On January 21, 1891, the few members of Old Tom’s Creek Missionary Baptist Church, located a few miles to the east of town, voted to relocate in town. Trustees were elected and instructed to purchase a building lot in town and dispose of the old church house to best advantage. Two acres were purchased in August 1890 from A. A. Snider for 24 dollars. This is the present site of First Baptist Church. The little church continued to struggle for its existence and, for reasons unknown to us today, decided it would be best to dissolve the old church and begin as a new church called Denton Missionary Baptist Church. This dissolution took place on the third Sunday in August 1891.
The new church was constituted a week later on August 30, 1891, by the same presbytery that had overseen the dissolution of the Tom’s Creek Church a week earlier. The charter membership of the new church was composed of most of the membership of the old Tom’s Creek Church with the addition of 15 new members from Summerville plus a few from other churches. It is not known exactly at what point the congregation of the new Denton Church occupied the house of worship begun by the Tom’s Creek Church, but that structure was remodeled in 1915 and again in 1919 adding Sunday School rooms and changing the façade from two separate entrances to a single entrance flanked on each side by a single window. By the late 1930's, the original frame building had fallen into such a state of disrepair that it was deemed advisable to tear it down and replace it with a new, modern brick building. The congregation held its last service in the old sanctuary on October 31, 1937, shortly after the Rev. H. M. Stroup arrived on the field to begin his pastorate. On Monday Morning, November 1, workers, many of them volunteers from the church itself, began dismantling the old structure. Much of the material from the old church was preserved for use in the new building. Work progressed well through the winter with few interruptions, during which time the congregation met for worship in the auditorium of the old elementary school building which stood just across the street. The first service in the new sanctuary was held on April 24, 1938. Only 25 Sundays was the church without the use of its own building.
More Sunday School rooms were added in 1961-62 with the addition of an educational building which initially housed a fellowship hall, nursery, pastor’s study, and young people’s classes. Over a period of years, the upstairs of this new structure was finished so that it now houses additional children’s classes, and a large meeting room. The first floor of this building has been made available on weekdays for many years for the operation of a children’s day care center for which the church provides an oversight committee.
Two pastor’s homes have been built during the course of the church’s history. The first was a white frame structure built in 1912 on the street southwest from the church. This was replaced in 1958 by a modern four-bedroom brick home on Hulin Street in front of the church.
The first pastor of the church was Rev. Hezekiah Morton who served the church from 1891 to 1895. Since that time 23 others have led the congregation of First Baptist Church, Denton in a permanent capacity. In addition to them, the church has also been served by an associate pastor for a few years and a youth minister from 2001 until 2006.
Members of the congregation have at various times participated in mission trips to Anchorage, Alaska; Gulfport, Mississippi, Grenada and other locations. And since February 2006, the church has provided meeting facilities for the Mision Bautista Hispaña, Denton which meets each Sunday evening wand was sponsored by the Liberty Baptist Association in conjunction with First Baptist Church and Gravel Hill Baptist Church.
-Dewey L. Snider