One of the most inspiring welcome services to returning soldiers and sailors yet held in the county was that of Rock Hill Baptist Church Sunday afternoon. An enormous crowd estimated to number from 800 to 1000 people from all sections of the county gathered for the occasion. The morning hour was devoted to the regular Sunday School exercises of the church, after which George Henry Buck led the large crowd in singing the old songs of fifty or seventy-five years ago. The time was thus delightfully spent until the noon hour when a spread of dinner was made which for abundance and variety was never before seen at that popular gathering place. There was plenty for all, and then some.
The singing was resumed at about 1:30 and continued until 2:30 when the patriotic and welcome service began. The master of ceremonies, Rev. Fleetwood Ball, stated the roll of soldiers who were represented on the service flag of the church. The following names were called:
Soldiers Returning - Oakley Scates, Henry McPeake, Oliver Deere, George Bartholomew, W. Alfred Bartholomew.
Not yet returning - Barton Holmes, Hascue Lofton, Ethree Blankenship, Otto Garner, Zephie Howell, Murray Robinson. Dead - Jesse L. Deere.
The program, which gripped and held the attention of the people from start to finish, was carried out exactly as arranged. The songs were led by J.A. Deere, the first being "America". The master of ceremonies offered an earnest prayer, after which the song, "The Star Spangled Banner," was enthusiastically rendered.
Although almost too indisposed to speak, Judge Luther B. Johnson delivered one of his thoroughly interesting patriotic speeches, evoking frequent applause.
Lt. Richard S. Edwards, just returned from the army of occupation in Germany, was then presented, amid loud applause, and he delivered an address of vivid interest, the crowded audience fairly hanging on his words. He recited the story of the titanic struggle in a graphic way, and the only regret of the audience was that he had to conclude his interesting utterances, owing to the lateness of the hour.
It being impossible owing to the crowded condition of the church to shake with the soldiers, the audience was asked to greet them with the Chautauqua salute which was done with hearty enthusiasm. This brought to a close the thoroughly delightful exercises of a splendid history of the church