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Smith County, Texas

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The County Line Missionary Baptist Church is located approximately 12 miles west of Tyler off Highway 64 West, which reaches out to the Red Land Community to provide "Education for all concerned".

The County Line Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1872 by a few Baptist believers in the Red Land Community in Van Zandt County.

Mr. Will Manley, a concerned citizen of the community, donated two acres of land for the church which was constructed in 1872.

The name "County Line" was derived from its location on the boundary lines of Smith and Van Zandt Counties.

Since its beginning in 1872, three church buildings have been constructed with the most recent being built in 1967.

The first Pastor of the church was Rev. L. M. Rabb, and serving as Deacons were: Isaih Isabell, Thomas Kennedy; Jack Raibon; Henry Bell; Alford Hopper, treasurer; and Jack Isabell, secretary.

During its tenure of 125 years, the church has had 24 Ministers, with the present Pastor being Rev. Abel V. Armstrong.

Members of the staff serving with Rev. Armstrong are: A. L. Crutchfield, Sunday School, also Leo Bryant and Steavenson Bryant coordinating as Sunday School Superintendent. Leo Bryant also Chairman of Brotherhood and Senior Choir. Marcella Broughton serves as President of the Mission Society; Latrell Bryant, Usher Board; Myrtle Veasey, Evelyn Armstrong and Wilma J. Mitchell Matrons for the Youth Department; Texanna Crutchfield serves as the Musician for the Church.

Programs held at the church include; Installation of officers; Senior Choir's Annul Musical; Youth Spring Revival; Mission Society's Retreat and Annual Day Program, Black History Program and Soul Food Dinner; Annual Revival, Pastor and Wife's Appreciation Service; Brotherhood Annual Program; Church Anniversary; Monthly Birthday Rally; and special programs during Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, etc. The Church is also involved in all activities which include the community as a whole, giving donations to PATH; Food Bank; Texas College; United Way; assist needy families in the community and other services as needed. The Ben Wheeler AARP Chapter holds its monthly meetings in the Church Fellowship Hall. The Church also gives Scholarships to graduating Seniors.

Services conducted at the County Line Missionary Baptist Church include Sunday School at 9:45 A.M and Worship Service at 11:00 A.M. Other Departmental meetings as called by the Presidents and or Matrons. Bible study each Tuesday at 6:00 P.M.

We pause to salute the pioneers who without a doubt, put God in front and in spite of small financial gain were able to hold on and carry on and push forward to here.

There wasn't much fashion, but much devoutness. There wasn't light, but the Bible gave light for the way. There was very little warmth except for maybe one stove, but there was deep in their hearts - the warmth of God's love and the love they had for each other.

We're happy to be a part of this great body of baptized believers. We are proud we can join in the great chorus of glad thanksgiving for the goodness that the Lord has showered upon us.

Gone on before us, stewards who have made outstanding contributions in various fields of endeavor, to give proud prestige to both those sent and the senders.

Since we who are here have been helped along the way by those who have served and gone before, we too must so inspire those coming on that the light will continue burning through them, until a new generation has caught the gleam and has gone steadily inarching on.

We pray to ever hold to those principles of faith and doctrine that have made us useful and inspirational. May we ever keep our wicks trimmed for service to God and our fellowman and may the pilot light of truth, honesty and understanding keep burning, that even the unborn will be able to catch its glow.

As proud as we are of our church, we are constantly praying to keep humble enough to be of service, that the Master may be able to point with pride to us as those who've kept the faith.

Note: Even though County Line Missionary Baptist Church is located in Van Zandt County, many residents of Smith County have been and still are members of this church. We thought this significant enough to put it on the Smith County Page!

Texas Historical Marker

County Line Missionary Baptist Church. Oral tradition links this church to the original County Line Baptist Church of 1851, the earliest recorded attempt of area African American families to create a community of worship. County Line Colored Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1872 on this site, donated by Will Manley. The Rev. L. M. Rabb was the first pastor. An air conditioned brick building was erected in 1967, replacing two earlier wood structures. Providing such aid as food, medicine, educational scholarships, and spiritual counsel, the church remains a proud focal point for community affairs. (1997) #11391

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