by Roger Thomas

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What's in a Name? (4 of 5)
Series: Anniversary Celebration of Faith
Roger Thomas
Acts 11:19-26

Introduction: I have been thinking about names lately. For the past several months I have been reading old records from this church's history. As I have read the accounts of the beginnings of this church, I keep coming across of the same names over and over again.

Some of the names sound familiar. Names like Branstetter, Beshears, Smith, Barnett, Bland, and Johnson are still around. Elders W. H. Hook and Thomas Henson were among the earliest leaders. A preacher known in the records simply as Brother Thomas served the church in the early years. Probably no relation, but I wonder.

Some of the stories make me wish I knew more. Like Sister Sperry who insisted on giving as much as the men toward the purchase of this property in 1885. "I am as good as any of the men in this church," she said.

Dr. Leland Bland must have been quite an influence on the church. He wasn't a member but was related to some early members. He offered land for the church to build on near his home at the south edge of town. The congregation declined because they wanted to build in the center of town. Never the less, Dr. Bland co-signed the note for the loan to purchase the property and then made a donation to help it pay off.

Those early names remind me that names change through the years. The most common names for children over the last few years are names such as Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Christopher and Matthew for boys. Names like Emily, Madison, Hannah, Ashley, Jessica, and Brittany top the list of popular girls' names. A hundred years ago the most common names were John, Robert, James, William, and Charles for boys. Girls were most often given names like Mary, Dorothy, Helen, Ann, and Elizabeth. Minnie was a popular girl's name in the 1880's.

Names of churches like names of people change over time. Once upon a time most churches were named according to ...

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