Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Proposal Accepted

I found out yesterday that Arcadia Publishing as accepted my book proposal, and Lynchburg is slated to be released in the summer of 2012. The book will tell the history of Lynchburg through over 200 historic photographs. There is still much work to be done, but I am getting there step-by-step. If anyone knows of any historic photos that they wouldn't mind sharing for publication, please let me know! The images will be scanned and returned to you pronto! Thank you to everyone who has been keeping up with the progress of my new venture, and as promised, I will keep you posted!

Ball Fork Baptist/Mulberry Baptist Church

Mulberry Baptist Church c. 1840

John Whitaker was reportedly a deeply religious man, and when he arrived in Mulberry he held church services in his home until a proper worship house could be built. In 1813, John donated an acre of land for such a structure to be built. Named the Ball Fork Baptist Church, the building stood where the Mulberry Cemetery still exists. The church immediately became an important part of the community, and remains so even today. The original wooden frame church burned at some point before 1840, and a second brick church was built. However, by the point the church was relocated to its current position on the Mulberry "square." As of yet, I have found no photos of the original church, but pictured here is the second edition. When the congregation decided to move the church, they decided not to rebuild in its original location. Instead, the church was moved to the square and renamed the Mulberry Baptist Church. The reason for this move is a likely result of the booming growth of the Mulberry community during the 1830s. Around that time, the Mulberry Male and Female Academy was constructed, and is said to have been one of the finest schools in Lincoln County. Following on the heels of the Academy, many businesses sprang up as well as several other churches. During this era, the 1840s,  Mulberry was home to a blacksmith, a cabinet maker, a restaurant, a post office, several general stores (possibly as many as five), a Methodist Church, a Christian Church, a Cumberland Presbyterian, an undertaker, a bank, as well as several others. What is important to remember is that the bulk of these establishments were only built after the construction of the school and the relocation of the Baptist Church.
 After the Baptist Church was rebuilt, it burned yet again at some point during the ladder part of the century, and was yet again replaced by another structure. Judging by the Gothic Revival influences of the building, it was probably built between 1850 and 1880. This church still stands today; however, some minor changes have been made over the years.

The Mulberry Baptist Church, as you can see, has long played an important role in the community. For me personally, the architectural details of the 1840s version of the church proved pivotal in my attempt to prove the construction date of the house I was primarily writing of (which will be discussed in a later post). When growing up here, I never cared about the historic churches and homes located here. But now, research has given me a reason to admire them and to share my findings with others. Frankly, I think we here in Mulberry are incredibly fortunate to have so many relics of the historical record standing right here in our back yards.

Mulberry Baptist Church, 2010

Mulberry School, 19th century (exact date unknown)