Remember When: Adellum Baptist Church history

Published 11:59 am Friday, September 13, 2019

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

“No spot is so dear to my childhood as the little brown church in the vale.” (from “The Church in the Wildwood”)

As we celebrate Alabama’s Bicentennial year (2019),

we can strive to understand the early pioneers as they settled and built their homes, cleared land for their farms, and established their schools and churches. Most of the early original church buildings, simple wooden structures, have disappeared although many have been replaced with newer and larger buildings as the congregations grew.

According to information in “The Heritage of Covington County” book, the oldest recorded churches in Covington County were of the Baptist or Methodist faith. Because there were few ministers, pioneer churches sometimes shared ministers with one or more churches who would send ministers out into circuits which could cover many miles and reach into other counties. Some communities built one building which would serve several church groups. Churches would often share a two-story building with the Masonic Lodge and would alternate services. Those early churches met the spiritual as well as the social needs of the community.

The Adellum Baptist Church on the Brooklyn Road was organized in 1903 under the leadership of Rev. Ed Smith. At the organizational meeting, the following charter members included Rev. Ed Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Lige Hare, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Hare, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Lundy, Mr. and Mrs. B. J. Stokes, and Mr. Norman McIntosh.

The church was first named “The Baptist Church of Christ of Adullam.” The Biblical town of Adullum 13 miles SW of Jerusalem is referred to in 1 Samuel 22:1. “David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullum; and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him.” The meaning of the word is “resting place.”

“There seems to be some confusion in the name ‘Adellum’ and ‘Adullum’ according to the Adellum Baptist Church 100th anniversary history account written in 2003. The Mike Barrow family loaned their church anniversary history book to this writer to obtain information for the column. It is a treasure.

It is assumed that one of two things happened. Either incorrect spelling was continued and later accepted as the name of the church or something transpired at the September 1907 meeting which was not recorded. An error on the part of the church clerk was perhaps never corrected.

In 1903 a group of people got together in an empty house about one and a half miles from the present location for the purpose of establishing a Baptist church. Dinner was served and a large number of people in the area attended. Mr. David McIntosh was the first person to join.

The Norman McIntosh family moved his family to Covington County in 1870. He became one of the leading farmers homesteading 163 acres of government land in 1888. Norm was a Mason and a leader in the Missionary Baptist Church. He worshipped at the time at Salem Church.

Around the turn of the century, he gave land for Adellum Baptist Church to be built along with enough room for an adjacent cemetery. He also built a church across the road for the black people who lived in the community and who worked for him on his farms. Additionally, he gave land for the Adellum School located south of the church property where the property known as the Charles Thomasson property was situated.

Norm first married Amanda Jane Nixon, and they had daughters Dorcas “Duck” who married Edward Hare; and Mary Jane who married William Elijah “Lige” Hare. These couples were among the charter members of the church organized in 1903. McIntosh’s other children and descendants, or a majority of them, are buried in the Adellum Cemetery.

It is remembered that the pews in the first church were made by the men who cut blocks from logs. Boards were put across them for seating. These served for pews for a long time.

After spending about a year in the vacant house, the church moved to the Adellum School where services were held for the next five years. Finally a church was built behind the present location, a one-room building, 40 feet by 60 feet made from rough six-inch boards. One remembers that it was possible to stand on the outside and see inside the church through the large cracks. Light was furnished by nickel-brass lamps sitting on little shelves around the room.

The third building is on the present property in front of the other two. One was blown down during a 1911 storm. A pastorium was built in 1951 on land donated by the Pruitt/Raley family and the cemetery was enlarged to its present day size.

Soon it became evident that what was once a rural church was now becoming a city church since the city of Andalusia was growing. The city limits were moving closer to the church, and a larger church building was needed. After much discussion, blending of ideas, disappointments, frustrations, and trying times, the church moved ahead and came up with a plan to enter a building program and expand their facilities. After many sacrifices and hardship, a wonderful group of people who had welded a fellowship of kindred minds and trust in the Lord worked together to do much of the work themselves with a few exceptions of carpenters and brick layers. The new brick facility was dedicated on May 1, 1960 with a 2-story educational building, fellowship hall, and kitchen.

Adellum Baptist Church continues to lift high the banner of the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim the gospel story in Andalusia, Alabama and into the uttermost parts of the earth.

In the anniversary book, there is a section called “Memories of Adellum Church” where a number of members wrote about their associations with the church.

Elizabeth Grimes Wise wrote, “One hundred years ago, my parents W. O. and Laura Grimes, helped with the building of the church. My dad hauled lumber on his wagon. He worked on his farm part of the time and on the church part of the time. Some of the crops of the farmers such as cotton, corn, and peanuts were grown to support the church. My mama would cook lunch for the church workers. She cooked many, many syrup buckets full of sausage as well as other meats and vegetables.”

“My parents carried the entire family to Sunday School and church every Sunday that there was a service. They would put everyone in the wagon and off we would go. They would not listen to any excuses we had for not attending. Then came the automobile which was more thrilling to ride in. My entire family is/has worshiping/worshiped at Adellum Baptist Church.”

Marie Pruitt Pierce wrote in her remembrances, “I was born in the Adellum Community living near the church. I have cherished memories of people who have passed on who made Adellum a great church and community. I love to hear the song ‘When the Wagon was New.’ The space in front of the church was very wooded and a horse or mule was tied to the trees while the owner was in the church. Quilts were spread in the wagon for babies, and if ‘dinner on the ground’ was held that day, many carried their food in a trunk. Everything good you could ever think of came out of those trunks and boxes. ‘Miss’ Aggie Parrish’s banana pudding was what I liked best. That pudding was a Sunday dish, not an everyday one!”

“All the deacons sat around an old pot belly wood heater, because there was no electricity or gas until later. Kerosene lamps were used for light for the preacher and for the pump organ and piano. There was good ole time music which kept some deacons awake and some asleep who ‘cat-napped.’”

“Many came in wagons and buggies and many walked even though they had to wade the creek coming and going back home. Mama (Mildred Pruitt) cooked everything good before going to church, because many Sundays, Preacher Shear would say, ‘Milrich,’ I’m going to ‘take’ dinner with you today. We had iced tea as long as the ice lasted.”

“On Sunday nights when we had preaching, most every one of us young folks walked, and there was some ‘courting’ going on! There was always a crowd, because there was a tale that there was a panther on the hill. No one walked alone at night.”

“During the Depression, Mama and Daddy had the only car in the community. They carried some to work at the Alatex on their way to town. Mama and I would often go to the movies several times a week in town (10 cents or 25 cents was the admission!). The Chavers family lived down the road from us. When Mama drove down near their house, Mrs. Chavers would yell, ‘Children, crawl under the house, ‘Miss’ Mildred is coming.’”

“In the early 1950s, my parents built their all-electric home which was featured in the Covington Electric booklet showing Mama standing in her yard watching the man up the pole hooking up the electricity. All electric homes were not common in the rural communities back then.”

“For years, Mama went every Sunday morning to turn on the gas heat or air when the church finally got ‘electrified,’ Daddy and Donahue Parrish got city water for the church. Mama also put flowers in the sanctuary every Sunday, live flowers, many coming from her yard or Aunt Martha’s. She also arranged flowers for funerals.”

Mama got the cemetery fenced by contacting families who had loved ones there by asking for contributions. She got good responses and was able to get this much needed fence paid in full. She also got the cemetery mowed every two weeks. When clothes were left too long at Pruitt’s Cleaners, Mama would give people clothes to keep warm. She did not tell anyone all she did, it was private and not for show.”

“When I lived in Opp, my mother did so many things with my children. My daughters Virginia, Ellen, and Mary Lynn and son Jimmy loved to visit their grandmother in Andalusia and go to church with Mama and Daddy. Sometimes they would get tickled especially when Mrs. Bonice Moore was once swinging her high heel shoe on her toes while the preacher was preaching when it fell off and hit the floor. Of course, everything is funny when you are supposed to be quiet. Mama would pinch them to get them to straighten up.”

“All my children learned to drive a car in Mama’s front yard. As Ellen said, “Granny was the richest person I know. She always brought laughter and was busy doing the Lord’s work.”

“Come to Adellum to church. Hear Brother Billy Boles. My grandchildren, Emily and Mary Morgan, say he is the ‘best-ist!”

Church members will Remember When a poignant poem appeared in the May 1, 1960 dedication program when Rev. H. C. Mann was pastor – LIFE“Life is a story in volumes three, The past, the present, and yet-to-be. The first is finished and laid away. The second, we’re reading day by day. The third and last of volumes three is locked from sight, God keeps the key. Old friends, old scenes will lovelier be, If more of heaven in each other we see.” Anonymous

Church members of 2003 Ellen and George Flinn wrote, “May God continue to bless Adellum Baptist Church.”

Sue B. Wilson, AHS Class of 1965, is a local real estate broker and long-time member of the Covington Historical Society. She can be reached at   




Graves in Adellum Cemetery of charter members, Norman McIntosh and Edward Hare.
Courtesy Photo

Graves in Adellum Cemetery of charter members, Norman McIntosh and Edward Hare.
Courtesy Photo