A Brief History of Pocahontas, Arkansas
The Work Begins
In 1902, Edward Louis Pickney began canvassing in Pocahontas, returning again in 1904. Pickney reported that there were a lot of Catholics. They were very kind and bought a few small books but would not buy Bible Readings for the Home Circle unless their priest would recommend it (Pickney, 1904). In 1908, Mr. Comstock also canvassed Pocahontas, reporting good success (Oppy, 1908).
Story of Two Colporteurs
Edward Pickney wrote to the Arkansas Conference headquarters telling of his and his friend, W. A. Heathcote’s, experiences one day while they were canvassing around Pocahontas and into Sharp County. At the end of a week they started for home, but there had been a heavy rainfall on the previous day. When they reached the creek they found the foot bridge had washed away, so they took off their shoes and waded through. They did not know what the temperature was, but it was very cold. Then they came across a town quarantined on account of the smallpox. They went around that and found that the river had flooded and they had to wade through water up to their knees. They finally came to a stand still. Then a man came along with a boat and took them across to the hills. They reached home about 9:00 p.m., having walked about thirty-five miles that day. They reported that they were of good courage and praised the Lord for His care, and in spite of their experience, “were anxious to continue scattering the printed pages of truth amongst the people” (Field, 1903).
The Work Continues
In 1939, the Clide L. Wickwire family moved from Colorado Springs to Pocahontas and were the first Seventh-day Adventists living there. In their hearts was a dream of an active church and school. With the passing of the years God blessed Pearl Wickwire’s ceaseless efforts and the little group of Adventists grew (Morton, 1955). By 1943, there was a small group of scattered believers who were very faithful in their Sabbath school attendance and missionary work. On June 13, 1943, Elder and Mrs. Herbert Hewitt and Charles Beeler held tent meetings in Pocahontas. Attendance was fair, but continued to increase, so the group attending Sabbath school started a building fund on June 26, in preparation for building a church in Pocahontas (Beeler, 1943).
Pocahontas Church Organized in 1946
Elder Herbert Hewitt and Leon Strickland organized a new church at Pocahontas on Sabbath, August 17, 1946. Several families had recently moved to Pocahontas and three new members were baptized the day of the organization, making a church of nineteen members (Wells, 1946). By 1947 the members had, purchased a lot for a new church building (Minutes, 1947).
A New Church in 1950
By the end of October 1948, excavating for a new church building had been completed. Most of the lumber for building was on hand, the sand for the concrete foundation was on the lot and the order in for cement, which was a little hard to get. They were delayed by a car accident and illness of the contractor, but things eventually came together and they were ready to build (Marshall, 1948). On Sabbath, April 30, 1949, the members met for the first time in their new church. In February 1950, the Pocahontas church had fully completed the main auditorium to their church. When the auditorium was completed, a porch and vestibule were added (Kretz, 1950). C. L. Beason, assisted by one of our church school teachers, Chester Jordon, and their wives began a series of meetings in a large tent in Pocahontas, Sunday night, July 18, 1954. The tent was pitched on the front of the church lot. Everyone knew it was a Seventh-day Adventist meeting, yet nearly one hundred attended the opening meeting (Record, 1954). The Pocahontas church was dedicated on Sabbath, September 5, 1958 (Evans, 1959).
(1947, Mar. 20). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(1954, Jul. 28). Southwestern Union Record, p. 4.
Ancestry Family Trees. (2017, Apr. 30). Edward Louis Pickney. Retrieved from ancestry.com.
Beeler, Charles R. (1943, Jul. 7). Southwestern Union Record, p. 4.
Evans, I. M. (1959, Aug. 26). Ibid., p. 4.
Field, A. E. (1903, Feb. 16). Ibid., p. 2.
Kretz, R. L. (1950, Feb. 22). Ibid., p. 4.
Marshall, R. F. (1948, Oct. 27). Ibid., p. 3.
Morton, Curtis R. (1955, Jan. 19). Ibid., p. 3.
Oppy, J. A. (1908, Jun. 16). Ibid., p. 2.
Pickney, E. L. (1904, May 23). Ibid., p. 2.
Wells, F. D. (1946, Sep. 11). Ibid., p. 2.