Third Ave. Christian Church Began 1914 in Allen School

On October 1, 1917, my mother Annie Marie Jones (Ricketts) began the seventh grade at Allen School on Third Ave. in what was then Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  Here is her report card for that year:

The two-room school was named for Alonza Jefferson Allen.  He was a building contractor who lived on Myrtle Ave. and probably built the building.  According to Uncle Austin Jones, my mother’s brother, he was also a local politicial.  One of the teachers in 1917 was Mary Arnett, whose nephew was a well known Dr. Arnett of Danville. 

“Teachers Allen School, Miss Pricie Chaney and Miss Gladys Motley.”  This photograph was in my mother’s papers.  Florine Evans name is written on the back.  Florine Haraway Evans was born in 1909, six years after Marie Jones.  At one time the Haraways lived on the opposite corner from the Jones family on the corner of Aspen and Dean Streets.  In 1920, Florine was 11 years old.  Here is the census record:

Census records are notorious for having wrong dates.  Samuel and Libbie Haraway were married in 1900 and Alfred Haraway was born in 1901, the same year as our dad Reuben E. Ricketts.  The 1910 census is probably right: Alfred L Haraway age 9 (b 1901), Verna Haraway (Price) age 7 (born 1903) (Verna was the same age and best friend of Marie Jones), Junnia age 4 (born 1906) and Florine age 1 (born 1909).  Since Florine was younger these two teachers may have been later than 1917. 

Our mother, Marie Jones, was born on November 12, 1903 at 501 Middle Street in Danville.  In the spring of 1904, when she was only a few months old, her dad Mark Daniel Jones (1878-1946) and wife Annie Brooks Pruett Jones (1880-1969) bought a 35-acre farm about where the post office is now located on Westover Drive.  In 1908, they bought four lots at the corner of Washington and Valley (now Aspen) Streets.  This property was about 100 yards from the city line at 7th Street and Washington until annexed in 1931.  All my brothers and sisters were born in the house which our parents built on one of these lots in 1927. 

Apparently, Marie began school at Allen School in 1911.  That same year her two little sisters both died within a few months.  She was left an only child until her sister Florence was born in December 1913.  She often spoke of being afraid as a child of dying like her sisters.

Third Avenue Christian Church obtained permission from the county school board to begin a church in the Allen School building in 1914.  At first Sunday School was taught on Sunday afternoon by leaders from other churches in Danville.  During the summer of 1914, Rev. S. B. Clapp of Elon College, North Carolina was asked to preach one Sunday each monty.  Then on Octover 25, 1914, Third Avenue Christian Church was organized with 28 charter members.  A revival that fall made the school building inadequate for the fast growing congregation.  A 40 x 60 foot building with three Sunday School rooms was constructed and services were held on the first Sunday in January 1916.  In 1937, an open air tabernacle was built.  There was a sawdust floor and park benches for seats.

A cinder block building was used from 1939 until 1962:

Left is the cinder block tabernacle which was used until 1962.  At center is the brick chapel.  At right are Sunday School rooms.  This photograph and other are from a 1946 directory.  The directory mentions that Rev. Percy Ricketts (born 1904) had been with the church for five years.  Our Uncle Percy left his job at the Register and Bee Newspaper in 1941 (the year that I was born) and began a full time ministry.  He was assistant Pastor under Rev. Matthew Sorrell who was the Pastor from 1926 until 1954, a total of 28 years.




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