History of Upper Cross Roads Baptist Church
After World War I, many people moved to Maryland and Pennsylvania from western North Carolina and southern Virginia. The potential for farming was greater and jobs were more plentiful than in the mountains of the south. Mr. R. L. Greene and his family were the first of this migration to move into the little community of Upper Cross Roads.
In 1920, several of Mr. Greene’s friends and relatives followed him to this area, including the families of W. E. Carlton, Hoy Greene, C. E. Trivett, Chester Trivett, Andrew Gentry, and A. M. Duncan. They all came at one time, chartering three railroad box cars to bring their belongings, including livestock. At that time, the train came into a station at Baldwin just a few miles from Greene Road, where W. E. Carlton and A. M. Duncan and others had bought property.
Adapting to a new area was a struggle for these families. There were hardships, heartaches, and homesickness for family left behind. To help meet their spiritual needs, they attended some of the local churches and also had hymn sings and prayer meetings in their homes. They were all from Baptist background, but the only Baptist church in Harford County was in Havre de Grace, several miles away.
In 1926, Rev. Finley C. Watts of North Carolina came to Maryland to visit his relative, Mr. J. E. Watson. Subsequent visits led to a revival meeting held at one of the homes. Attendance at the meetings grew, and it was necessary to move the meetings to the Union Chapel Church Hall on Sweet Air Road in Baldwin. These families decided then that it was time to plant a Baptist church in Upper Cross Roads.
In the fall of 1927, a tent, secured from the Maryland State Baptist Association, was erected for revival services on the Hade Wagner farm (the present church site). The services were held with Dr. W. H. Brannock of the Gregory Memorial Baptist Church preaching. At the close of the meetings, on Thursday, September 8, 1927, Dr. Joseph T. Watts, State Secretary of Maryland Baptists, came to Upper Cross Roads, and the church was officially established. Rev. W. E. Carlton read the following statement concerning the proposed organization of a Baptist church in the community:
“Whereas, it appears to us that there is a real need for a Baptist church in this locality; and, after much prayer and seeking of Divine guidance; and, after consultation with our Baptist brethren of Baltimore, it is resolved that we, a group of Baptist…do now enter upon the organization of a church in the form and manner commonly followed by the churches of our faith.”
Rev. Carlton was elected as the first pastor of the Upper Cross Roads Baptist Church. He had been the former pastor of many of these people when they lived in North Carolina.
Thirty people who had attended that first meeting were listed as Charter Members: Jennie Greene, R. L. Greene, Florence Trivett, Alice Watson, C. M. Hodges, Mollie Carlton, Hettie Gentry, Nola Absher, Paul Carlton, Fay Watson, Docie Trivett, Roxie Bowles, Maggie Watson, Clingman E. Trivett, E. E. Wagner, J. Andrew Gentry, W. Ance Absher, Chester C. Trivett, Melba Watson, H. Munsey Watson, Sarah L. Greene, Blanch Cooke, Rev. William E. Carlton, Hade Wagner, Mary C. Watson, Naomi Carlton, James E. Greene, Hoy Greene, Jotham E. Watson. In addition, the minutes name five candidates for baptism: Clarence Bowles, Louanna Trivett, Levaun Greene, Estil Greene, and Adele Greene.
The church met in the tent on Sunday afternoons until cold weather and then the services were moved to the home of Mr. R. L. Greene, who lived on Greene Road near the present site of the church. Wm. E. Carlton led in the actual construction of the original church building, which was completed and held its first service in the fall of 1928.
In 1944, the original building was remodeled, adding three Sunday school rooms to the back of the building and excavating more basement to add three more Sunday school rooms. In 1948, a belfry was erected to house the bell donated to the church by Mr. Claude Fowble, the owner and operator of a grist mill nearby. In 1971, the church acquired more land adjoining the church property and built a new church building to accommodate the growth of the church body and the Sunday school. It was necessary to remove the old building to make room for the new building and a larger parking area.
In 2002, the church again needed more room for Sunday School, Awana, and other activities, and began work on a multi-purpose Family Life Center. On September 18, 2005 the new building was completed and dedicated to the Lord.