2008 Old Greensboro Road, Jonesboro, AR 72401 Sunday Classes 9am, Worship 10am, 5pm | Wednesday Bible Study 7pm

A Brief Partial History of the Greensboro Road Church of Christ

It is impossible to write a complete history of the Greensboro Road church of Christ. There are bits and pieces of information found here and there but there is also much that is lacking. Much of this material is gleaned from past histories and notes made in past gathering among brethren of the church here. The validity of this history is based solely upon those things recorded by brethren in the past and taken to be accurate. Any additions, subtractions or alterations will be gladly accepted to these notes.

Most record the beginning of the church of Christ in Jonesboro with the Dorton Hill church of Christ. However, records show that the church began meeting in Jonesboro a few years before that time in a log house just east of Arkansas State University. This dates to about 1901. There were Christians meeting in and around Jonesboro even before this time. However, there was no central meeting place until the church began meeting in this log house circa 1901.

In 1904, the church was growing and determination was made to find a better meeting place for the church and a more permanent location. B. R. Dorton and Z. R. Dorton sold the church a lot beginning at the “northwest quarter of sexion (9) nine township fourteen (14) range four (4) east, running (9) nine rods east establishing a corner thence east (27) rd thence north (19) nineteen rods thence southwest (33) thirty-three rods to corner, nine (9) rods east of corner of the said sexion.” To the best of anyone’s understanding this is an area near the corner of Caraway Road and Greensboro Road near what has been a gravel pit. This lot was conveyed to the elders of the church of Christ and to their successors. Therefore, the church at that time had elders, although it has been impossible to determine who they were without speculation. 

Church history reminds us that this was a period when the church was fighting and struggling over the instrumental music question. Church histories note the “official” break of fellowship between the churches of Christ and the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) to have come in 1906. It is in the midst of this turmoil in the church that the following stipulation is recorded in the deed for that property as it is conveyed to the church.

upon the express condition that no organ or other musical instrument be kept or used; or that no fair, festival or other practices unauthorized in the New Testament to be held, had or conducted in or about the premises or in the building constructed thereon; and in case any such conduct, act or unauthorized practices are committed or performed in, upon, or about such premises, then the management and control of such house and premises shall be vested in the person or persons of said Church of Christ who may be opposed to the organ and other musical instrument, festivals and other things herein set forth being used in said edifice or other buildings erected upon said lot, if there be such person or persons; if not then the property shall pass into the hands of the nearest congregation of the Church of Christ opposed to such innovations, who shall hold it subject to the use of the church of Christ.

This property was conveyed to the church on July 12, 1904, for the sum of $1.00. There were Dortons who are noted as members of the church in 1912, and even though B. L. Dorton’s and Z. R. Dorton’s names are not specifically mentioned as being members at that time, it is hard to believe they were not members of the church. Membership during those days is hard to determine, but the best evidence shows about 40 to 50 adults meeting. The contributions was only pennies in the beginning. The first recorded contribution was for 27 cents. On January 28 1912 the contribution was $2.55, but was never again that much over the next year or two. Only once or twice in 1912 did the contributions rise above $1.00. Twenty cents was paid for song books during that time and another 10 cents for a “lamp globe.” W. W. Young held a gospel meeting in September of 1912 and was paid the sum of $30.00, far better than many during that time who were paid with a chicken and glad to get it. Jesse Lashley was paid $1.35 for preaching one Sunday in 1912. The total contribution for the year of 1912 was $40.49 with another $14.00 carried over from the previous year. Of this amount, $41.95 was given to preachers who came and preached for the church.

Other than paying preachers for their efforts during 1913 the church spent $1.31 for freight on a tent; another 25 cents was spent for a telephone call to Paragould; another 50 cents was spent on “usage on tent” and another $1.50 for lumber and lamps. W. W. Young was paid $5.00 for preaching during that time. Indications are that there was a tent meeting held although nothing is recorded other than these expenses. Additional oil and lumber were purchased, and W. W. Young was paid an additional $32.00 for his time preaching at Dorton Hill. In December of that year, $5.00 was sent to help the Grubbs church of Christ.

The church continued to meet at Dorton Hill until a fire consumed and destroyed the meeting house in 1914. Among the last notations is a record of $4.00 being spent on song books and a total of $12.60 in the treasury. The fire caused the Christians to begin meeting in one another’s houses until in 1915 another location was chosen and property was bought on Fisher Street in Jonesboro. The first service was held on Fisher Street on January 1, 1915. Eighteen men and twenty-three women were numbered among those gathered that day. The contribution that day was $2.93. These forty-one names were recorded, and the church is said to have been overseen by J. H Watson and W.H. Hyde, who served as elders. Preachers were paid, song books were ordered; lumber and light fixtures were purchased, and chairs were rented. Andy T. Richie was paid $40.00 in November 1915 for a gospel meeting. By 1916, the church began having a monthly light bill which ranged from 90 cents to $1.20 during the year. Heating fuel was purchased during the winter months, and stove pipe was purchased for 60 cents. The church was wired this year, and payment was made of $4.00 to have it done. A record of the deed being recorded and the sum of $1.50 was paid in February 1917. The Monette church was sent $5.00, and it also began to be noted that the church was purchasing “wine for church” almost monthly. In August 1917 “sugar for wine” was purchased for 75 cents. At other times, mention is made of buying grapes for $5.25 and again later for $3.70. Another thing noted during this time was “insurence church” which was an expenditure in August, October, and again in December, 1917. In August and October, $15.00 was paid and in December $27.50 was paid. Was this expenditure connected to the end of World War I in some way? The light bill in 1918 tripled to $2.85 and more each month. On March 10, 1918, a widow was given $5.00. In April 1918, the church sent $28.97 to help pay on the church house at Black Oak, Arkansas. Contributions had risen to above $10.00 per week most weeks by this time.

For the first time, mention is made of buying printed Bible school lessons, and in August, the light bill dropped back down to under $1.00 per month. There is no record of why it dropped back down. In 1922, the church paid $28.00 on their note at the end of the year and began 1923 with 24 cents in their account. For the first time a record is made of paying someone to clean the church house, with records showing $1.50 being paid in December 1922 for cleaning. Preachers continued to come and were being paid for their efforts. More commonly than not preachers were not mentioned most weeks, and only about once or a few times twice each month did they have someone come in to preach. East Arkansas Lumber Company was paid for lumber, roofing, nails and hinges and a toilet was built for $5.35. Shortly thereafter a gospel meeting was held with John Harper conducting the meeting.

In April, 1924, the church paid “improve taxes” of $2.39. In May 1924, the church paid $3.25 for “ad bills” and then an additional $25.00 to “L. E. Landers,” $40.00 to “Billingsley” and $40.00 to “Porterfield” with an additional $7.50 for rent on a house. Indications are that some extended evangelistic effort was put forth in the community. Also this year the church spent $6.67 on “testament books.”

By 1925, lumber was being purchased almost monthly. The first mention of the church’s helping orphans was in May 1926, when $7.50 was sent to support an orphan’s home. Later $2.50 was sent monthly in support of orphan’s homes. An additional $10.00 was sent to the orphan’s home to purchase clothing for orphans in February 1927. The Fisher Street church began to oversee an orphan’s home in Jonesboro in the late 1920s. H. D. Jeffcoat was preaching at Fisher Street then, and an orphan’s home began to be overseen on North Church Street, with Brother Jeffcoat as one of the main ones caring for this work. This work continued until 1934 when the home here was closed and the children moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas to the orphan’s home there.

The work of the church continued to prosper and souls were added to the Lord in Jonesboro. In 1938, additional property was purchased at the corner of Fisher Street and Johnson Avenue and the building was enlarged. During World War II the frame building was replaced with a brick structure. Additional property was purchased over the coming years with lots bought around the building for expansion and parking. A new auditorium was built and completed in January 1963. The first service in the new auditorium was held on January 27, 1963. The following Sunday witnessed the largest crowd to assemble in the building, as a gospel meeting began with J. O. Jones from Birmingham, Alabama. That Sunday, 543 were present on a day in which the notes recorded ice, snow and zero degree temperatures. Five were restored and one was baptized during the meeting. The following year, a classroom addition was built, as the building continued to expand. In 1976, the old building was demolished and a new foyer, nursery and offices were built. This location served the church well for eighty-two years. In 1996, the elders of the Fisher Street church determined to relocate to a more suitable location to enhance our efforts to reach the lost. In 1997, building began on our present meeting house and was finished in October 1997. Now, nine years later, we are again working to enlarge our facility to better accommodate the church and her efforts to reach the lost.

The church at Fisher Street has always had a desire to help good works progress. To this end, in the mid-1940s, the church at Fisher Street established the church at Main and Oak in Jonesboro, sending members to work and labor there, and also sending two elders to oversee the work. In 1957, the churches at Fisher Street and Main and Oak joined together to help establish the Frierson Street church of Christ. After a tornado destroyed that meeting house, a new church was established which today is the Southwest church. Some who did not choose to go to Southwest formed the Downtown church of Christ and began meeting on Washington Avenue downtown, in what had been a Presbyterian denomination’s building. These later moved further out on Washington Avenue, and are now the Washington Avenue church of Christ.

Some of the former preachers for the church which now meets at this place:

In the 1910s J. W. Dollison, John Harper, W. W. Young

In the 1920s St. Clair Slatton, H. D. Jeffcoat

In the 1930s Harrison Porterfield, Taylor Davis, Franklin Puckett

In the 1940s Gussie Lambert, Billy Harris, L. S. Maynard

In the 1950s Harlan Hurd, Arthur Blackwell

In the 1960s Bennett Land, Al Jolly, William Hull

In the 1970s Don House, Melvin Elliott, Wayne Walton, Winston Burton

In the 1980s Stephen Wiggins (continuing into the 1990s)

Since 1992 Terry Joe Kee, Bill Willard

Former elders for the church now meeting at Greensboro Road:

J. H. Watson, W. H. Hyde, Harvey Stevenson, Feliz Archer, J. M. Williams, L. M. Hollowell, H. H. Brickell, H. L. Jamison, Earl Taylor, J. W. Stevenson, J. W. Ulmer, Marion Farley, W. L. Noblin, Marvin Hinton, V. W. Massey, W. C. Harris, Bud Stevenson, Andrew Ashlock, Haltom Gregson, Leo Bearden, Winston Burton, Julius Coleman, Al Wiles, J. H. Hamilton, Bill Willard, Terry Joe Kee, Eugene Trotter.

Those presently serving as elders: Dan Nichols, Randy Oden, Jody Pickens

Surely much more, especially from the more recent years, could be mentioned about the history of the Greensboro Road church of Christ. This is not intended to be a complete and full history of the church here. Hopefully these few notes will help to remind us of all the good and hard work done by brethren who worked hard to establish and build up the church of Christ in Jonesboro. The churches of Christ meeting today in Jonesboro are warming their spiritual hearts at the fires begun by these who helped establish and build the church in our community. May we work as diligently to leave the church in better condition than we found it and may generations to come continue to be blessed by our efforts for good.