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Carolina Presbyterian Church

The following information was donated to the Neshoba site by Alan Ray.

In the last century a group of people came to settle here from the Carolinas. They built a one room frame church building which has served them all these years. However, they felt the need of more adequate facilities - Sunday School rooms, sanctuary, etc. With their own gifts, labor and the aid of Presbytery’s $2,500.00 a new building has been erected. This old church has contributed members to many of our city and town churches and we hope it will continue its constructive work in the years ahead. The Rev. Hubert Stewart of Philadelphia is the minister.

I have come across a copy of a record of April 22 1978
Carolina church written by Mrs. J. M. Lofton 107 Gaylyn Dr.
Jackson, Miss. 39209
The copy is much deteriorated but I am attempting Mrs. Wm. Percy Sikes, nee Maydel Norrc to copy it as best I can.

"The zeal and fervor of our church-fathers as revealed in the records of fifty and 1; 100 years ago, is a benediction to one who peruses the yellowed pages of the old records with their quaint hand writing and diction, characteristic of those days, and inspires one to breathe the words of that old immortal hymn "Faith of Our Fathers! Holy Faith". We will be true to Thee to death.

Carolina Church located in the south eastern part of Neshoba Co. is one of the oldest churches in this section of this State and through ii5 years of its existence with its dark background of uneven periods of history in which there have times of war, times of peace, lean years, fat years, distress and joy, it has never failed to hold high the banner of the Cross ‘neath which have marched the courageous christian soldiers of that splendid old church in whose history is written in letters of light the lives of those heroic pioneers of faith.

We are indebted to Mr. G. W. Sikes for placing in our hands the early records of the church and for much interesting information in connection with its history.

The first entry found in the record books of this church reads as

Camp Ground, near Dixon,
Neshoba Co. Mississippi
November 20, 1841
Rev. Henry McDonald, a licentiate of the Mississippi Presbytery, who has been preaching in this neighborhood for a year and a half, having previously given notice to the Tombigbee Presbytery ) that a Presbyterian church would be organized this day and at this place in connection with TB by the Rev. W. H. Gray, a member of the presbytery, preached after which the following persons having presented certificates of dismission from the Philadelphia church in this county, were united together as a church, to be known as the Carolina Church:
Neil McDonald and wife Mary McDonald, John Wilkerson and wife Mary Wilkinson, Daniel McMillan and wife Catherine McMillan, John Savage and wife, Quincy Wilson and servant Millie, Daniel N. O. McDonald, Margaret McDonald, Eliza Jane McDonald, Margaret Catherine and Mary Ann McKay, Alex McKay and wife, Hugh McNair, Christine McNair, Margaret McKee, Christian McLane.

Alex McKay, John Wilkinson and Neil McDonald, were elected ruling elders and were so ordained, and installed.

The first session of which Rev. W. H. Gray was moderator received the following members: William Willis and wife, Daniel Willis, Christian Nelson, and servant Mariah, Mary Nelson. John McDonald, Jane Parker, all by certificate, and the following on examination of religious experience, Mary Burns, Sarah Watkins, Hugh McDonald and James Vance.

An interesting communication to the church in its first session from Rev. Henry McDonald tells of securing from the Presbyterian board of publications for the new church a donation of a full set of their publications for a library, consisting of 79 volumes and a number of doctrinal tracts worth thirty four dollars and forty-eight cents "It is hoped with blessings of God and your exertions, the library may be instrumental to the salvation of many souls, and to the propagation of the Presbyterian doctrine.

It seems that the organization of the church took place on Saturday for the next entry is dated the Sabbath Nov. 21, 1841 On this day with connection with the services the sacrament of the Lords Supper was administered. and the sacrament of baptism was administered to Margaret Elinor, infant daughter of John and Christian Nolan.

Alex McKay was the first clerk of the church and seems to have held the position until 1870.

It seems that the congregation worshipped in a brush arbor until the building of church and the minutes were dated "Camp Ground".

The first service in the church in the building appears to have been on Dec. 25, 1842 Rev. Gray Moderator

It is an interesting fact the original church is still worshipped in, and only the weather board and cover have been changed during these many years. The timbers were all hewed out and planed by hand and are securely pegged together. The significance of the name of the church is obvious when it is known that practically all the people as their names indicate, were of Scotch descent, who moved to this section of Mississippi from North and South Carolina. This fact explains why during the Civil War, the company which was organized and encamped at Carolina the Cooper Institute, which at that time stood just a few yards to the south of the church, known as the famous Scotland Guard. Perhaps the only soldier living was Mr. S. H. Parker who enlisted as a youth.

It is interesting to note also that slaves were members of this church. We find that Servant Elsie having made application for membership was questioned as to her Christian experience and accepted into the communion of the church.

In October 1849 Maria, a colored woman of the church wished to have her infant child baptized and the moderator was requested to do so. In another place we find where H. B. Baldwin and servant Sucky were received into the church by certificate.

Members of these early churches were expected to walk uprightly and circumspected lives, free from worldly entanglements and any departures from the part of strict rectitude was a matter of no small consequence, and one which the church felt morally and spiritually obligated to discipline.

In one of the minutes of 1850 we read that the Session was informed that public rumor charged a certain with unchristian conduct; first that dancing at a promiscous assembly, the occasion for which was an INFAIR, and second, excessive use of arduous spirits" and by his actions "the cause of Religion is scandalized and grieved". Where upon the Session resolved to examine the charge and directed the clerk to cite the defendent to appear before them on a certain date, and until the defendent could clear himself or get forgiveness, he was not to approach the Lord’s table."

Trial before the church is then recorded with testimonies of the various witnesses, and through out the investigation the Session seems to have carried out in a loving way the New Testament method of dealing with a brother who has done wrong.

The decision of the Session however was that the defendent had by good and sufficient proof been found guilty of charges, that he hereby be suspended from the privileges of the church until he gives satisfactory evidence of repentance."

Rev. J. B. Porter seems to have been pastor at this time who was evidently Succeeded by Rev. A. M. Mooney and he in turn by Rev. A. H. Smythe who served as pastor through out the Civil War.

Another example of church discipline was that a committee was appointed to talk to and attempt to bring about a reconciliation between two brethern who were reported to be angry at each other.

Again we read that a committee was sent to two brothers who were reported to have been intoxicated. These brothers later acknowledged their wrong doing and asked the forgiveness of the church.

In almost every minute we find that the church was consistently receiving new members both by experience and certificate.

In the minutes of May 20, 1869 we read where Thos. Lofton, a ruling Elder of the Presbytery of Tuscalousa, Ala. made application for membership and was received and made a Ruling Elder in Carolina Church and with his wife, Saphronia Lofton and daughter Ella.

In 1872 W. R. Morrow became Clerk of the Church, serving in this capacity until 1907

The present Elders include N. L. Morrow, Roscoe Ray and G. W. Sikes. While the deacons are Junius Fox and Mack Graves.

During the pastorate of Rev. D. L. Barr we find the minutes contain what is called a narrative report to the Presbytery at it's meeting which served as a gauge to the spiritual condition of the church. It includes a report on the attendance of its services, the manifesting of the Holy Spirit out pouring, deportment of the brethern, groth in Grace, faithfulness to Sabbath School, liberality of the brethern wi their means, absteniousness from intepenances and worldly amusements.

Rev. A. B. Coit succeeded Rev. Barr and beginning here in 1903 with N. L. Morrow serving as church clerk and with Geo. Henry, C. C. Watkins, Amdrew Lofton, James McNair, John C. Majure and N. L. Morrow as Elders.

During the pastorate of 1907 of the Rev. W. J. Eakin. G W. Sikes began his work as Clerk, which his position he now holds.

In the minutes of 1909, we find beautiful memorials and resolutions concerning the death of two elders of the church namely: Andrew Harmon Lofton and Christfor Columbus Watkins.

The present elders of the church now include: N. L. Morrow, Roscoe Ray and G. W. Sikes.
Deacons: Junius Fox and Mack Graves.

One has only to visit this old church and its "city of the dead" near by to be impressed with the fact it has a past, and that through it vicissitudes of the ninety (100) it has stood as yet standing in its community as a mighty influence for righteousness."

Later years: The old church was destroyed by a tornado in March 1966 - most of the tombs were damaged or destroyed. The church was credited with the work of having them repaired or restored-replaced with markers. Mrs. J. M. Lofton (Ruth) Phila. Miss.

Pastors remember: J. W. Allen, J. C. Watson, 18 years J. V. Cobb and others James Lipscomb Present: John Little serving Philadelphia and Carolina. Always close co-operation between the two churches.

After N. L. Morrow moved to Union prior to his death, his son-in-law Wm Percy Sikes followed him as deacon and Elder and Chairman of the Building Committee of the new church across the road. Maydel and Percy (Wm. Percy) Sikes moved to Jackson in 1970 to live near their three children, Flora Jones, Wm. P. (Bill) Sikes and George Sikes all active in their respective churches - daughter, Jerry, Mrs Dwight Waddell and family live in New Orleans, La.

This copy was made (with many typing errors) but with loving concern for the old church which harbored many of my ancestors as well as the Sikes kin and friends. I am grateful to he able to use this portable typewriter with pleasure. It once belonged to my late sister Bland Morrow, Nashville, Tenn.

Maydel Morrow Sikes, 81 years old!

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