The Yeldell Family (Through My Eyes)

{January 10, 2013}   Two Cities, One Church

Does your church have a unique name? What I mean is can you go outside of your state and find the name of your church somewhere else?  More than likely you can.  Did it ever make you wonder if those two churches were connected? I never would have thought like that had I not researched my family.  There are two Springfield Baptist Church in two different states that are connected.  One is located in Edgefield SC and the other in Washington DC. Both happen to play a huge part in my life.  These two churches didn’t even know they were connected until I started to research my family.  Who am I, my name is Donya Williams and my ties to both Springfield’s run deep may be even to both of their beginnings.


Springfield of DC

When I first started my research I already knew my connection with the Springfield of DC.  It was organized in 1939 by my grandparents and three other people. The first church was a store front on 7th street NW in Washington DC.  Although the suggestion of the first pastor came from a friend my grandfather was the one who acquired him, the Late Reverend Eddie Gallmon.  From the beginning granddaddy was the go to man.  His name is on the cornerstone as Chairman of the Deacon Board, I have documents that had to have his signature and from stories I have been told they went to him for everything.  Finally there was my grandmother. I am sure she held her own when it came to the founding of the DC Springfield but the most important part was naming the church after the same church she attended as a child. You guessed it The Springfield of Edgefield. My grandparents involvement was so instrumental that one person said the Yeldell’s were the glue that held the church together. In Edgefield SC the history of Springfield was not that different.  With the exception of how long both have been around their story is very close to identical.

The Springfield of Edgefield was organized in 1870.  The history tells us that the first pastor and four other men brought it to light in a blacksmith shop on the Major Bowles Property.  Natonne Kemp a friend, family member by marriage and fellow genealogist was able to dig up the deed and get the name of the men.  Joshua Peterson, who we are not sure if he is both of our relative, Andrew Harrison, Pickens Rearden, Miles Holloway and Nelson Shepard were all involved with the organization and founding of that church.  With the exception of Pickens Rearden I know that Harrison, Holloway and Shepard are all connected to my family.  Like my grandfather in DC they were deacons of the church in Edgefield.  Both churches are still in existence.  The Springfield of DC just celebrated 73 years while Springfield of Edgefield has been around for 142 years.

I met my cousin from Edgefield in September 2012 and he sent my mom two pictures. One picture was of the original Springfield that was built in 1870.  The other was of what the Springfield of Edgefield looks like today.


1870 Springfield of Edgefield

When I viewed the older picture several thoughts popped through my head.  For example, the Springfield of Edgefield history teaches us that the second Pastor W.M Peterson was and still is their longest-serving pastor.  He served for 65 years.  Knowing this information and looking at that picture the doors are the same doors my grandparents walked through.  They met there, fell in love there, got married there.  They started their first six children spiritual walk there.  I realized my great-grandmother was three years old when this church was brought into existence.  She grew up there and probably met my great-grandfather there and definitely married there possibly by the same pastor who married her daughter.  That picture captured my mind and my heart.  I am so glad to be doing what I am doing to learn about my family and the spiritual connection that spans within two cities.  Nothing is more exciting to find my family responsible for founding not one but TWO churches!




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