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         Castor Baptist Church

History

 

Castor Baptist Church had its beginning in the form of a Sunday School, which was directed and nursed through the period of the War Between the States by Major Henry (M.H.) Stanly, Sr.  This Christian layman was a member of the Home Guard of the Confederate States of America.  The effectiveness of the Sunday School is demonstrated by the events which followed.  It prepared the spirit of the people of the community for a more important effort, the organization of Castor Baptist Church in 1868.  The building at that time was a small log house with a mud chimney at one end that had been used for Sunday School during the War and as a general meeting place. 

Records found in the Archives of the Library of the Louisiana Baptist Convention reflect that in 1868, Elder N.H. Bray, pastor of "Casto" Church, was Moderator and Mr. M.H. Stanly was Clerk of the Sabine Baptist Association, of which "Casto" Church became a member prior to October of that year.  Records reflect Mr. Stanly, Sr. was elected to the Clerk position for the Sabine Baptist Association beginning in 1867. (The spelling was "Casto" in all early records.)

In 1875 a second log house was erected.  Its location was a few hundred feet southwest of the present building.  The date was established during a conversation which took place in 1946 with Mrs. Kate Cavanaugh, one of the oldest members of the church at that time.  She told of riding by on horseback going to Hot Wells when she was 17 years old and of seeing the men building the new church house.

In 1890 the first "sawed lumber" house was constructed.  When the people of the community started talking about building a bigger and better church house, Bill Smart (affectionately known as "Uncle Billy" offered to donate sufficient heart pine lumber to construct the building if the church membership would pay for the bare cost of cutting.                                                                                      Our Old Building

This generous offer was accepted, and the lumber was cut on Uncle Billy's water powered saw mill.  A  Mr. Bagget was the chief carpenter, and M.H. Stanly,Sr., was chairman of the building committee.  The building was a simple box house located a few yards south of the present building.  Though it was rough, it showed a definite trend toward a better church building.  During the construction Mr. Stanly said, "Well, we do this, and then when we get more, we will enlarge it."   Later when the money was available, lathing and siding were added to increase the beauty of the building.In 1904 an extension of twelve feet was added to the west end of the building to furnish the additional space needed to accommodate the growing membership.  During the winter of 1920-1921, a great improvement was made by an addition to the south side of the building, more that doubling the floor space and furnished enough area for three Sunday School rooms.  A highlight of the summer of 1920 was a special Sunday that was set aside as Subscription Day.  On that day pledges were made to the building fund, ranging from $10.00 to $100.00.