On December 30, 1913, a group of members of various Baptist churches in the area met at the home of Floyd Mangrum for the purpose of determining the possibility of a permanent church organization in Princeton.
The completion of the organization of the church was held February 13, 1914. Dr. Dearing was thereupon elected to serve as first pastor of the church and it was to be named, “The First General Baptist Church of Princeton, Indiana.”
On February 11, 1917, church services were moved to the little courtroom of the Courthouse, with 92 being present for Sunday School and Church. Services were held in the Courthouse until July 1917 at which time Redman’s hall located over Mossman’s grocery was rented by the Church.
On December 2, 1917, the German Evangelical Church building on Emerson Street (now the parking lot of the Nazarene Church) was vacant and the church leased this church building and remained there until the new church which was the former church building at 217 North Gibson Street was completed.
In August 1919, the former church site was purchased from the William Duncan heirs for the sum of $1,100.00.
The church was completed and the first services were held on May 5, 1920. The interior was not completely furnished and each family was asked to purchase as many chairs as needed for the members of their family. Also, a heating stove was used in the sanctuary and the story is told of Wednesday night prayer meetings where the chairs would be circled around the heating stove.
On November 25, 1923, the church held its dedication services. At this service, Dr. Dearing had charge of the services assisted by Pastor J.C. Cummins.
At a regular monthly business meeting held August 28, 1929, it was voted that Lennis Thompson and Blythe Catt be recommended to the Liberty Presbytery for deaconship.
On March 4, 1964, a vote was taken to exercise the option on the piece of ground where the church now stands, 13 acres for the price of $21,000.
On September 17, 1967, ground breaking ceremonies were held at 2:00 p.m.
The first service held in the new Sanctuary was on April 14, 1968, which was Easter Sunday. Rev. Ray Phelps was the Pastor at this time. Rev. Phelps continued to pastor our church until he resigned in the fall of 1979.
Rev. Harlan Weber was elected and came to us in January of 1980.
The First General Baptist Church has come a long way from meeting in the Courthouse to the church on the hill east of town. But this building as beautiful and functional as it is, is not the church, but rather the Church is its members who pass through its doors.
Throughout the 98 years of the Church’s existence several young people who received their early Christian training in First General Baptist Church and who were members of the Church have answered the call and went into ministry and are now serving the denomination in the Headquarters Office, pulpits and missionaries fields everywhere. We have had many pastors pass through these doors with the purpose of winning lost souls to the Lord. God willing many more will continue to do His work.
The membership of this Church are people dedicated to God and who love their fellow man as a brother, a kind compassionate and friendly church body that really does mean what its motto says, “THE CHURCH THAT CARES!”
We would like to think that the First General Baptist Church has many more years to accomplish great things for the Lord.