Sand Springs Church Newspaper Articles  
Newspaper Articles for Sand Springs Baptist Church
Floyd Co., GA
Found in Rome Library
January 17, 1974
Rome News Tribune
Historic Landmark...
Sand Springs Church destroyed by blaze
Fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed the historical Sand Springs Baptist Church Wednesday night. The church is located in Little Texas Valley.
Rome Fire Department companies 5 and 7 and car 12 answered the alarm at 8:42 p.m. and report that the church was completely engulfed in flames upon their arrival on the scene. The firemen remained on duty at the scene for some two hours.
No estimates of the loss was available this morning.

January 22, 1974
Rome News Tribune
Sand Springs Batist Chapel was 92-Years Old
Descendants of Floyd church's founders see it destroyed
  There had been music, voices, a piano...there were working men, women, laughing children and horses...There were hymns, preaching and fried chicken, baptisms, communion, weddings, and funerals...
  For 92 years, these events had graced the little Baptist Church at Sand Spring.
  Nestled in the tall pines and hardwood characteristic of this region of northern Floyd County between Rock and lavender Mountains, the church was obscurely placed in quiet serenity near the silent waters of the spring. 
  THE LITTLE white chapel, boasting 32 pews and a pulpit, was erected May 12, 1882. The church sign nailed above the entrance bore witness to this fact.
  It was located in Texas Valley, as its early settlers called it. Legend says its pioneer explorers on the way to the Texas territory passed through the valley, were struck with its beauty and decided to settle there instead of continuing to Texas.
  This portion of the valley had no church of its own and its inhabitants were forced to travel a great distance in horse and buggy to attend services at Antioch Baptist Church.
  HAVING A LARGE family of four sons and one daughter and being a widow of the Civil War, Mrs. Salena Caudle, a prominant landowner in the valley, decided one day to "build a brush arbor and have a revivial," according to local tradition.
  So they did, she and her family. They started with nine menbers, the history claims, which later were the nine members instrumental in organizing the first church in the Little Valley (the valley was divided into "Big" and "Little" for identification purposes).
  The church's constitutional meeting was held in Weathers School, a semiprivate institution in the region, on Jan. 12, 1882.
  The Revs. C.E. Wright and T.J. Espy met with the chartering group to assist in formalities. Others assisting in the ceremony included J.S. Espy, C.S. Murdock, Virgil McKinney and William McKinney. The church was admitted to the Oostanaula Baptist Assn.
  Charter members of the promising young church included Mr. and Mrs. W.C. (Willie or "Preacher") Caudle, Mr. and Mrs. C.R. (Rena) Cordle, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hicks, Calvin Caudle (brother of the other two Caudles), Mr. and Mrs. M.E. Cooper and son, William Russell Cooper and Iantha Burns. Mrs. S.S. Caudle, the land donor, joined by letter two months later.
  THE CHURCH was established. It needed land and a building.
  According to a July 23 1957 News-Tribune article, W.Cliff Hicks, former Roman, related this story of how the church received its location: "The elder Hicks and Willie C. Caudle were riding down the road in a buggy talking about the need for a church. They were nearing the Sand Spring site at the time.
  "'You know,' said Hicks, 'that would make a nice place for a church.' 'Yes, it would,' agreed his friend. 'you know, it belongs to mother, and I believe she'd give us land enough for a church.'"
  And so they proceeded excitedly, descendants say, to ask Mrs. Caudle for the land, which she readily granted, "in consideration of the regard she has for the Christian religion" the deed reads.
  The Coopers, Caudles (now known as Cordles), Hicks, and Burnes families then built the little white structure of mountain pine five months after the church organization date in January.
  The Rev. J.M. Henderson was the first pastor and Joseph Hicks, Rena Cordle, and Chissley Murdock were ordained as the first deacons.
  From the 1882 date of establishment until the discontinuation of services on April 21, 1929, 14 pastors followed Mr. Henderson with W.C. Cordle, son of Mrs. Salena Caudle, ordained in the church on Aug. 20, 1891, serving the church for approximately 25 years of its 47-year active history.
  THE CHURCH SERVED area residents for nearly one half century but in the late 1920's the Little Valley supported fewer and fewer residents as many families began to move to Rome and others moved to the Big Valley, selling their property to Berry Schools.
  By 1929, church history says, there were so few valley residents remaining that the little church was forced to discontinue regular services.
  However, those remaining followers who loved and cherished the valley, its present historians say, then vowed the little church would continue to open its doors for an annual homecoming on the fourth Sunday in July.
  And so it did. And they came from surrounding valleys, communities, and states, descendants of those Coopers, Greenes, Caudles and Hicks who chose the lush beauty of the Texas Valley for their pioneer homesteads.
  They came and each year there was Sunday morning worship in the heat of July, midst the innumerable and invincible dirt dobbers claiming the church as home, there was lunch, and a singing in the afternoon. There were walks down to the Sand Spring and yellow jackets stinging the children picking wild summer flowers and playing rock school on the church steps.
  The roughly hewn hardwood plank tables at the foot of the hill were covered with fried chicken, ham, potato salad, fresh green vegetables and tempting cakes and pies.
  THE FINAL resting place of the church founders and subsequent valley residents was cleaned, the grass mowed and flowers placed.
  Of course, in later years, the church grounds no longer saw yokes of oxen or teams of horses bringing singing wagonloads of valley residents to the church. Later years saw Chevrolets, Fords and other automobiles, but there was still the same homecoming spirit, the tie that united them as one valley family.
  After homecoming, the little knoll was silent, barely was it visited during following weeks. The little chapel waited, warmly welcoming any visiting persons.
  Its rustic walls were left bare save the dirt dobbers and the few signs requesting visitor's reverence for the chapel so loved by its surrounding families.
  The church was not always reverenced though. Recent years have seen numerous acts of vandalism, two pulpit chairs and the pulpit itself stolen, with the two flower stands, hand carved by M.C. and Richard Boggs thrown through one of the chapel's four windows and smashed on the ground.
  BUT THOSE were not the only injuries suffered by the chapel. At approximately 8:30 p.m. last Wednesday Jan. 16, the little white chapel began to burn. The fire's origin was listed as "undetermined" by city fire officials.
  Valley residents said the fire began in the bay window style pulpit nook built to the back end of the church. According to Mrs. Elva Cordle, who resides near the church, two youths came to her sister's home, Mrs. Pansy Campbell, and told her the church was burning. Gathering buckets and calling other neighbors, the three quickly went to the church for the boys had said they felt it could be saved.
  "They got the fire all out in the pulpit," Mrs. Cordle said, "but the flames had caught higher along the roof where they were unable to reach and by the time the fire department engines arrived it was completely engulfed in flames."
  Approximately 30 descendants of those first pioneering churchmen arrived to see their beloved chapel in its final moments. Another valley resident added, "outsiders can't know how much it meant to us..."
  The saddened residents spoke of how "we grew up in it, and our parents grew up in it" and repeatedly added "it meant a lot."
  ONE RESIDENT said the city firemen seemed amazed that so many neighbors came, were so concerned for this chapel, which to the firemen, must have seemed "a long way from anywhere."
  After the flames were gone and the afternoon sun began to peek through the clouds the following day other residents straggled by to view the site.
  "There was nothing left but the rocks which supported the church," observed one innocent-faced blonde-haired child. "But," her older sister hastened to add, "we found some real old square nails in the ashes.
  True, it had meant a lot to a multitude of valley families...and true, there is nothing left of the original building except charred hundred-year-old square nails...but despite the unforgettable loss they suffered, these valley families seem to be sprouting some of the old pioneer spirit of their great-grandparents.
  "The phone rings constantly with people wanting to know of plans to rebuild it," said Mrs. Cordle, adding, "we do plan to rebuild it - rustic like it was."
  BUT THE BURNING of this once compelling site of worship did not end with the water of the Sand Springs or the work of the city fire department.
  Though the little white church building no longer stands on the tree covered hill near Sand Spring, the real church - the people who supported it - lives on with memories and nostalgic reminiscences of historic experiences there.

May 23, 1974
Rome News Tribune
(photo caption)
Sand Springs Baptist Church construction work in progress
  Working toward a completion date of "well before" the July 28 Homecoming Day at the Little Texas valley Sand Springs Baptist Church is Thomas Holder, general contractor, awarded the contract for reconstruction of the church building following the January fire destruction of the original building. An inactive church since 1939, the Homecoming Day is the only day of services at the church each year.
Sand Springs church work begins
  Reconstruction work on the Sand Springs Baptist Church building is "progressing very well" and the facility is scheduled for completion before the July 28 annual homecoming, according to W.C. Hicks, chairman, church building committee.
  Located in the north Floyd County Little Texas Valley Community, the 92-year-old white, pine structure originally built near the silent waters of Sand Spring was erected may 12, 1882 and completely destroyed by fire Jan. 16, 1974.
  According to Hicks, the church, which has been inactive since 1929, carried no insurance on the building. Because of this, Hicks continued, a general meeting was held Feb. 3 to make plans to build a similar structure in its place.
  A solicitation drive was started to collect donations to finance the rebuilding and since that date over $11,000 has been donated, Hicks said, adding that "a little more money is still needed."
  Other members of the church building committee include Mrs. Elva Cordle, Ralph Smith, Mrs. Gail Floyd, Monroe Caldwell, Bill Hall, Julius Cordle, Sidney Burns, Ralph Cordle, Mrs. Edith Pledger and Tommy Cordle.
  Contract for the construction was awarded to Thomas Holder, general contactor, who said Wednesday the floor for the building, which will be the same in diminsions, doors and window count as the original structure, will be "poured" this week with trusses installed in two weeks.
  Holder, who has had subcontractors working for three weeks on various areas of the construction, said a sheet metal roof will be added, with all the newer construction being planned to make the building more "more fireproof."
  Concluding, Hicks said, "We are very grateful for the donations received and want to thank those who responded to the project - with money, time and material - for the rebuilding would have been impossible without it all."

July 25, 1974
Rome News Tribune
Sand Spring Church homecoming Sunday
By Arlette Camp, News-Tribune Staff Writer
  It will be homecoming as usual this Sunday, complete with preaching, fried chicken, stinging bees, singing and a church, in the north Floyd County community of Little Texas Valley.
  Near six months of planning and building was brought to a close this week with application of the final touches on the new Sand Spring Baptist Church building, just in time for the annual church homecoming.
  Descendants of the original church founders have donated time, money and talent toward replacing the small wooden chapel serenely placed on a green knoll beneath the towering straight pines near Sand Spring some 92 years ago and destroyed by fire Jan. 16, 1974.
  With the same diminsions, windows and doors as the earlier building, the new structure is made of cement blocks, not wood, painted white with a tin roofing and iron hand rails bordering the steps.
  Pews for the church were donated by Fairview and New Armuchee Baptist Churches with replicas of the first pulpit stands hand-fashioned by Monroe Caldwell.
  The Rev. Marcus Hicks Jr., a direct descendant of Joseph Hicks, one of the church's founders, will bring the 1974 Homecoming message at 11 a.m. Sunday and the Rev. Griffin Beard will be in charge of music.
  Dinner will be served on the weather-beaten tables to the right of the church building following the morning service with singing held in the afternoon hours.
  A cemetery cleaning will be held at 8 a.m. Friday with workers encouraged to "come and bring your tools."
  The burning of a building did not terminate the life of Sand Spring Church. It will continue to live and hold a place in the life of Texas Valley, as any church or organization anywhere, so long as its people maintain their interest in its purpose and necessity in the community.

August 5, 1974
Rome New Tribune, (Dateline GEORGIA by Bob Harrell)
They Clean Pioneers' Site
  ARUMUCHEE - Towards the head of Little Texas Valley in the north end of Floyd Count and where a little branch begins, the people gathered that foggy Friday morning.
  They gathered around an old cemetery and a brand new white church and that's what my taled of today and tomorrow will be about - the Sand Springs Baptist Church.
  It was the annual cemetery cleaning. Once a year the descendents of the original members of Sand Springs Baptist Church - especially those who still live in Floyd County - bring hoes, rakes, lawn mowers, paint and brushes and "spruce up" the church and cemetery. That's because once a year, fourth Sunday in July, homecoming services are held. This involves noon preaching, dinner on the ground and, later in the afternoon, singing His praises. And through it all and in between is the meeting with old friends of the family and catching up on who has been born and who has gone on.
  Grady Boggs of Rome had told me earlier, "You'll have to be there early because they'll be finished by noon and gone home." Grady had been correct. As the motorhome "Felt" its way up Little Texas Valley, between Rock Mountain and Lavender Mountain, I wished that I might see the forested slopes but they were hidden in the grayness of a new day.
  Then there were the cars. I guess 50 people were scurrying about the church grounds. Tim Buffington pointed out Ray Smith, Mable Hawkins, Ralph Smith, Jody Hawkins, Elva Cordle, M.O. Green, Grady Boggs and others.
  Mrs. Selena Cordle gave this land for a church in 1882. There were 11 persons at the organizational meeting. Strangely enough Mrs. Bessie Green Boggs can name about the same number, maybe two less, of the "old" members left. The others are descendents of old members. Devoted descendents, I must add.
  Today a visitor might wonder, as I did, how a lovely little church came to be built way up the Little Texas Valley where one finds only three dwelling places in all that expanse of forest.
  The answer, as Mr. Buffington explained, is that years ago this valley was full of 40-acre farms and people. And on the other side of Rock Mountain was Big Texas Valley.
  Legend has it that early pioneers were wagoning through here on their way to Texas. After seeing the beauty, the agricultural potential, the wild game, they said, "Let's just stop here and call it Texas."
  And the people built themselves a church beside the spring. They called it Sand Springs (Missionary) Baptist Church. Brothers Melvin and Richard Green helped saw and build those heart-of-pine pews.
  What has been carried on by the descendents of Sand Springs through the years has been fine and good but they never realized that they would be "tested," really face the moment of decision, in January of 1974. It came during the night, when many of these good people stood there, helpless, at a safe distance, and with empty water buckets in hands, watching their church disappear in flames.
  What happened then makes you realize that a church is people, not a building.
  Let's talk again tomorrow, about Sand Springs.

August 6, 1974 (Tuesday)
Rome New Tribune, (Dateline GEORGIA by Bob Harrell)
Sand Springs - Church Is Its People
ARMUCHEE – On the night of Jan. 16 of this year two young men sped down a gravel road, spreading the word that 92-year-old Sand Springs Baptist Church was burning.
Other than the old home place of Mrs. Bessie Green Boggs, there isn’t much place to spread the word here in the north end of Floyd County. It is all forest now.
But the word spread … almost as fast as the flames. In time the descendants of original church members were there. The only chance the church had was water from its namesake, nearby and slightly uphill Sand Springs. But there wasn’t that much depth, where a man could dip a bucket and get it full, race to the church and throw it on the flames.
The flames started in the bay window-styled pulpit, according to those who arrived there first. For a while there, the flames were contained at the pulpit. The bucket brigade almost breathed easier. Then they heard “popping” sounds in the rafters. It went up into the night then; 92 years of heritage, sermons, the spiritual home of Little Texas Valley. It went, speeded by the heart-of-pine pews and timbers. One brave young man grabbed a pew, pulled and left burned skin on the wood.
When it was all done but the smoldering, all that had been saved was the little sign that had been nailed over the front door. Tommy Cordle had used a hoe to pry the sign from the burning church. The sign, that was all that was left … except the determination of Sand Springs Church descendants.
While the church site was still warm from the tragedy, calls and letters went out from Little Texas Valley to descendants saying in part, “Our mommas’ and daddys’ church has burned. Let’s get moving!”
Money came pouring in faster and quicker than anybody had anticipated. Something like $10,000 was raised. The new church went up on the old site. Floor plan was the same. Concrete block was substituted for pine wood. It doesn’t burn as easy. The bay window for the pulpit was built again. A new tin roof covers the pews donated by the Fairview and New Armuchee Baptist Churches. The new pulpit was hand-fashioned to resemble the old by Monroe Caldwell.
Seven months and a few days after Sand Spring Church burned to the ground the annual cemetery cleaning was held and two days later the annual meeting was held as usual. And there over the doorway and on the new church was an old sign saved by Tommy Cordle.
That homecoming Sunday the Rev. Marcus Hicks Jr., a direct descendant of Joseph Hicks, one of  the church’s founders, delivered the sermon. At this writing I suspect Rev. Hicks is just about to wind up his morning sermon … unless he’s preaching that dinner on the ground cold. I suspect he’s too sharp a preacher for that. 
But what I’m getting at is Rev. Hicks’ sermon. I don’t know what it was. I do know that those who rebuilt Sand Springs are a living sermon by their actions. They are living examples that a church is its people or, in some cases, its descendants.
I feel that today, especially today at homecoming, the Lord looks down on Little Texas Valley in Floyd County and grins. He might even nudge an angel and say, “I told you they’d do it.”

May 15, 1983 (Sunday)
Rome New Tribune, p. 8A
Community plans reunion
A reunion for anyone who has ever lived in Little Texas Valley will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 28,, at the Sand Springs Baptist Church. A picnic supper will be served at 6 p.m.  Planning the reunion are (left to right) Irene Beard, Velma Beard, Ann Rade, Albert Smith, Aaron Peterson, Ellen Peterson, Virginia Upthegrove, Harold Thompson and Nita Hicks. For more information, call 232-9975.
(photo in original article)


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