Honorable achievements are the results of humble beginnings and such was the case with the Olive Branch Baptist Church. Due to the determination of a few, the event that started out as a simple picnic, developed into a Sunday School and evolved to the present day church.
Although lack of permanent records hinders us from having a complete historical account, we know that Sis. Rachel Bouknight, whose life spanned over 114 years, was a driving force behind the origins of our church; she died in 1961. The church was organized on the east side of Batesburg, in 1880, under the leadership of Rev. J. W. Williams, Dea. Robert Gunter and Edward Mosley. Circumstances made it necessary for the church to be moved, and a new site was selected two hundred yards west of Howard Street. In later years that structure was destroyed by fire. The present church building was constructed under the leadership of Rev. E. E. Bowens.
Since the time of it’s organization in 1880, until the present, Olive Branch has had over 600 members and 25 Pastors.
Pastors who have served: Rev. J. W. Williams - 5 yrs. Rev. A. B. Coleman - 7 yrs. Rev. Henry Merritt - 2 yrs. Rev. C. A. Weaver - 4yrs. Rev. F. Dawn - 2 yrs. Rev. Aubeun - 1 yr. Rev. W. D. Hood - 2 yrs. Rev. N. L. Bush - 7 yrs. 10 mos. Rev. Whitehead - 2 yrs. Rev. T. T. Marsh - 2 yrs. Rev. Daniels - 2 yrs. Rev. John R. Wilson - 7 yrs. 10 mos. Rev. E. W. Bowens - 7 yrs. Rev. L. C. Chavous - 10 yrs. Rev. J. H. Coleman - 7 yrs. Rev. I. E. Smith - 7 yrs. 8 mos. Rev. T. M . Boykin - 7 yrs. Rev. T. A. Williams - 6yrs. 1 mo. Rev. G. W. Hartley - 1 yr. Rev. W. F. Davenport - 12 yrs. 9 mos. Rev. J. W. Coleman - 7 yrs. Rev. C. Hudson (Interim) - 1 yr. Rev. King - 7 yrs. Rev. A. Ancrum - 8 yrs. 2 mos.
Deacons who have gone on to rest:
Robert Gunter Arthur Coleman Joseph Johson Alonzo Thompson J. C. Williams M. O. Williams J. W. Williams Clarence Robinson Edward Mosley Malachi Bouknight Cleve Johnson W. M. Hendrix Frank Finch G. H. Staley Hamp Wallace James E. Hartley W. G. Thomas Samuel Padgett Paten Herron Alfred Cain Paul Derrick Rufus Humphrey Samuel Wigfall Marcellous Holmes
The following have made notable achievements: under the leadership of Rev. J. W. Williams, the Rev. O. C. Cain, Sr., was licensed to preach on April 17, 1922. Rev. Cain passed away December 4, 1986. Rev. Leroy Cain, Jr. was ordained.
During the pastorship of Rev. N. L. Bush the mortgage on the brick veneer church was burned.
Under the leadership of Rev. J. R. Wilson, the interior of the church was remodeled; gas heat was installed, two exhaust fans and pulpit furniture were added and the cornerstone was laid. Rev. Wilson passed away in February 1998.
During the years 1959 through 1968: Rev. L. C. Chavous served as pastor
¨ Five deacons were ordained: W. G. Thomas, Samuel Wigfall, Samuel Padgett, Julius Walker and Willie Mathis
¨ A dining room was built
¨ B.Y.P.U was reorganized
¨ The Men’s Club and Pastor’s Aid was organized
¨ Station Church—1962-1967
¨ Rev. Willie L. Watson delivered his initial sermon January 1962
¨ An organ was purchased
¨ Rufus Walker resigned as Chairman of Trustees after serving over 25 years
¨ Etheridge Walker was elected as Chairman of Trustees
¨ Lester Davis resigned as Church Treasurer
During July 1968 through the year 1980: Rev. I. E. Smith was elected as pastor
¨ Four deacons were ordained namely: Etheridge Walker, Freddie Derrick, Courtney Hunter and Elzie Cancer
¨ 104 members were added
¨ The Deaconess was organized
¨ The church was recovered
¨ Rev. Smith passed away in 1994
During the year November 1980 through May 1986: Rev. Ted A. Williams served as pastor
¨ Two deacons were ordained: Gregory Johnson and Rufus Walker
¨ 28 members were added, 11 babies blessed, death claimed 33 and 3 were dismissed by letter
¨ Purchased land and house on the north side of church
¨ Installed cushioned pews
¨ Trustee Board was added
¨ Purchased land for cemetery
¨ Rev. Williams resigned in 1986
During the year April 1987 through August 1999: Rev. Willie F. Davenport served as pastor
¨ 129 members were added, 15 by letter, 14 by restoration and 10 babies blessed
¨ He organized the Brotherhood and Young Matrons Association
¨ Two deacons were ordained: Timothy Marshall and Jerome Coleman
¨ The Male Chorus was organized
¨ The Educational building was completed and paid off
¨ The mortgage was burned on March 16, 1996: Rev. J. A. Williams delivered the message
¨ The Ward System and Pastor’s Aid were organized
¨ The Young Missionaries, Boy Scouts, and Sisterhood were organized
¨ Established the Education and Black History Committee
¨ The first Annual Church Bar-B-Que was held
¨ Purchased a copier, three computers and printer
¨ Purchased a Church van
¨ Bobby Dozier, Sr. was appointed Chairman of Trustee Board
¨ New lights were purchased for sanctuary
¨ Rev. Davenport resigned in 1999
During August 1999 through August 2000: Rev. Charles Hudson was appointed as Interim pastor.
¨ Pulpit Search Committee was formed
¨ Theodore Robinson preached his initial sermon
From August 2000 Rev. Allen Ancrum was elected and served as pastor until February 2009.
¨ Installed as pastor in December 2000, Rev. J. C. Sistrunk delivered the message
¨ A parsonage was purchased and fully furnished
¨ Rev. became the first full-time Pastor in April 2001
¨ The Allen Ancrum Jubilee Singers Choir was organized
¨ Debbie Robinson preached her initial sermon in June 2001, was appointed as Youth Minister
¨ Mary Frances Gantt preached her initial sermon July 2001
¨ Ordination of three ministers, Theodore Robinson, Debbie Robinson, and Mary Frances Gantt
¨ Jerome Coleman preached his initial sermon August 31, 2003 and was ordained August 2004
¨ Bobby Dozier, Sr. resigned as Chairman of Trustee and Geraldine Jackson resigned as Vice –Chairman of Trustee
¨ Bobbie Ancrum preached her initial sermon October 2004
¨ The Church Boards have been renamed Ministries instead of Boards
¨ Six were added to the Trustee Ministry: Dian Davis, Matt Rodgers, Gregory Jay, Ronald Gantt, Wilbur Harris, and Willie Hendrix
¨ Michael Davis was elected Chairman of Trustee Ministry with Dian Davis as Vice-Chairperson in October 2004
¨ Sandra Edmond was elected as Chairperson of Finance and Leon Drafts as Vice-Chairperson
¨ Four deacons were ordained : John Belton, Rodrick Edmond, Lawrence Gray, and Daryl Wise
¨ The back of the church was re-painted, railings added to steps in back, building painted, ramp was completed
¨ Deacon Johnny Belton Initial Sermon September 30, 2007, Ordained August 31, 2008
¨ Sis. Sylvia Mckenzie Initial Sermon January 29th 2006, Ordained December 30th 2007
¨ Deacon Lonnie West Initial Sermon January 6th 2008,Ordination March 29,2009
¨ Dian Davis was elected Chairperson of the finance committee and Marlyn Williams Vice- Chairperson, Sabrina Gantt was was elected as Youth Director 2008.
¨ Leon Drafts was elected chairperson of Trustees , Michael Davis vice-chairperson 2008.
Sister Beatrice Williams served as church clerk for over 41 years, she passed away in February 2001.
Brother Jake Williams served as Financial Secretary for 30 years, he passed away in March 2002.
Sister Lydia Williams
Sister Hattie Moore
Sister Anna Hendrix
Sister Flossie Wise
Sis. Lavina Boyd
Our Present Mother is Sister Lavina Boyd. She was elected in February 1998. passed away October 15th 2007.
November 9th 2008 new Mother of Church was chosen Sis. Corine Johnson
November 15th 2008 the new paved parking lot dedication was held Sermon by Rev. Jerome Coleman .
Our Oldest Deacon is Deacon Willie Mathis.
The history of the Church Professes that the sea of life may be stormy sometimes, but our anchor will hold fast if we will just hinge our lives on Jesus and let Him take us safely to Canaan’s Happy Land. When He is the Captain on the Ship, the sailing is never rough.
There at the Cross-where we met Jesus has caused us to accept the many challenges of life; and, we can overcome all evils.