Watson Baptist Church History
by Kay Gibson
Around the first of January, 1900, Sophronia Bayless decided there should be a Baptist Church in Watson. She felt we needed our own house of worship in which we could feel free to worship God. On April 5, 1900, a meeting was held at the home of F.J. Bayless to organize the Watson Missionary Baptist Church. The pastors and two other delegates were sent from High Creek, Rock Port, and Grange Hall Churches, to assist with prayers and council to recognize this church as a regular Baptist Church. There were 18 members.
A lot was purchased for the church for the price of $150.00. The grand total of the building was $2,750.54. The church was built and the first Sunday School class was held January 20, 1901, and Sunday School began at 10:00 am.
The organ was bought for the church by Mrs. Bayless for $75 and later paid for by the church. The clock (still hanging on the wall) was presented by the Bayless family in memory of J.R. Bayless, deceased. The Bible was presented by Mr. and Mr. Robert Blades in memory of their daughter, Olive, who died December 4,1904.
Reverend Burch was the first chosen pastor.
The first wedding held in the church was the marriage of Bell Hoy and Theodore Stricklin.
The first funeral services were held for Lonnie De and F.J. Bayless.
On July 30, 1905, Reverend E. L. Field was ordained to the ministry of this church.
This group was 1. Steadfast in belief. 2. Steadfast in fellowship. 3. Steadfast in taking the Lord's Supper. 4. Steadfast in praying. 5. Steadfast in Giving. 6. Steadfast in attending church.
In April, 1952, the piano and all the seats were removed due to the threat of the Missouri River flood.
The hard windstorm of July 18, 1965, blew out the east and south stained glass windows and the insurance company would not replace the stained glass, they used frosted glass instead.
The church has always had a small congregation and struggled with finances, but in the late 60's and early 70's, there were two gas furnaces put in (Yes, before that was oil burners, and before them were wood stoves) and air conditioning.
The church was paneled and the ceiling lowered at that time.
In the late 90's, we had many new improvements. We got new steps and rail, new outside double doors, new storm windows, new outside light, refinished foyer, new chandelier in foyer, new bell rope, new INSIDE bathroom (yes, before that we had an outhouse), new storage closet, New replacements for water stained tiles, new skirting for the church, and replaced torn shingles.
In 2003, the church built a new fellowship hall next to the church. It has been used for Bible School, Watson Community Outreach suppers, quilting parties, and community get-togethers. Although this church as had a small congregation through the years, the Lord has always provided some faithful members who have kept this church going in the name of Jesus Christ for over 100 years.