Ulysses S. Grant was in his second term as president when the citizens of this area decided that they needed a Baptist Church. The year was 1875 and national events had a familiar ring. Congress was awash with scandal, and many Congressmen had accepted bribes to do favors for the Union Pacific
The church was built in the thriving little community of Powelldale, a few miles south of here on Mesquite Creek. The church and school shared the same building. When the railroad bypassed the bustling cattle town of Kimball, and Kopperl sprang up, the church moved into Kopperl at a site near the present cemetery. When that building burned, Mr. Tom Day donated land and the church was moved to it’s present site. People moving to Kopperl are sometimes told that there are more Days here than nights. That’s easy to understand when you look back. This same Mr. Tom Day and his wife lost their first baby at birth and the tiny little woman was advised by the doctor to have no more children. Apparently the couple decided to not heed that advice because she went on to bear seventeen more children and to raise them to adulthood. She died of “old age” after her children were all grown. Mr. Day and his sons poured the concrete for this very building. It was completed around 1916. The first World War saw many young men of the community go away. Wilson Hill remembers walking down the street when he was a very young boy, and seeing a flag draped coffin sitting on the porch of the church. He was told that it was “the Brooks boy” who had been killed in the war.
Old records kept by Joe Bob Scruggs’ great uncle, J. T. Davis, the town banker, reveal that the pastors definitely didn’t get rich during the 1920’s. He kept a handwritten account of the money pledged by different families toward the pastor’s salary. Some pledged $5.00 per year and the really big spenders pledged up to $36.00 per year.
December 7, 1941 was an ordinary Sunday in Kopperl and in the Kopperl Baptist Church. But before the day was over events were set in to motion that would change the whole world forever. Kopperl felt the effects of World War II, deeply. Many of her young men went away to war and some never returned. The people on the home front dealt with shortages and rationing and did all they could for the war effort. They planted Victory Gardens, bought war bonds and placed stickers on their cars that read “Is This Trip Really Necessary ?” The church continued to function until a fire in 1944 gutted the interior. With their usual indomitable spirit, they rebuilt. During the time that this project required to accomplish, the Kopperl Baptists held Sunday School one Sunday at the School, and the next Sunday they used the Methodist Churchâ€”since both churches had “Preaching” only every other Sunday. I’m sure that God was pleased with this spirit of cooperation and love.
The war ground on. Troop Trains passed through Kopperl. Some were scandalized that girls stood on the platform and waved to the soldiers as they leaned out the windows. (Seems pretty harmless today, doesn’t it?) Finally the war ended and life settled down. Transportation was readily available, so businesses gradually closed as people moved away or drove to larger towns to shop. Still the church endured and grew and ministered to people. Babies were born, and people died.