Oak Ridge Church of Christ
The First 100 Years
1879 - 1979
In the summer of 1879 about July 4 a gospel meeting was held in the Oak Ridge community and several people were baptized. This was the beginning of the congregation that now meets at Oak Ridge. It is not known who held the meeting or how many were converted, but it is known that the following were charter members:
Mr. & Mrs. Reece Lee
Mr. & Mrs. E. D. Cain
Mr. & Mrs. A. J. Swain (Uncle Cap and Aunt Mandy)
Mr. and Mrs. Martin who took care of the Lord's supper for a long time.
There may have been others that we do not know about.
For a long time the congregation was called Plainview and for thirty years the members worshipped in the old school building.
Land for the present site was sold to trustees Joel W. Hulsey, W. W. Cunningham, and J. E. McFarland by John W. and wife Lucinda Hulsey in 1909. The price was $50.
The original building [see photo below] was built in 1910 with Brother John T. Lauderdale, who was preaching at the time, and the members doing much of the work. According to some records, Brother Lauderdale preached here at different times until September 26, 1946.
The Oak Ridge Church of Christ is located 2 miles west of Highway 50 on FM 1550. It is across the road from the Oak Ridge Cemetery.
The earliest records were made in 1907. In that year the contributions ranged from 80 cents to $3.55. In 1908, it was about 30 cents per Sunday. In 1910 it went from 5 cents to $2.35. On April 3, 1932, the contribution was $1.02. At one time the bank balance was 25 cents. During the summer, when it was time for the meeting, the contributions were more. On July 12, 1913, Brother George was paid $75 for the summer meeting. Taking seven of the thirteen years from 1923 through 1935, the average Sunday contribution was $4.02. For the seven years from 1972-1978, the contribution averaged $197.24.
In those early years money was not the only thing contributed to the Lord. Whatever the members possessed was shared with the ones in need, especially those of the household of faith. The crops of the sick were worked, clothes and household items were shared, food was given to the hungry, graves were dug for the dead and encouragement given to the discouraged. In other words, Christianity was lived day by day and the congregation remained steadfast throughout the years.
At the 100-year anniversary Laura Milton recalled two incidents which are typical of some of the activities that gone on year after year.
A Brother Witt came from Dallas in 1921. He preached Sunday morning and evening. When he started home on the train, Art Wishard gave him a gallon of home-made sorghum. In 1957, thirty-six years later, Brother Witt and Arthur Reed Wishard chanced to meet in Dallas. He told Arthur Reed how good the sorghum was that Brother Wishard of the Oak Ridge congregation had given him many years before.
It is known that one man gave a hog to someone in need. Logan Cunningham gave Brother Lauderdale a Jersey cow and hauled her to St. Jo., Texas, for him.
Laura could have recalled an endless number of such items had time and space permitted.
In the 100 years between 1879 and 1979 life and style have changed in many ways. One record shows that the following are some of the items purchased:
1908 - a water bucket and dipper - sixty cents.
A coal bucket and stove pipe - one dollar and sixty-five cents.
A bill for coal - two dollars and fifty cents.
Ice from Silver City store - fifty cents.
A broom and stove pipe - one dollar and twenty-five cents.
And, get this - "Alcohol." I am sure it was used in the lamps.
The attendance has varied over the years. On September 19, 1926, the attendance was 104 and the contribution was $26.86. On a Sunday in April 1927, the attendance was 205. In 1979 the attendance averaged 61 per Sunday. This drop reflects the shift in the population over the times for the per cent of attendance in the community has not decreased. There is something unique about the present attendance. For many years the attendance has been almost as large, if not as large, on Sunday night as on Sunday morning.
Cora Sue Wishard presented the idea of the 100th anniversary program. Members were eager to carry it out because there seems to be something special abut enduring for 100 years. The program was presented in the afternoon of June 17, 1979, on the first Sunday of the summer meeting.
No organization can endure for a long period of time without good leaders. This congregation has been blessed with strong faithful leaders. The lists that we have been able to compile are not complete, and the ones omitted were just as important as those remembered. Following are the ones we could recall.
Jim Cook; Ed Fink; Clarence Hulsey; John W. Hulsey; Cecil E. Land; John T. Lauderdale; Harvey Lynn Milton; Loy Milton; Virge Sanders; A. J. Thompson; O. M. Thornton; Arthur A. Wishard; Robert Wishard; Orva Woods.
Harley Antwine; Billy Baker; J. L. Butler; Bill Cook; Jim Cook; Charley Dossey; Dennis Dossey; Claude Hulsey; Lee Hulsey; Newt Hulsey; Henry Lee Mann; John Miller; Kenneth Neal; C. M. Phillips; Edd Smith; O. M. Thornton; Joe Wishard; Ronald Wishard; Thomas Wishard
Judy Fink Adams; Agnes Breedlove; Jewell Wishard Cunningham; Frances Land Fields; Ed Fink; Johnnie Wishard Fink; Patricia Fink; Hazelle Land Hicks; Aunt Bell Hulsey; Aunt Cindy Hulsey; Aunt Laura Hulsey; Aunt Mary Jane Hulsey; Emma Milton Jones; Cecil Land; Harvey Lynn Milton; Jim Milton; Laura Wishard Milton; Robert Wayne Milton; Ruth Ann Milton; Beth Wishard Norwood; Barbara Fink Roderick; Bertha Russell; Virge Sanders; Florence Scott; Carol Smith; Leasa Smith; Julie Stoddard; A. J. Thompson, Jr.; A. J. thompson, Sr.; Carol Wishard; Joe Wishard; Robert Wishard; Sue Wishard; Thomas Wishard
Algie Allen; Carl Allison; Askew; Bill Baker II; Bill Baker III; Barns (4/8/48); Billy Barr; Black; Broadfoot; C. A. Buchanan; Edwin Burnett; Tom Burnett; Burns, Burt; E. D. Cain; Carder; Carlton; Gene Cogburn; Coker (8/30/36); J. D. Cook; Jim Cook; Earl Dale; Robert Dale; Daniels; Davis; Fred Dennis; John W. Denton; Norman Doan; Sammy Dobbs; J. T. Dodd; Jasper Dunn; J. T. Ethridge; Finley; F. Fogarty (9/20/36); Danny Ford; Garrett; W. H. George; Green; Grisham (8/18/26); Hall (3/25/1923); Gene Harper; Harris; Ricky Henslee; Charles Hill; Hines; Connie Hollis; V. E. Howard; Tony Jones; Jack King; Charles Kuhn; J. B. Lancaster; Lashlee; John T. Lauderdale; Lawyer; Ledbetter; Reece Lee; Lovelady; Bill Luttrell; J. E. Luttrell; McAvens; McClroy; McLevea; Willia Mann; Bob Mayner; Willie Mayner; Harold Mazy; Tom Medlin; Harvey Lynn Milton; Robert Wayne Milton; Mitchell; Harold Neal; Kenneth Neal; W. C. Neal; J. B. Nelson; Kelly Newman; Jimmy Newman; Jimmy Newhouse; Tom Newhouse; Allen Otto; Phillips; Hubert Roach; C. J. Robinson; Rodgers (6/28/25); Odis Rowe; Lee Sanders; Austin Sibert; Don Skaggs; Smithson (10/12/24); Borrks Stell; Jim Stoddard; Stovall; W. R. Surrett; Swearingin; Arthur Thomas; Bill (W. M.) Thompson; Loyd Vessels/ Webb (12/6/25); Wilkins; D. C. Williams; Doc Williams; Witt (1921, 1957); Guy N. Wood; R. V. Wood; Woolridge (4/27/1927); Joe Wishard; Larry Wishard; Robert H. Wishard; Jim Young
A record of membership has not been kept, but a list of some of the families who have worshipped here have been compiled. In some cases not all members of a family were members of the congregation, bu this can give some idea. Many of these family names have disappeared from the community, but they filled their place at their point in time.
Oak Ridge Family Names
Atkinson; Barnett; Bowen; Brackeen; Breedlove; Brown; Bullard; Burnett; Burton; Butler; Campbell; Churchwell; Cook; Cornish; Craig; Cunningham; Daniels; Degnan; Dossey; Ellison; Fields; Fink; Franklin; Gilchrist; Grant; Hart; Hewitt; Hicks; Holland; Holloway; Honea; Hulsey; Hidler; Johnson; Killian; Lackey; Land; Lansford; Lawrence; Mann; Martin; McComb; McFarland; Melton; Miller; Mills; Milton; Nelson; Nicholson; Nowlin; Oliver; Osborne; Partain; Payne; Pepper; Phillips; Raiden; Rattan; Reynolds; Rogers; Russell; Samuels; Sanders; Scott; Sebastion; Sharp; Shelton; Shinpaugh; Slater; Smith; Stevenson; Swain; Taylor; Terry; Thompson; Thornton; Trott; Walker; Watson; Whitcamp; Whitten; Williams; Winstills; Wishard; Woods
In 1919 the tabernacle was built. This provided a cooler place for the summer meeting and for spreading dinner at the cemetery working and other such gatherings. It was continued to bused for such gathering and is a part of the memories of the first 100 years.
In 1923 the tall steeple was torn down and a porch put across the front.
In the early 1960's three classrooms were made by putting partitions across the west end of the building.
In the summer of 1964 the floor was covered with tile and the air conditioner was installed. From this time on the meeting was held inside where it was still cooler instead of under the tabernacle, and the cars circled around the tabernacle and the pallets for the children became memories to jot down lest we forget.
When Clarence Russell died in March of 1965, his daughter's in-laws sent Bertha a cash donation instead of flowers. She gave the money to the church provided it would start a fund for new furniture. The new furniture was bought December 22 of the same year. This replaced the old furniture built by Clarence Phillips and Bob Orr in 1920 for the first building.
Restrooms were added in 1967.