His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion.
During the 1880's there were a few families in the Sneads Ferry area, and it is said religious services were generally held in homes and in the tree groves. The exact date of the organization of Salem Baptist Church is not known; however, according to Onslow County records, land was deeded "to the Baptists" and recorded in 1830. A later deed, recorded in 1880, gave “one acre of land … the benefit of the Missionary Baptist denomination …”
Using only the records in the Onslow County Courthouse, it has been determined that Salem Baptist Church recorded the fourth deed of any church in Onslow County, this makes Salem the fourth oldest church of any kind on record; the second oldest Baptist church on record; and the oldest Onslow County Southern Baptist church on record.
The oldest surviving minutes of Salem are dated June 19,1898. At that time there was a church-elected clerk, a secretary, a treasurer, and a called part-time pastor. On the church rolls were 48 members and a notation alongside one male's name as having been baptized in April 1894. Therefore, it is obvious that a church body had been in existence prior to 1898.
The oldest known church building, on land donated by Burgess Williams, Sr. and his wife Christain S. Williams, was a one-room wooden building with a tin roof, a pot-belly stove, slat pews, and a crude handmade pulpit. The church was situated near the present triangle entrance to Sneads Ferry.
In 1925, the church body relocated to its present site on land given by E. T. Capps and John Williams, and built a wooden church with a sanctuary, two Sunday School rooms, and a vestibule. This building was remodeled in the 1940's and used until 1963.
Two acres of land were purchased in 1962 behind the old church and a small parcel of land was donated by Mr. Fred McCabe. On this land, a new educational facility was built, containing a temporary sanctuary, multiple rooms, and a center patio. The new facility was dedicated in November 1963 and soon the old 1925 church was demolished.
As had been envisioned by Pastor Jim Scales when the temporary sanctuary of Salem Baptist Church was built in 1963, plans for a permanent sanctuary began in the late 70's, and in the early 80's, preliminary drawings were presented. In December 1985, details of a proposed sanctuary were presented by Chuck Thompson and the church voted to proceed with the closing in of the building. On July 27, 1986, the church had a ground- breaking ceremony, with then pastor Russell Padgett officiating, assisted by Chairman of Deacons, Bill Taylor, and several others.
Closing in of the building was completed in August 1987. It had become a 50x110-foot, red brick building with a columned front porch, 22 stained glass windows, and an impressive white steeple atop the church, all debt-free.
In 1976, with money received from the Millie Everett Smith estate, the Everett-Bishop Memorial Hall was built and dedicated in October 1976. Since then, enjoyed on many occasions: this fellowship hall has been bridal and baby showers, wedding and anniversary receptions, dinners for various functions, a youth meeting place and so on.
In the center of the church is a fountain that was given in memory by a Faithfull member Gus A Grant who died in 1974 at the age of 103.
If you have pictures of our church through the years please contact us. We would love to add them to our records.
"Information was gathered by reviewing past records of Homecomings. No authors were named in these documents."