Maple Springs Baptist Church was organized July 15, 1773 at the request of the people of Mapleville under the direction of Rev. William Lancaster. The members met under a bush arbor to elect their first deacons, Jacob Jones, Elishu Denby, and Josiah Ely.
Mr. Jacob Jones donated the land to hold meetings that this first body of believers would call Maple Springs Baptist Church, since there was a spring under the shade of a large maple tree on the property. For a time members met under a bush arbor until a small frame building was constructed on the property by its members. The hand carved pulpit stand made for this original structure by Mr. Ealie Lankford is still in use today.
Maple Springs Baptist Church was fully constituted in July, 1793 and joined the Kehukee Association. Years later, in the 1930’s, Maple Springs became a charter member of the Tar River Baptist Association under the leadership of Rev. Thomas Cocker who served at the church for 22 years. During this time the Pulpit Bible was placed in the church.
Other ministers of note through its first hundred years were N.A. Purefoy, G.M.L Finch, Dr. William Royall, C.E. Taylor, George W. Newell, Elijah F. Beachum, Baylus Cade, and George M. Duke. Pastors Finch and Royall served during the War Between the States. Rev. Newell and his son, Hodge, moved the large cut rocks by ox cart that presently line the church springs today. The spring refreshed thirsty church members and their horses before and after services. Horses and carriages were tethered in the shade around many ancient oaks on the church grounds. Some members remember the large tether rings which were completely “ingrown” and completely disappeared into the large oaks before these trees were removed because of age and disease.
In 1858 the present church building was erected. The whitewashed clapboard structure had electricity installed in 1935 and in the 1940’s seven Sunday school rooms were added and the church was brick veneered. The old balcony, where slaves who sometimes accompanied their masters to church sat, is still preserved as it was originally constructed. Black church members were led to start their own church after the War Between the States. Most of them moved their membership to their newly formed church, Nelson’s Chapel; however, some remained faithful members at Maple Springs until their deaths. Nelson’s Chapel, located on road 1602 just off Highway 56, still serves a community of believers today.
The most prominent pastor of Maple Springs at the close of the 19th century was Rev. George M. Duke. He was pastor of Maple Springs for almost 40 years. He served as pastor of several other churches in the Tar River Association. In fact, Maple Springs Baptist Church was the mother of Cedar Rock, Hickory Rock, Duke Memorial, and Louisburg Baptist Churches. After Rev. Duke’s death in 1918, a group of ministers referred to as “The Wake Forest Boys” served the church. These included W.B. Morton, B.E. Morris, Ira S. Harrell, Sankey L. Blanton, J.S. Hopkins, and J. Clyde Yates.
Over 150 years ago, the first school grew out of a small education endeavor of the church. A school building was constructed on the property of Ms. Mary Williams. Later, a larger structure costing about $2000 was built on a four acre sit on the Uzzell property. This building remained in use until it burned November 4, 1929.
After Rev. Bill Gordan, who served in the late 1940’s came a number of “Seminary men”: Wiley C. Guthrie, John Grant, C.H. Norris, J. Parker McLendon, Bufford Raffield, Marvin Bass, Melvin Salter, A.J. Conyers, and Forrest Gale. During the stay of Rev. Raffield, the pastorium was completed and Rev. Salter oversaw the dedication of the educational building; made possible through the generosity of Mort Harris in memory of his parents, Clyde P. and Annie Fleming Harris.
Finishing out the 20th century, pastors Michael C. Brooks, Grady Edwards, John Butler, Tom Cabiness, Steven Loftis, Paul Lloyd, Jerry Hicks, John Daugherty, and Jay Tilley served terms in the pulpit. During this time the church initiated an aggressive fund raising effort which resulted in the building of the present fellowship hall addition.
Today we worship under the leadership of Rev. Jason Havens. Under his guidance and direction we strive to continue, as in the past, to honor and glorify the name of Christ. As we share the Word with the 21st century world, Maple Springs seeks to continue its rich traditions while adapting to a changing world in order to effectively bring others to Christ. Our future is filled with limitless possibilities!