History of Pilgrim Holiness/Trinity Wesleyan Church

By Wayne H. Smith



Holiness Church
Mrs. Katie House, nursery worker, is shown with children in Pilgrim Holiness Church. Photo courtesy of Betty Wayne Waller Blalock.

Let me begin by saying that no one in our family attended this church, but we all felt close to the people who were members and worshipped here. The reason we felt so much apart of this fellowship was due to the proximity of our house at 807 Hale St., being located next door to the church. Our parents, Lewis and Louvenia Smith purchased this house around 1951. It was the former house of William Julius and Mattie Wilson. It was during this time our family shared a common city water meter with the church. Once a month, someone would come over and visit with us, and pay their part of the water bill. In the summer months, during services, the windows of the church would always be open. This afforded us the opportunity for many years to enjoy listening to sermons by "Preacher Williams" and singing of hymns by the congregation.

In 1908 or 1909 Rev. W.A. Way organized the Pilgrim Holiness Church. According to retired postal employee and long time resident Winfred Jones, the original church was located at 2306 Gin Street. It was near Hale Street and before the "new log church" was built. Winfred remembers attending church services in this small white frame building that had a steeple.

Mr. & Mrs. William Julius Wilson, Sr. owned a house nearby at 2402 Gin St. The Wilson Family also owned and leased a small store beside their house. In the late 1930's, this store was leased   

to Arnold T. Parrish, who operated a fish market here. Beginning around 1940, W. J. Wilson, Jr. (Dub), opened a grocery store at this location under the name "Wilson & Son".

Today this structure at 2404 Gin Street has been converted into a tailor shop with the business name of "Stitches".

Mr. W.J. Wilson, Sr. was a meat cutter and employed by Floyd B. Wright and later Dewey Scarboro at 1000 Ninth Street.  

In the early 1930's, the church membership decided they needed a larger building. It was at this time, W.J. Wilson, Sr., who was serving as the Pastor at Pilgrim Holiness Church, told the congregation, "that if they would construct a log building", he would donate part of his land as a building site. The church membership accepted his offer and agreed to build the new church using logs.

In order to have enough space for the new church foundation, Mr. Wilson had to move his house that he was renting at the time to Mr. & Mrs. Burkett Jones, parents of Winfred. The house which faced Hillsborough Rd. (Spelled Hillsboro) was moved around to face Hale St. and then moved over to the location it stands today, at 807 Hale Street.

The logs for the new building cost $.25 cents apiece and were hauled in and stored across the street from the church construction site. Young teenage boys in the neighborhood joined in and helped the adults clean bark off the logs. They used sharp tools, such as axes and knives to accomplish this. Once the logs were cleaned, they were taken to the building site. Here they were notched, wired together and cement was used to fill the space between the logs.

The new Pilgrim Church at 805 Hale Street was completed in 1934.

Holiness Church 1940
Pilgrim Holiness Church and former residence of Mr. & Mrs. W.J. Wilson, Sr. is shown around 1940. Photo courtesy of Harlan and Linda Mangum.

For many years the church was heated in winter months with a coal stove. The building originally had a partial basement and according to Winfred, some of the preachers lived here.

During some of the earlier years, ministers were paid about $3.00 a week with "free will offerings" taken up at the services.

A few years after the church was built, The Jones Family moved from Hale St. to 2613 Hillsboro Road near the Ideal Sundry. 

One evening, while attending worship service at Pilgrim Holiness Church with his mother, Mozell and brother Curtis, Winfred recalls the following story. He relates that his mother, after praying about what she would give, put $.25 cents in the offering plate. Winfred remembers that his father, Burkett had given the money to her to purchase two gallons of oil for their cook stove.

On the way back home that evening, the boys asked their mother how she was going to replace the money to purchase the oil. Her reply to them was not to worry, because "The Lord will provide for our needs".  When they had arrived home, Mrs. Jones told her husband about the "offering" and how she felt led to use the money at church, rather then to purchase oil with it. Knowing how important the oil was to the family, Mrs. Jones again repeated to her husband, not to worry about it, "That God would meet their needs". 

The next morning, after Mrs. Jones had used the last remaining oil to cook breakfast for her family, she went to the garden to "chop weeds". While helping his mother clear weeds, Winfred witnessed her  "chop" a bright metal object out of the ground. The bright object they saw lying on the ground --- was a quarter!  After his mother picked the coin up, she remarked, " I told you that God would provide".

In March 1948, Preacher Reese Farlow married Winfred and Peggy Dalehite Jones in Pilgrim Holiness Church.

Adrian Jones, brother of Winfred, grew up in this church and recalls attending sunday school classes in the choir loft above the sanctuary. The class had eight boys and their teacher was

Mr. Joe Phillips. Adrian relates jokingly, that publicly he tells people that seven of the boys were very mischievous, but privately he confesses there were eight.

On many occasions when the boys would become disruptive and their attention span very short, Mr. Phillips would stop teaching. It was at this time, he would go around to each member of the class and lay his hand on their heads. He would tell them, "If I cannot make you behave, I can pray for you". His prayer for each boy in the class would be, that when they became adults, they would be ministers or go into the missionary field. 

Today, Adrian Jones is an ordained minister and lives in Nolensville, TN. The other seven members of his class are either ministers or have dedicated their lives doing missionary work.

Ken Hogan remembers as a young boy attending sunday school here around 1945. He recalls that to go to his class, there was a trap-door about 4x6 feet wide that had to be opened inside the church sanctuary. The door was hinged and secured to the wall with a hook. This entrance led down a stairway into the basement, where classes were held.

Ken also remembers helping older men and other young boys in the neighborhood remove dirt from underneath the building. Some of these neighborhood workers were affectionately known as "The Skunk Hollow Gang". These men used hand tools, buckets and wheelbarrows to dig out and enlarge the original partial basement into a full basement.

Holiness Church
Pilgrim Holiness Church Congregation shown after a Sunday Morning Worship Service around 1949. Preacher Charles H. Williams is in front row on right, wearing a light colored suit & dark tie. The little girl, center front with bangs, white dress and Mary Jane shoes is OWD correspondent Martha Wilson. Photo courtesy of Betty Wayne Waller Blalock.

According to long time member, Betty Wayne Waller Blalock, in 1968 due to a merger with The Wesleyan Church, the name was changed from Pilgrim Holiness to Trinity Wesleyan.

The church building remained a log structure until around 1976, when during renovation; the logs were covered with bricks.

Sadly, August 19, 1978 on Saturday Morning around 4:00 A.M., a fire heavily damaged the church building. Unable to continue services here, Howerton-Bryan Funeral Chapel opened it's doors to the church membership. They continued meeting at this location until it was decided that the fire damaged church building would not be repaired. It was at this time that some of the members joined the First Wesleyan Church that was located at 922 Ninth Street.

Listed alphabetically are known ministers of the Pilgrim Holiness / Trinity Wesleyan Church. They were Preachers Verlin Busick, J.R. Catlett, William S. Deal, Reese Farlow, Dr. J.A. Grant, Jr., Adrian Grout, Sr., Rev. Shindle, Albert Smith, Armp Strum, W.A. Way, Charles H. Williams and William Julius Wilson, Sr.

A few months after this destructive fire, the building at 805 Hale Street was sold to my parents Lewis and Louvenia Smith.

In 1985, my father sold the former Pilgrim Holiness/ Trinity Wesleyan property to my nephew Harlan Mangum and his wife Linda.

The Mangums completely remodeled the building and converted it into a beauty salon. Today, Linda Mangum operates her beautician business on this former church site under the name "A New Reflection".

Holiness Church
In center position is "A New Reflection" Beauty Salon. - Former Pilgrim Holiness / Trinity Church. On left is "Stitches" Tailor Shop - former grocery store of William Julius Wilson, Jr. (Dub). On right is 807 Hale Street House - former residence of Mr.& Mrs. Julius W. Wilson, Sr. Photo credit Wayne Smith