History of Ft. Pierce Churches,  September 15, 1966

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History of Ft. Pierce Churches, September 15, 1966
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St. Lucie County Oral History Collection

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St. Lucie Tape #6R
History of Fort Pierce Churches
September 15. 1966

Page 1

I do feel highly honored, though, to be called upon to speak

before this group, because I've noticed, with a great deal of interest

the many outstanding people you've had here to speak to you before, and I

feel I have a great deal to live up to. I heard a little story last night.

Maybe some of you heard it on the late show, or maybe you all don't keep

the hours that I keep. But anyway, I was watching this movie and it was

a story of some people who were living on a little island off the coast of

the Carolinas about two hundred years ago. These people were very devout

Anglicans, and there were just a few people on the island and one day

a shipwrecked man c ame somehow, or another made his way to their shore.

They took care of him very carefully, but one day when he was able to eat,

they noticed with a great deal of shock and amazement that he didn't say

grace before he ate. And they commented on this fact to each other and

the lady said, "Well, he just can't be an Anglican if he doesn't say

grace." And another member of the family said, "Well, surely he must

be a Baptist." So, I don't know, I didn't know that Baptists were noted

for not saying grace, but anyway, they didn't stand very high in that man's

estimation. I'd like to comment f rst on the real difficulties that are

involved in this kind of report. You would be amazed, and I won't mention

anything specifically, but you would be amazed to know how many churches

have not preserved their records very carefully. Some of you when I

mentioned things and some facts will not agree with me. I found that out

in our church project that there was a great and a very violent difference

of opinion on some things. But I have tried to authenticate whatever

information I have, as best as I have been able to do, with material taken

St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 2

from papers that are printed and dated from books that are printed

and dated, and from other reliable sources. And so I feel that what I

have is well authenticated, especially on the history of the first

Baptist church. Now I dodnot have, and have not been able to get the

detailed information on many of the churches. I'd like to read, in the

beginning a very beautiful poem that I think you will enjoy, and in fact,

I'm sure you will agree with:

God builds no churches.
By His plan that labor has been left to man.
No spires miraculous arise.
No little mission from the sky falls on a bleak and barren place
to be a source of strength and grace.
The humblest church demands its price in human toil and sacrifice.
Men call the church the House of God toward which the toil__
pilgrims trod,
In search of strength and rest and hope,
As blindly through life's mist they grope,
And there God dwells.
But it is man who builds that house and draws its plans;
Pays for the mortar and the stone,
That men may seek for God alone.
The humblest spirit in mortal skin where God abides, was builf by men.
And if the church is still to grow, there still the light of hope
to through across the valley of despair,
And still must build God's house of prayer.
God sends no churches from the skies,
Out of our hearts they must arise.

And perhaps you have recognized it. It's one of Edgar Cayce's poems.

And so that is hte story of the churches of Fort Pierce. I'm sure that

Gold was in the hearts of the people as they planned. But it was the

people themselves in the face of many difficulties and hardships who

built the churches. And the early history of organized religion in our

area bears out the truth of this poem. And it makes us aware more than

ever perhaps of the debt that we owe to these early settlers, not only in

a material way, but in a spiritual way as well. It was true in this area

as it has always been true when people have migrated from one place to

St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 3

another that it didn't take them very long to figure out some way to have

some type of worship service. The earliest thing that I can find about

this is that Mrs. Elizabeth Carlton, who lived out west of town made it

a practice, before there were any churches or Sunday schools or anything

here to have worship services for the people on her ranch. And then

quite often as the boats made their way down the Indian River, an' itineraft

preacher would stop off here in Fort Pierce and stay overnight or stay

a day or two and he would always take advantage of the opportunity to

preach and everybody, it didn't make any difference whether they Vere

Methodist or Baptist or Presbyterian or Episcopalian or what. Everybody

went to hear the preacher. It didn't matter what denomination he was.

They were so hungry to have somebody preach to them. And it is interesting

to remember and I'm sure you have all heard this story that when the

first funeral was held in this area there was no preacher around to

participate and to conduct that service. And so one of the layman of

the community had to offer the prayer and Mrs. Jennings, Mrs. Jenny

Jennings, and Mrs. Lizzy McCartey sang the duet, provided the music for

that. the very first effort that any organization of a church began

in 1884. Mrs. Emery in her little book which many of

you may have read, My Pioneer Days In Florida she tells that in that year

two young Baptist missionaries came to her home looking for a place to

stay and their names were Michael and Savage. I haven't been able to

find out their first names but I did write to the Florida Baptist Historical

Society at Stetson University and ask them about this fact and they bore

it out in every detail that there were two young missionaries that

traveled up and down the east coast here, wherever they heard of a place

St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 4

that had no church. They would do what they could to help the Baptist

people of that area to start a church. And so they stayed in Mrs.

's home for quite some time. In fact she eventually added a

room onto her house for them. And the first services were held in her

home. These young men as we said had been working up around Cocoa and

somebody had passed the word along that there were no churches at that time

of any kind in Fort Pierce, and so that was their reason for coming here.

Shortly after they began holding these services in the home of Mrs. Bell,

they organized a Sunday school, and it was operated more or less just as

a mission. Then one happy day a man named Mr. Rabin Gaines Hood and his

family came to Fort Pierce and they were very staunch Baptist and he was

very much a Sunday school man and he was quite interested in seeing this

here group progress and do something more than they had been doing.

And he more than anyone else, I suppose, was instrumental in leading

this group'to organize into a church. Some of you may recognize the

name of And these were, the girls were Mr.

Hood's granddaughters. In 1889 the Indian River Baptist Association was

organized and the Uasociation at that time extended from the- an to Key

West. And I would certainly hate to have been the clerk of that association,

but that was, there were so few churches that the association of the state

did cover vast territories. And just by way of interest, this has nothing

to do with our subject here tonight, but it is interesting that the

first Baptist Sunday school in the state of Florida was organized in'Key

West in 1843. The records of this association indicate that the Baptist

Church of Fort Pierce, or the Fort Pierce Baptist Church was the real

title, real name of it at that time, became a member of this association

in 1890. Now this date is one point on which there has been a great deal


St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 5

of disagreement and in fact, I didn't know whether I'd get through

our historical pageant without a knock brown drag' out fight over this or

not. Butg, anyway when the associational records indicated that this

church became a member in October of 1890 that established the fact,

b because a Baptist church, group, is never admitted to the association

until it has already been constituted a church, and so it must have been

some"in the early months of 1890. We have never been able to find out the

exact day and month. However, the historical records left behind also

bear out that it was 1890. And so this church was organized with

nineteen charter members. Mr. S. S. was the first pastor and

he came here once a month for about nine years. Mr. Hood was the first

Sunday school superintendent. Among the charter members in addition

to and Mr-. Hood were Mrs. Elizabeth Carlton, Mrs. lucy Jane

Carlton, Carl Hood Mrs. D.H. Middlebrook, Annie Jessup Brown,

Thomas Bevil, Mr. and Mrs. James Bell, Mr. and Mrs. A.S. Mrs.

Mary Richards, Col. Ned Summerlain and Mrs. Polly Anne Summerlain, Mrs.

Elizabeth Bevil, Mrs. Sally Blankin, and W.T. Edwards. And there's one,

I haven't been able to find out who he was. We have searched records

and at the courthouse and everywhere and there's one more that we just, we

just don't know who it is. We think we know but we've never been able

to authenticate that or to confirm it. For a while services were held

in the school on Hill which is up in the area of the Brooks

Hotel, formerly the Out to Dinner Hotel, and formerly, we remember

a long ways back, but it was in that part of town. And this little school

house, sad to say, was also used for dances and these people said,"'well,

the Baptists can have church there on Sunday night, but they've got to be

out at a certain time so we can start the dance. Well, they would go up

St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 6

there and wait around, especially those who were, well, sort of rowdies,

I guess you'd call them. And if the preacher didn't say, "Amen" in

time, they'd go right up in the church and start rearranging the furniture

before the services were over. And then, sometimes if they were real

provoked at the preacher, if he preached a little bit too long, they'd

throw rocks and lemons at him. Now that is also an authenticated fact.

This little church had attending it a great many people who were of

other denominations until their churches were started. It was rather

difficult going to this church sometimes. They had some disagreements

and one of the most interesting ones to me was, there was aman, who was

from Connecticut, I believe, that wasMr. Tuggs, and Mr. Hood, of course,

was a southerner, and every year they had a big arguf ment

in the business meeting. Mr. Hood said, "We're going to use the progressive

northern literature." And Mr. Hood said, "No, sir. I will not use that

Yankee literature." And they would go round and round, and sometimes

one of them would win and sometimes the other one would win, as indicated

in the early minutes. One year they'& be using the literature from the

David C. Cook Publishing Co. in Illinois, and the next year they'd be using

that new Southern Baptist literature from Nashville. But I don't'they

argue too much about that anymore. The Baptist State paper, the Florida

Baptist Witness, in the November twenty sixth issue of 1890,had a little

item in there by the pastor. And it said, "We're trying to build a church

at Fort Pierce. It will be thirty by forty feet. We lack-a hundred dollars."

I've often wondered if he wgs just throwing out a little hint to the other

Baptists to help him out. They did that quite often in those days. But,

anyway, he said,"This will be the only church house between Melbourne

and Key West.' I thought that was not too clear whether it would be only

St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 7

Baptist church house, or the only church of any kind. I haven't been

able to clarify that. But they did get their building and Mr. Alexander

Bell and Mr. A.C. Bitner were a great help in securing that building.

The first little building stood where the East Coast Lumber yards are

at the present time. And then later they moved the church up to where

about where the eity hall is, on Avenue Eight. And people would come in

boats Mrs. was telling me the other day that she went

to Sunday school there and quite often they went in a boat to Sunday

school. And they baptized in the river there Well thkchurch

felt the need to have a larger building and they sold the building finally

in the twenties to the First Christian Church and then for a while they

had a tent. Well, it was really a tent tabernacle, with saw dust on the

floor and everything. And it was located where the Fifth Street Post Office

is at the present time. And they had services there until the, what we

call the old building on the corner of Orange Avenue and Tenth Street, was

built. And that was dedicated, I believe, in 1924 and we seem to have

come a full circle as far as that is concerned because the Pastorate was

built at the same time and, of course, all of you haven't noticed but

the Pastorate has been torn down. in recent weeks. The-itrness gave a lovely

bell to the church and when theysold the little church there was some

feeling that we should keep the bell but it did go to the Christian church

and, I believe it was, I can't remember the year, but I think it was 1933

that there was a terrific storm and the little church, now the Christian'

church was rather severely burned and the steeple was torn down and the

steeple was out there on the grounds of the church. And so they decided

to give the bell back to the Baptists and they brought it over to our

church and it was out there on the lawn, and I was real sentimental about


St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 8

it, but I don't think very many other people were, because they wanted

to get that bell moved from the grounds. I don't know how the

felt about it, but anyway, they heard that the man up at the
Ao Cy& -\
Gardens would like to have the bell U-his collection. So

went to him and said," Well now, if you'll give twenty five dollars to the

First Baptist Church I'll let you have it. So he gave twenty five

dollars to the First Baptist Church and gave a lifetime pass

to the gardens. And I suppose he's gotten his twenty five dollars back from

the Baptisgwho go out there to visit the garden by this time. I don't

know. One interesting sideline is that in the early twenties there

were some disagreements in the church and some of the people wanted

to organize another church. And they organized a little church down on

the river, very close to where the McCartey home is, beyond the radio

station. It was called the Riverside Baptist Church. But in a couple

of years they felt that this was not a very good location and somebody

gave them some land out in the Pinewood area and so they built a church

out there and while they were building that church they went to church in

the old court house. And this church completely disbanded, They just wiped

themselves off the map and these same people went back in 1925 in the

courthouse and organized again and called themselves the Parkview Baptisit.

Church. To me that is just sort of interesting. In 1925" the First

Baptist Church became the First Baptist Church. They changed their name
from the Fort Pierce Baptist Church to FirstBaptist Church and then

the beautiful new sanctuary was dedicated in 1927. The present membership

is about one thousand five hundred and seventeen. A number of churches in

Fort Pierce about, well all the other Baptist churches all spring off the

First Baptist Church. So the missions that were sponsored then started by


St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 9

the First Baptist Church. The Westside Baptist Church was a Sunday

school that belonged to the Presbyterians and, I don't make no comment on

why they were so anxious for us to have it, but they practically gave it

to us to take it and do something with it. And that's all I'll

say about it, but anyway, it is now the Westside Baptist Church. We

have always been very proud of the fact that the only moderate, proud in

a sense,of the fact that the only moderate Baptist missionary of World

War II was a member of this church, Rufus Gray, who grew up in this

community. There were a number of rather interesting motions made in

the early business meeting, I think. One of them was that, they made

a motion that none of the deacons were ever supposed to go fishing on

Sunday when the preacher was gone. And they added a little note to that

or even when he wasn't gone. So that didn't leave any leeway for the

poor deacons. I have not been able, as I said before, to get as much

information about the Methop$d4t Church as I would like to have, but I

haven't been able to find out when it was constituted a church. I even

called Mr. Alley, in Melbourne who was the district superintendent for

the Methodist churches to see if he had records available that would tell

us that date. And I have called innumerable people to try to find it out

and I haven't been able to find it out. They believe, most people think

that it was possibly 1896 or seven. But at any rate, the very first kind

of service, under the auspices of any Methodist people was in 1888 or possibly

in 1889 when there was just a little Sunday school started and Mrs. Jennings

was the one who was largely responsible for that. The first services of

the Methodist church were held in a little school house. It was a new

school house at that time on the Avenue D, 101. We even have the

address. That's one thing we do have. And then later on they have to

have a new building and so they went up to North Fourth Street, just

St. Lucie Tape #7

Page 10

beyond where is located. And some of you may know the building.

The building is still standing today and I can't talk to you at this

point what is there, and what it's being used for. Anyone knows I will

be glad for them to speak up and sell it., At any rate, this lumber was

furnishedby the father of Mrs. Paul Osteen and I can't recall the father's

name but the railroad had not been coming in here very long, which is the

reason that they pin point the date 1895 or 1896 because the railroad

came here in 1894. And they chose this location because it was right

close to the railroad and they wouldn't have so much difficulty in

unloading the lumber and they persuaded the trains to stop right there so they

could get the lumber right off the train. And that was where the .building

vas built. Mrs. Jennings, as mentioned here before was the leading light

in the early Methodist beginnings here. Shortly after that the population

shift, that part of town was called Edgartown at that time and for

various reasons the population began shifting itself towards what we

consider the main part of Fort Pierce now. It was called Karentown, and

so they decided to buy a location on North Second Street. And they used

that location for about 25 years until the present property was purchased.

It was very interesting, Mr. Lawson told me last night that the

ladies of one of the missionary societies, called the Women's Missionary

Society at that time. Not the Women's Society of Christian Service. But

they were appointed for some unknown reason to find the land and buy it

for the new church building. And so this property on Seventh Street is

what the women selected, and after they had selected it and paid some

money on it, the ladies who were on the committee were called in before the

official board of the church and they were really raked over the coals. And

they just, oh, it was terrific, he said the was they, well, I can't say


St. Lucie Tape #:

Page 11

anything, but they just bawled him out.And the reason was that they said,

"What in the world did you go and buy land way out tin the country for?

We don't want our church way out in the country. I thought that was

quite interesting and I remember when the Delaware School was built, some

people thought the same thing, that it was too far out in the country.

The name of this church was changed from the Hendry Memorial Church to

the First Methodist Church in 1944, and the new parsonage was built in

1948. They were instrumental in beginning three new Methodist churches

in this area. Now I suppose the point of time that St. Andrews Episcopal

is the next one we should consider. They just had a most colorful history.

They said that in 1891 there were only five Episcopalians here and soma

of them attended the Bap.tist church but very shortly they began holding

their own services and these were held in the parlors of the Old Fort

Pierce Hotel with a lay leader. And then they held services in the Masonic

hall and they also used the First Baptist church building for services.

And it was classed as a mission for quite a long time. After the railroad

was built and came this far south they got some property on now Second

Street. In 1904 or five, I have both of those dates. One place I read

four and one place I read five. The building was consecrated and it

was Mrs. Tyler who adopted the name of St. Andrews for the church. They

have been responsible for missions in Vero Beach, Ockeechobee, and a

colored mission in Fort Pierce and also services in Walton at times.

But I remember reading an article some years ago about St. Andrews church,

and it said this church was on the move, literally and also figuratively

speaking. In 1922 this St. Andrews mission became a self-supporting

parish and in 1923 the church moved to another sight down on the river and

they felt it was an appropriate location because, of course, it was the

St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 12

fishermen who inspired the name of St. Andrews. In the great hurricane of

1928 a great deal of damage was done to this church and destroyed a great part

of their parish house and the church. It had to be rebuilt. Then in 1933

they had the terrible storm on labor day, this church being so close

to the river, I suppose, was severely damaged again. But it was rebuilt

and expanded. Then the third storm to damage this church was the -forty

nine hurricane and there was rather an interesting little story about

that. The church property and the rectory and the radio station, WRIA,

right close to it were inundated. They were just flooded with water, and

pounded by heavy winds. And the radio stations wires blew down and in order

for them to continue their emergency broadcasting, they rigged up a temporary

instillation of some kind on the roof of the rectory. Well the rector

at that time was the Rev. J. Samson Wolf and he was out of town at the

time of the storm but he came back home pretty fast, I guess, and he

returned to find the church turned a little bit on its foundations and he

found a note on his bedroom window. I guess it was somebody from the radio

station, a hot wire hire hanging outside his window,'Do Not Touch.See

the chief engineer next door.' So I don't guess that was very, you didn'-t

write that did you?

?: I'm not that old.

I don't know about that. This little church has had more than her share

of historical figures. You remember that the late governor Dan McCarty

was baptized in St. Andrews and served on the vespers and after his sudden

and tragic death nine months after he took office as governor of Florida,

he was buried from St. Andrews in September of 1953. The State Supreme

Court Justice, Elwin Thomas and former Supreme Court Justice Arthur

Adams are also parishoners of St. Andrews. In July of 1959 the old

St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 13

St. Andrews Church in the very rather colorful and exciting ceremony

was taken to, was to be taken to Satellite Beach for the people there

to use. But it was not taken until the new church was completely

finished. The people continued to worship in the old church until

they were ready to hold their first service in the new church. They

played the cornerstone in 1960 and some of the interesting things put

into the cornerstone were contributed to the building fund, a wooden cross

from the old building, a coin, a prayer book, and newspaper clippings.

And in April of 1961 the new St. Andrews, very beautiful and lovely church

was consecrated by the bishop of the of south Florida. St.

the catholic church was the-started here as a mission in

1906. Now I did have two dates on that. I did some research on this

quite a number of years ago and got the date 1909 but told me

the other day that according to his records it was 1906 and they had only

fifty members. And Michael J.Curly who was a pastor in DeLand and bishop

of St. Augustine was the one who was the first pastor and he later became

an archbishop. The church where it is located on Orange Avenue was

completed in 1910 and it has always been in the same location. The building

on 33rd street was completed in 1960 and he says that his present membership,

now I did not get very much information here because this is in his own

handwriting. I wrote down some questions and he put them-down in his own

handwriting. Their present membership is 3,681. That was just the most

amazing to me. Rev. Beerholder became pastor in June of 1929 and there

has been only two other pastors, Rev. Michael Curly and Rev. Gabriel

I know that you may remember Father Gabriel, as he was

called, and how well loved he was all over this entire community. You

don't have to have me to tell you .how their school and other activities

St. Lucie Tape #6

Page 1-3 xi

have grown. But that's all I've been able to find on the actual history,

although they did say that the first masses were held in someone's

home here. The Presbyterian church was started as a mission and was

held services as a mission for quite a number of years. It was constituted

a church in 1919, with seventy charter members. H.W. McCombs was the

first pastor and the services were held in the Woodman Hall on North

Second Street for quite a number of years. And the building that they have

now was finished in 1916 and they have not actually had any other building

but this one ,* on the corner of South Eighth Streetand Orange Avenue.

But they have remodeled it and reserviced it and changed it around quite

a bit over the years and added to it but it's always been that same building.

Dr. Howard became the pastor in 1936 and he is now the pastor in

And I wanted to ask right here if there's anyone here who is a descendant

of a charter member of any of these churches that I've already mentioned.

Would you talk?

?: My brother and myself.

Which one?

?: My brother was a charter member.

Of the Presbyterian church? Anyone else whose parents were charter members

of any of these churches?

?: I was a charter member of the Presbyterian church here.

Who was? We have no charter members of our church.

Mumble mumble.

Well I tell you, I haven't been able to locate these charter members and

maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to locate them anyway. I found one

interesting thing about the Presbyterian church and that was that they seem

to want to, over and over again through the years, prove the law-of gravity


St. Lucie Tape #6

Page -1 b

for some reason. For example, one year the church was beautifully decorated

by someone who liked to do that every year for the candlelight service,

and this particular year it was a real live tree, a palm tree. And it

had those little things on it, you know we call them dates. And along

about halfway through the service people began to hear this little

and all the little dates began dropping off

the little tree. Well there wasn't anything they could do about it. People

were grinning at each other but that's about all they could do about it.

And another time Mr. Edgar had furnished a beautiful background of candles

above the choir and for some unknown reason they all began to bend over

like this and drip the wax and the frames all down, pretty close to

the choir members, bck of their necks.

?: We even got a sense of humor don't we?

There was another one that I don't know whether I dare tell or not, but

a member of the church told me this that one time they had a visiting

minister there to try out, on a trial sermon. They thought they might

consider him for pastor, and he was preaching a way and all of a sudden

both of his dentures fellout right on the floor. And he was very nonchalant

about it and he picked them up and put them back into his mouth and went

right on preaching. I sure hope that doesn't happen to me. The First

Christian church was organized in the home of Mrs. May Reed and th4t- home

is still Von North Tenth Street and Miss Amelia Reed still lives there.

She's been living in that home for fifty years or more. And that's where

he First Christian church was organized in 1915 with sixteen charter members.

And I was talking to Miss Amelia Reed and she said that just the minute

the Presbyterians got out of the Woodman Hall the members of the Christian

church moved in, and took it for their services. Now they have, se far as

St. Lucie Tape #6

Page' \

we, I can tell, the only church that has, except for one other, that has

any charter members with them, and that's George and Amelia Reed and

Ivy Ling, so far as I can learn. Ahd 6f course the story about the bell

and the dying of the Baptist church building belongs in this story, too.

And they have just completed their lovely new church. A very personable

and intelligent young kind of prosecutor, Mr. rurt Ditton told me that

a very cute story about himself. He's a member of the First Christian

church and he gave me permission to tell you. Although he wanted me

to preface by saying that he did turn out alright because he's chairman

of the Board. At any rate, up in the attic of the church they had built some

very small classrooms, just little tiny classrooms and the flooring was

ghat had been there for the attic and there were wide cracks in the flooring.

And sometimes when they would be taking up the collection from the children

or the offering, I should say I suppose, sometimes a penny would roll

down in these cracks. And sometimes they would lose money there. Well,

one Saturday afternoon when Burt was quite a young boy he and Jimmy Reed

wanted to go to the movies and they were just flat broke. So Jimmy Reed

had the bright idea of going up there and, now Burt said it was Jimmy's

idea but he went along with him. He said he was right with him. Anyway

they took a crowbar and they went up there to see if they couldn't get

some of that money. So Jimmy was using the crowbar and he was prying the

planks up and Burt was reaching under. He got some money under there, but

just about that time something happened and Jimmy lost control of the

crowbar and this heavy timber came down on Burt's arm and he was in such

pain that he just nearly fainted before they could get him out of it. But he

had time to think. And he said he was just thinking that was the Lord

St. Lucie Tape #6

Page "5l V'

telling him, "Burt, you better get out of here right now." So when the

old church was torn down someone did find the money up there and they brought

Burt a dime at that time. And he still has it. But he said said, "Please

tell them I turned out all right because this year I'm chairman of the

Board of the First Christian Church. The primitive Baptist, this is

very brief, was organized in T.W. Jeffreys home and some of you may not

know that he was the preacher and he was the father of Mrs. Mick Thomas

who has a bakery on the South Dixie Highway. It was organized in December

26, 1931, with seventeen charter members and then I have forty five

members. And I have one more that I think you'll be interested in and that's

the Denton Memorial Presbyterian Church in White City. The land for this

church was .given by Mr. George C. Denton and it was started as a mission

Sunday school in 1893 and they hold their own Sunday school in the White

City school house. And their first building down there was built in 1915

and they still have that building, although it has move I think to the back

of the property. And it was organized by the Southeast Presbyterian in

April the sixteenth, 1924 with twenty six charter members. I believe that

the name is the one that is the most prominently mentioned, you

might recognize in the organization of that church. They have a hew

building but they .are still using the old one and one of the most

interesting things about this church is the splendid camp program and youth

program that institued by the Sayers, when they were, when he was pastor

of that church. And they have a hundred and thirty eight members. The

clerk of that church told me a little story and he said,"If you get in

trouble about this little story just tell them that I said you could tell

it'.' At any rate when they got ready to build a new building the

the pastors home was in very bad condition and he said they really should

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have built the manse first, but they didn't. They built the church

first. Anyway, the manse linked so that they just couldn't get it

fixed. They couldn't get the roof fixed where it wouldn't leak. And

so everytime they felt a storm was coming up or it began to rain a little

bit, Rev. and Mrs. Sayer would have to jump up and move the whole bed

clear across to the other side of the bedroom. Well finally they did

gt a new manse, a beautiful new home. At about the first or second

evening they were in their new home a storm came up and they were

awakened by the noise of the wind and the rain and the first thing- they

did was jump out of bed and just automatically move their bed over to the

other side of the bedroom. Today we have in Fort Pierce about, it's

b een difficult to ascertain this about fifty five churches,

not counting all of the colored churches. But the Chamber of Commerce

and the Fort Pierce Tribune when they had a church ---------- they'd lift

fifty five churches with a great many denominations and sects, and of

c ourse, we have many beautiful church buildings in Fort Pierce. I'd

like to close with what I feel is a tribute to all of our churches:

Beautiful is the large church with stately arch and steeple,
Neighborly is the small church with groups of friendly people,
Reverent is the old church with centuries of grace,
And a wooden church or a stone church can hold an altar place.
And whether it be a rich church or a poor church anywhere,
Truly it is a great church if God is worshipped there.

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