The Great Eastatoe Revival of 1950
by James Sightler on Monday, August 29, 2011 at 12:45pm
There is a small mountain valley and community known as Eastatoe, SC very near the intersection of Highway 178 to Rosman, NC and Highway 11 in South Carolina. This community had for years had to deal with bootlegging and other problems. Then in 1950 a country preacher, Uncle Billy Holcombe, who could not read when he was saved, learned to read after praying for that ability. He longed for revival in Eastatoe and in his farming began to plow a row and pray, plow and pray, until he announced a revival which began in late May of 1950. There was a great revival at the Eastatoe Baptist Church which lasted 2-3 weeks. Uncle Billy had 3 sons who also were preachers, Carl, George, and Claude. There were 75 to 100 saved. Many had been bootleggers. At about the same time Brother Odell Good, from Pelham Baptist where my Dad was pastor, began preaching at Cove Creek Baptist Church not far from Eastatoe.
One of the other preachers in the meeting was Nathan Chapman who had pastored at Middle Fork Baptist nearer Rosman and had recently held a meeting in his small 2 pole tent on the East side of Rosman Highway near Highway 11. The meeting ended with an outdoor baptizing in Charlie Gravely’s pond near Eastatoe Church on June 18, 1950. The meeting was recorded and reported in the Pickens Sentinel newspaper.
Joe Chapman, son of Nathan Chapman, came to Tabernacle Baptist College in the 1960’s and one night after hermeneutics class my Dad took a copy of the newspaper report from his briefcase and related the details of the revival to him. My Dad did not preach in the revival services but did relate to Joe that he closed the Revival on Sunday afternoon, June 11, 1950. At that closing meeting there assembled 4000 people from 3 states, before there were any interstates or improved highways. The crowd could not get into the church, and so my Dad stood on a road about 10 feet above the churchyard and church floor level and preached to the crowd as it stood outdoors. Any public address system that might have been present would have been primitive. Joe Chapman, after his graduation, pastored Calvary Baptist in Greenwood for about 30 years. Another man saved in the revival, Sam Grigsby, also went into the ministry. The Eastatoe Community was changed and is still there looking as it did in 1950, a beautiful and peaceful place.
Eastatoe Baptist Church
Road on which Dr. Sightler stood to preach when closing the meeting.
Uncle Billy Holcombe