White Plains Baptist

Greene County
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Org 1806|
Photography by Scott Farrar

White Plains Baptist Church was organized in 1806, and pre-dates the town of White Plains, which was incorporated in 1834. According to church records there have been four buildings on this same site, with the current sanctuary being completed in 1887. The first church building was made of logs and was sold to a member. It was moved to her place in the country near White Plains and she used it as a kitchen and weaving room. The pulpit became her pantry. The second building is believed to have been built in 1848, and it was sold to the black community for $1,000.00 in 1872. This second structure was rolled on logs to its new location, and eventually became the Second Baptist Church. This building was used until it was destroyed by a tornado in 1992. The third building was completed in 1871 but it burned down in 1886 – according to church minutes, the church pastor stated the church burned down “because it was not dedicated to God.” During the fire, Mr. A.S. Parker was able to save the chandeliers which were hung in the fourth and final building which stands today. The church bell was also salvaged. While the fourth church building was being built, the Baptists met for services in the new Methodist church, which had been completed in 1870. The church that stands today is a wood framed church with a central square tower on the front of the building. Eaves with decorative brackets and narrow arched Italianate windows add a sophisticated touch to this beautiful country church. Entrances flank the tower and are shaded by one-story hipped roof porticoes with slender posts. White Plains Baptist was blessed by having only twenty pastors since its organization in 1806. In large part, this is due to the long presence of James H. Kilpatrick, who was pastor from 1854 to 1908 – a tenure of over 50 years. From 1872 to 1878, Pastor Kilpatrick also presided over services at the Second Baptist Church. He was also instrumental in successfully requesting Andrew Carnegie to pay off the loan for the first public library at White Plains in 1899. Kilpatrick’s son, William, went on to become a professor at Columbia University in New York and is a revered and celebrated educator.