Oak Grove Baptist Church
By C.W. Henderson
I used to think that the hope of the world was in the preacher of the gospel. And indeed there is no greater calling. But what could the preacher do without the lay members of the church. So in this little sketch I am going to deal mainly with the lay men of the church.
We will first notice a few of the Sunday School superintendents. I saw a statement once that my father, G.W. Henderson, was superintendent of Sunday Schools for 50 years. He was the first superintendent of Oak Grove Baptist church. He was always a leader in his community, and it was mainly through his influence that Oak Grove Church was organized. Father once had an old saw mill on the creek down below Quebec. The people of the community would haul logs to the saw mill and father sawed all the rough lumber “free gratis” that went into our one room church building. Father was always a leader in everything that was for the good of the community and the betterment of the rising generation.
Oliver Thomas was superintendent for a number of years. He and I were almost the same age, but he has been dead for many years. He had a large family, about ten girls and everyone of them had a brother. Oliver Thomas was not only interested in the religious work of the community, but he believed in doing everything he could to overcome the evils that he considered detrimental to the rising generation: Especially the moonshine liquor business.
Oliver came to me one day and said he had two blockade stills located and he wanted me to see if I could get a revenue officer to destroy them. So I went to see Loranza Glazener at Rosman. I knew he was some sort of an officer. So he phoned to Guss Aiken at Greenville, SC. But Guss Aiken was away from home at the time. So Loranza Glazener said to just lie low till he heard from him again. About two weeks later Mr. Glazener came up one Sunday and called me out of the church and said Guss Aiken would be in that night and for me and Oliver Thomas to meet him and Lee Fisher about Ten O’Clock that night between here and Rosman, So Oliver Thomas had to be installed as leader of the convoy. The two officers tied their horses in the woods at Maple Gap and we proceeded around the south side of the Pinacle Mountain.
The first still we came to was a home-made bogus affair, and Guss Aiken soon made way with it in short order. Oliver Thomas then directed us farther around the Pinacles and down into what Oliver called the “Auger Hole.” Here Oliver had located a large copper still that looked like it had been running for a long time. There was a large tent over the still and 12 large stands of fermented malt just ready to be made into liquor. Guss Aiken said they would hold at least 100 Gallons to the stand. He pulled the large copper still out of the furnace. He took his “Go-Devil” and cut up the still so it couldn’t be repaired. He then took the cap and worm to a stump and cut them into small pieces. He then cut down the 12 stands of malt and destroyed it all. After that he pulled a large barrel of liquor that would hold at least 50 gallons out of a hold in the bank and cut the head out of the barrel and poured out all the liquor. After completely destroying everything connected with this moonshine still, Guss Aiken kindled a fire and began piling the staves on it. We were now ready to leave the “Auger Hole.” When we got to the top of Pinacle Mountain I stopped and looked back into the Auger Hold. It was some sight. The liquor had caught on fire and even the tent was burning so the fire seemed to be reaching the tops of the trees.
Oliver Thomas has been dead and gone for many years, but his life’s work and influence are still living with his own family and the people of Oak Grove Community. A man who spends his life in the Lord’s service will live on and bear fruit until the lord returns to gather up his “Jewels.”
Excuse me for even referring to my own life. I am sorry to have to say that in my younger days I did’t fail to sow my “wild oats.” But when I was 19 years old in a revival meeting at Lake Toxaway, conducted by Rev. David Miller of Macon County, I hope to have passed from death unto life. I was baptized in Toxaway River just below the old county bridge in the year 1891. I moved my letter of Oak Grove the next year 1892, just 81 years ago. Have never belonged to any other church. I was one time superintendent of Oak Grove Sunday School for 30 years. And I feel like some of those day were among the happiest days of my life. I have now passed my 99th birthday and I fully realize that my long life’s journey is nearing the “end.” But I am trying the best I know how to be fully prepared when the last summons comes to meet my blessed Saviour. My dear companion, by godly father and mother, a host of brothers, sisters, friends and loved ones that have already crossed the river into that beautiful home that Christ is preparing for all his children.
I was 7 years old when Oak Grove Church was organized in 1880. In the past 93 years Oak Grove has had 26 pastors and 17 Sunday School superintendents. When God created the world and everything in it, he looked at everything he had created and said it was very good. I feel like if the devil had not come and brought sin into the world that we wouldn’t want any better heaven than this. If I should happen to live three months longer I will reach my 100th mile post. During my long life span I have experienced a whole lot of heaven here in this world.