TIPPETT’S CHAPEL FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH
Sometime during the year of 1899 a group of people began meeting for worship in the shade of a large tree in the yard of Mrs. Jeanette Buffaloe. This home was located in Wake County about five miles northwest of Clayton on Shotwell Road about a half mile beyond the Neuse River and was later occupied by Fred Debnam. Rev. D.W. (Ben) Tippett did the preaching. Mr. Tippett lived near Zebulon and would walk to Mrs. Buffaloe’s each Saturday for a service at 3:00 P.M. After spending the night with someone nearby and preaching again on Sunday morning, he would make the return trip by foot on Sunday afternoon. He made no charges, just took whatever was offered him, sometimes nothing, other times as much as 50 ¢.
After a little more than a year had passed, in 1900, the group was organized into a church. Some of the charter members were Mrs. Jeanette Buffaloe, mother of Mrs. Pete Carpenter (now deceased); Mrs. Betty Oneal, mother of Mrs. W.G. Turner and Woodrow Oneal; Mrs. Angus Turner, parents of W.G. Turner; Mr. and Mrs. John Hodge; Mr. and Mrs. John Adams; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Layton, Mr. and Mrs. Billy Mumford, and Mrs. Mary Ann R. Pope. It was decided that the name should be Tippett’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church in honor of Brother Tippett who had been so faithful and he was elected as the first pastor. Mrs. Annie Fowler, sister of W.G. Turner, was elected as the first Treasure, and the Deacon Board consisted of Marcellas Wilder, W.H. Pope, and H.M. Turner. One acre of land was purchased from W.H. Pope at the cost of $5.00. This piece of land was located about half-way between Mrs. Buffaloe’s home and the Neuse River. A 20’ by 30’ building was erected there.
Many pastors have followed Rev. Ben Tippett including J.R. Morris, A.B. Utley, Z.P. Ferrell, R.N. Hinnant, L.R. Ennis, Herman Wooten, G.C. Joyner, W.K. Jordan, C.H. Coats, Stedman Davis, J.R. Forrest, Earl Glenn, Billy Morris, V.L. Poythress, Frank Williamson, Frank Davenport, Billy Walker, Nathan Eason, Rex Edwards, Greg Godby, Wade Parker, David Trogdon, Eddie Moody, and Derek Cominskie, the present pastor.
In the 1930’s a new building was erected. Much of the material was given by members and they even went into the woods with the pastor, Rev. W.K. Jordan, cut the trees, took them to the saw-mill to be sawed and dressed, and built their new church building. This building is still being used today after being remodeled several times.
Tippett’s Chapel joined forces with other Free Will Baptists in North Carolina and became a member of the Western Conference, which in turn was a member of the North Carolina State Convention of Original Free Will Baptist. There were representatives from the church present when the General Conference (which was the association made up of several eastern states), met at the Black Jack church in Pitt County, N.C. in 1935 and enthusiastically approved plans to merge with Free Will Baptist in the western states. In November of the same year at Nashville, Tennessee, the National Association of Free Will Baptist was organized, bringing together Free Will Baptist from all over the United States.
The church members eventually began to feel the need of a full-time pastor. There was Sunday School ever Sunday and Mid-week Prayer service, but worship services were held only on the first and third Sundays of each month, as the church shared its pastor with another church where he preached on the second and fourth Sundays. So in 1960, Rev. Billy Walker was called as the first full-time pastor.
In 1961 there arose a problem among North Carolina Free Will Baptist over church government. This problem finally resulted in the N.C. State Convention of Original Free Will Baptist withdrawing from the National Association of Free Will Baptist. Because Tippett’s Chapel wished to remain a part of the National Association, it along with many other churches in North Carolina, formed the N.C. Association of Original Free Will Baptist, which was recognized and seated at the National Association in 1962.
Then in 1963 the church made another important decision. It was felt that a parsonage was needed. Since there was no land available adjoining the church property, a piece of land was purchased from Mrs. Pearl Barbour. This tract of land contained four acres and was located in Johnston County about a mile from the church on the road leading to Clayton. On this land a parsonage was built with volunteer labor from the church members.
After much deliberation and planning, in August of 1965, the church building was moved to what was considered to be a more desirable location near the parsonage. It was also remodeled extensively.
Rev. Andy Edwards was a member of the church when he answered the Lord’s call into the ministry. In 1967 he was licensed to preach and in 1968, he became the first ordained minister produced by Tippett’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church.
Mrs. Proctor Lee
Interviews --- Mr. & Mrs. W.G. Turner
The Free Will Baptist Story --- Damon C. Dodd