1900's - Providing A Firm FoundationIn 1901, Dr. Charles E. Maddry became the 15th pastor of the Church. The membership had dwindled to 21 individuals. At the time, he was also pastor of the Mars Hill Baptist Church, superintendent of Orange County schools and a student at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. Under his leadership, the church’s membership began to grow - eventually reaching 200 by 1950. Maddry married Emma Parker of Hillsboro at the church on May 2, 1906. He met her while preaching at the church. She was the church’s organist. On June 26, 1916, the Church voted to install electrical wiring for lights. Up to this time, oil lamps had been used. A growing number of members and others became interested in forming a Baptist Church in West Hillsborough to meet the needs of those living in the mill village. A Presbytery of elders from Hillsboro, Mars Hill and Cane Creek met April 27, 1917 at the Hillsboro Church and organized the West Hillsboro Baptist Church. Because of deterioration, the original pointed spire that covered the Church’s north bell tower was taken down in 1923, not to be replaced for another 55 years.
During Rev. Cantrell’s ministry, 1924 to 1927, the old wooden parsonage located at the corner of Wake Street and Margaret Lane was “remodeled and enlarged, building two rooms above, making a very neat, comfortable parsonage at greatly reduced cost because of the time and labor he (i.e., Rev. Cantrell) gave to it personally.” On April 23, 1939, the Church adopted a resolution to “erect a baptismal pool in honor of Dr. Maddry.” At that time, Maddry was the executive director of foreign missions of the Southern Baptist Convention.
T. Paul Deaton was into his second year as pastor when in 1949 a disagreement arose between him and a majority of church members. This resulted in a number of members withdrawing membership from the church; many of whom joined the newly organized Fairview Baptist Church north of town on Highway 70.
In 1951, the church called Dr. Maddry to serve a second pastorate in Hillsboro. Under his tutelage, the church (1) adopted a system of rotating deacons and election by secret ballot (March 11, 1951); (2) began electing and ordaining women as deaconesses (April 8, 1951); and (3) launched a campaign to renovate the sanctuary and build a new education building. The cornerstone was laid in the summer of 1952 and the new building was dedicated on the church’s one hundredth anniversary on November 19, 1953. The total cost of the building and improvements to the sanctuary and grounds amounted to $83,500. In 1953 a brotherhood was established (February 23rd), the Mt. Zion Baptist Association met for the first time at our church (October 12th) and the church’s social hall was named “The Blake Room” (December 12th) in memory of Fred Blake who had chaired the building committee. Dr. Maddry remained as minister until June 1957.
The sanctuary was carpeted and air conditioned in 1959. On March 26, 1959, the Messenger,the Church’s newsletter, was published for the first time. The same month, a lot on the south side of West King Street was bought for $4,300 from Calvin Ray for a future parsonage. On January 10, 1960 the church held a “note burning” ceremony for the education building. Open house was held in the new parsonage at 223 West King Street on June 16, 1963. E. Glen Holt was minister at that time. Because of increased numbers during Rev. Holt’s ministry, two morning worship services were held for the first time with evening services being cut back to two per month.
In August 1974, Dr. Thomas Denton began what would become a 13-year ministry in Hillsborough.* During 1976, the Church began developing plans and raising money to expand and renovate the education building with a Day Care in mind. The new building was dedicated on April 3, 1977 and the steeple that had been taken down in 1923 was finally replaced with a new one purchased by pledges of various individual church members. The new spire was dedicated in honor of Mr. John Clayton on November 17, 1978 in time for the church to celebrate its 125th anniversary on November 19, 1978. The Church’s child care program began in March 1979 and continued until April 2003 when it was forced to close because of loss of children to the public school day care programs. In March 1979, the Church raised money to purchase a new organ to honor Mrs. Lucille Brown, church organist for many years. When it became available in 1983, the church purchased the Gordon-Barfield property on West King Street. In 1985, James Rae and Jamie Freeland purchased the Collin’s property on Margaret Lane and gave it to the church thereby uniting the church with the parsonage property, providing more room for parking and future growth. Ms. Wanda Hardee Kidd was ordained in 1983 being the first woman candidate to be recommended for ordination by the Mt. Zion Baptist Association. Lee Ray Greene was ordained in 1983 and Kaye Williams Crawford was ordained in 1984. Many of the churches’ current outreach ministries began during Dr. Denton’s ministry. The church began to participate in CROP walk to raise funds for local and world hunger in 1977. Orange Congregations in Mission (OCIM) originated in May 1984 from discussions held earlier by our men’s prayer group. Dr. Brightie White’s ministry paved the way for beginning a new millennium. The Alamance-Orange County Prison became a formal outreach Ministry in 1990. In May 1991, the church paid off its education building debt and held a note burning. The church withdrew from the Mt. Zion Baptist Association and joined the Yates Baptist Association headquartered in Durham in October 1991. For legal protection, the church became incorporated on February 18, 1993.
* Hillsboro was the former spelling of the town when the church was organized in 1853. The spelling was changed to Hillsborough in the late 1960s as it first appeared on maps prior to the 19th century.