Kemper County MS GenWeb

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Liberty Baptist Church

Submitted by Gene Allred

Liberty Church, 1923

Picture above submitted by Bonnie Evans.

On June 8,1842 nine men and six women met and organized Liberty Baptist Church in Kemper County, Mississippi. One hundred years later, the descendents of those pioneers met at Liberty Church, on August 9,1942, to celebrate its centennial and to hold a reunion of families of those in the organization. The second in August had been the date of the annual revival services since 1844, so it was fitting that the celebration be held on that date and that the sermon should be preached by the Rev. Webb Brame of Yazoo City, Mississippi, who was not only a great grandson of John E. Lloyd, one of the charter members, but was also ordained into the ministry by Liberty Church. His subject was "The Living Dead"-- Our loved ones are still living, not dead.

After the sermon, a bountiful dinner was served from tables set up in the beautiful grove. During the noon hour, visitors and friends renewed old ties and visited the cemetery. On one tomb in the cemetery is the name of "Polly Paris", born 1776, the mother of John E. Lloyd. She lived to the ripe age of 96, as have many of her descendants. There were other charter members buried in this old cemetery. Twelve grandchildren of J.E. Lloyd were present for the centennial celebration. Enoch Sprinks, one of the early pastors of Liberty who married Elizabeth Lloyd, was represented by one grandson, Hunter Cole.

There were six members of the Lloyd and Spinks families in the organization of Liberty Church. To these, through the years, have been added many other faithful families, such as, Gay, Swearingen, Key, Davis, Wilson, Brame, Wilkerson, Watts, Flannigan, and others. All these have brought Liberty Church down to the present day true to its traditions.

At the Centennial Celebration in 1942, J.C. Wilson presided over the afternoon session. He introduced Pressley Spinks of DeKalb who spoke on the early church history. He gave an account of several Kemper County churches that brought authorization from South Carolina churches to organize churches in the new country, granting letters to be used in the organization. He spoke of the slaves who were in the early church, they are named in all of the early minutes; then, of the strict church discipline - no horse swapping on Sunday, no gambling, no drunkenness, no dancing. He was reared in Liberty Church, a great grandson of one of the charter members.

The Rev. Michael Ross, who helped organize Liberty Church and a great many other Baptist Churches in East Mississippi, was the prime mover in the organization of Liberty Baptist Church. This grand old preacher moved to Texas in the early 1850's, taking all of his sons, and in-laws with him. There he helped to found Baylor University. Two of his sons came back to Mississippi to live; one William Ross, married Sarah Lloyd, daughter of John E. Lloyd. J.C. Wilson was a great-great grandson of the Rev. Michael Ross.

At this point, Mrs. Hervey Lloyd of Meridian, sang a lovely solo. Dr Cox, pastor of Meridian First Baptist Church, made a splendid talk on the pioneer spirit of the early settlers. Miss Olive Alexander of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, read the church covenant and articles of faith. Before the reading, she spoke of a letter, still in the possession of the family, written by John E. Lloyd to Sarah Lloyd Ross in 1852, while she was living in Texas.

The church has pictures of the early pastors, together with lists of pastors ordained by the church, lists of Confederate soldiers, also those in World War I and II.

The last feature of the centennial celebration program in 1942 was five minute talks by descendents of charter members and former pastors. One of the descendants, Albert Spinks, who in his time led all of the church music, made a talk, then sang songs from the old Scared Harp, music of their forefathers. One mentioned incidents in the life of an early pastor of the church, the Rev. C.E. Brame, when he prayed for rain-rain fell before services were over. The Rev. A.P. Davis, who was led into the ministry by Liberty Church, was present and made a short talk on what Liberty Church had meant in his life.

The Rev. Eugene Stephanes, pastor of the church in 1942, made a talk praising the present membership who have carried on the church traditions.

Liberty Baptist Church, rich in history and alive and active today still dedicated to the proclaiming of the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the leadership of the present pastor The Rev. Scott Harrell, is looking forward to the celebration of their 150th year in 1992.

Published by the Kemper County Historical Association
in the Kemper County Messenger August 10,1989
P.O. Box 546
Dekalb, Mississippi 39328
(601) 743-5640

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