Bethlehem Baptist Church
Hwy 12 East, Ackerman, MS
Rev. FLAKE, the pastor of
Bethlehem Baptist Church, granted written
permission for this version of that church's history written from their "Blue Book." Along with the permission, he sent a copy of a very nice history written by one of the members. Written permission to use her entire history as is (naturally, credit for the work will go to her) was granted to the submitter of this information.. The only request she has is that a special note she used to record her sources be included as written.
She wrote the article in 1994, article submitted by Johnnie Bouck.
A History of Bethlehem Baptist Church
Author: Elizabeth Buckner Rester
Bethlehem Baptist Church was founded in 1835, the parcel of land on which the
church now stands was not donated until 1841 by Lamach EDWARDS and his
family. The deed of trust describes "a certain lot or parcel of land
containing four acres". It is interesting to note that there is more than
four acres in the cemetery plot alone. This deed, which was not recorded
until March 30, 1842, in Greensboro and later was re-recorded January 2, 1909,
probably due to a change of county seats, describes land "bounded as follows,
the East end running with a small branch on the North end from Whites Road to
the section line, then with the section line to a small branch on the west and
also running to Whites Road from the section line, thereby creating a section of
land running from "branch to branch."
Records indicate a church was built in 1841, which was made of logs. It was complete with split logs for benches. There was a section in the rear of the church designated for servants who attended services with their masters. It is not known where services were held until that date. Early records state, "the former church book of Bethlehem Church having been accidentally burned, we, the committee, arrange matters for the commencement of a new book." The log structure built in 1841 was used until 1894, then torn down and a new structure started. Church was held at Mt. Airy School until completion of the building in 1895. This building still stands today in regular use as a tribute to the oldest founded church in Choctaw County. The benches for the new building were hand made by a man named Emmett TAYLOR and were used until they were replaced in the 1970s.
Lamach EDWARDS' son, W. A. EDWARDS, was ordained to the ministry in 1874 and served as minister at Bethlehem briefly in 1878. He resigned due to poor health.
Church doors closed two times in its history. Once during the Civil War for approximately eighteen months. In 1862, church records state, "Because of war, the preacher did not preach for six months." Church records for 1863 simply read, "War times." Then, in 1926, Bethlehem Baptist Church closed for seven years due to lack of congregation.
In 1932 Charlie STACY invited Rev. J. S. DEAL of Moorhead to conduct a revival. From this productive effort, six new members were baptized, and a number transferred their letter. Several of whom are still active members today. They were Mr. and Mrs. Joe STACY, Azalee BLACK McINTYRE, Desiree BLACK STACY, Mr. and Mrs. Willie CUTTS, Myra (Merra) CUTTS, Mrs. William OSWALT, Hattie OSWALT, Mrs. J. M. BLACK, Mr. and Mrs. K. N. BLAKE, Mr. and Mrs. H. J. CUTTS, Martin EDWARDS, Erma EDWARDS HUNT, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie STACY, and Okla and John STACY.
By 1933 Bethlehem was back on its feet with Rev. Raymond COLLIER as pastor. Another revival meeting was held in August of that year with Rev. DEAL as evangelist once again. From this, nineteen new members were added, twelve of which were baptized. In 1934, Rev. DEAL was called as pastor and remained at Bethlehem until 1937, but was recalled and stayed until 1939. At this point, Rev. B. B. McGEE was called as pastor and served until 1943.
During the brief tenure of Rev. J. W. KITCHENS in 1949, he wrote the
following complementary words about the church, seeking financial aid from citizens in Choctaw County for renovation of the building.
"Bethlehem, the Mother Church. Those are beautiful words, aren't they? And it is just what I speak of Old Bethlehem Baptist church, the oldest Baptist church in Choctaw County . There is something about age that makes us love, let it be an elderly person or a church. It is especially true of this grand old church. She has weathered the storm of time since 1835. When we think of that long ago time, we can see our forefathers as they began to settle in this country and were moved with a godly fear to build a house to worship God in and to spread the good news of the gospel throughout the world. Now, most of these have gone on to their reward, many of their bodies rest in the city of the dead just across the road from the church, with beautiful grave markers and lovely greenery that seems to speak to those who pass by with words of faith to keep the good work going on."
In 1958, Bethlehem under went its very first expansion. Four new Sunday School rooms were built by members who contributed their time. The lumber was sawed and hauled for these rooms by Mr. Ted HUNT. Until then, Sunday school classes would meet outside under span oak shade trees on the warm, sunny days. Of course, old benches were provided to sit on.
Since 1958, Bethlehem has been added onto several times. In these past few years, it has been carpeted twice, a baptistry has been added, a second bathroom, and the interior walls of the sanctuary have been painted accentuating the wide plank boards and adding to the charm of the building. Most recently, aluminum siding and storm windows were added to preserve the exterior of the building. More Sunday School rooms and a nursery were added. Also built in recent years are a fellowship hall and kitchen where many activities and special occasions are enjoyed by the congregation.
In November of 1983, Jimmy FLAKE was called as pastor. Jimmy and his wife, Faye, and their two sons recently celebrated their tenth anniversary of continuous services to our church. In November 1993, the church body joined them in a special service to commemorate this occasion.
It is of interest to note in the 1800s, the church was very strict with its members. Members were often cited for being drunk, mistreating children, immoral conduct, "unchristian conduct," fighting, circulating worthless money, swearing, and dancing. As a matter of fact, a rule was passed in 1874 to "strictly forbid dancing." These are just a few examples of purported misconduct. When members were reported or admitted these sins to the church body, they were excluded from being able to attend church services until they were "forgiven" or "redeemed" by the others.
The sixth chapter of Acts, verse three states, "Wherefore brethren, look among you for seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business". In 1993, following these instructions from the Apostle Paul, the church body voted to expand the number of Deacons from five to seven. Elections were held and the following men were elected: Dan BLAKE and David FULGHAM. Already holding this office are Edwin BLAKE, Steven FLAKE, Jim DAVIS, Gene JONES (inactive), and Donald STACY (inactive).
Much research was taken from the "Blue Book" of Bethlehem Church history. But thanks should be given to my mother, Annie EDWARDS EAVES and Erma EDWARDS HUNT, descendants of Lamach EDWARDS, Rev. Jimmy FLAKE, and Edwin BLAKE for their help with this writing.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This list of pastors came from the "Blue Book" prepared by unknown persons for the church history in 1985.
PASTORS OF BETHLEHEM BAPTIST CHURCH
1838 J. J. MOORHEAD
1839-42 Elder John MICCOU
1842-49 Elder Silas DOBBS
1849-1850 Robert CRENSHAW
1851--53-57 Thomas P. MONTGOMERY
(no date given) J. B. POTEET
1854-55 John MICCOU
1858-64 E. W. MORRIS
1864-67 J. H. D. HENDRICKS
1872-74 L. SUTHERLAND
1874 M. C. BENNETT
1874-78 N. Q. ADAMS
1878 W. A. EDWARDS
1879-92 E. A. FANT
1892-1904 J. T. SARGENT
1904-05 J. H. D. WATSON
1906-11 J. R. NUTT
1911 E. G. HILL
1912 A. H. MAHAFFEY
1913 M. J. DERICH
1914 A. C. FURR
1915-16 B. B. COKE
1917 W. B. WALLACE
1917 C. N. CALLAHAN
1918 J. L. HUGHES
1919-20 P. S. ROGERS
1921 O. C. COOPER
1932-33 Raymond COLLIER
1934-36-38-39 J. S. DEAL, Biography located at bottom of page
1937 W. W. SIMPTON
1937-43 B. B. McGEE
1944 W. W. CLARK
1944-45 Alvin E. SMITH
1945-48 L. F. DORROH
1949 J. W. KITCHENS
1950-51 H. W. FREEMAN
1952 Joe NEWTON
1953 A. V. FAGGARD
1954-57-60 V. H. WOODS
1958-59-63 C. S. MULLENS
1961-62 H. E. McCLENDON
1964-71 W. T. McDOWELL
1972 Ricky McKAY
1973 Ron TAYLOR
1974-75 Don HOFMISTER
1975-82 J. N. HOLLAWAY
1983 Auzie SULLIVN
1983- Jimmy FLAKE
Note: Rev. FLAKE is the present pastor (Sept. 1999-present)
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * *
More Bethlehem Baptist Church History
The title of the "Blue Book" (where this information was found) is Bethlehem Baptist Church, Choctaw County, Ackerman, Miss. 1835--1985"
1835, on Monday after the fourth Sabbath, Bethlehem Baptist Church was first
organized by William CALOWAY, William HALBERT, and Gabriel NASH, the members
included Simon OSWALT, Jackson BROWN, John W. WILKS, Sarah OSWALT, Michael
WEEKS, Elizabeth WEEKS, Sarah SNOW, Stephen SCARBROUGH, Silas WEEKS, and William
In 1841 the two deacons serving the church were John W. WILKS and Robert REINER. Jackson BROWN served as the church clerk. Members received this year included Sister LEWIS, John WOOTSON, Aron and Sister PEELER, Jackson and Elizabeth FRANKLIN, Sarah FULCHER, Fanny ACTOYMION, Mary GILLESPIE, Charlotte WEEKS, Henry and Elizabeth SIKES from Greensborough Church in Choctaw County, Andrew and Lucinda MAKAMSON from span Creek Church in Pickens County, Alabama.
Other male members before 1841 include David WEEKS, Silas WEEKS, John BLANTON, William DAVIS, Oliver QUINN, William KEEN, G. A. PINNIX, Henry REID, Christopher L. DOTSON, Biven PATTERSON, Robert RIVER, Nathan McMINN, Adeline FISH.
Male servants who were members included Joe, (servant of W. Davis) and Putton, (servant of M. Scarbrough).
Other female members before 1841 include Adeline FISH, Ibbey WEEKS, Phoebe WEEKS, Mornen SCARBROUGH, Kizire BLANTON, Mary W. DAVIS, Mary WOODS, Rebecca WILKS, Ann RIVER, Lucinda GILLESPIE, Sarah DOCKERY, Ibby McMINN, Sarah FONDREN, Sister McMINN, Nancy EDWARDS, Mary COTTON, Lydia WEST, Nancy WEST, Elizabeth COVINGTON, Mary TULLOS, and Elizabeth CHILDRESS.
In 1842 new members included Silas and Mary DOBBS, Washington BAVLUS, Martha QUINN, Adeline LEWIS, Mary REID, Caroline BROWN, Eliza (servant of T. Davis), Elizabeth WEEKS, John and Jane DAVIS, D. M. P., W. L. H., Martha N., Sarah W. DOTSON, Poley PREWITT, Aroon and Susan (servants of the Dotsons). These members were granted letters to remove their membership: R. and Ann RIVER, Andrew and Lucinda MAKAMSON, Sarah FONDREN, Henry and Elizabeth SIKES, Sarah DOCKERY, Nathan and Martha McMINN.
In 1843 new members included George and Kizey WEAVER, Elizabeth EDWARDS, Pilate HUNT, Lucinda PATTERSON, Lucinda BROWN, Lucinda WEAVER, Rebecca SCARBROUGH, Franklin TURNER, Jackson HAWKINS, Lucinda GILLESPIE, William KEEN, David DOBBS, Alango J. KEEN, Kitty BOYLES. Ruben DOTSON and David WEEKS were selected as delegates to the Association. Members leaving the church included Lucinda PATTERSON and James WALDOE.
In 1844 new members included Elder Joseph ROBINSON and Henderson TURNER. Dismissals included Sarah MURRAY, Mary JINNINGS, Mary PREWITT, Kitty BOYLES, David DOBBS, Jackson HAWKINS, Martha LEWIS, and Emma MYRES.
In 1845 several members were dismissed. These included William KEEN, Ruben DOTSON, William LISTER, and Fanny ADAMS. New members added were H. P. DOTSON, T. M. FULCHER, Martin and Frances OSWALT, and Mary Ann WILCHER. John P. WOODS attended the services, but may not have been a member.
In 1846 letters were granted to John P. and Nancy WOOTSON, Alfred and Elizabeth FRANKLIN, Elizabeth CRENSHAW, and Brother and Sister WEST. (Note: The congregation usually called each other brother and sister, even though they were not actual siblings.) Sister PELLER was dismissed because she became a member of the Presbyterian Church.
In 1847 letters were granted to Elizabeth COVINGTON, Martin and Frances OSWALT, and Charlotte WEEKS. Receiving baptism were Thomas and Adeline EDWARDS.
In 1848 Union meeting delegates were W. BOYLES, R. DOTSON, Thomas EDWARDS, and David WEEKS. The following people were granted letters: Jackson and Caroline BROWN, Ruben DOTSON, and servants Eliza, Aaren, and Sampson. Members in 1848 also included: Elizabeth BAYLUS, Washington BAYLUS, John BLANTON, Kizire BLANTON, Lucinda BROWN, Mary COTTON, Mary H. DAVIS, David M. P. DOTSON, Henry P. DOTSON, Nancy DOTSON, Sarah DOTSON, William H. DOTSON, William L. H. DOTSON, W. T. K. R. DOTSON, Adeline EDWARDS, Thomas EDWARDS, Martha FULCHER, Sam FULCHER, Sarah FULCHER, Pilate HUNT, Simeon OSWALT, Sarah OSWALT, Elizabeth QUINN, Oliver QUINN, Susan (servant of R. Dotson), Rebecca SCARBROUGH, Mary SNELLINGS, Sarah SNOW, Henderson TURNER, Kizea TURNER, Mae TULLOS, Elizabeth WEEKS, and Mary WOOD.
The church received many new members in 1849, either by letter or by faith. These people were Jack HAWKINS, Henry and Jane OSWALT, Jessie H. and Sarah FULCHER, Eliza EDWARDS, Hamilton TURNER, Milton Joseph and Martha TURNER, Alphaus BISHOP, Jerry THOMPSON, Wiley SCARBROUGH, Mary Jane SCARBROUGH, Pinkney HAWKINS, Ann and Washington HAWKINS, Adeline DOTSON, Misenere WEEKS,
Jackson WEEKS, Jackson EDWARDS, Mary WEST, Martha WEST, Louezer WEST, Nancy Ann ADAMS, Martha DONALD, Fanny Hawkins, John HUNT, John H. BUCKNER, Alpha BUCKNER, Fanny ADAMS, Jacob BETTS, James and Susan WOOTSON, Charles BLANTON, and John E. DONALDS. W. H. and Mary DAVIS were granted letters. This year an eleven day meeting was conducted by Elders E. B. ACKIN and T. B. TOWNSEND.
In 1850 new members received were Rosa MOSS, D. M. and Nancy SIMMS, David and Caroline OSWALT, Thomas THOMPSON, Ancel WOOTSEN, Milage TURNER, Almyra DOTSON, Alonza ADAMS, W. T. WEEKS, Larizer J. ADAMS, Joseph H. THOMPSON. A letter was granted to Sister Buckner.
By 1851 the membership had increased to seventy-nine members. New members received were D. D. WILLIAMS, Jonathan SIMS, Eleazer H. DOTSON, Samuel SIMMS, John HENRY, Sintha THOMPSON, Frances THOMPSON, and A. J. EDWARDS. Members not previously named were Fanny and Nancy A. ADAMS, George W. BAYLUS, Martha BAYLUS, Alpheus BISHOP, Charles BLANTON, William H. DOTSON, John E. DONALD, Martha DONALDS, Mahala A. DOTSON, Elizer EDWARDS, Sarah FULCHER, JR., Jessie H. FULCHER, Pinkney HAWKINS,
Washington HAWKINS, John HUNT, Lucinda HOLMES, George L. NEASON, Martha J. OSWALT, David OSWALT, Henry OSWALT, Jesse REAGAN, Emily REAGAN, Nancy SIMMS, David M. SIMMS, Wiley SCARBROUGH, Jerry THOMPSON, Hamilton TURNER, Joseph TURNER, Martha TURNER, Servant of J. Wootson, William T. WEEKS, Jackson WEEKS, James WOOTSON, Sarah WOOTSON, Louiza D. WEST, M. N. WEST, AND M. H. WEST.
A letter was granted to Lucinda HOLMES IN 1852. No new members were recorded.
In 1853 letters were granted to James and Susan WOOTEN and Mary WOODS. The new member received was Patrick BISHOP.
In 1854 the several new members were Mary T. THOMPSON, Hannah BARRON, Sarah SNOW, Eliza SCARBROUGH, E. J. QUINN, M. A. WEST, Marqus HOLMES, W. BLANTON, D. D. WILLIAMS, Mary N. WILLIAMS, and A. J. BUSH. Letters were given to Jesse REAGAN, Emma REAGAN, D. M. SIMMS, Nancy SIMMS, Jonathan SIMMS, Samuel SIMMS, A. BISHOP, Hamilton TURNER, T. EDWARDS, D. D. WILLIAMS, and Henderson TURNER.
In 1855 the congregation elected John MICCOU, a member, to serve as the pastor after H. P. DOTSON resigned. A letter was granted to Eliza WEST.
In 1856 new members included Levi SOUTHERLAND and Sister SOUTHERLAND, Samuel WELLS, Drusilla WELLS, David CRAWFORD, Frances TURNER, Mary WEEKS, Virginia WILLIAMS, Greenbury WOOTSON, and N. A. WILLIAMS. Letters were granted to Oliver QUINN, Jane QUINN, Lucinda HOLMES, D. D. WILLIAMS and his wife. Brother SOUTHERLAND was licensed to preach.
In 1857 the only letter granted was to Angeline BAGWELL. No new members were received.
In 1858 and 1859 letters were granted to Nancy SNOW, Sarah SNOW, Nancy DAVIS, Franklin WELLS, McDuffy WELLS, Miller WELLS, Nancy and John NEASON, Angeline THOMPSON, and Eliza HUTCHINSON. New members joining the congregation were Milanda WATSON, William BLANTON, Nancy BLANTON, Thomas NEASON, and Hezakiah McHAN.
In 1860 L. SOUTHERLAND served the church as both pastor and deacon, while H. P. DOTSON and Samuel M. WELLS served as the other deacons. Letters were granted to Thomas and Angeline THOMPSON. Phillip BLANTON became a member, moving his letter from Corinth Church, Spartanburg, SC. A total of fifty-five people held membership in the church. Names listed in the records are as follows: H. P. DOTSON, L. SOUTHERLAND, Samuel M. WELLS, Henry OSWALT, Jessee H. FULCHER, William T. WEEKS, John N. HUNT, Washington BAYLUS, John BLANTON, Hezakiah McHAN, Franklin WELLS, McDuffee WELLS, Miller WELLS, Thomas NEASON, John NEASON, William BLANTON,David CRAWFORD, Jerry THOMPSON, Elizabeth WEEKS, Kizea TURNER, Kizire BLANTON, Adeline DOTSON, Misenire HUNT, Sarah FULCHER, Ann HAWKINS, Mary F. THOMPSON, Martha BAYLUS, Frances THOMPSON BLANTON, Fanny ADAMS, Drucillia WELLS, Sarah WELLS, Angeline THOMPSON, Angeline SOUTHERLAND, Angeline NEASON, Nancy BLANTON, Milanda WATSON, Thomas THOMPSON, Pinkney HAWKINS, Joseph THOMPSON, Alonzo ADAMS, William BLANTON, Green WOOTSON, Philip BLANTON, Permelia OSWALT, Permelia WEST, Mary WEST, Maluriann WELLS, Mary
WEEKS, Sarah F. BAGWELL, Rosa BELL, Sarah OSWALT, Mary COTTON, Ann HAWKINS; BERRY was a member and was listed as a servant of Dan THOMPSON. WILEY, a servant of J. CHILDRESS, was also listed as a member.
In 1861 war times diminished the activities. In February Brother A. J. FRANKLIN conducted the services on a Saturday. Another Saturday service was in June, with Brother SOUTHERLAND serving as the preacher. No new members were received.
Church services were not conducted for six months in 1862, and no new members were received.
The year 1863 is mentioned in the records as "war times".
In 1864 there was more activity at the church. The pastor was J. H. D. HENDRICKS. J. W. CHRISTOPHER served as church clerk. Letters were granted to William BLANTON and his wife, Nancy BLANTON, as were C. L. HENDRICKS and his wife, who was not named. New members received included Frances GUESS, Hannah EARLEY, Jack EDWARDS, Elizabeth EDWARDS, Sarah CHRISTOPHER and J. W. CHRISTOPHER. Additional members were: Aneleziah DANIEL, Ann RUSSELL, J. A. DAVIS, S. A. DAVIS, Elizabeth BLANTON, Mary NEASON, M. G. FULCHER, Emily FULCHER, Harriet EDWARDS, Mary HAWKINS, Malinda EVANS, Francis OSWALT, Susan SNOW, Jane SNOW, Catherine LOWERY, Lusindie LOWERY, Jane TURNER, Sarah OSWALT, Jane OSWALT,Sarah BLANTON, James HAWKINS, John QUINN, Lenas BLANTON,W. P. BLANTON, Juliah BLANTON, B. WELLS, John E. DANIELS, R. M. STACY, Mary F. BAYLUS, * Sarah HUNT (*Note: It is noted in the records that Sarah HUNT is black.)
In 1865 activities increased. A committee from Spring Hill included Hardy FONDREN, Hamond FONDREN, and Vester FONDREN. Committee members from Lake Forest were T. STANTON, J. B. LONG, J. R. WALKER, Robbin QUINN, (note that Robbin Quinn is probably Robert Quinn), and J. FRANKLIN. The two committee members from Concord were William HEAD and John KENNEDY. New Zion provided one committe member: W. R. WARD. J. P. EAST was the committee member from span Creek. The one new member received was Margaret ADAMS. Other members mentioned in 1865 include: J. H. FULCHER, S. M. WELLS, John BLANTON, J. HAWKINS, Susan SNOW, Catherine LOWERY, Jane SNOW, Melvina FULCHER, Mary NEASON, T. NEASON, J. NEASON, R. STACY, P. HAWKINS, J. W. CHRISTOPHER, J. DAVIS, J. E. DANIELS, Cinda LOWERY, Polly HAWKINS, Mary THOMPSON, Martha BLANTON, N. Q. ADAMS, Jane NASON, Menervie GRIFFIN, Nancy NASON, Eliza OSWALT, James BLANTON, and L. SUTHERLAND, for whom the fellowship requested ordination.
In 1866 letters were granted to M. A. ROACH, A. M. WELLS, and John QUINN. W. T. WEEKS, A. J. EDWARDS, and Q. ADAMS served as delegates to the Association. New members received were Maturianes ROACH, William ROACH, Jonathan SCARBROUGH, Clementine DOTSON, Susan DOTSON, Mary DOTSON, Mary N. McELVANIS, and Catherine LOWERY. Other members mentioned were Brother WELLS, James BLANTON, Melvina FULCHER, Emily FULCHER, Sarah DAVIS, Susan SNOW, and Melvania FULCHER.
In 1867 Jonathan SCARBROUGH was elected deacon. Several new members joined the congregation during a protracted meeting in July. They were K. F. BERRY, J. C. McHAN, Catherine BRUCE, Presley OSWALT, Christopher LEWIS, Selen A. BERRY, Ann Eliza BERRY, Minerva WELLS, Martha BAYLUS TOLLISON, Kiziah Ragin, and Catherine OSWALT. Other new members included Mary THOMPSON STACY, Elizabeth BARRON, and Emiline BRUCE. Members leaving the church membership included Nancy MOORE, Susan SNOW, Mary McELVANIA, Sarah HUNT, and Berry THOMAS, who left to become a member of a Methodist church.
In 1868 the protracted meeting was held at the school house near J. M. HUNT. N. Q. ADAMS, the church clerk, was licensed to preach. The pastor was E. W. MORRIS. Susan ADAMS, Henry McHAN, and Eliza BOX became members by letter. Minerva WELLS was baptized, as were J. F. ROACH, William WRIGHT, Nancy ROACH, Elizabeth OAKS, Rebecca McHAN, Sarah NEIGHBORS, Nancy PAIGN, Sarah BOX, W. T. HUNT, Nancy WOOTSON, Parlee WATSON, and Alpha McHAN.
In 1869 the protracted meeting was held for eight days. Baptisms included Elizabeth WEEKS, Newt WATSON, Martha ROBINSON, James BLAKE, and Elizabeth OSWALT. The members leaving the church by letter were Sister F. K. GUEST, Brother SUTHERLAND and his wife, and Malinda EVANS. Delegates to the Association were J. H. SCARBROUGH, H. P. DOTSON, and K. F. BERRY. A. J. EDWARDS served as the church clerk.
In 1870 delegates to a meeting at Chestnut Grove were H. OSWALT, W. J. WEEKS, and K. BERRY. Delegates to the Association at Bear Creek were K. F. BERRY, W. T. WEEKS, and H. P. DOTSON. Brother Phillip BLANTON and his wife were granted letters. Others mentioned in 1870 were E. W. NORRIS, A. J. EDWARDS, and William WRIGHT.
In 1871 the congregation listed forty-eight females and nineteen males. Brother SUTHERLAND replaced the pastor, E. W. NORRIS, who resigned. Delegates to the Association were H. P. DOTSON, Henry OSWALT, and W. T. WEEKS. Three new members received were H. F. SMITH, Sarah SMITH, and W. EDWARDS. The members are listed below. H. P. DOTSON, deacon; Henry OSWALT, deacon; W. T. WEEKS; A. J. EDWARDS, church clerk; K. F. BERRY. John Green LEONARD, W. P. BLANTON, W. M. A. BLAIN, H. F. SMITH, W. A. EDWARDS, Thomas OSWALT, Tim QUINN, G. A. BERRY, C. ADAMS, P. BLANTON, John TREWETT, G. T. TREWETT, Brother SUTHERLAND, Elizabeth WEEKS, Kiziah BLANTON, Adeline DOTSON, Sarah FULCHER, Martha TOLLISON, Fanny ADAMS, Permelia OSWALT, S. F. BAGWELL, Elizabeth EDWARDS, Sarah CHRISTOPHER, Elizabeth BLANTON, Jane SNOW, Jane DOTSON, Julia BLANTON, Mary WEAVER, Mary BAYLUS, Jane NASON, Minervia GRIFFIN, Susan QUINN, Mary THOMPSON STACY, Elizabeth WEEKS, Kenny BERRY, Margaret ADAMS, Sindy LOWERY, Mary EVANS, Martha SIDES, Alice TREWETT, Susan ADAMS, Nancy NASON, Mary SNOW, Emily FULCHER, Martha ROBINSON, A. E. BERRY, Harriet LEE, Emily LEONARD, Sarah SMITH, Linda SMITH, Susan J. OSWALT, Clementine DOTSON, Melvina LEWIS, Elizabeth BARRON, Elizabeth OSWALT, Mary EDWARDS, Catherine OSWALT, Elizabeth (Liz) BLAIN, Darthula BLANTON, Mary TREWETT, and Anna CASH.
In 1872 several members were reported for various offenses which included dancing, drunkenness, and fighting. The offenders were visited by selected members and forgiven. Brother W. A. EDWARDS was licensed to preach. Frances BLANTON was granted a letter. Delegates to the Association were H. P. DOTSON, K. F. BERRY, and T. EDWARDS.
In 1873 Brother M. C. BENNETT was elected pastor, replacing L. SUTHERLAND. Delegates to the Association at Providence were J. BERRY, Thomas ADAMS, and C. ADAMS. Dancing continued to cause problems in the congregation. Thomas SCARBROUGH was granted a letter.
In 1874 a rule was passed strictly to forbid dancing. M. C. BENNETT continued to serve as pastor, with Phillip BLANTON as the church clerk. Sides School House was the scene of a protracted meeting. Ordained as
deacons were Cornelius ADAMS and Phillip BLANTON. W. A. EDWARDS was ordained; the type of ordination was not recorded. N. Q. ADAMS replaced M. C. BENNETT as pastor. Christopher DOTSON and Mary EDWARDS were baptized. Letters were requested by four members: Mr. and Mrs. W. A. BLAIN and Mr. and Mrs. John Green LEONARD.
In 1875 C. ADAMS was granted a letter. N. Q. ADAMS served as pastor, with A. C. DOTSON the church clerk. No other activities was shown in this history booklet.
In 1876 the BAGWELL SCHOOL HOUSE was used for business transactions by the church. Two new members were Sister BARRON and Catherine OSWALT. T. M. QUINN, H. P. DOTSON, and W. T. WEEKS served as delegates to the Association.
In 1877 A. C. DOTSON resigned as church clerk and was replaced by Silas BLACK. Sister ELIZABETH (surname not shown) presented a Bible to the church. Delegates to the Association were H. P. DOTSON, Philip BLANTON, and W. A. EDWARDS.
In 1878 W. A. EDWARDS replaced N. Q. ADAMS as pastor. Communion was observed in July. Brother WOODWARD was the preacher at a Saturday service in June. New members included Martin OSWALT, W. C. BLACK, M. BERRY, and Sister Mayouria CLARK. Sister Ann Hawkins was granted a letter. Brother E. A. FANT was selected to be the pastor for another year.
In 1879 M. L. OSWALT replaced Silas B. BLACK as church clerk. During the protracted meeting, new members received were Mary BLAKE, Betty THOMPSON, Della QUINN, and Mollie HUNT. A letter was granted to Clem BLAKE, Sister Theodosia OSWALT, and Nancy REVIS. W. T. WEEKS, Phillip BLANTON, and W. A. EDWARDS were elected as delegates to the Association. Brother W. T. WEEKS was elected church clerk, replacing M. L. OSWALT.
In 1880 several members were lost to the Mormon Church. They were H. P. DOTSON, A. C. DOTSON, W. T. DOTSON, M. L. OSWALT, J. W. CHRISTOPHER, Adeline DOTSON, Jane DOTSON, Clementine DOTSON OSWALT, Susan QUINN, Ella CRONDOEN, and Betty GRIFFIN. New members were Ervin OSWALT, Thomas BARY, and his wife Rosanna BARY. The elected delegates to the Association were W. A. EDWARDS, W. T. WEEKS, J. R. HUNT, and Phillip BLANTON. Newly ordained deacons were R. HUNT and Thomas BARY. Presely OSWALT and Duffy WELLS was mentioned.
Twenty articles of "Rules of Decorum of Bethlehem Church" were in effect in 1880. The first article required that public church worship and sitting in conference would be held once monthly. Article two stated that the conference should be opened and closed with singing and prayer. Article three gave the pastor the privilege of being moderator. If he were absent, or if a church clerk was needed, the members could vote for their choice. Article four gave the moderator the right to call to order at any time. Those not pleased with the moderator's decision were required to appeal to the church the same day. Article five allowed only one member to speak at a time, after first standing and receiving permission to speak. Article six required the moderator to name the person receiving permission to speak. Article seven restrained members from interrupting the speaker unless he drifted from his subject or used personal reflection. Unless a motion was withdrawn by the person making it, each motion made and seconded would be considered by the church. Article eight granted the moderator the right to be the 'Voice of the Church' after debates. Members could appeal the moderator's decision only that day. Article nine required that members desiring to leave must first receive permission from the moderator.
Article ten limited members by allowing each person to speak no more than twice on the same subject with permission of the moderator, until each person present had an opportunity to speak. The proposition could not be closed until the debates had been completed. Article eleven required that church members address each other as 'Brother' or 'Sister'. Article twelve gave the rule to the majority with the exceptions of the reception of new members or dismissal of present member. This required an unanimous vote of all members who were present. Article thirteen required members to be present at conference, otherwise the absent members would be dealt with. Article fourteen disallowed any interruption to public worship. Article fifteen required the church clerk to record all the church's activities. Article sixteen applied to the moderator. If the moderator chose to speak as a member, he must appoint someone to replace him during that time. The moderator had no voting privileges unless the members votes were tied. Article seventeen stated that members who violated the rules would be dealt with by the church. Article eighteen allowed the rules to be altered or amended when a majority agreed. Article nineteen repealed the requirement that all male members present sign any appendages to the minutes. Article twenty required the exclusion from the church to anyone who became intoxicated and failed to attend the first and second conference after the episode.
In 1881 Emely GUEST was granted a letter. W. T. WEEKS, John HUNT, and W. A. EDWARDS were elected as delegates to the Association.
In 1882 new members received by letter were W. BLAIN and his wife, John Green LEONARD and his wife, Mary BUSBY from Wake Forest, Harrison and Fanny WOOTSON, and D. AYERS. T. BARY, B. BLAIN, and W. T. WEEKS were elected as delegates to the District Meeting. Delegates to the District Meeting held at Double Springs Church were W. A. EDWARDS, J. G. LEONARD, and Phillip (probably BLANTON, no surname was given).
In 1883 Daniel AYERS was licensed to preach. Lucinda SUTHERLAND transferred her letter of membership from Blythe Creek Church. Others mentioned include E. A. FANT, pastor, W. T. WEEKS, church clerk, Jessie MARTGAN, and the elected delegates to the District Meeting at Spring Hill: W. EDWARDS, S. B.BLACK and Daniel AYERS.
In 1884 the congregation was composed of fifty-five females and twenty-one males. They were as follows: Elizabeth WEEKS, Sarah FULCHER, Fanny WOODSON, Elizabeth EDWARDS, Julia GROVES, Melvina LEWIS, Martha ROBINSON, Mary BARRON, Mary EVANS, Susan OSWALT, Arrena J. MABUS, Louiser BARRON, Parthenia OSWALT, Eliza HUTCHINSON, Betty THOMPSON, Rosanna BARY, Mary BUSBY, Ellen FULCHER, Misenire JENNINGS, Sarah OSWALT, Martha TOLLISON, Parmelia OSWALT, Elizabeth BLANTON, Mary SNOW, Emily BLANTON, Elizabeth OSWALT, Margaret ADAMS, Darthrelia BLANTON, Mary A. J. EDWARDS, Dolly BLANTON, Molly BARRON, Sarah EDWARDS, Jane NASON, Della QUINN, Della STACY, Nancy WOODSON, Rosie BARY, Kesiah BLANTON,Susan ADAMS, S. F. BAGWELL, Jane SNOW, Elizabeth F. WEEKS, Elizabeth BARRON, Ann E. EDWARDS, L. H. LEE, Martha SIDES, Emily MITCHELL, Della EDWARDS, Mary STACY, Susan A. MABUS, Mary BLAKE, Molly HUNT, Ruhimay OSWALT, Lucinda SUTHERLAND, Clementine OSWALT, Henry OSWALT, Phillip BLANTON, William T. WEEKS, L. OSWALT, C. C. LEWIS, W. F. FULCHER, J. H. FULCHER, S. B. BLACK, M. C. BARY, J. R. HUNT, D. WEEKS, Presley OSWALT, Ervin OSWALT, Thomas BARY, Daniel AYERS, Harrison WOOTSON, M. BUSBY, W. GRAVES, M. L. OSWALT, W. P. BLANTON, W. A. EDWARDS,
No information was shown in the booklet for the years 1885 through 1888.
In 1889 Brother FANT resigned, and the services were conducted in March and October by Moses BLACK. FANT also returned to the pulpit for services. Members received included A. L. WOODSON from Bethany Church, David CRANDEN, and Roby EVANS. Letters were granted to Molly BUCK, Marion and Mary BUSBY, and Mary EDWARDS. Delegates to the Association were M. W. BLACK, W. T. WEEKS, and Jonathan SCARBROUGH.
In 1890 E. A. FANT again served as pastor, with W. T. WEEKS as church clerk. Also Pastors REVES, DOTSON, ADAMS, FANCHER, and BURNEY conducted services. New hymnals were purchased for two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50). Moses BLACK, James BLACK, and John Green LEONARD were elected as delegates to the Association. S. M. WELLS, Katy QUINN, and Milley QUINN were granted letters. Members received by letter were James OSBURN, John NORMORE and his wife. There were several baptisms that year, including J. D. WEEKS, Frederick BAGWELL and his wife Ida BAGWELL, Ely SNOW, Charlie DeCHAZE, Robert Lemack EDWARD, Cisero SNOW, Lela Snow, Elizabeth GRIFFIN, Jimmie QUINN, and Effie DOTSON. H. P. DOTSON and Christopher DOTSON rejoined the congregation. Elected to be delegates to the Association were Moses BLACK, James BLACK, and John Green LEONARD.
In 1891 E. A. FANT and W. T. WEEKS were the pastor and church clerk, respectively. Delegates elected to the Association were Charley DUNN, John G. LEONARD, and William EDWARDS. Serving as delegates to Fellowship were Moses BLACK and J. L. WEEKS. Delegates to Wake Forest were Phillip BLANTON, Harrison WOODSON, and G. LEONARD. During the year J. T. SARGENT became the pastor. Elected deacons were Charlie DUNN, E. M. BARRON, J. L. WEEKS, Robert FULCHER, and M. L. OSWALT. Moses BLACK was ordained as a minister. In November John G. LEONARD was the preacher. Letters were granted to W. A. BLAIN, Sister G. E. BLAIN (Note: she was also listed as S. E. BLAIN), Mary BARRON, and Ellen FULCHER. Later in the year they returned their letters and again became members. Letters were also granted to Marion CALCOTE, Jamie BUSBY, Annie SCARBROUGH, and Piney SCARBROUGH. Nanny RIVERS, from Pilgrim Rest Church, became a member. Members joining by baptism included Joseph DUNN, David GRIFFIN, Edgar GRIFFIN, Annie BAGWELL, Rebecca PITTS, Jane BAGWELL, Elizabeth DUNN, Alphonio SNOW, and Fanny HUNT. Received by letter were Tom TOLLISON, and Sister Q. H. BRADY.
In 1892 a Sunday School was organized. J. T. SARGENT served as pastor, with W. T. WEEKS as the church clerk. The protracted meeting attracted several new members. Henry McHAN came by letter from Chestnut Grove. Baptized members were Brothers T. J. WEEKS, John QUINN, James HUTCHINSON, F. M. WILLIAMS, Thomas BRADY, Jackson EDWARDS, George BAYLUS, and J. BAYLUS. Other baptized members were Sisters M. E. BUSBY, C. BUSBY, M. A. CALCOAT, N. BRADY, and Elizabeth BLANTON.
In 1893 an apparently new event occurred. Elected delegates to the District Meeting at Blythe Creek included a woman. The delegates were John G. LEONARD and his wife, and Moses BLACK. Moses BLACK and John G. LEONARD were also the delegates to a meeting at Mt. Olive Church. J. T. SARGENT continued to serve as pastor, with W. T. WEEKS the church clerk. M. L. OSWALT was licensed to preach. Baptisms included Brothers William QUINN, D. CALCOAT, Johnson GRAVES, A. SNOW, Justavus EDWARDS, Olen GRIFFIN, and Walter WELLS. Baptisms were also performed for Sisters Mary BAGWELL, Effie BAGWELL, Molly EDWARDS, Lou EDWARDS, Zonia OSWALT, Nanny BARY, Minervia BARRON, Bell SNOW, Lizzy BLANTON, and Dora JAMES. Brother Erskin ROBINSON was received by letter from Blythe Creek Church. Letters were granted to Daniel AYERS, and to Sisters M. A. CLARK and Nanny BARY. Other members mentioned were Marion and Sister SNOW, Brothers W. T. FULCHER, C. C. LEWIS, and Willie LEWIS.
In 1894 the congregation voted to construct a new church building. E. M. BARRON, Pink BLANTON, and W. T. WEEKS were elected to raise funds for the new church. Construction was started that year. J. T. SARGENT was pastor with W. T. WEEKS serving as church clerk. M. L. OSWALT and Charlie DUNN were delegates to the District Meeting.
By letter E. L. TAYLOR was received from Center Ridge Church. Brother J. R. HUNT came by letter from Sturgis. Received by baptisms were Molly HUNT, Joe BARRON, Edgar ROBINSON, William Raney BLACK and Wiley Lewis BLACK (twins of Moses BLACK, nicknamed Jake and Juke), William McHAN, Molly QUINN, Alice OSWALT, Bell DUNN, Minnie GRIFFIN, Beulah BLANTON, Mamie BLANTON, Lula LEE, George OSWALT, Nora BLANTON, and Lilly BLANTON. Others mentioned were Jane NASON, Emily MITCHELL, and Brother W. J. BLACK.
In 1895 while the new church was under construction, services were held nearby at Mt. Airy School House. The congregation voted to deposit $4.48 to the treasury for the building fund. J. T. SARGENT continued as pastor, with W. T. WEEKS as church clerk. In August Moses BLACK served as the preacher. Letters were granted to Chester LEWIS and his wife (not named), to C. C. LEWIS, W. T. LEWIS, and Melvina LEWIS. Received by letter were Sisters Sophronica OSWALT, and Eliza HUNT. James OSBURN and Lula McHAN were baptized. Others mentioned were Henry McHAN, Mary Jane OSBURN and Eppie DOTSON.
In 1896 J. T. SARGENT and W. T. WEEKS maintained their position as pastor and church clerk. M. L. OSWALT was ordained as a minister. Letters were granted to Lizzie BUFFORD, Brothers W. A. EDWARDS, L. X. EDWARDS, and W. F. EDWARDS, and Sisters M. A. EDWARDS, Mary EDWARDS, and L. P. EDWARDS. Other members granted letters included Y. OSWALT, S. L. OSWALT, Ada OSWALT, and Zoner OSWALT. Several members were excluded for various offenses. Among these were John QUINN, Robert QUINN, H. P. DOTSON, Mollie QUINN, Apolona SNOW, Bell SNOW, Mary QUINN, Minervia GRIFFIN, Olise GRIFFIN, William RAINEY, Wiley Lewis BLACK, Walter WELLS, and A. C. DOTSON. Appointed to see the offenders were Charlie DUNN, M. L. OSWALT, and Darthulia BLANTON. Excluded members were always restored after a brief period of time.
In 1897 M. L. OSWALT served as the preacher in January. J. T. SARGENT and W. T. WEEKS continued to fill their positions as pastor and church clerk. The clerk was ordered to pay for lumber for the "house," which was probably the new church building. Brother Gus BERRY also served as the preacher. Letters were granted to Martha CHILDRESS, William BAYLUS, Ellen HUNT, Lizza BLACKWOOD, and Minnie KING. Jo-Ella BAYLUS from Mt. Pisgah was received by letter. Eppie OSWALT was mentioned.
In 1898 J. T. SARGENT and W. T. WEEKS were filling the same positions as in the previous year. In August Brother M. BLACK was preaching. In September Brother William GRAVES was the preacher. John WATLEY and Evie TAYLOR were received by baptism. Letters were granted to Joe BLANTON, Susan BLANTON, Cora BLANTON, and Rebecca PEASTER. Others mentioned were Bell OSWALT, Marion SNOW, Thomas TOLLISON, and W. T. FULCHER.
In 1899 J. T. SARGENT and W. T. WEEKS continued in their positions as pastor and clerk. Delegates to the Association were Moses BLACK, E. M. BARRON and W. T. WEEKS. Members leaving by letter included James M. OSBURN, James J. OSBURN, Mary Jane OSBURN, Brothers M. L. OSWALT, Justin OSWALT, James BAYLUS, and Sisters M. L. OSWALT, Alice OSWALT, and ELLEN FULCHER. Members received by baptism were Sisters Ardell LIDELL, and Lou HUTCHINSON. Brothers receiving baptism were F. M. DUNN, Edgar BOWERS, Isaac Thornton (Bud) BLACK, A. D. (Atby) MABUS, and Justin OSWALT. Z. D. OSWALT was received by letter.
In 1900 a committee was elected to investigate fencing the graveyard. J. T. SARGENT and W. T. WEEKS continued in their positions. Emmett L. TAYLOR was licensed to preach. W. T. WEEKS, Jake BLACK and Juke BLACK served as delegates to the Association. John BLACK and Johnson GRAVES were granted letters. Newly baptized members were Henry HUTCHINSON, Walter SNOW, Janey SNOW, Ella SNOW, and Etta DAVIS. Another member mentioned was Henry McCool.
The one hundred fifty year history of Bethlehem Baptist Church is continued through 1985 in the book from which this information was written. In 1999-present the church was active with Rev. Jimmy FLAKE of Sturgis, MS., as the pastorsince 1983. A few notes about the years 1900 through 1985 follow.
In 1906 at the church's conference Joe WEEKS, Sisters BLANTON and BAILEY, were appointed to select new hymnals. These were purchased at a cost of $1.50 per dozen with postage in the amount of $.90, for a total of $6.60. It was noted that Dr. William BLANTON paid one dollar to the church.
In 1908 a new stove flue was built, and in 1909 an organ was purchased. In 1911 the pastor's yearly salary was $125.00. After the resignation of the pastor in April 1917, the new pastor's salary for the remainder of the year was $60.00. In 1921 during the revival the pastor was paid $14.00, and the song director was paid $9.50.
In the years 1927 through 1931 no services were held at Bethlehem Church. Members attended nearby churches. In 1926 Rev. J. D. DEAL of Moorehead, MS, conducted a revival that sparked attendance at the church. Rev. DEAL served as pastor at Bethlehem from 1934 through 1939. Beginning in the 1930s delegates to the association were likely to be divided equally between men and women appointed to serve.
When the church celebrated its 100th year in August, 1935, B. G. DOTSON gave the history of the church. Mrs. D. H. QUINN baked the birthday celebration cake. The speakers for the occasion were Brothers BELL, R. B. GUNTER, and BIRD. A photograph of the interior of the church the day of the celebration shows some of the congregation dressed in period clothes. A sign stating "100th Anniversary" was displayed behind the pulpit. A wooden windup clock like the ones used on the mantle of fireplaces during that time period was on the wall over the banner.
In 1949 a woman was elected as church clerk. This is probably the first time a female held the position. By the 1950s women usually outnumbered the men as delegates to the Association. In 1958 gas heaters were installed in the new building used for Sunday School rooms. Lumber was sawed off for the rooms.
In 1959 mention is made that Lemach EDWARDS donated the land for the church and cemetery. In 1960 a homecoming was held to honor the Lemach EDWARDS family. The church voted to hold services only half the time. A picture of Christ was presented to the church in 1966 as a memorial to Larry Joe HUNT by his mother. In 1971 the church voted to have services full time. New steps were installed. Carpet was installed in the aisle, the auditorium front, and the rostrum.
In 1975 and 1978 funds were donated to the cemetery by the HUTCHINSON family.
July 1976 saw the church painted outside for the sum of $975.00.
A restroom was added to the church in 1977, the year the church was insured for a fee of $129.00 yearly.
The inside of the church was painted in 1978, and the roof was replaced on the Sunday School rooms. A stove and a table were purchased for $125.00. New draperies were installed. The church held a shower in 1979 for the family of Ollie BAXTER whose home had burned.
A perpetual trust fund was established in 1979 for the cemetery.
In 1980 arrangements were made to continue the trust fund if the church was disbanded.
In 1982 memorial items were received, including a new pulpit stand and table in memory of Bobby Ted BOX, and a plaque in memory of Joe Tom BRADBERRY. New offering plates and a table were given the church. A fence was erected on the grounds. A prayer meeting was started.
In 1984 four new Sunday School rooms, costing $9,600.00, were built. The roof was repaired and painted, and the church was painted for a cost of $1,960.00. The church was presented a public address system, and the fence was removed from around the cemetery. Improvements continued to be made.
In 1985 the church pews were cushioned for $720.00, and the church was insulated for the sum of $675.00. Rules were established in 1985 to govern the cemetery trust funds and the maintenance funds, to be effective "for as long as Bethlehem Baptist Church is an organized and active member of the body of the Lord JESUS CHRIST". To qualify to be a trust fund trustee, a member is required to be a born again believer in the Lord JESUS CHRIST and be an active member of the church. An inactive trustee is replaced at an open church election during a regular business meeting. The trustee being replaced is notified in writing and is allowed thirty days for a reply. The trustees establish an operating budget for cemetery maintenance which is approved by the church at the June business meeting. Unbudgeted expenses are approved by the church. Two trustees are required to sign each financial transaction. The quarterly report about the funds is given at the first regular business meeting of each quarter. The annual report is presented the day of the cemetery memorial. Trustees, who can be reelected, are elected for a term of three years. The election is held in February elected trustee is in charge of the trust. Vacanices are to be replaced by the remaining trustees.
The surnames of Bethlehem Baptist Church's sixty-six members in 1985 included BAGWELL, BLAKE, BOX, BIDDLE, FLAKE, GATLIN, HUNT, BARKSDALE, BROWN, GRAVES, HOLLIS, HUTCHINSON, BRADBERRY, HOLDEN, McHAN, KING, McGEE, NORWOOD, CUTTS, ELLINGTON, EAVES, DAVIS, RAY, STACY, STEWART, THOMPSON, JONES, LONG, MURIHEAD, OSWALT, CAGLE, EDWARDS, STACY, SHAW, WAYCASTER, REID, and THOMPSON. Honored in 1985 were seven people who held membership for fifty continous years: Frank BAGWELL, 59 years - since 1916; Willie CUTTS, 53 years - since 1932; Pearl CUTTS, 53 years - since 1932; Erma HUNT, 53 years - since 1932; John STACY, 53 years - since 1932; Marlin Blake BRADBERRY, 52 years - since 1933; Irene STACY BIDDLE, 51 years - since 1934.
The information about the improvements are mentioned in Elizabeth Buckner Restor's history.
* * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
Deed for Bethlahem Church
Land Deed Book F
MS Dept. of Archives and History
Know all men
by these presents, that I, Lemach Edwards, deed and convey unto David Weeks and
for the Bethlahem Church a certain lot or piece of land containing four acres,
more or less, for the special benefit of the Baptist denomination.
I, Lemach Edwards, bind myself, my heirs and executors to warrant and defend the title against all persons forever to said Weeks and Scarborough and their successors in office hereafter, the land lying as follows:
The Northwest one-eighth and the end corner of that one-eighth in Section 15, Range 11, Township 17, East, and running with a small branch i an S from White's Road to the section line, then with the section line to a small branch on the West, and also running to the White's Road from the section line, then running with White's Road from branch to branch.
Whereunto I have set my hand and seal, this the 20th day of November, 1841.
Acknowledge before Herod Fondren, Justice of the Peace, on the 14th day of March. A. D., 1842. Recorded March 30, 1842.
* * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
James Staughton Deal
Submitted by Mary Deal Sutherland, Daughter of James Staughton Deal
James Staughton DEAL, born in
1878 into a 'railroad' family began his railroad
career traveling on the trains from Memphis TN to New Orleans, LA at the age of
13; selling newspapers, sandwiches, etc. He later was a section foreman
and freight conductor. At some time he lived and farmed around Moorhead,
MS and had a store in Moorhead. For the first 40 years he said he lived
the "typical" railroader's life, pretty rough and tumble.
I don't remember the story of how he became a Christian but in a very short time he felt the call to preach. His first services were under a brush arbor somewhere near Moorhead. He went on to preach revivals and pastor churches in Sunflower and Carroll Counties. Some of those churches were Carroll Baptist Church, Inwood Baptist Church, Rome Baptist Church, and Friendship #2 Baptist Church.
About 1934, he was called to the Weir Baptist Church "half time". During those depression years churches couldn't carry the support of a preacher and his family alone. He preached ever other Sunday at Weir and at various other churches the remaining Sundays in Choctaw and Attala Counties. Some of the churches had services on week nights, Sunday afternoons, etc. (A funny aside, when he first moved to Choctaw Co. and wasn't known by everyone, he drove about so much, so fast in his car to visit people at the several churches he pastored that the sheriff thought he was running moonshine.)
These are the churches he pastored while we lived at Weir: Bethlehem Baptist Church, Hwy 12 E; Chester Baptist Church, Fentress Baptist Church, French Camp Baptist Church, Weir Baptist Church, (these are not on the list of churches, so they may no longer exist) Bear Creek Baptist Church, Ethel Baptist Church, Good Hope Baptist Church (south of McCool), and Berea Baptist Church.
In 1940, he was called to the Silver City Baptist Church and Gooden Lake Baptist Church in Humphreys Co., preaching every other Sunday at the two churches. In addition he helped establish and pastored the Spanish Fork Baptist Church in Yazoo Co. and pastored Bethlehem Baptist Church in Yazoo Co.
I do not know when Daddy preached at the following churches, and don't know the exact locations, but at sometime during his years in Mississippi he also pastored at: Wade Baptist Church, Lombardy Baptist Church, North Union Baptist Church, New Haven Baptist Church, Wake Forest Baptist Church, Beulah Baptist Church, a second Gooden Lake Baptist Church near Hollandale, Pruitt Baptist Church and one I cannot read the name.
In 1945, he was called to Start Baptist Church, Start, Richland Parish, Louisiana to be the first full time minister for that church. Daddy was not accustomed to only one church field to care for so when the people of a community near by asked him to help them establish a church he did so. He preached at that church, Beouf River Baptist Church for several years on Thursday nights, and Sunday afternoon.
He preached at the Start Baptist Church until his retirement in 1956. Shortly afterward a community in Morehouse Parish requested that he help them establish their church, Southside Baptist Church, Bastrop LA. He was their pastor for some time. Over the years, he held many revivals through out Mississippi and Louisiana; and in the later years substituted in a number of churches.
On June 30, 1963, he substituted for the pastor of Start Baptist Church. That night he became ill and passed away July 2, 1963, at the age of 85. When questioned about why he stayed so busy in his ministry he always answered that he lived the first half of his life for the devil and had to do double time.
*Note: The following information is from a notebook that was kept by Rev. J. S. Deal and submitted by Mary Deal Sutherland.
The names for Bethlehem in Daddy's notebook are, I'm fairly certain, those of people who joined the church during a revival. The page is titled Bethlehem 1936. The names are: Grady CUTTS, B; Mrs. Mary CUTTS, B; Dovey WHIZNAUT, B; W. C. HARPOLE, L; Akla STACY, B; Mrs. Bertha WHIZNAUT, L; Mrs Liza DAWKINS, L. (B indicated they are to be baptized; L indicates they are moving their letter)
Return to Index
Return to Church Index