Established in 1868

New Hartford Baptist Church


This church was first organized at Smyrna Church in January 1868 with Green B. Smith as pastor and James R. Keith as one of the deacons. The council was organized by electing Elder Bush, Moderator and R. S. Duncan, clerk. The moderator asked for the names of those wishing to constitute a church. The following responded: James R. Keith, Parmelia Keith (his wife), James M. Keith (his son), Jane S. Keith (his wife), Elizabeth Collins (James R. Keith’s sister), Samuel Pollard, and Malinda Pollard (his wife) . The Covenant and Articles of Faith were read by the secretary and adopted. A sermon was preached by Elder R. S. Duncan followed by prayer offered by Elder G. B. Smith, Council adjourned. Caleb Bush, Moderator, R. S. Duncan, Clerk. The first members were Samuel Pollard, Malinda Pollard, Ann Pollard, Pernelia H. Keith, James M. Keith, Mrs. Lennie Keith and Mrs. E. Collins. This united Baptist was called Mt. Vernon. They met on Saturday before the third Sunday of the month. They continued to worship in the Smyrna Church with the consent of the Cumberland Presbyterians. Then they transferred their meeting to New Hartford, where they met and held services under the shade trees. Then the first church house was built in the town of New Hartford in 1871 at a cost of $1200. The church sills were hewed by John J. Keith and Lew Conover. Lumber for the building was hauled over dirt roads from Louisiana, taking two days for the trip. The seats were bought by James H. Keith at the old Presbyterian Church in Ashley.

Name Change

In 1873 the name was changed to New Hartford Baptist Church. In 1881 there were between 40 and 45 members. In 1890 the first organ was purchased for the Church. Mrs. H. J. (Stella) VanArsdel’s funeral was the last to be held in the old church building, that was February 1928.

Present Building

The present sanctuary was built and dedicated in 1928. Deacons ordained after that date were: Clarence Summers, Eulah LeMasters, Ernest Motley, Chas. I. Davis, W. J. VanArsdel, L. 0. Thorpe, Elvin Wright, Joe Trower, Glen Stuart, Fred Dixon and Wayne Young, Frank Trower, Chas. Lucas, William R. VanArsdel and James Marshall. In November 1969, there were 172 members in the New Hartford Church. Sunday School is held each Sunday morning from 9:30 to 10:30. The first wedding to be held in the new church was that of Miss Mary Ellen Strickland of New Hartford and Alfred Neal Parson of Bowling Green, Missouri on June 1, 1958, thirty years after its dedication in 1928. On May l968, the church observed its 100th anniversary with a carry-in dinner and program. The church celebrated its 150th anniversary on Sunday, September 9, 2018.


No foreign missionaries have gone from this church, but an unnumbered host of Godly men and women have scattered throughout this land and have leavened the whole lump wherever their lot was cast. We feel that as a church we have been wonderfully blessed, and we are hoping, praying and believing that these blessings will continue to the end. Our most recent group of young Christians have shown outstanding interest in mission work and have traveled the world sharing the gospel and helping other Christians.