Little Creek / Triplett Regular Baptist Church
This church was constituted as Little Creek Regular Baptist Church in November, 1853, with nine members, namely, Abraham, William, Susan, and G. G. Springston, Jacob, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Matilda Heckert, and Zernah Vandall. During the period 1853-1857 where no record exists, twenty-six members were added, namely, Abigail Bassett, Jane and Mary Elizabeth Springston, Sarah, Susan and Eunice Heckert, William, W.W., Amanda, Angeline and Elizabeth Calkins, Milton Wilson, Luda Greathouse, Christina Andrews, Elin Perrine, Catherine, Jemima and Elizabeth Vandall, Sophia Daniell, Nancy Lance, Samuel Tanner, John and Margaret Hughes, Lydia Clevenger, and John and Elizabeth Huff.
Like other churches of this era, Little Creek Baptist Church was served by a circuit riding minister, one week-end per month. Its pastors were: Rev. J. A. Wright (1857-1861) , Rev. Jonathan Smith (1862-1864), Rev. John Stump (1864-1874) and 1890, Rev. Harry Cofer(1875-1883), Rev. J. W. Wood (1884-1890), and Rev. J. N. Fox (1891-1907). Among the deacons elected were John Hughes 1857, John Huff 1858, Peter Burk 1860, James T. Bartlett & William Springston 1862, Jeff Springston 1889, S. J. Newlon 1895, W. A. McCoy 1895, Bash Newlon 1903, P. H. Morford 1905, John Marks 1905, and N. F. Epling 1907.
Records show that they erected a meeting house in "Californi" (now Spencer) in 1857. Since records also show they voted in Nov 1857, to meet in the Little Creek school house, it appears that the Spencer First Baptist Church is an extension of the ministry of Little Creek Regular Baptist Church. Fourteen years later, they erected a log meeting house at the head of Triplett's Run. The congregation grew to more than 100 by 1889, at which time they built a new meeting house and changed their name to "Triplett Regular Baptist Church". This building has since been moved to the intersection of Triplett and Egypt Ridge roads, where it now stands.
This church was one of the earliest churches in West Virginia. Initially, it was part of the Broad Run Association, which was organized in Western Virginia about 1835. In 1855, the association was divided, and churches in Gilmer, Calhoun, Roane (not yet a county), Braxton, and Clay counties formed the Mt. Pisgah Association. The ministers of the association were: Revs. John Woofter, John Bennett, John Stump, Daniel Huffman, Joe Smith, Joe Wright, Jonathan Smith, Dave Frame, and Theodore Given.
Ministers would spend one week-end per month with each of their churches, holding services on both Saturday and Sunday. Their pay was extremely poor. Triplett Church attempted to provide $50.00 per year, but many years fell far short of this pledge. The church met monthly, after their Saturday service, to conduct church business. Only male members could vote. Minutes of the business meetings provide us some insights into the struggles experienced by the church families. People had very little money, so it was very difficult to raise funds for salaries, missions, building costs, etc. The church had no "General Fund" as churches do today. Instead, each family was asked to pledge what they could afford for a specific purpose, i.e., pastor's salary, missions, sexton's salary, etc.
Morality of the Baptists was unlike that of some of the other denominations. Dancing, drinking, swearing, gambling, and immoral conduct were all grounds for exclusion from the church body. It must have been soul-wrenching to sit in a meeting and have to vote on "Exclusion" of a loved one and see him or her removed from the church rolls. One humorous entry noted that William Tanner was "Excluded on the charge of shootin at a match for a wager." Apparently, cleanliness was not next to Godliness, as it was not until 1892 that the church voted to post bills "requesting persons not to spit amber on the floor or stoves."
In addition to providing a church home for people in the vicinity of their church, they provided the nucleus for the formation of Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Calhoun County and for the present Little Creek Baptist Church. Four ministers from their congregation were licensed and ordained to preach. These were L. D. Starkey in 1886, J. Gideon Springston in 1887, A. O. Rhodes in 1906, and M. W. Stout in 1907.
Why and when the church disbanded is a mystery to me. The last entry in the church records retained by Sophia Springston Morford was June, 1907.
Jack Springston, 403 White Oak Drive, Hendersonville, NC 28791