The Monroe Mission
These chapters deal with the Monroe Mission, located in North Mississippi, circa 1823-1838. The chapters are rich in genealogical data, for both the slaves of the Chickasaws and the Chickasaws, and read like a "who's who among" the Chickasaws. These chapters also read like a "juicy novel" contaning such tresspasses as members of the church living in open rebellion, members charged with habitual lying, and members guilty of the crime of intemperance
Chapter V, Mr. Stuart Enters Upon His Ministry to the Chickasaws, contains information on the early formation of the mission, and its later transfer of jurisdiction.
Chapter VI, Record of Monroe Church Session (North Alabama Presbytery), and Chapter VII, Sessional Record of the Church at Monroe (Tombigbee Presbytery) contain actual church records detailing the admission, expulsion, suspension, excommunication and baptisms of church members including slaves and prominent Chickasaw leaders( e.g. Colbert, Love)
MR. STUART ENTERS UPON HIS MINISTRY TO THE CHICKASAWS
In January, 1821, Mr. Stuart reached the place that had been chosen for a station, and began his preparations to enter upon his work. He was the only missionary, though his devoted wife, who for many years shared his joys and sorrows, and was, indeed, a companion and help-meet to him, assisted in all his labors. Besides, two men accompanied him from South Carolina - a mechanic named Vernon and a farmer named Pickens, with their families.
Houses were erected, a farm opened, a school established, and preaching through an interpreter, though the latter was quite difficult to secure, until the arrival of Malcolm McGee at the station, more of whom will be said later.
The station was named for James Monroe, who was then President of the United States.
"The old Monroe Church, as I saw it in my youth," according to reminiscences of Mrs. Julia Daggett Harris, "was, indeed, an interesting sight from the standpoint of modern ecclesiastical structures. It was diminutive room, not over 16x16, built of poles. For light it only had one window in the east, clap-board held by hinges made of leather, and raised from the inside. This church had a dirt and stick chimney with a large open fire-place, where, in the winter, the primitive worshipers warmed their frost-bitten fingers. In the front of the church to the south was a large arbor, covered with brush and seated with puncheons, where the summer meetings were held."
That, dear friends, was the altar and shrine of Christianity and education set up in the wilderness of North Mississippi, a century ago.
The location was ideal for accessibility, if such a thing was considered possible at that early day. At least it was the focal point of the highways of travel for remote generations of primitive men. Directly on what we may designate as the "long trail" north and south, the "Cotton Gin" road intersected. The "Natchez Trace," which came in from the northeast, and after passing Monroe, continued south. To the northeast was "Old Pontotoc," and in that vicinity the ill-starred D'Artaguette gave up his life to Chickasaw valor, and his expedition was routed and almost annihilated.
The want of mail accommodations, however, was a great privation. Says "Father" Stuart: "For many years there had been a regular mail from Nashville to Natchez, passing through the Indian country, but soon after I came it was removed to the Military Road, and then our nearest post office was Columbus, sixty-five miles distant. The Government agent was authorized to hire an express once a month, and through him we received our mails regularly. In a few years a post office was established at Cotton Gin Port, within a day's ride, which was quite an advance in the right direction."
As will be seen from the ensuing chapter, an apostle from the Synod arrived in 1823, and organized the mission station into a church, under the care of the North Alabama Presbytery.
In October, 1831, a transfer of jurisdiction was made to the Presbytery of Tombeckbee by the union of its pastor with that Presbytery. In the meantime, on December 17, 1827, the mission was transferred to the American Board. The principal reason for this change was the fact that the establishment among the Chickasaws might be more closely affiliated with the similar establishments among the Cherokees and Choctaws; that the board could supply their wants with more certainty and regularity, and at much less expense than the Synod.
The number of stations was four. They were at Monroe, about forty-five miles west of Mayhew and twenty-five west of Cotton Gin Port; Toxish Station, four miles from Monroe; Martyn Station, sixty miles northwest of Monroe; Caney Creek, ninety miles east of Martyn, and three miles south of the Tennessee River.
Of the transfer, Mr. Stuart says: "To wit we did not object, because it brought us into more immediate contact with the missionaries of the Choctaws, to whom we were much attached and with whom we had had much intercourse for years past."
As exploring agent in 1820, he visited the veteran Kingsbury, at Eliot, that he might profit by the experience of others.
RECORD OF MONROE CHURCH SESSION
(North Alabama Presbytery)
The Rev. Hugh Dickson of the Presbytery of South Carolina, having been commissioned by the Missionary Society of the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, to visit Monroe for the purpose of examining into the state and prospects of the Mission, arrived on the 29th of May, 1823. The mission family having a desire to be united in a church capacity, that they may regularly enjoy the privileges of the sealing ordinances of the gospel, expressed the same to Mr. Dickson. Accordingly on the 7th of June, 1823, a church was organized, consisting of the following members, viz.: Hamilton V. Turner, James Wilson, Nancy Turner, Mary Ann Wilson, Ethalinda Wilson, Prudence Wilson (not a member of the Mission) Susan Stuart.
Owing to our peculiar situation, the usual mode of requiring certificates of adismission (sic) and good standing from the churches to which the members have respectively belonged, was dispensed with. The Rev. Thomas C. Stuart, Supt. Of the Mission, was nominated as stated supply.
After the services of the day, a session consisting of the Rev. Messrs. Blair and Wilson, assisted by Father Dickson, convened in the prayer hall. A black woman named Dinah, belonging to Mr. James Gunn, applied to be received into the newly-organized church. After a careful examination the session felt satisfied with her Christian experience, and accordingly admitted her to the privileges of the household of faith.
Rindah, a black woman belonging to Mr. Turner, was debarred from church privileges for improper conduct.
August 3rd, 1823. Dinah, having previously expressed a desire to have her children baptized, and having given us satisfactory evidence of her knowledge of this holy ordinance, presented her three children, Chloe, William and Lucy, and dedicated them to God in baptism.
August 6th, 1823. Margaret Ethalinda, daughter of Rev. H. Wilson and Ethalinda Wilson, was baptized.
May 15, 1824. Abraham, a black man belonging to an Indian, and husband to the woman received at our last communion, applied for church privileges. His examination was satisfactory, and he was accordingly admitted. Rindah, who was suspended from the church at our last, made application to be restored. On professing sorrow for her offense, and promising amendment, was reinstated.
May 16th. The ordinance of baptism was administered to Abraham.
Nov. 9th, 1824. Mr. James Holmes, a member of the Presbyterian Church in Carlyle, Pennsylvania, was added to our number.
Dec. 4th. Mr. Barnard McLaughlin, Mrs. Tennessee Bynum, a native, and Esther, a black woman belonging to Mrs. Colbert, having given satisfactory evidence of a work of grace upon their hearts, were admitted as members of the church. Esther was baptized.
Dec. 19th. The ordinance of baptism was administered to Bro. H. Wilson's infant daughter, Rachel Clementine; Mr. Bynum's two children, Turner and Elizabeth; Rindah's son Moses, and Esther's daughter Patsy.
Dec. 26th. Dinah's infant daughter, Patsy, was baptized.
April 1st, 1825. Observed as a day of fasting and prayer. After public worship the members of the church present convened in the church capacity for the election of an elder. Mr. James Holmes was unanimously elected.
April 2. Mr. Holmes was set apart by prayer to the office of ruling elder in this church.
Session met and was constituted by prayer. Amy, a black woman belonging to the estate of James Gunn, deceased, applied and was received. Adjourned to meet on Saturday, the 2nd day of July next. Concluded with prayer.
July 2. Session met according to adjournment. Constituted by prayer. Chloe, a black woman belonging to an Indian, applied for privileges in the church. Her examination being sustained, she was admitted. Mr. James Wilson from the Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Ky., having produced a letter of dismission in good standing from said church, was received as a member. Adjourned to meet sine die. Concluded with prayer.
July 3rd. Chloe was baptized.
December 24th. Session met and was opened with prayer. Three black persons, John, Daniel and Rebecca, were added to the communion of the church on examination. Adjournment until the 4th of March, 1826. Concluded with prayer. (Interlined). (Mary Jane Stuart was baptized by Mr. Blair).
Dec. 25. The ordinance of baptism was administered to the three black people received on yesterday; also to Mr. McLaughlin's daughter Susan.
Feb. 26, 1826. Isabella Graham, daughter of Rev. H. Wilson and Ethalinda Wilson, was baptized.
March 4. Session convened according to appointment. Opened with prayer. Affy, a black woman, expressed a desire to be admitted to the communion of the church. Indulging the hope that she has experienced a saving change of heart, the session received her into the number of the professed disciples of Christ. Adjourned to meet on Saturday the 6th of May. Concluded with prayer.
May 6. Sesion (sic) met and was constituted by prayer. Three black persons, Agnes, Mary and Bob, having given satisfactory evidence of a work of grace upon their hearts, were admitted to church privileges. Adjourned 'till tomorrow morning, 9 o'clock. Closed with prayer.
May 7. The session met and being opened with prayer, Miss Molly Colbert, a native, came forward and offered herself as a candidate for admission into the church. Her examination being sustained, she was accordingly received. Adjourned to meet on the 30th of September next. Concluded with prayer.
May 21. Affy's child, Rallin, was baptized.
Sept. 30. Church session net according to adjournment, Constituted by prayer. Two black women, Sarah and Indah, were admitted on examination. Adjourned to meet on the 6th day of January, 1827. Concluded with prayer.
October 1. Indah was baptized.
January 6, 1827. Session met and was opened with prayer. Miss Emeline H. Richmond, having produced a certificate from the session of the First Presbyterian Church in Newark, J. J., as to her being a member in good standing, was received into full fellowship and communion in this church and is entitled to all its privileges. (The following words, until the mark *, are crossed out will pencil mark): Resolved, that notice of the same be publicly given immediately after public worship in the evening.* Adjourned until 31st of March. Concluded with prayer.
Feb. 25. Mary's child, George Russel, was baptized.
March 31. Session met according to appointment and was opened with prayer. Juno, Laney and Jack, applied for admission to communion of the church. The session proceeded to examine them as to experimental acquaintance with religion, and being satisfied with their account of themselves, received them as members. Adjourned to meet on the 23rd of June. Concluded with prayer.
April 1st. David Brainero, son of Brother and Sister Butler, and Byington, son of Dinah and Abraham, were baptized.
June 3rd. Elay, Laney's daughter, was baptized.
June 23rd. Session having met and being opened with prayer. Mr. Thomas F. Cheadle applied for admission to the church. His evidence of piety being satisfactory, he was received. Adjournment until this day week. Concluded with prayer.
June 30. Session again met and was opened with prayer. Nancy, black woman, applied and was received. Adjourned until tomorrow morning 6 o'clock. (Interlined) Mr. Cheadle was baptized. Concluded with prayer.
July 1st. Session convened, and after being constituted as usual, proceeded to examine several persons, who were not received. It again adjourned to meet on Saturday, the 6th of October, next. Concluded with prayer.
Sept. 29. The Lord having visited our church the past summer with a time of refreshing; having, as we hope, savingly renewed a number within our bounds, it was thought expedient to have a meeting of the church session before the time to which it stood adjourned. Session therefore having met and implored the presence and blessing of God, proceeded to examine the following persons who applied for admission, viz: William Colbert, a native, and Primus, Ned, Billy, Jinney and Sally, black people. These having given us evidence of a work of grace in their hearts, were received as members in our church. Concluded with prayer.
October 6. Session met according to the last adjournment. Constituted with prayer. Mrs. Sara A. Holmes was received by certificate from the session of the Second Presbyterian Church of Newark, N. J. Mrs. Cheadle, a native woman, and four black people: Billy, Isam, Sally and Medlong, were admitted on examination, to the privileges of the church. Adjourned to meet tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock. Concluded with prayer. Harriet Elizabeth Stuart and Emma Homes were baptized.
October 10. Mr. Cheadle, a member of our church, having been guilty of a heinuous sin, a meeting of the session was called to examine into the circumstances of the offense. According to citation, he appeared, made full confession of his crime and promised amendment. Hoping that he has been able to repent of his fall, with deep contrition of his soul, and that he has obtained forgiveness from God, we feel it our duty and our privilege to recognize him as a disciple of Christ, and therefore ought not to be excluded from the privileges of the church. Concluded with prayer.
November 11. The ordinance of baptism was administered to Mr. And Mrs. Cheadle's five children, John Randolph, Mary Ann, Betsy, Thomas, Josiah. Also Jinney's three children, Fanney, Sunnun, Sally. Esther's infant son, Battles, and Sally's daughter, Teneesa.
December 8. Session met according to appointment and was opened with prayer. Prince, a black man, applied for admission to the church. His examination being satisfactory, he was received. Adjourned to meet on this day week. Concluded with prayer.
Dec. 15. Session having met and opened with prayer, the following persons applied, viz: Mila, Minney, Bekky, Snookey and Nelly. The session was satisfied with their account of the work of grace upon their hearts and therefore admitted them to the communion of the church. Adjourned until the 22nd at 2 o'clock. Concluded with prayer.
22. Leah and Sophia admitted.
Dec. 25th. Billy's son Randolph was baptized.
Dec. 29th. Session again met and was constituted with prayer. Mr. John Gattis offered himself as a candidate for admission to the church. Having had frequent conversation with him, and being well satisfied with his Christian character, the session cordially received him. Mrs. Colbert, a native, also applied for admission. There being no good interpreter present, it was resolved to keep the session open and meet Mrs. Colbert at the house of Mrs. John Bynum on next Monday morning with a suitable interpreter.
Monday morning, Dec. 31. According to previous arrangement the session had an interview with Mrs. Colbert, and having obtained satisfactory evidence of the work of grace upon her heart, received her into the bosom of the church. Adjourned 'till Saturday, 5th of January, 1828. Concluded with prayer.
Jan. 5. Session convened. Constituted by prayer. Peggy, a black woman, was admitted to the church privileges. Adjourned until the Saturday before the second Sabbath in March. Concluded with prayer.
January 6. The ordinance of baptism was administered to the following newly admitted members, viz: Prince, Sooky, Bekky, Miney, Nelly, Leah; Sophia and Mrs. Colbert.
Jan. 20. Mr. Pearson's daughter, Mary Agnes, and Isam and Leah's children, George and Elvira, were baptized.
March 8, 1828. Sesion met according to adjournment and being opened in the usual way, received Mr. Samuel C. Pearson by certificate from the Presbyterian Church, Tuscumbia, Alabama. Adjourned, etc.
Martyn. March 22. Session met and was opened with prayer. Mrs. Sarah Love applied for admission to the communion of the church. Her examination being sustained, she was received. Adjourned, etc.
March 29. Session met, etc. Stephen, a black man, applied and was received. Adjourned 'till this day week. Concluded, etc.
April 5th. Sesion met according to adjournment. Constituted by prayer. Mrs. Pearson, Catherine, and Indian woman, Joseph, Mobile, Dinah and Caroline were admitted on examination to the communion of the church. Adjourned to meet on the second Saturday in June, next. Concluded with prayer.
April 6th. Mrs. Pearson, Catherine, Stephen, Mobile and Caroline were baptized.
April 27. Catherine's daughter, Nancy; Dinah's two children, Valentine and Lelah; Jinney's child, Loraney, and Caroline's children, Delilah, Linah, Gabriel and Hetty were baptized.
Saturday, June 14, 1828. Session met according to adjournment. Constituted, etc. Messrs. James B. Allen and Daniel Carr, white men; James Colbert and Benjamin Love, natives, and Manuel, a black man, were admitted to the privileges of the church on examination. Adjourned to meet on the 28th inst. Concluded with prayer.
June 28. Session met and was opened with prayer. Silpha, a black woman, was admitted. Adjourned 'till this day next week. Concluded with prayer.
July 5. Session having met and being opened with prayer, Fanny and Esther were received into the communion of the church. Adjourned until the second Saturday in September, next. Concluded with prayer.
July 6. James B. Allen, Benjamin Love, Manuel, Fanny and Esther were baptized.
August 3rd. Henry Martyn, son of Samuel and Elizabeth Pearson; Polly, daughter of Jack and Affy; Moses, son of Silpha, and Fanny's children, Charles, Winchester, Lelah, Nancy and James, were baptized.
August 9. A report having been in circulation that Mila, a member of our church, has been guilty of conduct highly unbecoming the Christian character and calculated to injure the cause of Christ in this place, it was resolved to call a meeting of the session and cite the offender to attend. Session met accordingly, and after being constituted by prayer, the charge of adultery was exhibited, founded on "common fame." To this charge she confessed guilty and could plead nothing in extenuation of her offense. She acknowledged that by her conduct she had dishonored God, wounded the cause of Christ and brought a reproach upon herself and the whole church; expressed contrition for her sin and a hope that she had obtained forgiveness. After mature deliberation and seeking direction from God in prayer, it was thought expedient for the love of religion and the good of the cause, that she be suspended from the communion of the church until she give (sic) evidence by her deportment that she is truly penitent and tat, since her offense has become public, she is publicly suspended in the presence of the congregation. Concluded with prayer.
August 10. Mila was suspended according to the decision of the session on yesterday.
Martyn, August 23. Session met and was opened with prayer. Mr. Henry Love, a native, Mr. Christopher Moore and Miss Polly Allen, whites, applied for admission to the church. Their examinations being satisfactory, they were received. Concluded, etc.
August 24. The persons admitted yesterday were baptized, also the following children, viz: Elizabeth, Mitchell, infant daughter of Rev. W. C. Blair; Sally and Dorfhy, children of Christopher Moore, Amanda, John, Elvira, Overton, Charlotte, Frances, children of Henry and Sally Love.
Sept. 14. The ordinance of baptism was administered to Daniel's infant daughter Emelina, and Mimy's infant, Kitty.
Sept. 15, 1828. There being no one present for examination, the session did not convene according to appointment. It was resolved not to meet again until the first Saturday in October.
Oct. 4. Session met and was opened with prayer. Four black persons, Manuel, Reuben, Jennet and Chrissy, were admitted tot he communion of the church. Adjourned to meet at Martyn on the Saturday before the fourth Sabbath in November. Concluded, etc.
Oct. 5. Manuel and Jennet were baptized.
November 22. Martyn, C. N. Session met according to adjournment and was opened with prayer. Mr. James Boyd applied for admission to the church. Having given satisfactory evidence of a work of grace upon his heart, he was received. Adjourned to meet at Monroe the Saturday before the second Sabbath in December. Concluded with prayer.
November 23. James Colbert's two children, Benjamin and James Homes, were baptized.
Monroe, Dec. 13. Sesion having met according to appointment, and being opened with prayer, conversed with several persons who were not received. Adjourned until this day week. Concluded, etc.
December 20. Session again met and was opened with prayer. No one having be admitted, it was resolved to keep the session open until tomorrow (21st).
December 21. Sandy, a black man, was admitted on examination tot he privileges of the church. Adjourned to meet on Saturday, the 3rd of January, 1829. Concluded.
January 3, 1829. Sesion met and was opened with prayer. Mila, who was debarred from the privileges at our last communion, applied to be restored. Having given a satisfactory evidence of sincerity of her repentance, and having obtained a good report of her, session restored her to the communion of the church. Adjourned sine die. Concluded with prayer. Mary's infant and Chrissy's two children, Stephen and Mercury, were baptized.
January 4, 1829. Sandy was baptized.
June. Peggy died.
July 4. Session met for the examination of candidates and the following persons having given evidence of their change, were admitted tot he privileges of the church: Lotty Love, Nancy Boyd, James Fooye, William H. Barr, Chickasaws; Elsey, Rachel and Tom, people of color.
July 5. The persons admitted yesterday were baptized and also the following children: Elizabeth Jane Boyd, daughter of James and Nancy, Narcisso, daughter of Benjamin and Lotty Love, Sarah Rebecca, daughter of James and Sarah A. Holmes, and James' child, Keciah.
July 9. Mila was this day dismissed to unite with the church at Elliott, in the Choctaw nation.
While in connection with this church, a few years afterwards, Mila died, giving good evidence of piety, and as we hope, has gone to a better world.
T. C. STUART.
October 4, 1829. The ordinance of baptism was administered to two children of Wm. Colbert, Joseph and Tennessee, also to James Stuart, infant son of Thomas and Elizabeth Cheadle.
Monroe, Oct. 2, 1829. The church session met and was constituted by prayer by Rev. Cyrus Byington. Mrs. Mary Gunn and Mrs. McLaughlin were examined with reference to church privileges, and approved.
October 3, 1829. The session met according to adjournment and examined and approved Lewis and Cassander, people of color.
October 4, 1829. The ordinance of baptism was administered, etc.
April 3, 1830. Rev. Cyrus Byington conversed with the following persons with reference to their admission to the church, viz: Edmond Pickens, Sally Fraser, Nuseka Colbert, Disey Colbert, Betsey (Creek woman) and Amy and Syke, colored people. These persons appearing well, were on the Sabbath baptized and received into the church. W. H. Barr's infant daughter, Belinda, was baptized. At the monthly concert for prayer the Monday evening following, the sum of $14.68 3-4 was contributed for the spread of the gospel.
June 5, 1830. The following were received into the church, viz: James Perry, Tuppeha, Ishtimayi, Tushkaiahokti, Pohaiki, Mrs. Mary Colbert, Mrs. Charlotte James, Molly (Creek woman) and Frances, colored woman. The following children were baptized: Nuseka Colbert's two sons, Thomas Stuart and George Washington, Betsy's son Alexander, Tuppeha's daughter Venus, Mrs. James' son Walton, Sally Fraser's two children, Benjamin and Elsey, Molly's children, Caroline and Benjamin, Fraser's daughter Susan, Mobile and Laney's daughter Louisa, Silpha's daughter Rebecca.
August 1, 1830. Polley Hogan, native, and Lydia and Lizzie, colored people, were examined and received into the church. The following children were baptized: Brother and Sister Blair's infant daughter Katherine, Daniel and Cassander's son, Isaac, Abram and Dinah's son Israel, Joseph's son John Inman, Crissa's daughter Rose, Molly's daughter Delpha.
August 8, 1830. Mrs. J. Perry's two sons, Levi and Oliver, were baptized.
October 1, 1830. William Colbert's wife, Kunnoeyi, and Mercury, an old black man, were admitted to the church. The following children were baptized: Dicy Colbert's son Slone, Prince and Lydia's children, Almina, Robert and Tony, Betsy's girls, Liley and Lucinda.
AARON GLEASON, Clerk
December 20,1830. Session met and was opened with prayer. It having become notorious that the following persons, viz: Sam Pearson and wife, Reuben and Sookey, black people, members of the church, are living in open rebellion against God; having acknowledged the charge, but manifested no sorrow for their sins; and having set up no defence (sic), therefore resolved that they be solemnly excommunicated from the privileges of the church. Also that Lewis, who is charged with habitual lying, and convicted thereof by sufficient testimony, be suspended from the communion of the church until he give evidence of repentance. Concluded with prayer.
THOMAS C. STUART Mod.
January 2, 1831. The above named persons were publicly dealt with according to the decision of the session at its last meeting. Lillah, a black woman, was admitted and baptized.
Martyn, April 30, 1831. Baptized Thomas C. Stuart, son of Nancy, and James Boyd Luke, son of Christopher and Katherine Moore, and David, son of Henry and Sarah Love.
Session met and was opened with prayer. Mrs. Tiney Pickens, a native woman, presented herself for examination with a view to unite herself with the church. Her examination being very satisfactory, she was admitted. Concluded with prayer.
May 1. The ordinance of baptism was administered to Mrs. Pickens, also (her husband being present) to her children, Rachel, Mary and David.
THOMAS C. STUART Mod.
September 10, 1831. Session met and was opened with prayer. Silpha, a colored woman, applied and was received.
September 11. Silpha was baptized, also the following children, viz: Johnson, son of Edmond and Liney Pickens, William, son of Nuseka and Mary Colbert, Philip, son of Chrissy, and Martha, Esther's daughter.
Session adjourned sine die.
THOMAS C. STUART, Mod.
In October, 1831, the church at Monroe came under the care of the Presbytery of Tombeckbee by the union of its pastor with that Presbytery.
T. C. S.
SESSIONAL RECORD OF THE CHURCH AT MONROE
This church was from its organization in the spring of 1823, under the care of the Presbytery of North Alabama. In consequence of the formation of the Presbytery of Tombigbee, within the bounds of which it naturally lies, and the union of its pastor with that Prsbytery (sic), its connection with the former Presbytery is dissolved.
Monroe, Jan. 7, 1832. The session convened and was constituted by prayer. Mr. Thomas F. Cheadle, a member of this church, having been guilty of the crime of intemperance, was suspended from its privileges until he shall give evidence of a sincere repentance. Concluded with prayer.
T. C. STUART, Mod.
January 14, 1832. The following children were baptized, viz: George Clendenen, son of Mrs. Lillah Moore; Emeline H. Richmond, daughter of Christopher and Catherine Moore.
January 15. George Duffield, infant son of James and Sarah A. Holmes was baptized.
March 10. Session met and was opened with prayer. Mr. Cheadle, who was suspended from church privileges at our last communion, applied and was restored. Prince, a black man, was also restored. Titus, an African, offered himself as a candidate for admission to the church. The session being satisfied with his examination, he was admitted. Lewis, who has been for some time under suspension, and giving no evidence of repentance, but continuing in sin, was excommunicated from this church. It having become notorious that Caroline, a member of this church, is living in adultery, she was suspended for its privileges. Tuppeha, giving himself up to intemperance, was cited to appear before the session. He having not appeared, session proceeded to suspend him. Primus, who has been living in adultery (having taken a woman who was put away by her husband) was cited to appear before the session. Appeared accordingly, confessed his sin, confessed deep sorrow; and promised amendment. After deliberation, it was thought advisable to suspend him until we shall have sufficient evidence of his sincerity. Mr. A. C. I. Wetherall and wife, Martha, presented a certificate of dismission in good standing from Palmyra Church in Alabama, and requested to be received into the church. Received accordingly. Concluded with prayer.
T. C. STUART, Mod.
April 29, 1832. Martha Jane, infant daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Wetherall, was baptized.
June 30. The session not being present, the Moderator examined Mr. William Spencer and wife, Margaret, who applied for admission to sealing ordinances. Their examination being satisfactory, they were received. Tuppeha, a native, and Primus, a black man, who were suspended at our last meeting, were restored.
July 1, 1832. Mr. Spencer was baptized. Also Agnes, infant daughter of Benjamin and Lotty Love.
July 8. The following children were baptized, viz: Mary Jane, Samuel Alexander, Margaret Coffee and Martha Gideon, children of Mr. and Mrs. Spencer; Samuel, infant son of William Colbert and wife; Kunnoeyi Bankston, son of Mobile and Laney; Lissis Jane, daughter of Silpha, and Hooper, son of Isam and Leah.
Sept. 20. Caroline, who was suspended on a former occasion, was removed by death.
Jan. 5, 1833. Session convened and was opened with prayer. Ishthimayi, a native member of our church, having for a long time absented herself from the means of grace, and giving sad evidence that she is yet in a state of sin and heathenish darkness, was excommunicated. Frances, a black woman, also excommunicated for the sin of fornication. The following persons having been guilty of scandalous offenses against God and this church, were suspended from its privileges, viz: Thomas F. Cheadle, Benjamin Love, William H. Barr, Nancy Colbert and Syke. Concluded with prayer.
T. C. STUART, Mod.
April 7. Jim and Juda were baptized.
June 9, 1833. Eliza Jane, daughter of Nuseka and Mary Colbert, and Charles, son of Daniel and Kissander, were baptized.
July 7. Session met and was opened with prayer. Mrs. Lizzie Perry (a native woman) applied for admission to the privileges of the church. Her examination being satisfactory, she was received and baptized. Concluded with prayer.
T. C. STUART, Mod.
July 14. The ordinance of baptism was administered to John David, son of James and Nancy Boyd.
August 4, 1833. Juda's children, Violet, Philip, Philetus and Eunice were baptized. October 6, 1833. A session not being present, the Moderator examined and admitted to the privileges of the church the wife of Tuppeha, a native woman. She was baptized by the name of Mary. Syke was restored to the church.
October 7. A black child named Jinney, the daughter of Joseph and ---------------, was baptized. Approved 21st March, 1834.
T. C. STUART, Mod.
April 5, 1834. Mr. Benjamin Godfrey and wife, Lucrecia, and son James Alfred, were received as members of this church by certificate from the church at Mayhew. Two elders having been elected and ordained, in the evening session met and was opened with prayer. The following persons having been under suspension from the privileges of the church for a length of time and giving no evidence of repentance, but continuing impenitant, were solemnly excommunicated, viz: Molly Gunn, Nancy Colbert, Sally Fraser, James B. Allen, Benjamin Love and Saiyo.
Harry, an old black man, applied for admission. His examination being satisfactory, he was received and baptized. Edom, a black man belonging to Mr. Wetherall, who was formerly a member of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina, applied to become a member of this church. It being known that he was in good standing, and the session having conversed with him on experimental religion, he was received. Concluded with prayer.
T. C. STUART, Mod.
Session met and was opened with prayer. George, a native man, was examined on experimental religion. His evidence of a change appearing good, he was admitted tot he privileges of the church. Maj. John L. Allen was also admitted on examination. Concluded with prayer.
T. C. STUART, Mod.
September 7. Session convened and was constituted by prayer. Mr. William Colbert, a member, and an elder of this church, having been cited to appear before session to answer the charge of intemperance, appeared accordingly, and having confessed his sin, expressed deep contrition for the same, and promised amendment, the session resolved that it is a duty to forgive him after requiring him to make a public confession before the congregation, and promising to abstain in future. Concluded with prayer.
T. C. STUART, Mod.
Examined and approved by Presbytery at Unity Church, March 7, 1835.
D. WRIGHT, Mod. Of Pres.
The number of members reported to the General Assembly as being in good standing on the first of April, 1837, is forty-one.
September 16, 1837. Session met and was opened with prayer. The following persons were adjudged to excommunication from the privileges of the church, viz: Mrs. Betsy Cheadle, Tuppeha, George and Sarah, natives, and Molly, a colored woman. A resolution was passed that the following members, who are about to remove west of the Mississippi, receive letters of dismission and recommendation, viz: James Perry and wife Elizabeth, Tennessee Bynum, Daniel and his wife Kissander, Harry and his wife Sally, Bob and Amy, Abram and his wife Dinah, Agnes, Manuel, Juda, Apphia, Billy, Mimey Colbert, Titus, Sally, Fanny and Silpha. Concluded with prayer.
T. C. STUART, Mod.
October 10. Session met and was opened with prayer. Jack, a black member of the church, who has been for some time under suspension from its privileges, applied to be restored. The session being satisfied with his professions of sorrow and promises grate west of the Mississippi, he received a letter of dismission and recommendation, also the following members, viz: Samuel Cunningham and wife, John Cunningham, and William Cunningham. Concluded with prayer.
T. C. STUART, Mod.
March 24, 1838. Approved
H. REID, Mod.
Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church
The Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church was organized sometime around the year of 1869 under the leadership of Rev. Banks Stevenson and commisioned by a Rev. Sam Burns, a white preacher.
A transcription of the following document is below.
We are the heirs of all men who have ever done anything to improve themselves spiritually, mentally and physically in the world in which we live. The history of the Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church is told best by our older citizens and churchmen of the surrounding community.
The Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church was organized sometime around the year of 1869 under the leadership of Rev. Banks Stevenson and commissioned by a Rev. Sam Burns, a white preacher. The first church was located one-half mile sourth of Milo, Oklahoma. The chruch was a small 10-foot by 12-foot one-room log house with a dirt floor, peg benches and kerosene light. There were only a few members, but they had the faith that the Lord would make a way.
The church continued to grow in members. A few years later, a move was made to a larger log house, which was aout one-and-one-fourth mile to the east of the original location. Sometime thereafter, the prayers of the congregation were answered and the church was agin relocated to its present location. Slowly, but surely, Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church has gone forward from a one-room log cabin to the current sanctuary.
Rev. R.J. Jackson was the pastor of the church when it was moved to its present location. There were three deacons - David Stevenson, Ceaser Stevenson and Mose Taylor. Rev. Jackson was an Indain preachers. Subsequently, the land on which the presnet church now stands was given to the congregation by the Indians. It was promised to the church memebership that "as long as the grass grows and the water flow" and the church was located on the land, the church would own the land. A school was established as time passed. The shcool at Jehovah was one of the few schools in the Chickasaw Nation that permitted Indian children and Black children to attend school togethers.
Area churches participated in a camp meeting that was held every year. The camp meetings lasted for a week. The members of the congregations provided housing for guest. The camp meetings gave rise to present-day revials, which are held in August.
During the leadership of Rev. C. M. Frans and Rev. H. J. Harris, worship services were held once a month on the third Sunday. This practice gradually changed over the years to increase the worship service to every Sunday.
Jehovah Missionary Baptist church underwent a complete renovation while Rev. W. R. Roberts was the pastor. A new roof, choir stage, and cookroom were added. The old wood-buring stoves were replaced with four propane heaters. The church was electrically wired. At this time, the first Sunday in each month was added to the worship service.
Rev. A.D. Lewis became the pastor in 1969. Under his leadership, every Sunday was added to the worship service. The cookroom and chori stage were remodeled. Three classrooms, pastoral quarters, indoor restroom facilities, and air-conditioners were added to the existing building. A water well, storage building and church bus were pruchased. The membership began to tithe earnestly and give offerings according to their blessings.
The flock is presently being led by Rev. W.J. Wallace. The church contines to gow in its membership and worship serice. Under Rev. Wallace's direction, the church built a new sanctuary, remodeled the old church to be used as a Fellowship Hall and purchased a church van. Rev. Wallace has proved to be a leader with a vision. Under his inspired leadership, the congregations has grown spiritually as well as in numbers to include a memebership that is 300 members strong.
Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church has a history of which we can all be pround. "We've come this far by faith. Leaning on the Lord. Trusting in His holy word. He's never failed us yet!"
Early Missionary History (circa 1800s)
The following excerpt was taken from The Chickasaw Freedmen: A People Without A Country, by Dr. Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr.
Slaves obtained from white traders or planters quickly learned the Indian language and, apparently, most were billingual. In 1799, when Reverend Josph Bullen began missionary work among the Chickasaws, interpreter Malcolm McGee told him that because the whites, half bloods, and slaves spoke English, they had great influence over the Indians. He urged Bullen to begin his work among thoses classes, which, in turn, would "have good talks" with the Indians.
Early missionaries quickly learned the usefulness of blacks in the acculturation process. The first missionary work among the Chickasaws was undertaked by the Presbyterians. The New Your Missionary Society sent Bullen and Ebenezer Rice to the Chickasaw country in 1799l Bullen found the blacks' billingualizm crucial to his work and the blacks most susceptible to his efforts. He arrived at Big Town, west of present-day Tupelo, Mississippi, on May 20, 1799, where he held "some talk by the help of a negro who could interpret." He sought out the Scottish interpreter Malcolm McGee, who could not read, had never heard a sermon, and was so ignorant of the scriptures that he could not interpret. he therefore urged Bullen to work through the whites, mixed bloods, and Blacks.7
Everywhere, Bullen found the blacks especially receptive to his preaching. McGee's wife and blacks, undertanding English, were "happy to hear." At the home of William Colbert, about twenty slaves "dressed themselves" and came to Bullen's room, where they prayed together. Bullen read them several passages from the Bible and "explained to them the character and great love of Christ, that he loves poor blacks as well as others." An "aged negro woman" belonging to Colbert traveled thirty miles to Tockshish to hear a sermon and told Bullen "me live long in heathen land, am very glad to hear the blessed gospel." At his shool, which he opened near present-day Pontotoc, Mississippi, in 1800, Bullen found that his preaching made the "most serious impressions" on the blacks, and blacks sought him out for instructions on how to keep the Sabbath. In August of 1800, Bullen baptized William and his four children, slaves of James Gunn. To Bullen, William appeared "to be true disciple of Jesus" and the children appeared "teachable." Gunn read and prayed with his slaves and was teaching them reading and the catechism. Wrote Bullen, "The negoes say, it is a blessed thing to have such a master." Bullen conducted his missionary efforts among the blacks and Indians for four years. His mission was discontinued in 1803 when the conduct of two of his helpers turned the Indians against the mission.8
It was nearly twenty years before missionary effort were resumed. In early 1821, the Reverend Thomas C. Stuart, under the direction of the Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, began building a mission called Monroe about six miles couth of present-day Pontotoc. Stations were subsequently extablished at Tockshish and Martyn in 1825 and Caney Creek in 1826. The only church, however, was at Monroe, established on June 7, 1823. Missionary efforts in the Chickasaw Nation were transferred to the American Board of Foreign Mission in December of 1827.9
These missionaries, as Bullen before them, found the blacks most susceptible to their preaching. Monroe was located in the most populous part of the Nation. The missionaries estaimated that more than 800 people lived within ten miles of the mission: "Five-eights of them are Chickasaw, and the remainder colored people of African descent, with a few white men having Chickasaw familes.? Wen te church was established, the membership consisted of the mission family and one balck woman "who was the first fruits of missionary labors there." Work went slowly, only sixteen members being added until a religious revival was felt in the Chickasaw country in 1827. Between march of that year and summer of 1828, forty-two more were added, so that the membership was fifty-eight, excluding the mission family. In October, 1828, four blacks "gave satisfactory evidence of a change of heart" and were "admitted to the privileges of the church." The religious fervor continues, the meetings being well attended. Of the seventeen people admitted to church membership during the ear following July 1, 1828, nine were black. A protracted meeting was hled at Tockshish on July 3-6, 1829. On Saturday, four Chcikasaws and three blacks were admitted to the church, and on Sunday, the Lord's Supper was administered to about one hundred persons "in the presence of a multitude of heathens." On Sunday afternoon, about thirty, "principally black people," came forward as "anxious inquirers," and on the next day "a number more," including some Chickasaws, camer forward.10
Interest in Christianity had become so great by early 1829 that many were attending who did not speak English. Therefore, a translator was regularly employed. But by the fall of 1829, it appeared that a decline in religious fervor had begun. Apprehension of removal to the West had begun to demoralize the people. But there were about twenty people, mainly blacks, who appeared to be seriously concerned about religion; of that number, the missionaries had hopes that several were "Christians. The decline in fervor was more evident at a meeting held in October of 1829. However, two Indians and two blacks were admitted to the church, and at hte four protracted meetings in 1830, fourteen Chickasaws and seven blacks were admitted. Between May, 1823 and September, 1831, when the Monroe church was a member of the North Alabama Presbytery, 57 of the 104 persons admitted to church memebership were blacks; the remaining consisted of 23 whites and 24 Indians. 11
With the breaking up of the Chickasaw government and the extension of Mississippi laws over the country, conditions among the people became worse, and some church members defected. In the summer of 1832, the membership stood at ninety-three, including the missionaries at Martyn. Conditions continued to get worse. In the last three months of 1832, over three hundred gallons of whiskey were brought by white traders into the neighborhood of the church; whiskey was sold at a grocery store that had been built nearby. In the early 1833, four Cickasaw, one white, and two black members of the church were ousted because of backsliding. By the end of the year, it was reported that the "enemies of truth" were having too much success in their efforts "to decoy the members of the church and congregation at Tockshish and turn them aside from their steadfastness." The mission was abandoned as a lost cuase in 1835.12
Although much of the missionary work was conducted by means of the protracted meetings called "sacramental meeting," there were regular services. The usual meeting on teh Sabbath consisted of the reading of an English sermon; an explanation, through an interpreter, of free slvation through the gospel; hymns sung in Chickasaw; and a concluding prayer and exortation. By 1829, the missionaries were holding two conferences each weeks, on for the Chicakasaw and one for the blacks.13 There were as well pryaer meetings among the blacks and Indians. In all of these services, the blacks played a vital role.
The blacks were used as interpreters. On the day the church was organized at Monroe in 1823, a black woman named Dinah was received into the church on a profession of faith. A slave of James Gunn, Dinah had become concerned about her future during the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811 and 1812 and had tried to lead a better life. When preaching started at the Monroe mission, she because a regular attendant. She leared to read and became a reader of the Bible, carrying a New Testament around with her. Dinah was a native of the Chickasaw country, and although Chickasaw was her native language, whe was also fluent in English. Because she had the confidence of the Indians, Stuary employed her as an interpreter for several years, and she was said to have delivered the missionaries' messages "with great earnestness." Dinah saved enough money to purchase her freedom and helped her husband to purchase his. 14
Blacks seized with religious fervor also spread the gospel. One member of the church at Monroe was Sarah, a black who lived a few miles from the mission. A native of Africa, she had been takedn when small to the West Indies, where she was first introducted to the gospek, but not understanding English, she was not much impressed by it. After many years of slavery in the islands, she was taken to New Orleans, where she lived a number of years among the French. She was already entering old age when she cam to the Chickasaw contry, the Lord, she said, leading her "by the hand, though unseen, into this land, where he revealted himself to me as a God pardoning sin" She became a regular attendant ath the Monroe Shurch but was not converted until about a year before her death in 1828. The missionaries believed that Sarah had a premonition of her death, for ten days before it occured, she went "from house to house, exhorting sinners to flee from teh wrath to come, and encouraging Christians to faithfulness in their Master's service." She died on the night that the regular montly prayer meeting was held at her house. A "little compnay" of blacks had gathered for prayer, and Sarah, appearing unusually happy, asked for a favorite hymn about halfway through the service. As the company sang, Sarah got up from the bed on which she had been sitting, went about the room shaking hands with everyone, went back to the bed, lay down, and died. The missionaries estimated that she was about seventy years old.15
By early 1830, the missionaries had began to look upon the balcks as a means of getting at the Chickasasw, expecially the full bloods who did not speak English. Althought the missionaries discouraged lay preaching among the slaves, because "of their ignorance, and for other reasons," they encouraged them as leaders in prayer meetings, such as those held at Sarah's house. In 1830, tey creditied the increase iin the number of full bloods attending their services to the efforts of a black slave who lived ten or twelve miles from Monroe and who had "been in the habit, for two or three years, of having a prayer-meeting in his hut ever Wedneday evening." At first, half a dozen blacks attended, but in late 1829, Indians began to attend, at one time numbering twenty-three amond the fifty-five persons present. The services were conducted by "Christian slaves" in the "Chickasaw language.? One of the slaves could read, so a protion of the scripture was read, hymns were sung, and prayers were offered. In later years, the Reverend Stuart recalled that in the fall of 1830, about half of the church members at Monroe were blacks, who generally spoke the Indian language. Because of their "being on equality" with their Chickasaw owners and because they had more contact with them than the whites had, they were used as instruments for extending a knowledge of the gospel to the Indians.16
7. William L. Hiemstra, "Early Presbyterian Missions among the Choctaw and Chcikasaw Indians in Mississippi," Journal of Mississippi History, 10 (January 1948), 11; Phelps, 262,262.
8. Phelps, 268, 271, 274, 275, 276-277; Harry Warren, "Missions, Missionaries, Frontier Characters and Schools," Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, 8 (1904), 581.
9. Percy L. Rainwater, "Indian Missions and Missionaries," Journal of Mississippi History, 27 (Febrauary 1966), 34, 26; Missionary Herald, 25 (1829), 10.
10. Missionary Herald, 24 (1828), 282; 25(1829), 31, 150, 386.
11. Ibid., 25(1829), 287, 388; 26(1830), 383; Dawson A. Phelps, "The Chickasaw Mission," Journal of Mississippi History, 13 (October, 1951), 233.
Later Missionary History (circa 1890s)
The following excerpt was taken from The Chickasaw Freedmen: A People Without A Country, by Dr. Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr.
Churchgoing became a widespread among the Chickasaw freedmen and served as a social outlet. As slaves, the blacks had been very responsive to the teachings of missionaries in the Chickasaw country in the 1840s and 1850s. During that time, the slaves attended church with the Indians. After the Civil War, the freedmen usually did not attend Indian churches, although they were permitted to do so if they wished. howver, their children were forbidden to attend the Indian Sabbath shcools. The blacks could form their own churches and hold their own Sabbath shcools, but most attended churches organized by white missionaries. In the Sabbath schools, missionaries taught the freedmen to spell and read, gave Bible narrations, and taught singing. Some settlements had freedman preachers who preached regularly at their little churches. Despite the missionaries; efforts, in 1878 the Reverd G. W. Dallas, a black Baptist missionary, reported on the freemen: "They are not heathens, and yet they are substatnially without religion." In the late 1870s and early 1880s mission societies received financial aid from teh U.S. government and became quite active in freeman education. However, the aid was withdrawn, and after the missionary presence declined, the blacks lamented the lack of anyone to preach the gospel to them.24
In isolated communitites hwere the freedmen had no preachers, they carried on the best way they could and, if descriptions of services among the Chcotaw freedmen can be accepted as a parallel, they mode innovations of their own in church services. In good weather they gathered for their Sabbath or midweek prayer meetings. If the deacon was present, he read out two lines of a hymn, and the people sang them and continued the precoess until the hymn was finished. If the deacon was absent, an elder would ask someone to "line out" or "raise" ahymn that "the old folks" could sing. if the one who started they hymn could not carry on, someone else sould pick it up at the end of two lines and "line it out" for the rest. If anyone who could ead was present, a lesson was read form the Bible. next, the people went "down to pray," asking God to "come this-a-way" to "walk in, and take a front seat." Some prayers were repetitious, and some were chanted. If someone got the floor to say "a few remarks" and talked too long for the people's taste, someone started a hymn to bring him down. If that did not work, one of the congregation might simply tell him to shut up and sit donw. At the end of the service, they sang another hymn and went home. At the Sabbath service, the deacon "lifted the collection." In this part of the service the deacon announced how much was needed, tand the people brought their offerings forward and placed them on the pulpit or a nearby stand. From time to time the deacon announced how much ahd been collected. Meanwhile, the people sang, the song punctuated now and then by the deacon's ammouncements and joyous shouts of members of the congregation. Sometimes the services turned into what the freedmen called "feelin' meetin's," with people shouting and sometimes falling into swoons. Sometimes the freedmen did not understand church structure and claimed to be elders or orhter officals without having the santion of the church.25
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