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Abstract History of the Mississippi Baptist Association,
From Its Preliminary Organization in 1806 To The Centennial Session in 1906

By T. C. Schilling



Hopewell church is the place of meeting on Saturday, October 8th. Solomon Buffkin preaches the opening sermon from II Corinthians 5:20. Once more, and for the last time, Zachariah Reeves is chosen to preside over the deliberations, while A. J. Everett returns to the clerk's table. James A. Jenkins is re-elected treasurer, also for the last time, this making seventeen years of continuous service.

Elders T. J. Drane, W. W. Bolls and James Newman were selected to do the preaching on the Lord's day, and the collection amounted to $57.65.

The matter of supplying the destitute portions of the Associational territory with preaching was still engaging the attention and consideration of the body, and the Executive Committee had secured the services of Elder W. W. Bolls as Associational missionary at a salary of $1000 a year. This report is made of work done: Number of miles traveled, 1024; sermons preached, 131; persons baptized, 21; Sunday Schools organized, 4; denominational books sold, $100. Moses Jackson was chairman; W. Z. Lea, secretary, and E. B. McLain, treasurer, of this Executive Board. Receipts this year for missions, $877.

The following query was received from the Liberty church:
"Has a church of Christ any Scriptural authority for excusing drunkenness in one of its members, though an acknowledgment should be made by the offender?" The answer given by the

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Association was No, and I Corinthians 5:11 to 13 given as a reference. The body also adopted a brief but pointed report on Temperance, written by Elder T. J. Drane, as follows: "The use of intoxicating drink is operating detrimentally to the interest of our Zion. Drunkenness is condemned by the great Head of the church, and we need not disguise the fact that there is too much liquor drinking among our members. Tippling is a sin against God, and any brother who would stoop so low as to be guilty of such an act should be dealt with by his church."
An advisory committee was appointed to superintend the organization of the colored churches into an Association of their own.

T. J. Drane was requested to furnish a copy of his sermon delivered on Sunday for publication in the "Tennessee Baptist."

The appointment to preach the missionary sermon next year fell on Elder Zachariah Reeves, but this was his last time to be in the old Mississippi Association, and when the hour for adjournment came he offered the closing prayer. Since 1833 he had attended these meetings with wonderful promptness and regularity. And for twenty-four years he had occupied the moderator's chair. When the body convened again he had crossed over to the other side, "where congregations never break up and Sabbaths have no end."


The Association was to have convened this year with the Fort Adams church, but, yellow fever being expected there, the meeting was held with Galilee church, commencing October 7th. No mention is made of an introductory sermon. The organization was completed by the election of W. W. Bolls as moderator; George F. Webb, clerk, and W. Z. Lea, treasurer. One new church, "Wall Street," Natchez, Miss., was received, T. J. Drane and B. Pendleton being the delegates. Letters of dismission were granted to Mount Vernon, Mars Hill, Bogue Chitto and Mount Pleasant churches.

Elders James Nelson and D. I. Purser were in attendance at this meeting, the former representing the Board of Ministerial Education and the latter being a messenger from the Union Association. L. Schofield and James Nelson were selected for the Lord's day services, and on Monday Mr. Nelson delivered an address on ministerial education.

The Association expressed hearty indorsement of the act of the Foreign Mission Board in sending out Elder E. Z. Simmons, of Mississippi, as a missionary to China; and also recommended the Foreign Mission Journal to the membership of the churches.

The question of forming a general association for South Mississippi and East Louisiana was being agitated at this time, and on conferring with the Pearl River Association it was agreed to designate Friday before the fifth Sunday in October as the time and Summit as the place for holding a convention of delegates.

The Executive Board reported that they had continued Elder W. W. Bolls as their missionary until the close of the year ending January 1, 1871, and they express satisfaction at the work done. The report showed 157 miles, 27 sermons, 10 baptisms and $100 worth of books distributed. Treasurer E. B. McLain reported receipts at $243.05.
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W. W. Bolls was born near Salem church, Jefferson county, Mississippi, December 2, 1827, and died on the 27th of January, 1896, being in his sixty-ninth year. While he was quite young his father died, leaving a widow and six children. The loss of his father and the care of the family deprived him of early educational advantages. Being of studious habits, however, he acquired considerable information by his own efforts. Later he

attended Howard College, but did not remain to complete his course. When about fifteen years old he professed faith in the Savior, uniting with Flower Hill church, in Warren county. His marriage to Miss Ann Stephens occurred in June, 1846. He was licensed to preach in 1851 and ordained in 1853. After his ordination he moved to Copiah county, where he was pastor of a number of churches, and into whose membership he baptized more than a thousand persons. In 1870 he went to Wilkinson
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county as missionary of the Mississippi Association, where he labored two years. His next move was to Amite county, where he was again the pastor of a number of churches, and remaining some fifteen years. He took a decided stand for prohibition and was among the first advocates in the struggle. He was moderator of the Mississippi Association for eleven years, viz., 1771, 1872, and from 1877 to 1885, inclusive.

During the latter part of his ministry Mr. Bolls moved back to Jefferson county and was pastor of Fellowship and Rodney churches. One who knew him well pays this tribute to his memory: "He was a man of great consecration and never failed to meet his appointments if it was possible for him to do so. The Lord greatly blessed his efforts, and I think he baptized about two thousand persons."

Mr. Bolls was buried at Utica, Miss., Pastor I. H. Anding, conducting the funeral service from the Utica Baptist Church. Thus there passed from earth another faithful servant of God who had stood before thousands of men and women pleading for repentance and salvation.
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Wilford Z. Lea was born in Amite county, Mississippi, December 27, 1816. He professed religion in 1841, and for sixty-five years was a member of the church at Liberty. In 1842 he was married to Miss Rachel Powell, who was to him a faithful and devoted companion, preceding him to the spirit world but a few years. It was also in 1842 that he located near Liberty,

Miss., where he spent his long and eventful life. Here he saw the changes and seasons of more than six decades of years, and here he traveled the same road to church with a regularity that has seldom been equaled. Here he farmed, raised his children and entertained his friends, including many preachers. And here his long life came to its close December 20, 1906, lacking seven days of having reached the ninetieth milestone. Mr. Lea
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was diligent and faithful in his church relations, serving as clerk thirty years and as deacon for more than fifty years. He was an active worker in this Association, serving on committees and boards, and was also the treasurer for many years. When he was born the Mississippi Association was ten years old, and he lived to see the centennial year of its history, but was too feeble to attend its celebration. A moment's reflection will suggest that twenty-one men, with lives as long as Mr. Lea's, would reach back to the time when Christ was on the earth.

Our friend delighted to talk on religious subjects, and, having been a constant reader of good books and periodicals, as well as the Bible1 was intelligent and well-informed. He was a strong advocate of giving the gospel to the whole world, and continued to send his contributions to the end. A short while before his death he said: "I am like a man on his way home, waiting at the depot; I am listening for the whistle."

Mr. Lea served his day and generation according to the will of God, and, like the patriarchs of old, was gathered to his fathers.
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E. B. McLain, of Gloster, Miss., was born in 1829, and for more than fifty years has been an active and useful Christian. He has led a busy life, and has had large success in a financial way. He has stood for civic righteousness and religious progress, being a liberal contributor to the various objects fostered by the denomination. He has reared a large family, Congressman F. A. McLain being one or his sons. A friend of his says:

" Amidst all the busy cares of his strenuous life, he has never lost sight of the fact that his first duty is to God and the cause of Christ. Few men in the State have given more money to the Baptist cause than he, and he has doubtless given more for the building of Baptist churches than any man in Mississippi. His influence will live on, and old Galilee church will be the greatest monument that will ever be erected to his memory."
Mr. McLain has been closely connected with this Association for many years. He seldom misses one of its meetings, and
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takes an active interest in all its work. He also frequently attends the State and Southern Baptist Conventions. He is a warm friend of Mississippi College, the Baptist Orphanage and the religious papers. He has been identified with many illustrious laymen and preachers who have left their impress on the world for good. And, like these, he will be known in history for his work's sake.


The Association convened this time with New Providence church, the opening sermon being preached by W. W. Bolls. The reading clerks were C. H. Otken and A. S. Germany. Twenty churches were represented, and the body was organized by the re-election of W. W. Bolls, Geo. F. Webb and W. Z. Lea, moderator, clerk and treasurer, respectively. Elders Solomon Buffkin and C. H. Otken were appointed to preach on the Lord's day, the former to deliver the missionary sermon at 11 a. m. and the latter to preach at 2 p. m.

Reports on Mississippi College, Orphans' Home, ministerial support, Sunday schools and temperance were received and considered. Hearty sympathy was expressed with the effort to endow the college, and the agent, Elder M. T. Martin, was welcomed to the churches.

At this meeting a letter was received from J. W. Felder, who was suffering a serious affliction, concerning a plan for raising mission funds, which plan was adopted by his father, the late Chas. Felder and operated successfully in his day. After expressing much interest in the cause of missions, believing it to be the most important part of the Association's work, Mr. Felder said: "I am now on a bed of affliction, waiting for the summons to a better world. My faith in Christ is unshaken. I have no special anxiety td remain here."

The report on obituaries mentions the death of James B. Quin, a deacon in the Summit church, and who was long the treasurer of the missionary and benevolent fund of the Association; also, that of Dr. Wm. P. Dodd, of Hopewell church.

The ministers in attendance were: W. W. Bolls, C. H. Otken, James Newman, O. L. Johnston, Solomon Buffkin, H. G. Quin, J. J. Schofield, S. S. Relyea and B. A. Crawford.
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Mount Zion, Franklin county, is the place where the saints gather on the 9th of October. James Newman preaches the Associational sermon from Romans, 6:11. Eighteen churches are represented, and there is a change of officers -- viz., S. Buffkin is made moderator; H. H. Ratcliff, clerk, and J. R. Sample, treasurer.

James Nelson was received as Corresponding Secretary of the Board of Ministerial Education, and R. H. Purser came from the Union Association. Mr. Purser was engaged in mission work at this time, and business was suspended to hear a report from his field.

By special motion, the body adjourned to hear a sermon by Elder S. A. Hayden, who preached from I John, 4:19. This was on Thursday.

A tract on baptism had been written by J. R. Sample, and the matter of raising a fund to have same published was presented by S. S. Relyea, the sum of $50 being secured.

The death of James W. Felder is noted. He was a member of East Fork church, and was a useful citizen and a devout Christian. He wrote an affectionate letter the previous year.

The Executive Board reported that they had appropriated the sum of $200 to the Natchez church as a supplement to the pastor's salary. They expressed regret that the legitimacy of their action had been questioned, and asked that their brethren would bear in mind that they were left without instructions, and, further, they believed that the wisdom of their action would be vindicated by the report of the Natchez church. C. M. Gordon was pastor, who gave the following summary of work: Baptisms, 31; by letter, 11; books, papers and tracts distributed, $70; visits, 400; sermons, 125. The Sunday school had increased from twenty to ninety-eight, and the church was sustaining a young preacher at Mississippi College.

A committee was appointed, with C. R. Otken as chairman, to prepare a biographical sketch of Elder Zachariah Reeves and report a year hence.

The preachers attending this meeting were Jas. Newman, Jas. Nelson, E. C. Eager, W. W. Bolls, S. Buffkin, C. H. Otken, Geo. A. Hayden, C. M. Gordon, S. H. Thompson, S. S. Relyea, L. Schofield, S. A. Hayden, R. H. Purser and O. L. Johnston.
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Solomon Buffkin was born April 21, 1832, and died December 20, 1877, being less than forty-six years of age. His early educational advantages were limited. By close application, however; he trained himself to think, and, having great energy and earnestness, he became an efficient minister of Jesus Christ. In 1851 he was married to Miss Elizabeth Carlile. To them eight children were born, most of whom preceded him to the other

world. In the spring of 1854 he united with the Antioch Baptist church, Copiah county, and in the same year was licensed and ordained to the ministry. The first part of his ministry was given to serving churches and to labor in the field. He did not receive an adequate support from his ministerial work, and, feeling that he must provide for his own family, was driven to the farm. He was absent from his home and family much of the time, having to travel from twenty to thirty miles to reach his churches, and having to encounter the danger of crossing
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the Homochitto and other large streams. At one of these crossings, on one occasion, he lost a valuable horse, and came near losing his own life.

Mr. Buffkin was fond of singing, and was remarkably gifted in this respect. With him it was a favorite engagement of worship, and for this many would go to hear him preach. He was also a working missionary Baptist. It is said that he did more to arouse a missionary spirit in the Mississippi Association than any other man. He traveled and made speeches and preached sermons to get the churches to do something for missions, thus proving his interest and zeal in behalf of a lost world.

He passed away at his home some three miles north of the present town of Roxie, Miss., and was buried at Union church. His grave is marked by a monument erected by Union, Hopewell, Mount Zion and Galilee churches, which churches he served up to the last of November prior to his death in December.

Mr. Buffkin is pleasantly remembered by many Christian friends, who speak of him in high terms as a faithful servant of God.
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H. H. Ratcliff was born near where the present town of Gloster stands, June 7, 1835, and is now living within one and a half miles of the place. His first marriage was to Miss Fannie Jenkins, June 8, 1858. To them were born twelve children, all living except one, and most or whom are members of Baptist churches. Two or his sons are prominent lawyers, E. H. and C. V. Ratcliff. The former was District Attorney for eight consecutive

years prior to 1904, while the latter was a member of the Mississippi State Senate from 1904 to 1908.

Mr. Ratcliff professed religion in 1861, uniting with the church at Liberty, Miss., and has ever been an uncompromising believer in Baptist doctrine. He is now more than threescore and ten years old, but is still in active life, being able to attend his weekly prayer-meeting and church services, in which he takes a great interest.

In 1889 he experienced his first great sorrow in the death of his wife, with whom he had lived happily for nearly thirty-two
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years. His second marriage was to Miss Fannie Longmire, March 15, 1891. He is the present Mayor of the city of Gloster, and for twelve years has been the clerk of his church. He has long been active and influential in the meeting of the Mississippi Association, being clerk of the body in 1873 and 1874, when Elder Solomon Buffkin was the moderator.

Concerning his religious life, Mr. Ratcliff says:
"I have failed to be as useful as I should have been. Forty-seven years a member, and so little done when so much was to be done. For the last twenty-three years, however, I have been more faithful to my Christian vows, and have endeavored to walk more closely to my Heavenly Father."

J. R. Sample was born January 22, 1840, and spent the most of his youth on the farm, receiving such education as the common schools of the country afforded. He studied medicine in the office of his father, Dr. John Sample. He attended the medical school in New Orleans during the session of 1860 and 1861.
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This was the period of secession, and, on returning home the following spring, he joined a volunteer company at Meadville, Miss., entering the service as orderly sergeant of the company. Having devoted much time to the study of medicine, and being desirous of continuing in this profession, he sought and obtained the appointment of field hospital steward, and was ordered to report to the Seventh Mississippi Regiment for duty. In this capacity he served until the close of the war. In 1865 and 1866 he again attended the medical school in New Orleans, receiving a diploma as M. D., after which he located at Liberty, Miss. At this time Dr. Sample was a member of the Methodist church. In the fall of 1866 he was married to Miss Ary Robinson, a devout Christian and a Baptist. This alliance naturally brought him into closer relationship with Baptist people, and led him to investigate more closely the teaching and polity of Baptist churches. This resulted in his uniting with the Liberty Baptist church in 1870, being baptized by Elder T. J. Drane. The following year he was ordained to the deaconship, in which capacity he has continued to serve. Being a man of good writing ability, and being fully convinced as to what constitutes Scriptural baptism, he was appointed, soon after uniting with the church at Liberty, to prepare an essay on the subject, "What Is Baptism?" This was his first experience in writing anything of a theological nature. The essay was well received, and the Association ordered one thousand copies published in tract form for general distribution. Since that time he has written much for the religious papers, and is regarded as authority on questions of doctrine and church polity.

Dr. Sample located in Summit, Miss., in 1877, where he has continued to reside, and where he has held positions of honor and trust. He is a stanch advocate of prohibition and a thorough Baptist. In 1873 he was elected treasurer of the Association, and held the office five years.
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Lorenzo Schofield was born in the State of Connecticut, July 4, 1814. He was the youngest in a family of four sons and two daughters. He came with his parents to Indiana about 1819. Here he spent his childhood and youth amid the rude conditions of that early date. His schooling was such as the young child at that time received. His father died when he was but six years old, and he was raised under the care of his mother, Ruth Schofield. He professed faith in Christ and united with the Baptist church at Connersville. Ind. while yet a boy.

Mr. Schofield came to Clinton. La., in 1833. Here he was licensed to preach and afterwards was ordained to the full work of the ministry by the Clinton Baptist church. His first pastorate was at Fort Adams. Miss. From there he moved to Louisiana, locating in Avoyelles parish, where he was the instrument in God's hands in organizing the Bayou De Glaize Baptist church, which, in the course of years, became a strong and influential body, and of which he was the pastor. While here he Association, and held the office five years.
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was married to Miss Elizabeth Ann Phelps, a native of New York. With the exception of a few years in Illinois, he spent all of the time in this part of Louisiana until after the war between the States. During these years he served a number of the then weak churches of Western Louisiana. In 1871 he moved to Liberty, Miss., and spent the remainder of his life in Amite and Pike counties. During this time he was pastor at Liberty, New Providence, Spring Hill, Galilee, Mount Vernon, Ebenezer and East Fork. He passed away at Summit, Miss., where his slumbers of the grave are undisturbed, while he waits the can of the resurrection morning.

Mr. Schofield was a close student of the Bible, well versed in doctrine, and a thorough Calvinistic Baptist.


On the 9th of October the Association met in the sixty-eighth session with East Fork church. C. H. Otken delivered the introductory sermon from I Cor. 9:14, "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel." This remark is made of the sermon: "The subject of ministerial support was traversed from this text with great earnestness and ability." It may be said that Mr. Otken was taking advanced ground for stipulated salaries for pastors, something the churches had not very generally adopted.

The reading clerks at this meeting were W. H. Tucker and J. R. Sample, and the officers of last year were re-elected.

The privilege to lecture on the "Tabernacle and Customs of the Israelites" was granted Elder C. H. Otken for Sunday morning at 10 o'clock. Elders Solomon Buffkin and W. H. Tucker were appointed to preach, the former in the morning and the latter in the evening. This query was submitted for consideration: "Should church action, when done in a call conference, be regarded as valid when said action has a tendency to conflict with or repeal an action of a regular conference" The committee, L. Schofield, J. R. Sample and M. Jackson, answered the query in the negative, and their report was adopted by the body.

The General Association of South Mississippi and East Louisiana, previously mentioned, had been organized, but was not meeting with universal favor, as four of the churches (Hopewell, Sarepta, Union and Mount Zion) gave notice in their letters Association, and held the office five years.
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that their connection with the General Association was dissolved. The action of these four churches was referred to a committee, who reported that, while a majority of the churches had expressed a desire, in connection with other associations, to form such a general organization, still no church was compelled to co-operate with the General Association that did not wish to do so. A large delegation was appointed to attend the next meeting of this general body, but the time and place are not given. Those selected were: C. H. Otken, L. Schofield, S. H. Thompson, W. W. Bolls, B. H. Jenkins, H. G. Quin, W. Z. Lea, ____ McNulty, J. R. Sample, W. J. Everett, H. H. Ratcliff, E. B. McLain, M. Jackson, James Newman, R. S. McLain, James Bates, S. E. McDonald and James E. Lea.

The report of the Executive Board showed that no mission work had been done for the want of funds. Only two churches, Liberty and Ebenezer, had sent the Board any money, which had been returned, as the amount was not sufficient to be used to advantage. R. T. Rice was chairman and J. R. Sample secretary. A resolution was passed, requesting the churches to notify this Board by December 1st whether they were willing to take quarterly collections for missions. It appears that there was very little interest in the churches at this time on the subject of the great commission.

Good reports were made on ministerial education, Mississippi College, the Lauderdale Orphans' Home, religious publications, etc.

There has been a noticeable change in the proceedings of the Association during the last few years. Leading men, both preachers and laymen, were feeling the need and importance of greater efficiency and larger giving on the part of Christian people. But the question was how to reach and interest the masses. It may be observed that this is still a vital question, and, while gratifying advance has been made, the matter of Christian development and efficiency yet calls for study and prayer.

The pastoral relations this year were as follows: J. A. Snyder served Damascus; James Newman preached for East Fork, New Providence and Zion Hill; L. Schofield was bishop of Ebenezer; W. H. Bailey served Friendship and Ramah; Solomon Buffkin ministered to Galilee, Hopewell, Union and Mount Zion; W. W. Bolls was pastor at Liberty and Percy's Creek; -- Morris served New Hope; A. L. Travillian preached for Sarepta, and C. H. Otken was bishop at Summit. Association, and held the office five years.
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A lengthy and well-written biography of Zachariah Reeves appears in this year's minutes from the pen of C. H. Otken, from which quotations have already been made. A total of 131 colored members was reported this year, showing that they had not all left the white churches up to this date.

James Newman was born near Liberty, Miss., December 27, 1826, and died at Clifton Mills, Texas, November 9, 1884, being only fifty-eight years old. He was a veteran of the Mexican war, but how long he served is not known. On the 22d day of May, 1850, he was married to Miss P. E. Davis, of Copiah county, Mississippi, who still survives (1908), and who has been a faithful wife and a devoted mother. Ten children were born to them, seven sons and three daughters, several of whom have crossed over to the other shore.

Mr. Newman professed religion in 1856, uniting with the Providence church, in Copiah county. He began the work of Association, and held the office five years.
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the ministry the following year, attending Mississippi College during the session of 1857-58. His ordination occurred at Bethany church, Copiah county, in 1858, the ordaining council being composed of Elders William Mullins, R. R. Lunn and others. He preached in this county during the seventies, being pastor at Wesson, Brookhaven and other places. He afterwards came to Amite county, and served East Fork, Mars Hill, New Providence, Zion Hill, Mount Vernon, and, perhaps, other churches. It is said that it was the request of Elder Zachariah Reeves that Mr. Newman should be his successor in the field he had so long occupied. As a pastor he was successful, sometimes baptizing as many as fifty persons at one church during the year. In 1880 he moved to Texas, and was actively engaged until the time of his departure in 1884. His death came suddenly. He had preached an able sermon at night, and passed away within a few hours, his wife being with him. And it is here at Clifton Mills, Texas, that his body awaits the day of final redemption.

One of Mr. Newman's sons, a namesake, is an active and useful minister in the far West, while two others, O. D. and W. M. Newman, Amite county, are deacons. "Them that honor Me will I honor."


This meeting was held with the Liberty church, October 9th to 11th. W. W. Bolls delivered the introductory sermon from Jeremiah, 31:7. S. Buffkin was chosen moderator; A. J. Everett, clerk; and J. R. Sample, treasurer.

B. A. Crawford, T. J. Everett and Jas. A. Jenkins came as messengers from the Bogue Chitto Association; A. J. Going, H. C. Perkins and S. A. Hayden from the Mississippi River; J. R. Farish from the Fair River; S. S. Relyea from the Eastern Louisiana, and J. A. Hackett from the Central, and as agent for the centennial movement. Elders L. Schofield, J. A. Hackett and J. R. Farish were selected to do the preaching on the Sabbath.

Resolutions were adopted, first, that it was the sense of the Association that contributing to the Lord's cause is an act of worship; second, that J. A. Hackett, agent of the centennial movement, be invited to come and hold mass meetings in the churches for the purpose of arousing the membership and taking collections to endow Mississippi College; third, that T. J. Walne, Corresponding Secretary of the State Mission Board, be Association, and held the office five years.
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invited to visit the Associational territory in the interest of State missions.

The Executive Board again complained of a lack of interest on the subject of missions. They had received only $45.15, this amount being contributed by six of the churches. Elders S. H. Thompson and R. J. McNeil had been employed, the former for Pioneer and Dixon's Creek, and the latter for Spring Hill and Homer Hill. Mr. Thompson reported that God had blessed his labors by adding many to the churches in his field. Mr. McNeil stated that his congregations were generally good and attentive, and particularly at Homer Hill there were old men who had never heard a sermon from a Baptist preacher.

The want of interest among the churches was greatly deplored by leading brethren, though they seemed to recognize that the prevailing conditions were due, in large measure, to the effects of the late war. The Committee on Home Missions, of which W. Z. Lea was the chairman, had this to say on the subject:
"There never was a time since Jesus was on the earth when the Macedonian cry was heard from almost the whole world as now. Domestic missions within our bounds, State missions and Indian missions are all loudly calling for help, and we are bound by our allegiance to Jesus, to the extent of our ability, to respond to all. Further, for years the people of God have been so illy able to meet these demands. In view of these facts, in the opinion of your committee, now is the time to practice self-denial -- to cut off many of the luxuries and superfluities of life -- to enable us to contribute to the Lord's cause."
The report on foreign missions makes similar complaint as follows:
"As far as we were able to ascertain, our churches have made no contributions to sustain the preaching of the gospel in foreign fields; our churches take no interest in this matter. This is the lamentable truth. It is to be feared that our pastors are most culpable for the listlessness prevailing in our churches upon this subject. The old maxim is true in this particular: 'Like priest, like people.'"
A fine report appears on the "Centennial Movement" from the gifted pen of J. A. Hackett, as follows:
"The American people propose to celebrate next year (1876) as the centennial of our national independence. We think it a wise conclusion. After one hundred years of such unprecedented prosperity, we ought, as a people, to make merry and give
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thanks. We think it fitting, and right, also, for us as a denomination to come fully out of our obscurity and celebrate the centennial of our blood-rescued heritage of religious liberty. This centennial idea is unquestionably a great thought. God has done great things for us, for which we should make fitting return, and how could we better show our gratitude to Him for His goodness than by a memorial offering of benevolent gifts; and we know of nothing calculated to reach farther down the coming ages, or to be of greater benefit to generations yet unborn, than the permanent endowment of education."
The effort to endow Mississippi College was to be made during this centennial year, and the Association expressed hearty sympathy with the undertaking.

S. H. Thompson was born near Liberty, Miss., March 15, 1824. He was converted at the age of fourteen, uniting with New Providence church in 1844, and was baptized by Chas. Felder.
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He served through the four years of civil war, making, a brave and faithful soldier. His war record contains many amusing stories and incidents, and he is remembered by his few remaining comrades with special interest. His bravery and hopeful disposition inspired many a weary soldier on the long marches and by the campfires. For nearly or quite forty years he has been a soldier in another cause, and in this, as in the other, has seen much hard service. It has been his lot to travel long distances, to preach in destitute communities, and to organize new churches. He has labored in Amite, Pike, Wilkinson and Franklin counties, and in St. Helena parish, Louisiana. For a number of years he was missionary of the Mississippi Association, working for small compensation, and his reports were well received by his brethren.

Mr. Thompson is a man of original thought and ready wit, and many anecdotes are told in connection with his long life. He is now in his eighty-fifth year, and is almost totally blind. Notwithstanding this affliction, he has seldom missed a meeting of the Association to the present time, and perhaps no one enjoys the fellowship, and exercises of these meetings more than he does. He will be long and kindly remembered for his works' sake.


The place of meeting was Union church, Franklin county, and the time October 7th, 8th and 9th. This was the centennial of American independence and of religious liberty, and it was so recognized on the front page of the minutes.

James Newman preached the opening sermon from Psalms, 73:24, "Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory."

Twenty-one churches were represented, and the body organized by choosing Solomon Buffkin moderator, Chas. C. Nanck clerk, and J. R. Sample treasurer. After organization the newly-elected clerk presented the Association with a gavel made from the wood of an oak tree which once overshadowed Salem, the first Baptist church constituted in Mississippi. The moderator received the gavel in behalf of the Association, expressing thanks for the same. This gavel is still in use, and in the coming years will doubtless be a most interesting relic.

Two new churches were received, Dry Fork Union and Providence, but their location is not given.
[p. 150]
Elders W. H. Robert and James Newman were selected for the Sabbath services.

The Executive Board again complained of the continued indifference in the churches on the subject of missions. They asked: "Can a body of baptized believers claim to be the church of Christ and neglect this duty?" And they recommended such action as would cause the churches to realize the great sin of omission in this matter. G. W. Perkins was president of the board, and Z. L. Everett secretary.

The "Tennessee Baptist" and "Southern Baptist" were recommended in the report on publications, and the regret was expressed that Mississippi had no State paper. Still it was a matter for congratulation that steps were being taken by the Mississippi Convention to establish a State organ.

The report on abstracts showed the condition of the churches to be somewhat encouraging, the work of Elders W. H. Robert, S. H. Thompson and R. J. McNeil being especially mentioned. E. A. Taylor had held meetings at Union, Galilee, Mount Zion and Hopewell, in which many souls had been converted. W. H. Robert was the Associational missionary, who reported having preached at Woodville, Fort Adams, Natchez, Pinckneyville and other places. He gave this summary of his work: Miles traveled, 1,190; sermons preached, 212; Sunday school and other addresses, 59; baptisms, 3.

Some resolutions were passed, declaring the Mississippi Association to be missionary in doctrine, and saying she should be so in practice, believing that "omissionary" in practice was as great an error as "anti-missionary" in doctrine. And the belief was further declared that Christ's object in establishing His church on earth was to evangelize the world. The resolutions also complained of the system of doing mission work through agents as being too expensive. In this, however, our brethren were honestly mistaken, as the wisdom of this system has been demonstrated in Mississippi during the past thirty years.


The Association meets with Zion Hill church, October 13th, 14th and 15th. W. W. Bolls discourses from John, 3:6, "That which is born of spirit is spirit." The body organizes by making Mr. Bolls the moderator; his son, Judson A. Bolls, clerk, and J. R. Sample, treasurer. Mars Hill church is received back into the Association, James A. Jenkins being the delegate.
[p. 151]
S. Buffkin and C. H. Otken did the preaching on the Lord's day, and a mission collection was taken, amounting to $9.63. On Monday the body adjourned to hear a sermon by B. A. Crawford. The clerk remarks: "He edified his audience from the text, 'Salvation is of the Lord.'"

The report on publications cordially recommended the "Mississippi Baptist Record," which had lately been launched upon the sea of religious journalism.

The subject of denominational education in South Mississippi and East Louisiana was considered in a well-written report by W. W. Bolls, chairman. Among other things, the report says:
"Denominational education is too much neglected. Baptists too often send their children to other than their own schools, when they could be as well trained, and, in many instances, far better. We rejoice at the prospects of having a female school at our doors, and would call special attention to the Lea Female College, located at Summit. We believe Summit the right place for it, and Bro. Otken the right man to preside over it."
A circular on the Lea Female College was published in the minutes, giving the names of the Faculty, Board of Trustees, courses of study, etc.

No mission work is reported, the Executive Board closing their report with these words: "If the churches composing this Association will deposit money in the treasury annually, it will remove all obstacles in our way, and great good will be done."


On the 12th of October the saints gathered for Worship and business with New Hope church, Franklin county. James Newman was the first preacher to be heard, and the body was organized by retaining the same moderator and clerk, while W. Z. Lea was chosen treasurer.

E. C. Gates came as a voluntary messenger from the Union Association, and also as representative of the Baptist Record.

The attendance was small this year, and the clerk was requested to state in the minutes the reason therefor [sic], which reason was the prevalence of yellow fever. In a footnote in one of the statistical tables the clerk says: "It will be seen that our representation was small. The reason was we were more afraid of yellow fever than we were the Almighty." The hour of 10 a. m. on Sunday was designated for special prayer that the ravages of the disease might cease. And after this prayer-meeting
[p. 152]
Elders W. H. Robert and E. C. Gates preached, the former in the morning and the latter in the evening, their texts being, respectively, Luke, 12:15, and Romans, 12:21.

The church at Natchez having failed two years to send messengers to the Association, it was agreed to appoint a committed of ministers and deacons to visit them with a view to giving any assistance that might be practicable.

The Executive Board reported that they had only $60 with which to operate this year; but they had employed Elder S. H. Thompson to preach in Wilkinson county. He had baptized fourteen persons, and others were waiting the ordinance. Mr. Thompson had been preaching in that locality four years, receiving an average of $52 a year for his services; and during this time he had constituted three churches.

The delegates present were requested to exert themselves in their respective churches in the cause of missions, and to make the effort to raise at least twenty-five cents apiece from the membership.

A good report on temperance was adopted, closing with these words: "We would urge upon the Association the necessity of keeping it before the churches, and before the world also, that, to be a good Baptist, a man must be sober."

Not only was there a gloom over the Association this year because of the prevailing scourge of yellow fever, but another sorrow had come in the death of the beloved Solomon Buffkin, who had been a familiar friend in the councils of the body for a number of years, and who had also served as moderator. The report on obituaries also notes the departure of W. H. Gunby and James E. Lea, and of Sisters Elceba Bates, Elizabeth Everett, Martha A. Robinson and Nancy Sullivan. These members are spoken of with much affection and esteem, and the Association expressed sincere condolence with the different families.

The report on publications warmly commended the Baptist Record, published at Clinton, Miss., by M. T. Martin, and edited by J. B. Gambrell.

The following is a list of the pastors and churches for 1878:
Z. Loften served Damascus and Ramah; Jas. Newman ministered to East Fork and Mars Hill; Thomas Lansdell was pastor of Ebenezer; W. W. Bolls preached for Galilee, Liberty, Zion Hill and Mount Zion; J. P. Hemby served Hopewell and Union; O. L. Johnston was bishop of New Providence; W. H. Robert preached for Percy's Creek and, Fort Adams; A. L. Travillian
[p. 153]
ministered to Sarepta; W. E. Tynes was bishop at Summit; S. H. Thompson preached for Pioneer, and E. Young served Providence. The church at New Hope, where this meeting was held, had no pastor this year.
A good report on "Systematic Benevolence" was adopted, written by A. S. Turner, of Mars Hill, as follows:
"We believe that the church of Christ was constituted on a system or basis by which not only the spiritual man or soul could be benefited by the preaching of the gospel, but that the gospel could be carried into all nations, and that it not only looked to the spiritual interests of man, but to his temporal welfare also; and we further believe that any church failing to carry out these designs is not living up to the gospel requirements."

Thomas Lansdell was born in Northumberland county, Virginia, January 8, 1830. His early education was limited, consisting of only two years in school. While yet a boy he was clerk
[p. 154]
in a store, when he began to read and study for himself. In this way he acquired a good education and became well informed. He was reared a Methodist, but at the age of twenty-two united with the Fairfield Baptist church. In 1854 he went to Terrell county, North Carolina, to teach school, and was there licensed to preach. In 1855 he accepted an appointment from the Board of the North Carolina Convention to preach at Tarboro, in that State. While there he was married to Miss Harriet Lawrence, who still survives, and who has been a faithful companion, sharing with her husband the joys and sorrows of 1ife. Being herself a pious and well-informed woman, she has been active in Sunday school and church work. Many sorrows have come to their home, as seven out of ten children have crossed the river of death.

Mr. Lansdell was called to Hillsboro, N. C., in the latter part of 1855, and was here ordained to the full work of the ministry. He was next called to serve two churches in Virginia, High Hills and Hebron, and remained here three and a half years. His next move was to Cheneyville, La., where he was pastor thirteen years. He then went to Williamsport, La., remaining one year. In 1875 he moved to Clinton, La., and served as pastor of the Clinton, Jackson and Hepzibah churches. He was called in 1878 to Ebenezer church, Amite county, where he served two terms as pastor; in all, seventeen years. During this time he served New Providence church for sixteen years. Other churches that had his services were Norwood (La.), Woodland, Bethel, Union and Amite River. In 1885 the death of his daughter's husband made it necessary for him to move to her home near Ebenezer church, where he spent the remainder of his life. Here, on the 24th of February, 1908, after a long decline, he passed away at the age of seventy-eight years. His last audible prayer was: "May I soon be with the angels."

Mr. Lansdell was modest and painstaking, and, withal, an excellent and useful preacher. He rests from his labors and his works follow him.
[p. 155]
Walter E. Tynds was born in Marion county, Mississippi, July 13,1848, and was reared mainly in the adjoining territory of Pike county and Washington parish, Louisiana. His early education was received in the country schools, and later in the Osyka Academy, at Osyka, Miss. He was baptized into the fellowship of Mount Hermon Baptist church in 1866 by the late Chas. Felder

Walter E. Tynes, D. D.
Crawford, who was assisting the pastor, Willis J. Fortinberry, in a series of meetings. He studied law under the Hon. John T. Lamkin at Holmesville, then the courthouse town of Pike county, and, by special courtesy, was admitted to practice, in 1868, before attaining his majority. While engaged in the study of law the previously-felt call to the ministry was deeply impressed upon him. Later he located at Osyka for the practice
[p. 156]
of his profession, where he did a successful business, but was unable to fix his mind upon the law fully because of his conviction concerning the ministry.

January 11, 1871, he was married to Miss Frances E. Tate, of Pike county, a daughter of Judge T. E. Tate, and on the 24th of the following September he was licensed to preach by the Osyka Baptist church. March 8, 1872, he was recognized as an ordained minister and pastor of the Osyka church, the ordaining council being composed of Elders Elias George, S. S. Relyea, B. L. Lea, L. Schofield and O. L. Johnston. A gracious reviva1 followed, in which the new pastor was assisted by the late James Nelson, of Clinton, Miss., and during which the membership was greatly increased. He continued to serve as pastor at Osyka through 1872 and 1873, preaching also at Tangipahoa, Amite City and Greensburg, La. In 1874 he was pastor at Jackson, La., and at the Plains, south of Jackson; was independent missionary to Baton Rouge, La., organizing the Baptist church there in September of that year. In 1875 and 1876 he was independent missionary and evangelist, doing mission work and holding revival meetings in seven of the Florida parishes.

Mr. Tynes next went to Summit, Miss., where he was pastor two years -- 1877 and 1878. Here his work soon began to prosper. The congregations increased, the prayer meeting revived and the Sunday school grew. In September of his first year he conducted a revival meeting in his church for a whole month, during which a number of valuable accessions were added to the membership. The same steady progress was made through 1878, notwithstanding the prevalence of yellow fever in the State, which caused much demoralization in the public mind.

From 1879 to 1882 he was pastor at Canton, Miss. It was during this period that his first great sorrow was experienced. On May 2, 1881, his faithful and devoted wife, Mrs. Fannie Tate Tynes, was called to her reward on high, leaving three small children. With his home broken up and his children with their grandparents, he felt that he should take that theological training of which he had been deprived by his law course and practice. He accordingly resigned his Canton pastorate and spent the most of two years in study at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky. The summers were spent mainly at the great Chautauqua, New York, and with Prof. W. R. Harper, afterwards President of Chicago University.

In 1884 Mr. Tynes went to Texas, where he has since remained. His best work there has been, as pastor of the First
[p. 157]
Church, Fort Worth, two years; First Church, Denison, nearly seven years, and his present pastorate (1908) with the Calvary Church, Houston, nearly six years.

He was for some time associate editor of the "Texas Baptist Herald," and in 1898 he conducted the Bible Study Institute in the Louisiana Baptist College, at Mount Lebanon, La. Here he was honored with the degree of "Doctor of Divinity."

His second marriage occurred January 8, 1890, to Miss Marie E. Nelson, of Chappell Hill, Texas, who from the day of their marriage has laid her life on the altar of sacrifice for her husband, his children and his work.

During a ministry of thirty-six years Dr. Tynes has had nearly half a million hearers, several hundred conversions, and has preached about five thousand sermons. He is a man of remarkably fine physique and of splendid attainments.


Ebenezer was the place of meeting, and the time October 11th to 13th. The opening sermon was delivered by James Newman from Nehemiah, 2:18, "So they strengthened their hands for this good work." The minute says: "The discourse was a most excellent one, the speaker dwelling, among other things, upon the fact that many enterprises fail for want of a leader."

W. W. Bolls and W. Z. Lea were re-elected moderator and treasurer, respectively, while Joseph Buckles was made secretary. One new church, Union, Amite county, was received, Elder S. H. Thompson being the delegate. Visiting ministers present were: E. C. Eager, B. A. Crawford, J. J. White and Thomas Lansdell.

W. W. Bolls and C. H. Otken preached on the Sabbath, the former in the morning and the latter in the afternoon, and a collection of $27.30 was received.

The matter of having the minutes published in book form from the organization of the Association was again considered, and a committee of one, Moses Jackson, was authorized to inquire into the practicability of having the work done.

A lengthy report on Lea Female College was adopted, in which that institution was cordially indorsed and recommended. Various other subjects received attention and a "preamble" and "constitution" for the Association was presented and published in the minutes.
[p. 158]
The Executive Board reported that they still had the services of Elder S. H. Thompson as local missionary; that he had traveled over 2,500 miles, baptized twenty persons and constituted two churches. They had paid him $114.50. and were ready to make it $150. They say: "We believe no other man in the Association would perform the same labor for so little compensation."

W. F. Love was in attendance at this meeting as a delegate from Liberty, and was chairman of one of the committees. Mr. Love rose to distinction, reaching the halls of the United States Congress. He died some years ago, much respected and honored by his people.
[p. 159]

Willis J. Fortinberry was born in Pike county, Mississippi, November 28, 1829, being the youngest of a family of ten children. His parents -- William and Violette -- Fortinberry -- came to Mississippi from South Carolina in 1819.

He professed faith in Christ in 1851, uniting with New Zion Baptist church, and was baptized by Elder Calvin Magee. His marriage to Miss Louisa Blackwell, who still survives, occurred
[p. 160]
October 13, 1853, the same minister officiating. During the long journey of their married life she was to him a faithful companion. Seven children were born to them, five sons and two daughters.

He was licensed to preach in 1861 and ordained in 1863, by New Zion church, the presbytery being composed of Elders B A. Crawford, J. E. Pounds, J. C. Seal and I. N. Pigott. Soon after this he was called to the care of this church, in which capacity he continued until his death. His time was fully occupied for this long period, serving four churches, which were usually near enough to his home for him to leave Saturday morning and return Sunday evening. He labored for small compensation, yet he did not complain. He felt that his preaching was not with "enticing words of man's wisdom," but in the power of the Spirit. He preached election and predestination as the foundation of man's salvation. In addition to his pastoral work he was moderator of the Magee's Creek Association for more than twenty years. His ministry was much blessed, nearly 2,000 persons being baptized by him during his ministerial career. He also assisted in ordaining twelve ministers, besides many deacons. He conducted burial services at thirty-four cemeteries in Pike county, twenty-one in Marion county, eleven in Washington parish (La.), and one in St. Tammany parish, the total of these funeral occasions being over five hundred.

Mr. Fortinberry was a man of strong faith and decided convictions and was much loved by his people. He served his home church forty-two years, the annual calls being unanimous. It will be proper to add that he baptized the compiler of this book when the latter was a mere boy. He was also one of the ordaining council in 1876.

On the first Lord's day in October, 1905, not being well, he remained at home, spending much of the day reading the Bible. Soon after retiring at night the summons came and he entered the eternal Sabbath. His body reposes within a few hundred yards of where he was born. Elders E. M. Schilling and A. F. Davis conducted the funeral services, the former preaching from the text, "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?" His family and friends have erected at the grave a magnificent marble monument, surmounted with an open Bible, on which his last text is inscribed, viz., I Peter, 1:5, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." This was his parting message.
[p. 161]
Charles Felder Crawford departed this life at his home, near Beulah church, Tangipahoa parish, La., on the 25th of September, 1886, at the age of fifty-five years. His father was the late Jesse Crawford, who named his son for Charles Felder, doubtless because of the esteem and friendship he had for his pioneer co-laborer.

Mr. Crawford professed religion in his twenty-first year, uniting with Union church, in Pike county. Soon after he was married to Miss Francis L. Douglas, who yet survives, and

who was to him a devoted wife. They had six children. He was a preacher of the gospel for more than twenty-eight years, serving a number of churches during this time, some of them for quite a long term. Several churches were also constituted under his ministry.

When the Bogue Chitto Association was organized in 1870, Mr. Crawford was chosen moderator, holding the office until 1881, a term of twelve years. His last sermon was preached at Beulah church, from the text, "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation." Isaiah,
[p. 162]
12:2. It was thought to be the best effort of his life. In the church cemetery here he waits the Master's coming. Elder William H. Schilling conducted the service in the presence of a sympathizing congregation. A short time before his death he remarked: "I am trying to take Job as a pattern in my sufferings. I have many times spoken and argued of Job's patience, but I have never known anything of the trials of affliction till now."

He had a clear and beautiful voice and was a popular and effective preacher. There is published in the minutes of the Bogue Chitto Association for 1879 a circular letter from the pen of Mr. Crawford on the subject of "Communion," in which the Baptist position is well maintained and the objections to restricted communion fully met. The letter closes in this way: "Brethren, in the close, I wish to ask you all a question for your consideration. Is it right, and in keeping with the Word of God, for churches to commune with intoxicating wine? We hope you will consult the Scriptures on this subject."
[p. 163]
William H. Schilling was born in Washington parish (now Tangipahoa parish), Louisiana, July 9, 1836. He was reared on the farm and followed this occupation mainly all his life. His educational advantages were limited, being such as the country schools afforded. He was married March 10, 1864, to Miss Euseba Fortinberry, who yet lives, and who has patiently endured the trials incident to the preacher and his family. Several children were born to them, all of whom are grown.

After the Civil War he came into possession of the old home, where he tenderly cared for and supported his aged parents during the remainder of their lives. He professed faith in Christ and joined the Beulah Baptist church in 1868, remaining a member here until death. He was licensed to preach by this church April 16, 1871, and ordained July 21, 1872, the ordaining council being composed of Elders C. F. Crawford and H. Z. Jenkins. He never moved from the community in which
[p. 164]
he was born and raised, and his ministerial work was with churches in the surrounding country, some of them being from fifteen to twenty miles away. And the continued prosperity of these churches was proof of the efficiency of his work. He rode much on horseback, filling his monthly appointments with promptness and regularity. He also traveled for several years as a local missionary, enduring the hardships and privations common to such work. Like many preachers of his day, he served for small compensation, supplementing, as best he could, the support of his family with his own labor on the farm.

Mr. Schilling was a man of strong convictions, a clear faith and much earnestness. He was much loved by his churches and enjoyed their fullest confidence and esteem. He was also greatly in demand for funeral services, preaching during his life at eighty-seven different cemeteries. His last sermon was delivered one week before his death, his text being John, 3:17. On the 29th of March, 1902, he was called to leave the walks of men, having fought the good fight and kept the faith. Interment followed in the old family cemetery, with Masonic honors.


[Taken from T. C. Schilling, Abstract History of the Mississippi Baptist Association, From Its Preliminary Organization in 1806 To The Centennial Session in 1906, 1908, pp. 127-164. jrd]

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