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Narrator: Wm. M. Pickell, 88, of Hamilton, Missouri

Mr. Pickell was born in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. His father was Wm. Pickell and his mothers maiden name Miller. Mr. Pickell is a cousin of Ben, George, Wm. Pickell and Mrs. Hattie Jordan all having lived here in Hamilton about forty years ago while Wm. M. lived on a farm near by. Mr. Pickell is one of the few G.A.R. men still left. He and his wife came to this country 1868 and settled on the farm where they stayed till the children grew up.

In 1876, Mr. Pickell became sexton of the Hamilton Baptist church when that body was using the old frame Presbyterian Church half time. He and his wife Jane joined 1878. The Baptists had had quite a moving time since their organization 1868 at the home of Elder Bennett Whitely. First they met in his building - commonly called the Baptist Chapel - east of park on the corner; the building later called the Windmill School. They thought they had bought it, then they and Whitely fell out about it and they went to McAdd's Hall 1869 and used all their ready cash to buy eleven chairs to seat it. The Presbyterians used it half time, and each paid $62.50 a year.

In 1872 they met for awhile in McCoy's Hall corner of Mill and Broadway. In 1875 they met with the Presbyterians in the latter's church. In 1878 they built their church on the present site which cost them $150. They called their preachers Elders and their leading men Deacons, as Deacon Aaron Edminister always so-called. They called each other Brother and Sister in conversation. He recalled their early Elders were Bennett Whitely, Elder Dalby, Elder Leavitt who stayed many years, and T.M.S. Kenney. He believed he was present when the last two were ordained. Those days sextons got $50 a year for sweeping the church and caring for the fires; Elder Leavitt got $200 a year-half time (about 1880) and often this might be slow pay.

The Baptists were very strict those days. Members were excluded or the hand of fellowship was withdrawn from several members. Covenant meeting was held Saturday afternoons, once a month, and such things came up. Some charges were: dancing, covetousness and non-walk with God. Members voted on the person and a majority bote was enough to "withdraw the hand."

Interviewed January 1934.

(These statements of old Mr. Pickell were verified by reference to a book of old minutes of the First Baptist Church of Hamilton. Interviewer's note.)

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