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A Brief History of Free Will Baptist Press

Because of a fire that burned the records and almost completely demolished The Press in 1913, we are unable to give the complete story of its history and operation. However, much credit is due to Rueben Cherry who, while a student at Mount Olive Junior College in 1959, made a most diligent search of available records, together with spending many hours in conference with aged men who had been officially connected with the institution and compiled much of the information contained herein. This information along with more current information that brings it up-to-date is as follows:

"From a simple resolution passed by the General Conference of Free Will Baptists of North Carolina on November 5, 1873, through many trials and difficulties, the Free Will Baptist Press has grown to a business worth a quarter of a million dollars."


As a result of this resolution, the Reverend E. Robert Ellis became the first editor. He began publication of a weekly church paper, The Free Will Baptist Advocate, from the newly established office in Fremont, North Carolina.

During the years that followed, the establishment experienced times of financial difficulty to the point that operation had to be suspended on several occasions. In efforts to keep the movement from dying, the office was moved from place to place in North Carolina over the years. From Fremont, it went to Toisnot (now Elm City), then back to Fremont, then to New Bern, then to Snow Hill (1889), then to Ormondsville (1891), then to Ayden (1895). Although The Press has remained in Ayden since it came, it has made several moves within the town. It has been at its present site (3928 Lee Street) since 1967.