orphans, the class makes liberal donations to charity and special projects conducted by the church. The following have served as president of the organization: Mrs. Acree, Mrs. Walter King, Mrs. Olivia Wills, Mrs. Helen Hume, Mrs. Dwight Weber, Mrs. Walter Whitson, Mrs. Catherine Fegan, Mrs. Nell Campbell.
The class has grown from a membership of 25 to 55. In 1936 the Young Men's Class and this class were consolidated, retaining the name Willing Workers. The class has contributed in the past twelve years $1,650 to the home, and now holds thirty-three life memberships.
Present officers are: Mrs. Olivia Wills, president; Mrs. Mary Alice Conrad, vice president; Miss Mary Ransler, secretary; Mrs. Nell Campbell, asst. secretary; Lyle Clemons, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Aileen Conner, treasurer. Mrs. C.W. Ransler has taught this class for thirty-one years.
THE CHRISTIAN YOUTH COUNCIL
The young people's organization, known as the Christian Youth Council is the newest organization of the church. Its history dating back only to March 20, 1938. The young people recognizing the need of closer fellowship and a deeper Christian experience, banded themselves together in the Christian Youth Council. The following officers were elected: Johnny Mayhugh, president; Charlie Ransler, vice president; Blanche Brittenhelm, secretary, and Marjorie Conrad, pianist. Mrs. Irene Bush, Mrs. Inda Lee Arnold, and Nick Welsh were chosen advisors. J.M. Erwin was selected as sponsor.
Programs are conducted each Sunday night by the young people, and a social is held once a month. Charlie Ransler has charge of the worship period, and the programs are under the direction of four group leaders; Luke Gordon, Ora Violet Bush, Marjorie Conrad and Johnny Gault. The general topics are as follows: 1st Sunday, "World Happening;" 2nd Sunday, "Heroes and Rogues of the Bible," 3rd Sunday, "Favorite Hymns and the Stories Behind them;" 4th Sunday, "Great Personalities." The fifth Sunday is observed as a missionary Sunday.
A number of the young people are planning to attend the Young People's Conference at Camp Ernst again this summer.
THE WALTON CHRISTIAN
We hope that you like this first edition of our new church paper. If you would like to have it published once a quarter, let us hear from you. We trust that you will recognize that in compiling a history from memory is a difficult task and that mistakes are inevitable.