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Testimony to Pioneer Baptists: The History and Development of the Gillette First Baptist Church

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Marvis R. Snell

This 355-page hardcover book, first published in 1974, tells how early missionary efforts led to the founding of Benevolence Baptist Church. Benevolence, now known as Gillette First Baptist Church, is the oldest Baptist church in Southwest Florida. Circuit-riding preachers began their work around 1850, and the Church was formally established before 1868.

Testimony to Pioneer Baptists then traces the history of the Church from its origins in a log meeting house through its subsequent three moves, forced by fire and hard economic times, to its current location. Community life is chronicled in this history, year-by-year, offering a uniquely complete record of a rural Florida settlement from its beginnings, in the 1840s, into the late 20th Century.

The book has been honored by the Florida Baptist Historical Society, and is a unique resource for local historians or anyone with an interest in Florida local history.


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