Lamar County, Mississippi Genealogy and History


Pamela J. Gibbs County Coordinator

Lori Thornton,  State Coordinator
Deb Haines
, Assistant State Coordinator

WPA History of Lamar County, Mississippi


        The beautiful church buildings in the towns of Lamar County and the attractive appearance of the small rural church throughout Lamar County speak mutely of the deep spiritual life of the people of this section and here, whether in some secluded rural spot, at the end of some quiet street, or whether bordering on some busy thoroughfares of human endeavor--wherever men's hearts have been inspired to build--there they have founded a Temple to God.

        The investment represented in church property in Lamar County runs into large figures, and the activities and influence of the various denominations are far-reaching and are being extended into new fields.


        There are eight different denominations and 43 church organizations of white churches in Lamar County, as follows:

        One Seventh Day Adventist, one Catholic, twenty four Baptist, ten Methodist, five Holiness, one Presbyterian, one Episcopalian.

        MT. ZION LANDMARK BAPTIST: Duval Stuart, pastor; services held once a month. It is located on Black Creek near Burnt Bridge, three miles south of Highway 24. 125 members.

        PURVIS BAPTIST CHURCH: D. A. Hogan, pastor; services held twice each Sunday, Sunday School each Sunday, located in the town of Purvis, 275 members.

        MIDWAY LANDMARK BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor Vance Hill, services held once a month, located in Midway Community, 86 members.(Reference: Ras Cameron)

        LITTLE BLACK LANDMARK BAPTIST CHURCH: Vance Hill, pastor; services held once a month, 58 members, located four miles north of Lumberton on the West Purvis Lumberton Road. (Reference George Owens)

        ORAL LANDMARK BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor Troy Sumrall; services held twice a month, Sunday School and B. Y. P. U. each Sunday and W. M. U. meeting each week. Located near Victory School on Highway 42 six miles east of Sumrall. 147 active members. (Reference Harmon Aultman)

        CANAY LANDMARK BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor Riley Anderson, services once a month, located on Old Wire Road, from Lumberton to Columbia. 132 members. (Reference George Thompson)

        FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF LUMBERTON: pastor R. N. Ready. Services twice each Sunday, also Sunday School and B. Y. P. U. and W. M. U. once a week. Located in the town of Lumberton, 220 members. (Reference Minutes of the Mississippi Conference)

        PINE GROVE LANDMARK BAPTIST CHURCH: Pastor (illegible) Crawley; services held once a month. Located in the Pine Grove Community seven miles west of Purvis, 143 members. (Reference Dan Cameron)

        ROCKY BRANCH BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor M. Walters, service once a month, Sunday School every Sunday. Located in Rocky Branch Community (illegible) miles west of Oloh; 126 members. (Reference Mrs. Mack Smith)

        BAY CREEK LANDMARK BAPTIST CHURCH: Pastor N. Lott; services once a month; located 10 miles west of Purvis on the Sumrall and Oloh Road. 126 members. (Reference Geo. Thompson)

        PLEASANT HOME PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH: Services discontinued, no record of membership. Located 7 miles southwest of Purvis. (Reference Geo. Thompson)

        OLOH BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor N. Roberts; located in the village of Oloh; services once a month, Sunday School every Sunday, 150 members (Reference Mrs. Mack Smith)

        MILITARY BAPTIST CHURCH: Pastor T. A.(?) Sumrall, services once a month . Sunday School every Sunday. Located 2 miles south of Sumrall on the Military Road. 186 members. (Reference Rip Bond)

        SUMRALL BAPTIST CHURCH: Pastor Troy Sumrall, preaching service twice each Sunday. Sunday School and B. Y. P. U. Located in the town of Sumrall, 276 members. (Reference Troy Sumrall)

        OAK GROVE LANDMARK BAPTIST: pastor Rev. Simmons; service once a month, Sunday School every Sunday. Located in Oak Grove Community 11 miles south of Hattiesburg on Old Highway No. 11. 100 members (Reference W. D. Kittrell)

        BAXTERVILLE BAPTIST: pastor Joe Lowe, services once a month, Sunday School every Sunday. Located in the village of Baxterville. 44 members. (Reference Illegible Walker)

        CLEAR BRANCH BAPTIST: Pastor Illegible Cole, services once a month. Located four miles east of Purvis, 84 members. (Reference Illegible Slade)

        EPHESUS PRIMITIVE BAPTIST: pastor Albert Easterling, service once a month, located 2 miles west of Purvis, 49 members. (Reference John Patten)

        RICHBURG BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor A. C. Barrett, service once a month, Sunday School every Sunday, located 12 miles north of Purvis on the Richburg Road, 40 members. (Reference Minutes of Lebanon Association)

        CORINTH BAPTIST: pastor V. W. Malley, services once a month, Sunday School every Sunday. Located six miles west of Purvis on Baxterville Road. 176 members. (Reference Jack Miller)

        GOODHOPE BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor L. H. Harper. Service once a month Sunday School every Sunday, located 3 miles west of Purvis; 214 members. (Reference Jack Miller)

        HICKORY GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor Z. A. Polk, service once a month, Sunday School every Sunday, located on the Sumrall and Prentiss Road; 136 members. (Reference Minutes of the Lebanon Association)

        CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor C. S. Moulder; services once a month, Sunday School and B. Y. P. U. every Sunday; located in Oak Grove Community nine miles south of Hattiesburg on Highway No. 11. 68 members. (Reference Dan Walker)

        PROVIDENCE BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor, Vance Hill. Service once a month, located 5 miles north of Lumberton. 12 members. (Reference Jim Perry)

        TATUM CAMP BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor D. A. Hogan, service once a month, Sunday School every Sunday. Located at Tatum Camp ten miles north of Purvis. 80 members. (Reference Mrs. Alice Lee)

        FAIRVIEW BAPTIST: Rev. Nobles, pastor. Services twice a month. Located 3 miles west of Sumrall, 78 members.(Reference Field Slade)

        GREENVILLE BAPTIST: pastor Bro. Watts. Located 7 miles north of Baxterville. Services once a month.(Reference M. Entrekin)

        TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor Crawley, services once a month, located in Purvis, Sunday School every Sunday, 153 members.(Reference Lucy Morehead)

        PURVIS METHODIST: pastor G. K. Allen, services twice each Sunday, Sunday School and B. Y. P. U. Located in the town of Purvis. 223 Members. (Reference G. K. Allen)

        SUMRALL METHODIST: pastor L. M. Reeves, services twice each Sunday, Sunday School illegible. Located in the town of Sumrall. 175 members. (Reference L. M. Reece)

        LUMBERTON METHODIST CHURCH: pastor G. H. Thompson, services twice each Sunday. Located in the town of Lumberton. 275 members. (Reference G. H. Thompson)

        TALOWAH METHODIST: pastor G. E. Allen. Services twice a month, located in the village of Talowah, 6 miles south of Purvis, 63 members. (Reference G. E. Allen)

        UNION GROVE METHODIST: pastor Illegible Allen. Services twice a month, located on Highway 11, 6 miles south of Purvis. 61 members.

        TATUM CAMP METHODIST: services in the same building with Baptist, about 30 members. (Reference Lucy Morehead)

        OLOH METHODIST: pastor Rev. Martin; services once a month, located in the village of Oloh, 10 miles south of Sumrall, 95? members. (Reference Mrs. Mack Smith)

        SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST: pastor, Rev. W. W. Walker, service each Sabbath, also Sabbath School and Young Peoples Volunteer, located in the village of Talowah, 78 members. (Reference W. W. Walker)

        CATHOLIC CHURCH: Father Shermanmesser, pastor; services early mass each week day, regular service every Sunday and all special holidays, located at Seneca on Southern Railroad four miles north of Lumberton, 105 devout members. (Reference Father Shermanmesser)

        PENTECOSTAL CHURCH OF GOD: pastor J. C. Parker, located seven miles south of Purvis on Highway 11. Service every Saturday and Sunday night. This is a free religion. No records are kept. (Reference J. C. Parker)

        PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: services discontinued, located in Purvis.

        EPISCOPAL CHURCH AT LUMBERTON: services discontinued.

        There are members of the Church of God, Gospel Trumpet, but no church with regular pastor in Lamar County; also there are some so called Holy Rollers but have no regular church. This is also true of the Mormon Religion. The nearest church is in Columbia, Marion County.


        MT. ZION BAPTIST CHURCH: about eight miles from Purvis on the Sumrall and Purvis Road stands a one room lumber building known as Burnt Bridge Church. In 1878 a group of nine members organized this church under the name of Mount Zion Church. It was built near a bridge on Black Creek which later burned and has ever since been known as Burnt Bridge Church. The charter members of this church were Robert Whiddon, Samuel Scarborough, William Lee, W. S. Street, Sarah Graham, Martha Bounds, and Margaret Lee, the only surviving member. The first pastor was H. Graham. He and R. L. King composed the Presbytery. The first building was of logs, roughly thrown together, but the membership soon required a larger and better building which was built in 1890 and is the present building. They now have a membership of 125. (Reference Claudie Cameron)

        PURVIS BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1882 by Reverend H. R. Curtiss and Jimmie Johnston. Rev. Curtiss was pastor for a number of years. The first meetings were held in a school house built of logs. In 1885 a frame room building was completed on the west side of what is now Main Street at its northern end. 13 years later this building was destroyed by the cyclone that destroyed Purvis. Then the Home Mission Board of the Southern Convention erected the present building. One of the charter members of this church is still alive; Mrs. Nancy Purvis. (Reference Mrs. Nancy Purvis)

        MIDWAY BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized by J. P. Johnson in the year of 1883. It is a frame wood building. Church discipline is very strict, being in the hands of deacons and pastor.

        LITTLE BLACK BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in the year of 1883, by J. P. Johnson. The first building was of logs, built on Little Black Creek. Later this building burned and the church was moved to Red Creek, and the present frame wood building was erected. It is still called Little Black Church, financed by free will offerings. They have a Sunday School every Sunday and a singing school every summer. (reference Geo. Owens)

        PURVIS METHODIST CHURCH: was organized in 1882 by Melvin Purvis, J. B. Purvis, W. H. Fillingame. Religious services were held in private homes and on logs under pine trees. Later a wood building was erected. In 1886 Rev. Van Guice established Purvis as a regular preaching appointment. During this same year Rev. B. S. Raynoor, P. E., of the Seashore District was instrumental in incorporating Purvis as a charge composed of Ellisville, Hattiesburg, Purvis and Poplarville. In April 1908 this building was destroyed by the cyclone. Soon afterward another building was erected. Since then Purvis Church has held high rank in the charges of the Miss. Conference.

        ORAL BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1886 by Rev. J. P. Johnson then a Missionary worker sent to this section by the State Mission Board. He served as first pastor here. The first church house was a small log building put up by members. In 1893 the present lumber building was erected. Mr. Herman Aultman gave the timber and one of the northern men who came into this section cut the timber for one half of the lumber. The following list of charter members of this church are still living: Harmon Aultman, Mrs. Elizabeth Lambert, and Mrs. Nannie Bynum. The 50th Anniversary of this church was celebrated in the fall of 1936. (Reference Harmon Aultman)

        CANAY CHURCH: was organized in 1887. It is a small frame building built from collections. The first services ices were held in the little school building. It was organized by Rev. G. W. Burge, pastor of the church. The church is built near Little River. Some of the Charter members are G. W. Burge, B. P. Henley. (Reference Geo Thompson)

        FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF LUMBERTON: was organized in 1889. Rev. Thomas Smith was first pastor. HE led in the erecting of the first church building and was succeeded by Rev. W. B. Holcomb who served as pastor for ten and one half years. In 1898 the present location was secured and a wood building erected and dedicated in 1899 by Dr. A. N. Rowe, then corresponding secretary of State Missions. In 1925 Rev. L. A. Materne led the congregation in erecting the present modern brick building. This church is financed by its members. (Reference Minutes of State Conference)

        PINE GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized by Rev. Jimmie Johnston and Rev. Bill Holcomb in 1890. This meeting took place under a group of large pine trees near the school house, one Saturday evening. Some of the charter members are still living, there being twenty of them at that time. The first sermon was preached was preached under these pines by Rev. Johnston. First building was of pine logs, covered with boards. In 1904 the members erected a building of lumber, a one room house. Rev. Johnston was first pastor. In years past Pine Grove Church had one of the finest choirs that could be found in any rural church. They still have choir practice every Sunday night, a Ladies Missionary Society and Sunday School. (Reference Mrs. Mary Davis)

        PURVIS CATHOLIC CHURCH: In 1894 James O'Connell came to Purvis. He was Catholic and there being no Catholic Church in Purvis, Mr. O'Connell had a room built to his house and services were held here. Father Ennis came from Prentiss. Those who were members of the Catholic Church were: Lavinis O'Connell, Mr. and Mrs. G. F. Blackburn, Mr. W. A. Blackburn and daughter, Delia Blackburn were living in the Pine Grove Community 7 miles west of Purvis, attended service here. Father O'Sullivan from Bassfield held service in the country in their home. In 1905 Rev. Father O'Riley of Hattiesburg came to Purvis, a priest from Paulding, Jasper County, Miss., came to Purvis and held service here. In 1921 Father Shermanmesser was sent to Seneca to preach and he came to Purvis and took charge of the services.

        ROCKY BRANCH BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1898 by Rev. Abner Walker. It was a small frame building that built by collections, near the Little River Bank. Some of the charter members are as follows: Mr. and Mrs. Shep Herrin, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Hartfield, Mrs. Nancy Slade and Mrs. Acy Hartfield. Services are held once a month by Rev. Walters.

        BAY CREEK LANDMARK BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1900 by Rev. J. L. Bryant. Some of the charter members are J. L. Bryant, Oliver Sudden, Will Powell, and Jeff Rawls. It is a small frame building that was build from collections. This church is often referred to as The Oaks. The first sermon was preached under large oak trees.

        PLEASANT HOME: was organized in 1900 with Rev. Easily as preacher. It is a small frame building that was built by collections from members, a Primitive Baptist, sometimes called Hard-shells. Some of the charter members: Mark Parker, Jeff Massey, Israel Beach. Services are discontinued and the members go to Ephesus church for services.

        OLOH BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in the year of 1901 with Rev. J. J. Justice as minister. He was the first pastor. Some of the charter members are: Mr. and Mrs. Silas Baggette, Mr. and Mrs. Julias Collins, Mrs. Bell Lott, Mrs. S. D. Pace.

        MILITARY BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized by Rev. Jimmie Johnston. It is a small frame building paid for by donations.

        LUMBERTON METHODIST CHURCH: This church was organized in the year of 1886 and built by H. A. Camp, R. W. Hinton, J. H. Hinton, D. P. and A. S. Hinton. This was a small frame wood building. Later a new wood building was erected on Main St. and was dedicated by Rev. Huntley on Sunday, March 8, 1896. Brother Huntley was a former pastor of the church. Some of the charter members are still active. They are: J. M. Jenkins and wife, Mrs. R. W. Hinton, Mrs. N. J. Bethune, Mrs. H. A. Camp. Some of the outstanding preachers of the conference were pastors of this church, as: Bro. Hays, Howell, Emery, Partridge, Selby, Parker, Huntley, Thompson, and Adams. (Reference G. H. Thompson)


        SUMRALL METHODIST: organized in 1906. The present modern brick building was erected in 1914. Has all modern equipment and a live Sunday School. Is financed by the members. (Reference Pauline Slade)

        THE BAPTIST CHURCH SUMRALL: was organized in 1906 and began its work as a Mission Station for the state. The present building was erected in 1927, is of brick, cost $32,000. Financed by the church. There is a W. M. U. and B. Y. P. U. (Reference L. N. Reeves)

        OAK GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH: organized in 1907 with Rev. Jimmie Johnson as pastor. The first building was a small one room frame building that was built from contributions. In 1936 the members of this church tore the old building down and made a new one room building. It is a very attractive building. They have Sunday School.(Mrs. Sam Williams)

        PURVIS PRESBYTERIAN: was organized in 1907. The first building was a small frame building paid for by donations. The first preacher was Rev. O. C. Dorphy. The building was completed in December but services were not held in the new building until Sunday, March 8, 1908. The church was organized by Harris Magee, Luther Magee, and Reuben McNair. The membership grew into fifty members. The cyclone of 1908 blew the building down. Sunday School was organized in this building January 26, 1908 at 3:00 o'clock. Services have been discontinued.

        BAXTERVILLE BAPTIST: it is a small frame building that was built when the Hinton Lumber Co. had their sawmill there. The Baptists and the Methodists made the building, one paid half and the other half. When the building was completed the Methodist had their Sunday School in the morning, the Baptist in the evening. The Sunday School was called Union Scnool. (Reference W. D. Kittrell)

        CLEAR BRANCH: was organized in 1910 by Harrison Davis and Rev. Geo. Lee. There is no church building, services are held in the school building.

        EPHESUS PRIMITIVE BAPTIST: was organized in 1912. It is a small frame building that was built from donations. Some of the charter members are Rev. M. F. Patton and wife, Mr. and Mrs. John Patton, Mrs. Phoeba Miller, Mrs. Mille Johnson. Rev. Patton was the first pastor.

        ST. ALBANS EPISCOPAL MISSION: was built in 1913. Bishop T. D. Bratton, Bishop of the Diocese. Dr. D. B. Waddell was Rector in charge. J. W. Williams, Sr., Warden, R. W. Hinton, Jr. Treasurer, H. L. Deval and Lee E. Williams, building committee. Corner stone was laid by the Masonic Grand Lodge, Dr. Bays, G. M. Subsequent rectors: Rev. J. Lundy Sykes, Rev. L. L. Malone, Holly Wells, and then Circuit Jones. At one time there were 24 communicants and 37 members of the Sunday School. Services are now discontinued.

        RICHBURG BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1915. It is a small frame building paid for by donations. Sunday School each Sunday.

        CATHOLIC CHURCH AT SENECA: was organized in 1912 by a colony of 14 Catholic families who came to this county from German Town and Breeze Ill. Services were first held in an old saw mill hut by Father O'Riely of Hattiesburg, Miss. who came down once a month until the present building was erected in 1913 by Fred Harr and Fred Neimeyer, the building costing $1380. The Priest's modern home was completed in 1922, has all modern conveniences. The church I financed by members.

        TALOWAH METHODIST CHURCH: was organized and established in 1918, a frame wood building made possible by donations and subscriptions through the efforts of Bro. Edd Rutledge, and Rev. Williams, the building was erected by community labor. It is financed by the members.

        CORINTH BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1888 by Rev. Jimmie Johnston. Some of the charter members are Sidney Johnston, Jepsey Cole, Matison Holcomb, John Saucier, Sam Courtney. First house was made of logs in 1888. In 1898 a small frame building was built by members. Rev. M. N. Broadus was pastor of church from 1900 - 1903. In 1820 Rev. J. M. Gibbs reorganized Corinth Church from Landmark to Convention.

        HICKORY GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1921, is a small frame building financed by members. They have a Sunday School and a B. AT. U.

        GOOD HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1920 by Rev. J. M. Gibbs of Alabama. It is a small frame building paid for by members.

        CALVARY CONVENTION BAPTIST: organized in 1920 by W. W. Byrd, E. S. Mullins, J. W. Traylor, and O. R. Armstrong. It is a square wood building with a steeple and will seat 500. It has a Sunday School and a B. Y. P. U., is financed by members. (Reference Dan Walker)

        SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST: was organized July 21, 1922. W. R. Elliot presiding, there being 18 believers in this location. By permission they met in the Methodist Church. J. L. Walker was elected leader, F. E. McKee as Deacon, Mrs. McKee as treasurer, Mrs. Lula Hendershot as clerk. The Seventh Day Adventist church is a worldwide organization divided into units. It is supported by tithes and free will offerings. The returning of the tenth of the income of the members for the support of the gospel is a fundamental teaching of the church. All Seventh Day Adventist ministers are on a regular salary, paid by the local conference. In 1936 Talawah sent $1600 to the conference. It is a frame wood building.

        PROVIDENCE CONVENTION BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1923 by Rev. J. M. Voss and Rev. Miller. Services were first held under the trees, later in the schoolhouse, until the present frame wood buildings were erected. This was accomplished through the efforts of Mr. Jim Perry and Lee Owens, funds were raised by donations and subscriptions.

        UNION GROVE METHODIST CHURCH: was organized in 1924 by Bro. Williams, M. Morris and W. Morris, Funds raised by donations and subscriptions. Is a frame wood building, painted, seating capacity about 600. It is finance by members.

        TATUM CAMP BAPTIST: organized in 1929. It is a small frame building built by the Tatum Lumber Company. They have Sunday School and the Ladies Missionary Society.

        TATUM CAMP METHODIST: organized in 1929 in the same building as the Baptist Church.

        PENTECOSTAL CHURCH OF GOD: was organized in 1930. The present frame wood building was erected in 1931 by donations. Is financed by members and free will offerings.

        FAIR VIEW BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1933, is a small frame building that was built from donations. No pastors home.

        TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH: was organized in 1920 by Rev. T. C. King of Purvis, Miss. It is a small frame building that was built by collections and sponsored by members.


        THE LANDMARK BAPTIST have all day services and all day sings once or twice a year. Singers from other churches are invited; also other preachers. They meet at 10:00 o'clock in the morning and start song service. The committee is appointed by the church members to look after the program, they also take charge of refreshments to be served at noon. Solos, duets, quartets, etc. are a part of the program. It is announced in the local paper a week or so ahead. Singers from other states often attend. The churches take turns having sings.

        If there is a traveling minister of the same faith and order who wishes to preach at one of the churches he writes and asks for permission, stating the time. Arrangements are made and an all day affair is planned. Dinner is brought and served on the church grounds at 12:00 o'clock. Collections is taken, none are under obligations to pay.

        They have their annual revival once a year, during the summer months or fall. It lasts about a week with one all day service. The remainder of the time two services a day are all.

        Next with the Landmark Baptist comes the annual association. The churches that belong meet at an appointed place on the second Saturday in October. It lasts three days, dinner being served on the church ground all three days. They have three services a day at the association. The members of the home church take care of all the visiting delegates and ministers. All the yearly business is read and adopted and a place selected for next meeting.

        Communion day is sometimes an all day affair. Regular service is held then feet washing is done before communion. Then they have communion of unleavened bread and wine. Only those of the same faith and order takes part in their communion. No one but a deacon's wife bakes the bread, the service being held in May.

        The fifth Sunday service is none other than the day for church business. In the Associational they put a member of the churches in a group to meet on the fifth Sunday to plan the church business. (Reference Mrs. Fannie Blackburn)

        A singing school is taught in many of the Landmark Baptist Churches once a year. This is in the summer months. Pupils pay the teacher a small fee for 10 days teaching. The pupils are taught to read and sing music. The classes begin at about 6:00 o'clock and last until four. On the last day an all day sing is in order. Some of the teachers in this county are: E. M. Dyar, Lee Lassiter, John Lott, Van Anderson, Joe Cameron, W. N. Matthews, etc. In some of the churches choir service or practice is held once or twice a month.

        Years ago when these pioneer churches were organized the members cleared about an acre of ground and fenced it. They set this plot of ground aside for their cemetery. In some of the oldest, small sheds are still found built over the graves. The graveyard workings are held at different times during the year. An announcement is made, a time set and all who have relatives or friends buried there are invited to attend. The ground is hoed and raked, rubbish burned, sunken graves are filled and flowers are transplanted to open spaces, shrubbery is set out. It is the custom of some of the churches to clear they graveyards and decorate the graves on decoration day. In some of the churches they have a set of tools that are kept locked up for this purpose.

        These people have a few customs that seem peculiar to some people. One is foot washing. They hold conferences where a member is brought before the church if he has committed a deed contrary to the rules of the church. Rev. Hughie Graham organized the Burnt Bridge Baptist Church in 1878, the first one organized in this county. It is located near Black Creek, six miles south of Oak Grove.

        SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS. These people believe in the Second Advent of Christ. Observe the seventh day of work as the Sabbath. Believe in Baptism by immersion. Believe that the dead are only sleeping, awaiting resurrection. The beginning of this denomination was in the year of 1844; they have local conferences in individual states, then as a group of states, then the General Conference is world wide. They boast a membership of 44,509. They support their church and maintain their own day schools by tithes. These people do not eat meat of any kind, say it is unclean.

         THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AT SENECA . When the children reach the age of seven years they take their first communion (as Lord's Supper) The members of the Catholic Church do not eat any meat on Friday. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts until Easter Sunday. During this period Catholics who are between the ages of 18 and 60 years who are able bodied are not supposed to partake of but one meal a day, this period being the Trial, Death and Resurrection of Christ.

        THE CHURCH OF GOD OR HOLY ROLLERS. This denomination have small churches, some have a parsonage nearby but do not have a regular parson. They have traveling preachers who come in and hold meetings at intervals. They worship by shouting, reading scripture which they interpret to fit any need or point they want to emphasize, singing and clapping h ands. After the reading of the scripture and a song or two they call for those who are seeking (page missing).

        MENNONITES. These people wear long black or dark blue dresses, tight fitted waist and full gathered skirts. Elastic is used instead of buttons on both men and women's clothes. On their heads they wear black bonnets lined with white? Underneath this bonnet is worn a white cap, which is kept on all the time except when the hair is combed or when in bed. The men's suits are hand made as well as the large hats which they wear. After a man marries he does not shave his whiskers.


        Rev. Jimmie Johnston was the founder of some of the pioneer churches in the eastern part of Marion County, now Lamar. He was sent out from Smith and Jasper Counties by the State Mission Board as a Missionary to teach and preach the gospel. He traveled in a buggy and usually spend the nigh along the way in the home of friends, and hold service. He traveled from the above counties to the coast. The roads that he traveled were lonely, the people lived far apart, and in this way he held services while making his trips. He was an honest man with only a common education. He was a leader in every thing that he undertook, an eloquent speaker. Sometimes he would be away from home for weeks and weeks asking people along the way to join the church. He usually wore a frock tail coat, as that was the fashion for men at that time. He died about 25 years ago and just where he is buried is not known to us. He organized six Baptist churches in Lamar County and also many others in adjoining counties. (Reference Mrs. Mary Davis, Harmon Aultman)

        Reverend George H. Thompson, 48 years a member of the Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His early education was limited. When 18 years old he went to Centenary College at Jackson, La. He only had the sum of $140. He was admitted on trial to the Miss. Conference. He is now in the 48th year of his ministry and seven of those years have been spent as pastor of the Methodist Church at Lumberton, Miss., Lamar County. (Reference Rev. G. H. Thompson)

        Rev. Abner Walker, Baptist Minister came to this county as a missionary sent out by the Red Creek Baptist Association. He was the founder of several churches in this association, one in Lamar County, that of Rocky Branch. During his work as a missionary for this association he held services in churches, school houses, camps and h homes. He worked in this association for a number of years, coming here from Van Clive, Miss., near the coast. He entered the Civil War when a young man and fought for our "Sunny South". During his last few years of life he spent his time in Beauvoir, (home for confederate soldiers), at Biloxi, Miss. He was a leader in this home in the Religious Services. In his last years when he was not able to attend the Association he sent a letter to them expressing his desire to attend, but could not on account of failing health. During this time he composed a religious song which he sold for 10 cents a copy. He gave this money to the support of aged Baptist Ministers. He died in 1920 at the Beauvoir home at the age of 82 years. He is buried in the Walker Cemetery. Some of his work he began in the Red Creek Association is still being carried on by other workers. (Reference A. Q. Broadus)

        Rev. M. H. Broadus, Baptist Minister, moved into this county from Harrison County, Miss. He preached in nearly all the pioneer churches in this county as a missionary sent out from the Red Creek Baptist Association, was moderator of Red Creek Baptist Association for a number of years doing outstanding work in this line. During his pastoral work he always taught the people the works of God, just as long as he was able to travel, about two weeks before his death he held a revival meeting in Sun Flower, Baptist Church in Stone County. He died in 1932 at the age of 78 years. Rev. M. H. Broadus has been missed in his work in Lamar County since his death.

        Rev. J. L. Bryant, Baptist minister, was considered one of Lamar County's best pioneer preachers. He was the founder of Bay Creek Baptist Church and was pastor for a number of years. He was church moderator of the Black Creek Association during this time, and made a record in the work that will always be remembered by this Association. He died in 1935 at his home in Bay Creek Community near Baxterville, Miss.

        Rev. W. M. Williams was pastor of the Methodist Church in Purvis for four years. He was instrumental in establishing the Methodist Church at Talowah and Union Grove and present at the dedication of these churches in the summer of 1936. He is now chaplain at the State Sanitarium at Magee, Miss.

        Three of the most promising young men of the Miss. Conference were born in Purvis, Lamar Co., received their Christian training and called into the ministry here. Namely: Bro. W. B. Alsworth, P. E.; James Slay and T. R. Hott. Following is a list of ministers who were born or lived in Lamar County:

Rev. James Slay
W. B. Alsworth
T. S. Entrekin
Charlie Entrekin (deceased)
Roy Leslie Lane
Rev. Alvin C. Kelly
Jessie L. Boone
Alonzo Boone
Daniel Boone
E. R. Boone
Farvo Adams
T. R. Holt
Lamar Holcomb
Earnest Dearman
T. C. King (deceased)
James Baxter
Johnnie Neimeyer (priest)
M. H. Broadus (deceased)
Charlie Nobles
Abner Walker
N. A. Lott
Elias Haden
J. L. Bryant (deceased)
T. J. Smith
Hughie Graham
Cage Courtney
May Carrouth
W. M. Holcomb
June Hartfield
D. A. Hogan
Bill Anderson
Newman Wall
Luther Holcomb
R. S. Steele
Dan Kelly
M. L. Benton
M. D. McKee
Joe Lowe
Ernest Byrd
John Broadus
Stuart Cole
Duval Stuart
J. C. Parker
Riley Anderson
Jimmie P. Johnston
T. A. Sumrall
M. F. Patten
George Jones
Austin Anderson
H. L. Harper
J. M. Gibbs
A. L. O'Bryant
H. R. Curtiss
Geo. Lee


        There are 13 different denominations of Negro Churches in Lamar County; 5 Methodist, 6 Baptist, 2 Church of God.

        LOVES ADDITION MISSIONARY BAPTIST: pastor Rev. W. M. Mallory, service once a month, Sunday School every Sunday, located in Love Quarters in Lumberton, 120 members. (Reference Belledore Spriggs)

        MORNING STAR BAPTIST CHURCH: W. P. Nobles, pastor. Services once a month, Sunday School, located in Big Quarters 6th Avenue, Lumberton. 50 Members.

        ZION MISSIONARY BAPTIST: C. L. Marker, Pastor; service twice a month, Sunday School every Sunday, located in Lumberton, Big Quarters, 28 members.

        THOMAS CHAPEL METHODIST CHURCH: George Brandon, pastor. Services once a month, Sunday School every Sunday, located in Big Quarters, 624 6th Avenue, 45 members.

        BETHEL CHAPEL METHODIST CHURCH: J. H. Brandon, pastor; service once a month, located in Wells Town, Lumberton, 14 members.

        EVENING LIGHT: has no pastor at the present time but prayer services are held twice each week. Located in Big Quarters, 7th Avenue, Lumberton, Miss. 32 members.

        CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST: Dancing Saints, G. D. Dukes pastor. preaching once a month, prayer meeting once a week. Located in Big Quarters, Lumberton, 11 members.

        SPRING HILL BAPTIST CHURCH: pastor A. H. Hardy, preaching once a month, Sunday School, located in Purvis Quarters, 45 members.

        ST. JAMES METHODIST CHURCH: pastor Tom Sharp. Services once a month, Sunday School, located in Purvis Quarters, about 40 members.


        During the saw mill boom in Sumrall, hundreds of Negroes moved here, and established churches of the different denominations. At that time there were 7 churches in the Quarters. Since the cutting out of the saw mill the majority of the Negroes have moved on. Only the ones who were stranded here and could not get away are left. Those few hardly are able to support one church. In our research we find that there are only three churches that are able to keep a pastor. None of the churches have kept records. Very little information can be gotten as the ones who established the churches have gone on. Those few that are here are as follows: (Reference Porter Messer)

        MT. HEBRON BAPTIST CHURCH: Rev. Fortenberry, pastor; preaching service once a month, Sunday School every Sunday, located in Sumrall Quarters, 75 members. (Reference Mandy Morgan)

        ST. LOUIS BAPTIST CHURCH: Rev. May, pastor. preaching once a month Sunday School every Sunday. Located on Main Alley, Sumrall Quarters, 40 members. (Reference Mandy Morgan)

        AFRICAN METHODIST CHURCH: Rev. Williams, pastor; services once a month, Sunday School, located in Sumrall Quarters, 10 members

        The Methodists have Revival meetings yearly, quarterly Conference and Communion.


        JAMES CHAPEL METHODIST: organized in 1897 by ?. F. ?udley. The church went by his name until the building burned. The new church was built by J. W. James and named for him. It is a wood building.

        BETHEL CHAPEL METHODIST: organized in 1899 by Jessie Husband and Will Rogers, a wood building, financed by collection.

        ZION MISSIONARY BAPTIST: organized in 1899 by Lee Winston and Jim Scott. Wood building, financed by collections. (Reference Jim Scott)

        MORNING STAR BAPTIST CHURCH: organized in 1902. Wood building financed by collections. Organized by J. F. Fortson.

        EVENING LIGHT CHURCH OF GOD: organized in 1906. Wood building financed by collections.

        THOMAS CHAPEL METHODIST CHURCH: was organized in 1906 by Mr. Tompkins, Wood building, financed by collections.

        ST. JAMES METHODIST CHURCH: organized in 1906 by Rev. Sam Ray...?. Charter members are Will McCall, Robert Spears, and Johnnie Jon(es). A frame building built from collections when the sawmill was in operation here. When the saw mill cut out most of the members moved away.

        MT. HEBRON BAPTIST: organized in 1912 by J. Carlyle. J. Collins, E. King, and G. Parker. A small frame building built when the J. J. Newman Company was in Sumrall.

        ST. LOUIS BAPTIST CHURCH: organized in 1912, built then J. J. Newman Co. was in Sumrall.

        AFRICAN METHODIST: organized in 1915. Financed by members. Wood building

        SPRING HILL BAPTIST CHURCH: organized in 1896 by Rev. Jarrell. The first church was built near where the city hall is now located. It remained here for a number of years and when the Negro quarters were moved to the end of town (south) the church was torn down and moved. When the church was organized there were 20 charter members. The church was built by collections and is a small frame building.

        LOVE'S ADDITION: organized in 1904 by Charlie Phillips, wood building financed by collection, disciplined by the Baptist Orthodox.

        CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST: organized in 1905 by Jesse Eaton, wood building, financed by collections.

W.P.A. Table of Contents

The Civil War


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