Refuge landmark back up and ringing

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The original bell at Refuge General Baptist Church, on Highway 18 near Lake City, is back up serving as a landmark of the church's long history.

Refuge General Baptist Church bell has been polished and refinished and placed on a unique frame. (photo provided)

The old church was built in 1935. The Box family moved to the area and started attending Refuge. Harley Box and Charlie Halloway hung the bell in the bell tower.

Robert Lee Box, son of Harley and Syllva Box, can remember as a child hearing the church bell ring. Harold Wood was in charge of ringing the bell. Robert Lee is now 80 years old and living in Jonesboro with his wife, Joyce.

The bell was rung prior to church services to let people know it was time for church. Box can remember the church before wooden floors were put in.

The Wood family played a big part at Refuge. Lawanda (Wood) Minton, daughter of Fred and Pearlie Wood, said she can remember the bell in the old church way up in the steeple and the dirt floors. She and her husband, Ed, live in Bono.

The old church was torn down and the white block church was built in 1965. The bell was then put outside on a pole for a while.

A tornado destroyed the church building in 1984 and the present building was constructed.

The bell has been stored in the attic of the church until four weeks ago when a talented Tony Eldridge took the bell and had it polished and designed a way to put the bell up securely designing and building the frame.

The bell has been dedicated in the memory of Harvey Lee Thompson who served as clerk for many years.

The bell is a reminder of the history of the church going back over 100 years. The bell has been placed between the fellowship hall and the new pavilion.

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