From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.

Oldest Baptist Church in Kansas Observes Its 105th Anniversary

Leavenworth Times, September 7, 1962

The First Baptist Church, Broadway and Seneca, will observe its 105th anniversary on Sunday.

Church school begins at 9 a.m., the Rev. J. C. Keller will bring the message at 11 a.m. and the young peoples choir will furnish the music.

At 3 p.m. the Rev. L. E. Williams and his congregation of the First Baptist Church of Bonner Springs will be guests with Rev. Williams bringing the sermon and his choir the music.

A program will be given tonight at 8 by the Mellowettes with the public invited.

Mrs. Mamie Smith is chairman and Mrs. Jenell Blanton, co-chairman of the celebration.

The church was organized in 1857 under the leadership of the Rev. Dennis Jones, father of the late attorney Dennis Jones Jr. It was known at the 6th and Miami Street Baptist Church.

On May 11, 1874, a charter was applied for and granted. Recorded events gives it the right to be known as the oldest Baptist Church in Kansas.

After the church burned it was moved to its present location.

Many ministers who have worked faithfully to make it a success have been the Rev. John King, Rev. J. W. Browder, Rev. J. A. Benjamin and Rev. E. Fitts, deceased.

Rev. J. W. Hayes came in November of 1907, went to college at the church's expense and returned in 1914. Rev. George Alexander was supply pastor.

During the seven years that Rev. Hayes served the church he purchased and old brick building on Cherokee that was torn down. Cleaning bricks were the Jackson, Nutter, Washington, Davis, Alexander, Love, Vaughn, Roach, White, Carson and Williams families and many other members and friends. J. J. Baskins was contractor. Rev. Hayes never stopped working until he had finished paying for the building. He was later called to Wichita to serve.

Others who have served have been Rev. J. W. Hill, Rev. C. A. Cartwright, Rev. E. Stewart, Rev. C. Anthony, Rev. F. Frazier, Rev. R. A. Patton, Rev. E. Bratton, Rev. A. Ballinger and Rev. A. L. Blake who came in 1945 and burned the mortgage in 1946.

Rev. Keller came in 1952 to administer and during his pastorate a parsonage has been purchased and redecorated, the church has been remodeled and the congregation and auxiliaries have doubled.

Church school is under the guidance of Harry Butler, BTU president is Randall Buford Jr.; choir president, Mrs. Mamie Smith; WMU president, Mrs. Lucille Cotton; organist, Miss Helen Cotton; pianist, Mrs. Maxine Furch; financial secretary, T. Baker; treasurer, W. Wilson, clerk, Bessie Mitchel.

Rev. Keller is dean of the School of Religion, Northeast District Association, on the faculty in the School of Religion in the State Sunday School and BTU Congress, State Ushers Pastoral Counselor and is a Master Mason.

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