Mr. Elkanah Barnes of South Carolina settled in Pintlala in 1818 and married Mary (Polly) Lumpkin of the Strata community in 1830. Dr. W. H Hooker, an evangelist, converted her to a “new faith” prior to that time. She was baptized by William McGaughy. Dr. Hooker preached a “strange doctrine.” He taught that faith comes from intelligent study and that obedience is a prerequisite to salvation. He looked with disfavor upon religious excitement and argued against sectarianism and for the unity of all Christians. He preached a return to apostolic teachings and methods of worship with no man-devised ornamentation nor interpretations. This “organization” was known as the church of Christ.
As a result of Dr. Hooker’s evangelism, sixty persons were converted and a church was established on the Pettus-Fleta Road known as the Liberty church of Christ The location was moved and another church building built about one mile west on U.S. 31, in 1895 (Present location). Brother Will Hayes, Sam Jordan, Tom Golson, and Dr. I. Mack Barnes were ministers who preached there in the formative years. The present congregation is still active today. Some of the early families were Anderson, Sanderson, Tankersley, Murrell and Reynolds.
(Adapted From Information on the History of the Church of Christ in Montgomery County Organized by Frank Hawthorne)
The Liberty church of Christ building was originally located one mile down the Fleta Road (Pettus Road) at the end of Liberty Church Road. After about twenty years, a building was erected at the present location. Evidently the second building was begun in 1893, and services were held there in 1894. Among the records are bills for ceiling and flooring dated April, 1894. In 1895, the present church lot was purchased from Mr. F.G. (Felix) and Mrs. Julia Anderson, and deeded to J.J. Moseley, D.W. Murrell, W.L. Holmes, and members of the Liberty church. The new building consisted of an auditorium. About twenty years later, the vestibule and two classrooms were added. The old church records were stolen in 1915, along with some other things. The oldest existing list of members is over sixty years old.
As a result of a fire, a new metal roof was put on in 1939. Between 1940-41, two classrooms, restrooms and a baptistery were added. The $300 borrowed to do this work was repaid ahead of schedule. In February of 1941, the picture by Blanch Garrett Perry was added above the baptistery. In the 1950’s, the interior of the building was remodeled, an air conditioning and heating system installed, and a porch and lighted sign added. In 1959, Miss Lottie Roe Garrett gave additional land on the south side of the church lot.
In the 1970’s, plans for a new building were discussed. The untimely death of Brother Willard Willis in 1972 postponed plans until 1974. The Garrett family generously deeded additional land west of the original property to make it possible to construct a suitable building while continuing services in the old building. Open House was held on June 20, 1975. the old building was torn down in March, 1976.
As physical elements of the church building grew, so also the spiritual elements of the church members grew. It was decided that spiritual leadership, as directed by the Bible, was needed and the process of selecting elders began in 1974. The first elders, James L. Cline and Davis Henry were named in 1975. Deacons were appointed shortly afterward. The eldership decided that more leadership was needed so in 1984, James A. Pugh was made as an elder. In 1993, a number of additions and improvements were made to the building. The kitchen, handicap restroom, and a concrete drive south of the building were added. In 1994, the property north of the building was given by Carrie Hill Tankersley. A minister’s home was purchased by the congregation on Pettus Road in May, 1995. In June, 1995, Mark Jones became the first “full-time” minister in many years for the congregation. In 1998 a new parking lot was added on the property north of the building. In 2000, it was decided to add on to the building. The groundbreaking ceremony for this project took place on October 1, 2000. The current elders are Jerry Gwin, James Pugh and Perry Taylor.
Byron L. Chastain
Larry D. Nokes
Jimmie C. Benson
Mark T. Jones