FBC Ironton was founded in 1858 and has a rich history of serving God and His people. Below, you’ll find some highlights from our history.
Ironton was a young growing town with a population of 386. Church organized with a membership of eleven. Rev. Jesse R. Pratt, Pastor. Trustees: Rev. Jesse R. Pratt, John M. Carty, and Elvis Harrison.
Property purchased at corner of North Mountain and West Reynolds Streets in Ironton on which to erect church house.
Church admitted to the Franklin United Baptist Association which Association had been organized in 1832. This Association recommended that all ministers in the Association solicit their members to contribute 50 cents to aid in the erection of this church house.
First house or worship erected, the “Little White Church”. This Church was used briefly before and after the Civil War. There were no records available during the war years.
Public schools in Ironton were established in 1866. Classes held in the “Little White Church”.
The “Little White Church” sold to the Methodists. It is thought that the small group of members must have met in their home until 1973 when the second Church was built.
It is believed this is when the Church was reconstituted after the Civil War. Again, the Franklin United Baptist Association made a plea to other Baptist churches in the Association to send aid in the building of a new house of worship in Ironton.
Second house of worship, the “Old Brick Church”, erected on Madison Street north of the present church.
A new tower was added to the front of the Church. The tower was later removed and the building is now a private residence.
Rev. F. M. Shoush believed to be the first resident pastor.
The Church voted to have preaching services two Sundays each month. Pastor elected annually at salary of $2,000.00 a year.
The Ladies Aid Society was formed. A small group of faithful church women had banded together to held keep the doors of the church open. To do this they helped to pay the pastor’s salary, to buy needed equipment, to assist in financing the enlargement of church buildings and to make them as comfortable and attractive as possible.
The ladies worked in many ways to raise money for church needs. They made and sold quilts, aprons, handkerchiefs, held bazaars, sponsored recitals, musicals and entertainments, gave suppers, dinners and ice cream socials and also sold magazines.
The most ambitious project undertaken was the publication of the Arcadia Valley Cook Book. Three editions were published in 1898, 1909 and the third in 1920.
The first organized effort to train for church membership in our church was in 1899 when the Baptist Young Peoples Union (B.Y.P.U.) was organized. The local organization was a part of the statewide organization of the same name.
The population of Ironton was 797. The membership of the Ironton Baptist Church was 83.
The Church Library was organized.
In February or March of 1902 the Baptists held a revival in the Court Room of the Court House. The reason for this was that the Old Brick Church was too small to hold the people. It was full capacity every night. Many people went to the mourner’s bench and were saved.
Decision to build new church building. Kerling lots acquired. New church building plans approved.
The third house of worship, the “Frame Church”, finished at cost of $2,626.00. G. A. Buckey was the contractor and member of the church.
Church votes to have full time worship.
First membership directory was published.
The church helped establish the first Missouri Baptist Assembly – Arcadia Heights. This state camp last 20 years. The depression contributed to its demise as well as a desire to have more regionalized camps.
Mission Sunday School established in Pilot Knob.
Constitution and By-laws adopted at Ironton Church.
Dr. Milford Riggs, pastor three-fourths time. Salary $900.00 a year.
Sunday School established at Pilot Knob.
Duplex envelope system adopted.
Electric lights put in church building.
The pastor of the church, Dr. Milford Riggs, founded the Baptist Home, the first such institution in the Southern Baptist Convention.
The church joined with other churches in Arcadia Valley in a union evangelistic meeting, known as the Burke and Hobbs revival. As a result, about 125 persons received into the Baptist Church alone by baptism.
Union church property purchased for Pilot Knob Church.
21 members granted dismission to constitute Pilot Knob Church.
Ironton offers to sell building to Pilot Knob Church for $149.62, with stipulations.
Delegates to District Association instructed to vote for alignment with Missouri Baptist General Association and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Plans started to build addition to church building for use as Sunday school rooms.
First parsonage deeded to the church by Mr. and Mrs. C. P. Jewett, members of the church, who were leaving Ironton to live in the state of California. Parsonage sold in 1958.
Church built an educational building to provide facilities for its training program.
Voted to sponsor Bethany Mission for two years. Also to give Bethany $15.00 a week.
The parsonage on 414 Wayne Street, Ironton, was purchased. Parsonage sold in1979 to allow pastors to select their own housing.
Bethany Mission becomes Bethany Baptist Church.
The construction of the present church sanctuary completed. The membership of the church in 1963 when the congregation moved to the present building was 470.
This period of the history of the church can be characterized by its mission program. It provided leadership and gave financial assistance to: establish and build new churches; sponsor missions where preaching ministry was provided, at least on a part time basis; and organized or sponsor new church Sunday Schools, including provision for some teaching staff. These included not only Bethany and Pilot Knob, but also Graniteville, the Cove, Stouts Creek, Irondale and Leeper. Some of the new churches and missions later became self-supporting churches.
The name of Franklin Baptist Association was changed to Mineral Area Baptist Association. Rev. Ernest Towler was Director of Missions at the time.
On April 28, 1971, the church adopted the name of “First Baptist Church of Ironton” as the legal name of the church. A new constitution, By-laws and Manual of Operation were approved to become effective October 11, 1971.
History of first 116 years of the church written by Clarence Keathley.
Education-Fellowship Building dedicated. 120th anniversary of founding of the church.
First Baptist Church membership 702.
Church celebrated its 125th Anniversary. Former pastor Rev. Carl Nelson delivered the Anniversary address.
Charles Harper called as the Church’s first Minister of Education and Youth.
A group goes to Paraguay to do mission work.
Rev. Keith Huffman served 20-year tenure at Ironton, the longest ministry of any pastor of the church, resigning on December 12, 1993.
Church celebrated its 150th Anniversary. A granite bench was placed in front of the church marking the anniversary.
A time capsule was built and placed by Conway Goehman next to the bench and a special ceremony took place on November 23, 2008.