(Date & writer unknown) – Before the Civil War, a little one-room log cabin stood with a mound of dirt for the doorstep. IT was used for a church house and was located on what is now Mrs. Willie Hook’s property, directly in front of Jim Deniston’s present home. (According to another source, the land for this church and cemetery was donated by James Deniston, grandfather of S.J. (Jim) Deniston.)
The preacher of earliest remembrance was Brother Garland Lively and he was the pastor of Old Center when the folks decided to organize a church. In 1877, the third Saturday in April, 13 people met at Bro. W. J. Bearden’s home and organized what is now known as Blooming Grove. One story goes that Mr. Bearden’s wife, who was ill at the time on her death bed, wanted the new church named “Bloom and Grow” and through the years it was shortened to Blooming Grove. Another story is that Blooming Grove was named the same name as the old church in Tennessee from which the preacher came who helped them establish the church. Nevertheless, it is known as Blooming Grove today.
The Charter members were J. H. and Mary Terry, J. P. and Kathryn Smart, W. J. Bearden and wife Prudence, W. C. and Rebecca Sexton, W. C. and S. J. Wagster and Elizabeth Ann. The first Blooming Grove church was built across the road from the present building and was used as a school and a church house too. The first public school this community had was taught in the building by Skid Ellis.
Brother Garland Lively cut the first bush for the new building. One of the older preachers and best educated man toe ver preach at Blooming Grove was Elder John H. D. Carlin. His monument in the Blooming Grove Cemetery reads as follows: “Elder John H. D. Carlin. MD, AB, DD, 15 Dec. 1815 - 2 Feb. 1890, born at Alton, Ill., died at Rector, Ark. Son of John E. Carlin of Va., grandson of Thomas Carlin who emigrated to Va. from Carrickfergus, Ireland where born and reared. Missionary Baptist minister 50 years. Taught school at intervals during the entire period. Received degree of MD from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia 1837; AB from Bethel College, Tenn. 1841; DD from Columbian College, Washington D. C. 1853. Married Miss Jane Dodds of Boydsville, Grave Co., KY 1840.”
One of the older members of the community said he became ill and being old and probably run down, he startved to death at the home of his daughter. (Did not find him on any of the Clay census)
The oldest settler that we have any trace of was Uncle Liegee Glasgow who was here in 1811 and had lived here all during the Civil War. Southern Troops camped below their home and killed their pigs and chickens for food.
M. Glasgow had settled on his land with “school claims.” The land was later given to the railroad who in turn sold it to citizens. Two other old settlers were “old man Hurst” and “old man Allison.” The men had farms in the vicinity of what is now MR. George Beckley’s home. This is on the eastern side of the community.
On the western side, which was settled sometime later, William Jackson homesteaded 80 acres of land directly west of Stonewall Deniston’s present home. Other old settlers were John Hooks, Jim Beckley, Allen Oliver, J. Deniston, B. Winchester, Jim Hardin, Billy Wagster, Billy Sexton, and Billy Wagner. Most of these bought their land from the railroad or homesteaded.
The first school was a conscripted school taught by Skid Ellis in one room of his own house during the winter months. The first school building was erected in 1892 by Preacher Gatewood. It was a one-room structure. Mrs. Ida Jackson taught the first school in the new building. This building burned in 1911 while Mrs. Lena Bearden was teacher.
The second school house was built in 1912 by W. S. Wagner and Eli Palmer. It also burned in 1919 eight years to the day from the time the first one did. Roy Wagner and Lela Gatewood were teachers.
The third school was built in 1920 by W. S. Wagner and Chester Beckley. Lela Gatewood was the first teacher.
In 19-- Blooming Grove School District consolidated with the Rector School District and the building was sold, torn down, and moved away.
- Contributed by Fay Reeves
(Blooming Grove Community is on County Road 475, North of Rector and Southwest of Greenway).