Church Records

The custodian of these records is the Clerk of the Circuit Court at Bartow, - the present incumbent, Hon. D. H. Sloan Jr.

They are all located on the ground floor, southeast room of the County Court House.

The letters in the "Book & Page of Record" column denote the Incorporation Record book, the figures, the pages of the book. In four instances, however, the papers are of record in Miscellaneous Record Book, No. 1, and in those items the figure 1 is given.

Charter and articles of incorporation are frequently used interchangeably. In this compilation, "charter" is used to denote the character of instrument, except in instances of three or four early churches, when no court confirmation appears to have been obtained. It is to be understood that an order of approval and confiramtion accompanies and is a part of each charter, except where otherwise noted.

[Source: WPA Church Records, Florida Memory; Transcribed by Sheila Pitts Massie, Coordinator.]


Corporate Name Character of Instrument Names of Incorporators Date of Instrument Date of Record Book and Page Remarks
The First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland, Polk County, Florida Articles of Incorporation Rev. Cobb E. Jones, A. P. McLeod, John D. Torrence, Joseph M. Perry, O. F. Goodwin, Wm. P. Lewis 11 April 1885 25 September 1885 1, 6 No order of court appears. The law might not have them required it. It purports to pursue Act of Aug. 6, 1868 as amended by Act of Jan. 29, 1874. Meeting in Lakeland School House.
First Presbyterian Church of Auburndale, Polk County, Florida Articles of Incorporation with minutes of meetings. Thos. Edmiston, John A. Irwin, S. D. McKean, Wm. C. Edmiston; The four above named gave notice and in the meeting the following named also participated: Dr. D. A. Duckworth, J. W. Hampton, Georgia Duckworth, Fannie McKean, E. J. Paxton, S. A. Irwin, J. E. Crosby, Kennet Hebb, E. L. Paxton, J. Hebb, Joe P. Wilson, M. A. Yeoman, Pearl Hebb, A. Hebb, Chas. Paxton and M. Waldo, D. D. 10 Aug 1886 20 September 1886 1, 40 No order of court appears.
First Baptist Church of Homeland, Polk County, Florida Articles of incorporation with certificate of adoption. J. F. Marsh, D. E. Saxton, E. M. Hayman, Mathew Davis, W. T. Denham, W. P. Sheretz, M. W. Blum 6 November 1886 27 January 1887 1, 60 The meeting for incorporation was in "the Homeland Baptist Church".
First Presbyterian Church of Bartow, Polk County, Florida Articles of incorporation with certificate of adoption J. A. Dalton, Mrs. J. L. Wirt, Mrs. Kathleena Hair, Mrs. G. W. Smith, Miss Ida Tuttle, Rev. S. G. Hair, M. M. Dunlope, E. K. Gibbon. 11 January 1887 13 January 1887 1, 59 Meeting to incorporate held in Hugh's Hall. Among Porposes: "to effect a more perfect organization."
First Presbyterian Church of Bartow Charter H. L. Finney, J. M. Oglesby, C. S. Steele, W. G. Jones, B. K. Bullard. 4 November 1915 4 January 1916 C, 170 Order of confirmation dated 31 December 1915. No mention was made of first incorporation.
Presbyterian Church of Winter Haven, in connection with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America Charter H. F. Blood, E. R. Whorton, R. H. Peacock, W. C. Kinney, J. E. Marshall. (Aff.) 14 November 1892 20 November 1892 A, 1 The Judge of the Circuit Court endorsed his approval on the margin of record, dated 20 December 1892. The phrase "inconnection with" etc., in most instances appears in the body of charters of Presbyterian churches.
First Presbyterian Church of Winter Haven Amendment to charter Approved by order dated - 28 Apr 1926 G, 354 Among other amendments.
Grace Evangelican Lutheran Church of Lakeland, Florida. Charter H. J. Mathias, V. V. Van Huss, P. Ottinger, F. O. Gercken, E. L. Rader, W. K. Holler, Samuel Booher 13 Aug 1912 27 September 1912 B, 218 Approved by order of court, and amended or substituted charter was adopted, reciting among other things, the affiliation of the church with the Evangelican Lutheran Synod and Ministerium of Georgia and adjacent states, the order dated 24 October 1919 and recorded C, 511. Another substitute was approved by order dated 22 Jun 1926, recorded G, 388.
First Presbyterian Church of Lake Alfred, Florida. Charter Sydney D. Adams, Addie Denison, H. A. West, F. W. Froemke, W. W. McCall. 22 April 1914 23 Apr 1914 B, 428 Order of approval recites "except that only such real and personal property as may be necessary for a church and its site may be owne, purchased or leased." Judge F. A. Whitney inserted somewhat similar restrictions in other of his orders approving church charters.
Protestant Episcopal Church in the Missionary Jurisdiction of South Florida. Charter Amendment - (Order) 13 January 1923 Orange Co. on 13 April 1923; Polk Co. on 27 July 1923 E, 127 This is the governing organization of the Diocese of South Florida, apparently incorporated by legislative act 31 May 1893. In this proceeding amendments were approved by Judge C. O. Andrews in Orange County, and certified copies recorded in Polk. For reasons not very apparent, the same proceeding was twice again recertified and recorded in Polk, 7 Jun 1924, recorded E, 364; and 4 March 1926, G, 245.
All Saints Church, Lakeland, Fla. Charter J. S. Jewett, Wm. S. Moore, Harry Brown, B. B. Garner, I. V. Stevens, J. T. Appleyard, W. W. Chase, Wm. Gomme, H. J. Drane, G. H. Hiller 21 Jun 1923 24 Jun 1923 E, 121 Lakeland's Episcopal Church
St. Paul's Church Charter William B. Smith, James Allwood, Douglas B. Street, J. A. G. Allen, G. Duncan Bruce, Thomas Brogden, J. Bernard Scott 4 March 1925 10 April 1925 F, 235 This is the Episcopal church of Winter Haven, where all the incorporators resided.
First Church of Christ, Scientist. Charter Harriet T. England, Iva Hallinan, India C. Hess, A. H. Leonard, Sarah E. Morris 23 March 1924 24 May 1924 E, 372 This church was organized at Winter Haven, all corporators residing there.
Trustees of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Lakeland, Florida, Inc. Charter W. L. Benedict, Grace A. Smith, Pearl R. Martin, Louise Estelle, Boulton, H. B. Zimmerman, Flora Hoy, Annie E. Machon 31 March 1926 10 June 1926 G, 373 This is not the church proper, but a holding corporation for its property.
Board of Trustees of the First Christian Church of Lakeland, Inc. Charter D. H. Cumbie, George F. Blue, George W. Mershon, Lewis Hagerty, J. H. Bentley 16 May 1924 7 July 1924 E, 395 This a holding company for the church, which is referred to in the charter as a voluntary organization.
First Baptist Church, Winter Haven, Florida. Charter V. H. Edwards, J. A. Mann, Lester Windson, A. King, E. J. Yonally, C. J. Hurst, G. C. Edwards 16 Dec 1927 23 Dec 1927 H, 111 The charter recites: "to be in accordance with the faith, doctrine and discipline of the Missionary Baptist Church of the United States of America in South Florida." A proceeding to incorporate, approved by the court 20 May 1926, recorded G, 345 was annulled by order of court 12 December 1927 and recorded in Chancery Order Book 5, Page 425.
Polk City Community Church Charter E. T. Marple, C. Roy Hodge, Chas. R. Wheaton, Chas. C. Dickson, H. H. Rewwer 9 February 1926 30 March 1926 G, 269 Among objects: "To foster, promote and carry out religious, benevolent and educational objects. The charter was amended later so as to increase the value of property it might hold. M, 64.
The Pentacostal Church of Christ Charter T. M. Buckner, Dallas Graham, W. J. Meyers, J. W. Wilkes, W. M. Harvey 17 July 1926 27 July 1926 G, 417 States among objects: "for the organization of churches throughout the State of Florida for colored people under the name of (same as first given) to ordain ministers", etc. Organized at Winter Haven
Congregation Beth Israel of Lakeland, Florida Charter Julius H. Racz, Cyrus Wolfson, Abe Levy, Victor Blate, Henry Cramer, David H. Brown, Harry Moskovits 3 May 1926 3 July 1926 G, 439 "To provide for, conduct and maintain religious services according to the Jewish religion."
Florida Synod of the United Lutheran Church in America Charter B. D. Wassinger, Theo. K. Finck, George A. Shaveder, E. R. Sheldon, J. H. Richard 19 February 1929 22 February 1929 H, 281 This was organized as a governing, Controlling body, "to order fitted men to the gospel" etc. The first and third of the named incorporators resided in Lakeland; the second and fourth in St. Petersburg, and the last in West Palm Beach.
Southside Baptist Church (of Lakeland) Charter H. Clay Haynes, A. R. Carver, W. S. Rodgers, D. U. McGinnes, Hammond Jones 27 February 1931 22 May 1931 H, 511 None
Babson Park Community Church Charter Frank L. Cody, Edward S. Bryon, Charles H. Matthews, James W. Degraff, Marion Forbes, Walton R. Brewster 25 February 1932 27 February 1932 I, 2 This church was affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.
The First Church of the Nazarine of Lakeland, Florida Charter H. L. Fountain, J. M. Vuncanon, J. G. Penland, M. H. Travis, Otis Stevens 28 April 1932 14 May 1932 I, 17 "In connection with and according to the Manual of the History, Doctrine, Government and Ritual of the Church of The Nazarine."
Presbyterian Church of Haines City Charter J. O. Agnew, Glen Bittle, J. W. Brumbaugh, Rort. T. Dewell, Fred Walsma 3 August 1932 3 September 1932 I, 28 The charter stipulates that the church is Presbyterian in its doctrine etc and subject to the jurisdiction of the Pres. Ch, but by 3/4 vote of members that connection might be severed.
Henderson Memorial Gospel Mission Charter Mrs. Bessie Collins, Rebecca Henderson Adams, Almon J. Adams, Francis P. Adams-all of Tampa, and Florence Falkenstine, Joses F. Taylor, Abbie Taylor-of Winter Haven. 21 November 1932 13 December 1922 (sic) I, 56 "To conduct evangelistic Meetings to ordain, prepare men and women to preach the "etc. Various charitable purposes etc. Approved by Judge Parks of Tampa. Filed in Polk.
Jewish Alliance of Lakeland Charter J. W. Boyer, L. Silverstein, H. Slakmon, G. A. Rosen, M. H. Cohen, Harry Moskovits, D. A. Brown 12 March 1934 14 March 1934 I, 147 "For conducting a religious, social and welfare organization". Probably not designed for a church organization.
Lakeland Gospel Center Charter John Higgins, Lottie A. Higgins, John Mason Thompkins, Herbert Nelson, Margaret Thompkins Nelson 4 March 1936 10 March 1936 I, 260 "To conduct and operate a religious institution for advancement of teachings of Jesus Christ and to promote Christianity in general."
The Society of Famobrosis Charter F. A. Randall, Paul Crank, Mrs. Paul Crank, Mrs. Kenneth Kimbrell, Kenneth Kimbrell, Helen Shetter, F. Hebel, Glenn Hooker, Robert T. Dewell-all of Haines City 7 September 1932 15 September 1932 H, 31 "To establish a benevolent and religious organization or society......to foster peace and good will on earth; to foster close relations between children and parents; to develop efficient leadership," etc, etc. Evidently not designed for an ordinary church. The name evidently taken from the first letters of the family terms: father, mother, brother, sister.

Visit our National Site

All data on this site is protected by copyright law with full rights reserved for original submitters.
Genealogy Trails ©2008-2015


Polk County Home Page | Florida Home Page | Genealogy Trails Home Page