|Religious Research Notes|
Photograph of a Baptist Church with ionic columns and stained glass windows. Gilmer
Marker Title: Gilgal Baptist Church
Year Marker Erected: 1979
Marker Location: On US 271, just N. of SH 300 intersection, in S. Gilmer
Marker Text: In 1865 the Rev. John Baptist led the founding of this congregation. The members built a brush arbor here and chose the name "Gilgal" after the site of the Israelites first encampment in the promised land. Tom Littlepage gave two acres for the church grounds and for a black school. Later, three acres were purchased from Judge J. R. Warren. The first frame church building was erected here in 1872 during the ministry of the Rev. J. H. Hill. In 1900, after serving this fellowship, the Rev. W. L. Dickson founded an orphanage, fulfilling his lifelong dream. The Dickson Colored Orphans Home, near Gilmer, operated for years before the state government took charge and moved the facility to Austin. The Rev. S. H. Howard served longer and baptized more members than any other pastor of this congregation. About 1905, during Rev. Howard's ministry, this structure was completed. The building was veneered with brick during the pastorate of an evangelist, the Rev. H. W. Gray. The first full-time minister, the Rev. Floyd D. Harris, led in the building of the educational annex. A parsonage was constructed during the pastorate of the Rev. U. L. Sanders.