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The information for this page was taken from the book prepared for the Joy Baptist Church Centennial Celebration booklet1, unless otherwise noted.

The Beginning

Fannin Town / Joy Baptist Church
10 May 1885 to 10 May 1985
A Historical Brief

Four years prior to the beginning of The War Between the States a vast area of land, bordering Red River on the North and extending forty miles South, and some twenty-five miles in width, was carved from Cooke County and named Clay County in tribute to the great statesman, Henry Clay of Virginia. Onto this vast expanse of virgin soil came ranchers to divide it. Then a few farmers moved West to this area. Eventually Henrietta was designated the County Seat and this required County Officials. An election was held and the entire population of Clay County was found to be one hundred nine persons, two of whom were slaves.

The War broke out in 1861, the military forts were abandoned, the Indians began raiding North Texas, and both the ranchers and farmers returned to more densely populated sections of Texas. Soon after the War, the ranchers and farmers began a new influx into Clay County. Such communities as Bluegrove, Buffalo Springs, Vashti, Bellevue, Shannon, and Loop appeared on the maps. When the mail route to Loop and Myrtle changed, Fannin Town replaced Loop.

In the late seventies and early eighties many families moved from Fannin County bringing with them their culture, religious preferences and high hopes for the future. Their community became known as Fannin Town, which was changed by the Postal authorities to Joy in about 1902.

In 1881, families of the Methodist persuasion met under an oak tree, just west of a log school house, and organized The Methodist Episcopal Church, south of Fannin Town. It began with seven members and in 1981 observed its 100th anniversary. The house still stands as a tribute to the faith of many pioneer families and those who have worshipped in it through the years.

In the fulness of time families holding the doctrines of Baptists began gathering monthly under the same oak tree or in a log school house nearby. And on Saturday, 10 May 1885, they gathered to hold their service "at the usual hour." The records do not show why it took Baptists four years longer to organize than it took their neighbors, but for a hundred years 10 May 1885 has had great historical and spiritual significance. It was the day Baptists of Fannin Town declared their faith. Among those present that day were Elders, D. Ray and J. L. McCord and Deacon Dr. R. L. Burke to form an organizing council. Elder Ray was elected moderator. Letters were called for and A. S. Hicks, E. B. Hicks, M. S. Hicks, Hannah Gilbert, and Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Nelson presented letters for the council's approval.

Six persons then voted to become a Missionary Baptist Church. The Articles of Faith were read and adopted. In like manner The Church Covenant was read and adopted, and the hand of Christian fellowship was mutually extended. A Church was in being!

Next a prayer was offered by Elder McCord and this infant church was ready to take its first step. The council had brought the infant organization to lie. Its work was finished. The first step was to elect a church clerk, and his hand written record is the basis of this brief. His name was Mr. A. S. Hicks. Step two was to call a Pastor, someone to oversee and spiritually feed and develop this childlike fellowship. To fill this role Brother J. N. Lacy was unanimously elected to care for the church.

Elder Ray wanted this new born infant to grow and he opened the door of the church to others. Presenting themselves as candidates for baptism were Eliza Evans, Lula Hicks, John Hicks, H. A. J. Hicks, James Gilbert, and J. N. Stroud. After relating their Christian experience they were accepted. Then sister Nancy Evans came on the promise of a letter of recommendation. Again the hand of Christian fellowship was extended to the candidates.

In its first service as an organized church it had received fourteen members and like all of God's creation needed a name. The name chosen was Fannin Town Baptist Church. The next church conference date was set for Saturday night, 13 June 1885. At this June service 10 more members were added, bringing the total membership to twenty four in the Church's first year. In July of 1886, another member, Mrs. Sallie Garner was added. There were no additions in 1887, but 1888 brought nine new members, 1889 brought fourteen more; 1890 brought seventeen; 1891 brought fifteen; 1892 brought twelve; 1893 brought eleven; one in 1897 and none in 1898. (The church was very busy in raising funds for State, Home and Foreign Missions.) In 1899 fifteen were added, bringing he total for fifteen years to the number of 167.

Joy History - Places of Worship

Prior to May 1985

Written in 1985 for the Centennial Book:

"As indicated, earlier Baptist of the Fannin Town Community probably held their first services under an oak tree, near a log school house. The actual organization of the Fannin Town Baptist Church, it appears, was in the Fannin Town school house east of the oak tree. For ten years the congregation used the second floor of the school building. In 1894 a building committee was elected and on the first Sunday in June 1895 the building was dedicated. The cost  of the building was $800.00. $672.00 of this amount had been paid in and the remaining $128.00 was made up in subscriptions. This building was utilized for some 25 years. Then in the early twenties, it was modified by changing the entrance from the West end to the South side. The pulpit was located in the North, facing the South entrance. Heavy wire was stretched inside, on which curtains hung to provide separate Sunday School and B.Y.P.U. class areas. This arrangement served its purpose for a number of years. In 1940, that building was taken apart and this present Sanctuary was constructed with the materials from the original building. That it has served its purpose well for 45 years, attests loudly the quality of the lumber and of it's builders as well. Some of them are present today.

Then in 1952, the church voted to build six Sunday School rooms. A major contribution for this purpose was made by Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Lanham. Miss Arcola Goad, born in 1883, a member since 1900, had the honor of laying the first tile of the foundation

In 1955, the pastor's home was constructed, four rooms and a bath. In 1976, an additional Sunday School room, a nursery and rest rooms were added to the church. In 1979, a master bedroom and bath was added to the Pastor's residence. Also in 1979, new cushioned pews, pulpit and carpet were installed in the Sanctuary. Choir chairs were contributed by Mr. Charles Hilliard of Henrietta.

We love and appreciate this Temple of Worship. For many, it holds many sacred memories. There is one essential facility that this church has never had in its 100 year history -- a baptistery." (1)

After May 1985

The Church now has a baptistery and more additions have been made. More about this will be added later.

1.  "Joy Baptist Church, Pioneers Through Faith - 100 years - and we've just begun, 1885-1985"