Many people think that Binghamtown Church is named after the serendipitous fact that our current pastor is also a Bingham. NOT so, read this interesting and coincidental history of our Church compiled by the Cawood Family….
The original Binghamtown Baptist Church was located on the original “Wilderness Road” built and made famous by Daniel Boone. The building was on the northeast corner of the intersection of old US25E (Pineville Pike) and North 25th Street. It was here that our faithful forefathers watched the frontier pass by. What many do not know is that the current name of the church has nothing to do with the current Binghams who serve as pastors. That intersection/area was so named for Dr. John Bingham who was an original founding forefather and doctor to the people on the wilderness road.
A church history compiled by John and Edith Cawood provides a great deal of information about the building. It was built sometime prior to 1915 on property purchased by the First Presbyterian Church of Middlesboro from Dr. James Bingham. Mrs. Sarah Virginia (Bowman) Byrd, lovingly known to the community as “Granny Byrd,” had contacted the Presbyterians about the possibility of beginning weekly worship services. This was an outgrowth of Sunday School classes Mrs. Byrd had been holding in an old store building she owned. The Presbyterian church responded by purchasing the property and erecting the one-room, white framed building. Apparently, however, they did not actively pursue the possibility of establishing a church in the community.
In 1915, several residents of the area suggested to their pastor, Dr. J. M. Roddy, that the First Baptist Church of Middlesboro begin a mission in the Binghamtown community. On December 26, 1915, First Baptist voted to establish the Binghamtown Baptist Mission, with the understanding that in the course of time the mission would become an independent Missionary Baptist church. The mission held their meetings in the building owned by the Presbyterians. They began with 27 members; Rev. W. H. Hollingsworth was called as mission pastor, and Frank Davis was elected as clerk.
On May 18, 1921, First Baptist appointed a committee to investigate the possibility of purchasing the Binghamtown property from the Presbyterians. It took over three years to make the arrangements, and on November 11, 1924, a rent-to-own agreement was signed between the two congregations. For the sum of $700.00, payable at $25.00 per month, the little white framed building, with its pot-bellied stove, became a Baptist owned property. At about the same time, Mr. Sam Gunn raised enough money to add the small room at the rear of the building. He established and taught a Men’s Bible Class here for several years.
A report from 1927 indicates an average attendance of 79 in the mission Sunday School. Rev. J. W. Crowley was called as pastor on January 14, 1931. Reports from 1940 show that attendance ranged between 75 and 100 people.
On October 7, 1943, First Baptist appointed a committee to handle the details of organizing the mission into a church. On Thursday, October 28, 1943, the mission members assembled in the little building. Meeting with them were the pastor and committee from First Baptist and other pastors from churches in the Bell Baptist Association. On that October evening, Binghamtown Baptist Church was born. Forty-three people became charter members; Rev. J. W. Crowley was called as Pastor, and Rev. Frank Baker preached the first sermon.
Rev. Bob Wolfe became pastor in February, 1944. On July 19, 1944, the deed for the property and the building was transferred from First Baptist Church to Binghamtown Baptist Church. By that time the church had grown to the point that additional space was desperately needed. In 1945, plans were made to build a new building. The final service in the white framed church with its pot-bellied stove and 32 years of memories, was held on Sunday, November 30, 1947. The members assembled for prayer, and then marched to the new Binghamtown Baptist Church, located on North 25th Street at Bell Road.
The little white church on the Wilderness Road is now gone; but the Faith of our Fathers is still alive and well. The faith of “Granny” Byrd; the faith of the Presbyterian church; the faith of First Baptist and its members; the faith of the Jackson family and other charter members of Binghamtown Baptist Church; the faith of all these is alive today in the lives of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and that faith has spread to thousands, even tens of thousands more; and it will live on until Jesus comes again.
Just as the Wilderness Road opened the door to the west, Binghamtown Baptist Church has opened the door to the great beyond for many pilgrims on the road of life.
Subsequently as time marched on serendipity and the Lord took charge and On August 8, 1943, plans were made to build a new church (presently – Gateway Christian School), which was completed in November of 1947. W.B. Bingham, II was elected pastor in December of 1949. Jimmy Jackson began leading the choir in October of 1963.
In December of 1971 the church voted to build a new church (our current structure), which was completed in November of 1977. The new addition to the facility was completed in 2010.
The Rev. William Boyd Bingham, III is the current pastor and is assisted by Assoc. Pastor W. Boyd Bingham, IV.
Today Binghamtown Church serves the Tri-State area by providing Fundamental Christian doctrine and philanthropy to members of our church family and many of those in need in the community.
The print that document this historic cite is a pen and ink drawing of the first Binghamtown Baptist Church building. The artist is Mr. Robert Mason Combs, of Pineville, Kentucky, a member of the American Society of Illustrators. The original drawing was commissioned by the church for presentation to Mr. Jimmy H. Jackson on his twenty-fifth anniversary as Binghamtown’s Music & Choir Director. Our Choir Room is now Dedicated to his memory.