George Washington Oakley (1879-1957) was the oldest son of Robert T. Oakley and Margaret Jane Willey of Surry County, N. C. He married Etta May Sparks in 1901 at Mitchells River Church in Surry. They had three children.
In 1910, he was farming in Carroll County, Va., but by 1918, when he registered for the WWI draft, he was working for a furniture factory in Mt. Airy. His draft card described him as tall and slender, with blue eyes and medium dark hair. He was able to read and write, although his father and five younger brothers were not.
He was a charter member of Calvary Baptist Church in Toast in 1913 and served as a trustee in 1920 when land was purchased for the building.
George became a popular preacher in the Baptist churches of Surry County. He served as pastor of Hills Grove, Piney Grove, and Ivy Green Baptist Churches in the 1920s. In 1930, he was the first pastor of Pinnacle View, near Pilot Mountain. He also participated in the weeklong Revival services that local churches shared in the summertime.
In the 1930 census, his occupation was “minister, Baptist Church.” At his death in 1957, he was pastor of a church in Baywood, Va. His grave is at Pleasant Home Union Regular Baptist Church in Alleghany County, N. C.
The Siloam community column in the Mt. Airy News of the 1920s frequently announced the titles of his sermons at Hills Grove and asserted that “He is a good preacher. Come and hear him.” The titles of his sermons were taken from Biblical texts. The following sermons were preached between 1917-1929, and may reflect the concerns of the period between the two World Wars.
1. ”Consider Your Ways.” From Haggai 1:5-7, a lesson in prudent thinking and action.
2. “The Unguarded Gate.” Book of Ezekiel, chapter 38, in which many of the enemies of Israel were named and battles predicted.
3. ”And With HIs Stripes We Are Healed.” Isaiah 53:5; preached at a Revival service.
4. “Handfulls [sic] of Honey” Judges 14, a story of a riddle told by Samson, which he challenged his enemies to solve.
Copyright 2020 by Glenda Alexander. All rights reserved.
”Personal Mention of Siloam Residents,” Mt. Airy News, 4 June 1926, p. 1; and “Siloam News,” 5 July 1928 p. 4.