The Bethesda Baptist Church
The Bethesda Baptist Church
Calhoun County, Arkansas
Organized 1847

This is the third building to house The Bethesda Baptist Church.  The first one was a log structure, the second one was a two story structure with a Masonic Lodge on the second floor.  The third building, pictured above,  was completed in 1955.

Ann Talbot Brandon Womack
Great(2) Granddaughter of Tilmon Monroe Brawner and Sarah Higginbotham Brawner
Great(2) Grandaughter of Stephen Zellars Hearnsberger
Great Granddaughter of Green Berry Talbot and Mary Ellen Brawner Talbot
(Photograph: 6 July 2000)

The Bethesda Baptist Church was organized August 10, 1847.  The following seventeen persons banded together to form the church.  Many had only recently arrived from Alabama, Georgia, and other southeastern states.  The settlement was called Chambersville, perhaps to acknowledge that many of the early settlers had lived in Chambers County, Alabama before they made the trek to Arkansas.  When the Church was organized, the Township (Moro) in which the building was located lay in Dallas County, Arkansas.  In 1850, Calhoun County was organized by the Arkansas General Assembly and Moro Township became a part of Calhoun County.

Tilmon Monroe Brawner Sarah Brawner, Jr.
Green Berry Talbot Jane Elizabeth Brawner
Charles McClung Sarah Higginbotham Brawner, Sr.
Jacob Youngblood Harriett Council
John Gardner Mary Ellen Brawner Talbot
John V. McCollock Sarah Youngblood
Elizabeth McClung Mary Gardner
Luanna Norris Hearnsberger Martha McCollock
Beauly Grant  

Church Book Bethesda

State of Arkansas, County of Dallas

August 10th 1847

We, the scattered members of Dallas County, holding letters from different Baptist Churches, feeling our dependence upon God and seeing the great necessity of embodying ourselves into Christ, do give our selves to the Lord and one another to subscribe to the following principles, to wit:

    1st.   We believe in one true and living God, the Father, the Word, and Holy Ghost.

    2nd.  We believe that the Scriptures comprising the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God and the only rule of faith and practice.

    3rd.   We believe in the doctrine of election according as God hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the Word that we should be holy and without blame before him in love in whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the Word of trouth{sic} the Gospel of your salvation in whom also after ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of providence.

    4th.  We believe in the doctrine of original sin by the fall of Adam.

    5th.  We believe in man's incapability by his own free will and ability to recover himself from the fallen state in which he is by nature.

    6th.  We believe that sinners are justified in the sight of God by the imputed righteousness of Christ only.

    7th.  We believe that the Saints shall be preserved in grace and never fall finally away.

    8th.  We believe that Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Jesus Christ and that true believers are the only subjects of Baptism and that immersion is the apostolic mode.

    9th.  We believe in the resurrection of the dead  and in the general judgment and that the felicitous of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked will be eternal.

10th.    We believe that no minister has any right to administer the ordinances of the Gospel but one who is regularly baptized, called, and came under the imposition of the hands of a presbytery.

11th.  We believe that none but regularly baptized members have a right to commune at the Lord's Table.

12th.  We believe that the Lord's Day should be observed as a day of rest and religious devotion.

The Chambersville Cemetery, located adjacent to the Church, was established in 1853.  Land for the Church and Cemetery was given by Stephen Zellars  and Louanna Norris Hearnsberger.  The first person buried in the Cemetery was Martha Hearnsberger Stubblefield, the fifth child of Stephen Zellars Hearnsberger and his first wife, Alatha Rebecca Chaffin.  Louanna Norris Hearnsberger and Stephen Zellars Hearnsberger were married in Muscogee County, Georgia, moved to Chambersville soon afterward, and reared his children there.  Louanna and Stephen had no children.

Tilmon Monroe and Sarah Higginbotham Brawner had been Charter Members of the County Line Baptist Church in Chambers County, Alabama.  They, along with Green Berry Talbot, Sr. and his wife, Mary Tate Anthony Talbot, had organized the County Line Church in May of 1835..  The Brawner's oldest child, Mary Ellender, married Green Berry Talbot, Jr., the fifth child of Green Berry Talbot, Sr.   The younger Talbot's were married in 1842 in Chambers County, Alabama.   In 1846 or early 1847, the younger Talbots and the Brawners moved to Moro Township, Dallas County, Arkansas.  It appears that several families were in the migration party.  These families included:

    Mary Grant Talbot Selman and her husband, Larkin Selman, and their two children, Benjamin and John T.

    Martha Phillips Talbot Gardner and her husband, James Gardner, and their children, Mary and Rosanna.

                          (Mary and Martha were sisters of Green Berry Talbot, Jr.)

    Probably Jacob Youngblood's family was in the migration party as well

Copy of the Deed executed by Stephen Zellars Hearnsberger and his wife, Louanna Norris Hearnsberger
Tilmon Brawner and John Garner, Deacons, Bethesda Baptist Church