The History of the Little Red Church
Red Church Prior To 1957
The horse and buggy age gave way to the atomic age but the Little Red Church in Bellevue and its worshipers have kept faith.
The original church was first known as the Bellevue Variety Hall Association. In 1886, the late Dr. Ira E. Shute was president of the Bellevue Variety Hall Association and made arrangements with Addisson Dimmick for use of the property to erect a building.
At that time a two-story frame building was constructed, the second story to be used as a school and the downstairs as a church. In 1922 the school was no longer needed, the second story was removed, and the building was used only as a church. It was painted red and became known as the Red Church.
Ministers of many faiths held services there, among them Rev. Jolly Harper, Rev. D. F. Anders, Rev. C. B. Tombs, Rev. D. B. Boddie, Rev. S. O. Oliver, Rev. D. B. Cargill, who served the church in its early years. Rev. I. O. Alexander was the last to fill the pulpit in 1947 before services were discontinued. At that time he was the Presbyterian minister in Opelousas. The late Zenon Boutte was Sunday School Superintendent for 40 years.
Misses Alice and Annie Higgins taught Sunday School; Mrs. P. G.Walker was the organist. Among the active families in the church were the Burleighs, Arnolds, Carsons, Borings, Baileys, Ruddocks, Horns, Sudduths, Harpers, Stanfords, Hazelwoods, Dalys, Kings, Montgomerys, Smiths, Phillips, Griffiths, Saints, Johnsons, Bouttes, and Higgins.
Former teachers at the school were Mrs. F. F. Hollier, Mrs. T. A. Cooke, Mrs. W. W. Daniel of Waxie, Miss Wardella Turner, Miss Annie Higgins, Miss Pattie Price, and Miss Florence Hazelwood.
Frank Dimmick and his family had the teachers as boarders in their home so that classes could be held. Mrs. Hamilton Burleigh, Mrs. F. G. Brown, Mirss Irene Shute, Mrs. E. H. Dillon, Mrs. L. L. Harmon, Mrs. E. R. Henry, Clarence and Marion Carson, Mrs. Walter Hunt, Seymour Smith, Frank and Geore Daly, Mrs. W. T. Burt, and Mrs. Charles Bourque were among the area persons who learned their A B C's at the Little Red Church.
In a way the Little Red Church had been a casualty of the war, for when the young men and young women of the Bellevue community had gone off during the war and gas rationing came into being, it meant the end, for the duration anyway, of services in the Little Red Church.
By war's end a new way of life had come about, new habits had been formed, and use of the Little Red Church was not revived. Members of the community continued to attend services at the churches they had gone to during the war.
Each time members of the Little Red Church passed and looked upon the aging and lonely little church, they felt that "something ought to be done about it."
On March 15, 1957, a general meeting was held to make plans to rebuild the church. Hamilton Burleigh, who was custodian of the church and cemetery for the previous 18 years, had charge of the meeting. Ira Burleigh, chairman, Otis DImmick, Mrs. A. J. Castille, and Mrs. Preston Clay were appointed as the building committee. Ivy Mae Burleigh was chosen secretary-treasurer.
One year later the Red Church had won the battle for survival. At the dedication ceremony, March 16, 1958, plans were made to have an annual homecoming each second Sunday in April. Should Easter come on the second Sunday, the homecoming will be the third Sunday. Prior to services a covered dish dinner will be served on the church grounds.
In preserving the spirit of the Little Red Church, its members know they have established a link with yesterday, today and forever.