History of the Laurel Church of Christ
In Seaford, Delaware, late in 1940, seven women, Sisters Betterton, Broyles, Boswell, Disbrow, Banks, Vantrease, and Hill started meeting in their homes for Bible study and partaking of the Lord's supper. After a few months, sister Hill moved to Martinsville, Virginia.
In 1941, the six sisters continued to meet, laying by in store. In June, 1942, Brother S. H. Hall, requested by Sister Boswell, consented to hold a two week meeting, with the song leader being Brother James H. Horwell from Florida. We rented a building on Pine Street, Seaford, Delaware, bought some song books and financed the meeting without any help from outside members. During that meeting, there were three baptisms, two were sons of members (T.A. Banks, Edgar Broyles, Jr.) and the third was the husband of Sister Disbrow (Durrel Brisbow).
After the meeting, Brother Hall sent a young boy from David Lipscomb College to work with us for the rest of the summer. After he (Brother James Smyth) left us, we continued trying to carry out the worship, but having no experienced brothers to help us, the sisters, hesitating to take part publicly, and too, some of us living in Laurel and Bridgeville, the meetings were discontinued. However, we retained the building for some time.
In January, 1946, Sister Vantrease, having learned there were several families which had been transferred to Wilmington, Delaware from the Old Hickory, Tennessee congregation, went up and talked to Brother Joe Sobel, asking him to see if he could help get them started again in Seaford. He, with the assistance of Brother Wendell Broom, started the members meeting again in their homes on the 4th Lord's Day morning, May, 1946. Brother Wood, Brother Ellis Bedford, Brother Shaver, Brother Farley, Brother Tuckwood, Brother Leroy Garrett, Brother Joynes, Brother Miller, and Brother Sobel drove down from Wilmington/Philadelphia area each week. Then Brother Broom started coming down on Wednesdays for mid-week Bible study.
Then in November, 1946, Brother Charles L. Hudson and his wife, and Sister Pepper and son, Sherran, came to us out of the Christian Church at Ocean View, Delaware, thus enabling the congregation to carry on worship for the first time without outside help.
In April, 1947 Sister Ellis of Hundred, West Virginia, came to us and also Brother Russell M. Bailey from Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
With the aid of the LaVergne, Tennessee congregation and other outside special gifts, we had a two week meeting in Seaford and Laurel with Brother Leroy Garrett preaching. As the result of this meeting, five of Brother Hudson's family were baptized into the Body of Christ and became members of the Lord's church. In November, Sister Horner was added to us, having come here from Tennessee in 1947. Meetings continued in the upper room on High Street, Seaford, Delaware. However, it became evident that if the Church was to continue to grow, it would have to relocate elsewhere. In view of that fact, in February, 1948, Brother Charles L. Hudson and son Earl, and sister Vantrease and son Johnny, made a visit to many southern congregations, and upon the advice of members here and especially those who were property owners, which at that time there were only two, and the counsel and advice of those congregations visited, namely: Old Hickory; Central Church of Christ, Nashville, Tennessee; Wilmington, Delaware; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and the 14th Street Church of Christ, Washington, D. C., a lot was purchased in south Laurel on Highway 13 for the sum of $2,500.00. The congregation continued to meet in the rented room in Seaford until the 4th Sunday in April, 1948, when it was decided no longer advisable to remain in Seaford.
In June, 1948, Don Horner and Harlan Ellis were baptized into the Body of Christ by Brother Leroy Garrett, truly scripturally even at the same hour of the night. Brother Harlan Ellis moved away to Florida. The congregation continued to meet during the summer of 1948 in the Laurel High School building and in that period we had several members from various congregations worshipping with us, one of whom was Brother Ira Colvin. The contributions were exceedingly liberal and it was in July, 1948 that the last note was paid on the building lot.
In the early fall of 1948, there were two more additions to the church, namely Brother C. McCormack and his wife, Margaret. Soon after this, it was again decided to meet in our homes and apply the rent money to our building fund. Having definitely set our hands to the plow, we had plans formulated for the meeting house and for raising funds.
In early October, the first timber was cut for the building on the farm lands of Brother Hudson, by him and his sons, the Vantrease family, the Banks family, Brother Bailey and Brother Horner.
In November the first ground was broken and the foundation was laid and from then on work continued with many of the members continuing to do whatever they could towards the completion of the building. Contributions continued to come in from various church and individuals to the amount of approximately $2,500.00. As a second result to the visit to the southern congregations, heretofore mentioned in this document, the Old Hickory, Tennessee, Church of Christ congregation agreed to send us a full time preacher fully supported by them, knowing that this field is white unto harvest and laborers are few. So, on December 3, 1948 Brother C. D. Plum, Parkersburg, West Virginia, came to work with us; he also helped at whatever he could with the building.
On March 16, 1949, the first meeting was held in this building, although the building was not entirely completed. The outstanding indebtedness at the present time is $3,000.00 and has been taken care of by a loan from the bank with eight, sound, gospel interested men as makers of said note. Very soon after we began meeting in the new building, Heaven was made to rejoice and we were all quite happy by the baptism of four more into the Body of Christ, namely; Horace E. Pepper, Sr, C. Julian Hudson and wife Margaret, and Miss Fae Brumbley, all being added to the church and became Brothers and Sisters with us.
On April 3, 1949, Brother C. L. Plum came with us to begin his work and Brother C. D. Plum retired to his home in Parkersburg, West Virginia.