The History of JBC
Jacobstown Baptist Church dates back to May 15, 1767, when a 1/2 acre of land was purchased for one ear of Indian corn. The first burial in 1765 consecrated the ground for the cause even before it was deeded to the church. Mostly through the generosity of a property owner, the church grounds grew to 6.5 acres. In 1768, the first meetinghouse was erected, and for 34 years, this building was used in an unfinished state. The walls and ceiling were unplastered, and there was no stove – a charcoal brazier offered the only heat and candles provided light. After a fire destroyed the original meetinghouse, the present church building was constructed in 1853…with an ample supply of horse sheds.
For the first 18 years, JBC didn’t have a regular minister. Although many distinguished men have filled the pulpit, one of the supply pastors stands out among the rest. According to the story handed down through the ages, Dr. David Jones was preaching the day the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth was fought.
The booming of the cannons 18 miles away was distinctly heard by the congregation. At each explosion, the preacher’s spirit became more aroused until, finally closing his Bible, he exclaimed, “Brethren, I’m feeling more like fighting than preaching. Let us be dismissed!” He went on to become a chaplain in the Army of the Revolution.
The first and longest-serving pastor of the era, Dr. Burgiss Alison, served from 1786 to 1813. Afterward, he became chaplain of the U.S House of Representatives and then the Washington Navy Yard.
So bleak, barren, and desolate were the 20 years starting in 1817 that the council advised the church to disband. A loyal soldier of the cross answered, “No never while there is a shingle on the roof.” At the business meeting on June 6, 1818, only two members answered, “present” to the roll call. And thus the membership ascended and descended over the years.
It was during another unpromising time in 1991 when Pastor Ed Hlad arrived to serve. In his closing sentence of his annual report that year, he wrote, “Let us keep our eyes fixed on Him and His great love, and may we allow that to motivate us to do and be His will.”
Today, JBC is still being used by God as a shining light of his gospel in our community. We are grateful for God’s faithfulness and for the faithfulness of his people.
Resource: Carol Green, Country Extra, January 2006