Thursday, September 26, 2019


Jonah’s Run Baptist Church, September 28, 2019
D. Howard Doster, Historic Marker Unveiling Chairman
To most of the thousands of persons driving west today on their way to the Renaissance Festival, adjacent on the west to the Underwood Farms Historic District, nothing great ever happened here.  That’s been true since pioneers and early settlers walked and drove their few livestock by here on their way west. 
But some settlers, including Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) and Black persons (African Americans), stopped and lived out their lives here, in ways meaningful to them.  Some of their history is now our history.
What a fun time I’m having, collecting stories describing the persons who live or used to live around the Underwood Farms Historic District!  I accepted the unveiling job partly because I felt guilty about getting Jonah’s Run Baptist Church (JRBC) involved.  Now, I continue to enjoy meeting new neighbors to here and getting new stories from old neighbors to here. 
Our kids are putting our JRBC histories, the clerk’s records which include names of all JRBC members, starting with the first persons baptized in little Jonah’s Run stream in 1837, and other stories on , a website they say you can even access by pointing your smartphone at a QR code we’ll put somewhere, maybe in the church bulletin?
As you will soon realize, my religious and other family memories of persons living out their lives here are so meaningful to me; perhaps you will share memories of around here.  Perhaps you will improve your memories and meaning of other places.  Perhaps others will read our marker & eventually choose to join us here!

In 2015, before they could put up a nearby cell tower, the company had to gift $9500 to a nearby Historic Entity; in our case the Underwood Farms Historic District.  It includes the three former Underwood houses and 280 acres of land, plus Jonah’s Run Baptist Church.  

As a condition for the funds to go to JR, we agreed to use $3800 to put up a Historic Marker, and we’ve already used most of the remaining money to improve the inside of the church. Today, we are here to unveil the Historic Marker in the grass area just east of the church parking lot.

On September 15, 2019, after looking for an appropriate place to set up chairs outside near the Marker site, the JR Moderator, the Head Trustee, and the Unveiling Chairman decided to come outside for the unveiling after starting the program inside.  Thus, you are sitting in our near air-conditioned Sunday School room, and not suffering from outside heat, rain or automobile noise.  Thank you, Trustee Raymond Roberts, for your wise suggestion.

You might rightly ask how JRBC got involved.   It’s because Wilhelmina Braddock Branson, my Quaker Underwood first cousin, wanted an Underwood Farms Historic District, and she wanted JRBC included.   She’ll tell more in a few minutes. I just remember, in 2003, Wilhelmina shared her vision; and Mom and I, and another Underwood or two, helped her get, maybe $1,000 or $2,000, so she could hire a professional writer to create the application to the National Register of Historic Places entity.  Wilhelmina helped that writer make a successful application.
But that was only if JRBC was included in the District. Wilhelmina did the rest.  And, thanks to the later cell tower funds, JRBC now has repaired walls and a newly painted church sanctuary, as well as a story on a marker!

Jonah's Run Baptist Church Map

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