Hilltown Baptist Church had its earliest beginnings when Montgomery Baptist Church permitted one of its members, a Welsh immigrant named William Thomas, to start preaching in Hilltown, Pennsylvania in 1725.
On his trip to the colonies from Wales, Thomas and his wife lost all their possessions. He earned enough money as a cooper to purchase 440 acres of land from Jeremiah Langhorne on February 12, 1718, along the County Line of Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Prominent members of the community, Thomas, his wife and seven children made a gift of a piece of his land to the Church and erected a house of worship, the Lower Meeting House, in 1737. Thomas built the Lower Meeting House at his own expense on four acres of Side Hill along "Ye Great Road". This location is now the southeast corner of Hilltown Pike and Sellersville Road in Fricks. As the population of Hilltown grew, so did attendance, warranting the building of another church, the Upper Meeting House, in 1750, at the church's present location of Nace's Corner. The church structure built at Fricks by Elder Thomas stood for 44 years. The congregation demolished it in 1771 and built a larger stone church that remained standing at Fricks until 1858.
Hilltown Bapist Church became formally incorporated on November 25, 1781, under the direction of Rev. John Thomas (William's son). Most of the 54 members were relatives and of Welsh, Irish-English and German extraction. By 1783 the church membership had grown to 94 making it the fifth largest church in the Philadelphia Baptist Association. In 1789 Rev. John Thomas died and was buried with his father and family in the existing Lower Meeting House cemetery on Sellersville Road.
The spreading flames of the Second Great Awakening Revival had impact upon Hilltown from 1796 until 1801. The church grew from 98 to 151. The significant result of this revival was the emergence of Rev. Joseph Mathias as pastor in 1806. The church paid him $149.95 a year to carry out his duties. He continued as pastor until 1851, and was a man of great stature in the community. He was a prolific preacher, a writer, and missionary traveler as well as a spokesperson for the Bible Society, temperance movement, education of children and the teaching of music. Under his direction, Hilltown started two additional churches: Point Pleasant Baptist Church and Easton Baptist Church. He died in 1851 at the age of 72, having preached 6,875 sermons and attended 700 funerals.
The modern era of Hilltown Baptist Church has seen 30 pastors lead the congregation. The Upper Meeting House grew into a large facility seating 600 when Rev. Norm Sweeting was pastor in 1959. Throughout 260 plus years, the church has been known for its consistent preaching and teaching of the Word of God.
Grave of William Thomas
Died October 6, 1757
"In yonder meetinghouse I spent my breath. Now silent, moldering here, I lie in death. These silent lips shall wake and yet declare a dread Amen to truth they published there."