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Collection Title: Old Union Baptist Church (Jasper County) Minutes

Collection Number: M343

Dates: 1866 - 1878

Volume: 1 item

Provenance: Transferred from the Genealogy Collection, October 31, 1990.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Old Union Baptist Church was established February 17, 1866, in Jasper County, Mississippi. On that date, David Ulmer and his wife Mary, Peter C. Lightsey and his wife Elizabeth, Maniah H. Lightsey, Margaret Pittman, Mary Purvis, and Carolina Lightsey met to organize a church in the "vicinity of Oak Bowery, Jasper County, Mississippi or west of Oak Bowery and east of Waldrup, Mississippi." The front page of the church minutes is dated July 1866. Signatures indicate that the meeting moderator at that time was William Thigpen. The Thigpens were earlier settlers of Jasper County and established the town of Lake Como. Many Thigpen family members took active parts in church, schools, and the public life of the county. William Thigpen became the son-in-law of N.L. Clarke, a man greatly beloved by Baptists in southeastern Mississippi and for whom Clarke Memorial College, a Baptist sponsored junior college established in 1907, was named. The college is now known simply as Clarke College.

The church was originally named "Palestine." However, in September 1866, when it was discovered that another church within the bounds of the Salem Association (of Baptists) shared the same name, the church changed its name from "Palestine" to "Union." The Church met one Sunday a month with a business meeting held on the preceding Saturday. The Church had African American members from September 1866, until March 1873. In January of 1873, certain appointed Caucasian male church members met with the African American members to persuade them to withdraw and organize their own church. It was agreed to let them meet and use the church until their building was completed. Church history states that the African American congregation became the Union Baptist Church of today.

Around 1874,the Union Baptist church began to have problems with meeting regularly. On July 4, 1875, a group left the Church to form Enon Baptist Church. In September 1878, church committee members voted for the dissolution of the church.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of one folder containing a photocopy of the handwritten minutes of Old Union Baptist Church (Jasper County, MS). The clerks who recorded the minutes of early Baptist churches in Mississippi were usually men with excellent penmanship, who took their tasks seriously. They prided themselves in the neatness and completeness of the records that they kept. The proceedings were set down in pen and ink, although later generations were sometimes apt to jot down facts in pencil.

Items of special interest in the minutes include a notation during July 1869 that describes a member who "stated to the church that a slanderous report was being circulated against his wife which is calculated to injure her Christian character." He adds for the record, ".the report against his wife was without the shadow of foundation." The minutes for August 1870 have a note in the margin that states a prospective female member "was not baptized as she has two living husbands." During 1872, the minutes reflect an effort to organize a "Sabbath school" and discussion of Orphan's Home donations.

On page 240, minutes are recorded for the conferences of the African American part of the congregation. The first minutes of this group are dated October 1868. On March 1873, there is a record of withdrawal stating, "The colored part of the church agreed to withdraw from the white part."

Although the reason for the church's dissolution in September 1878 is not recorded, there appears to be a resolution to ward off dissolution the previous year. The records for September 1877 read, "Resolved that we will henceforth endeavor by the help of God to keep up the public worship and that we further agree to be punctual in attendance when not providently hindered." The vote for dissolution the following year passed by a vote of seven to three. On the backside of the last page of the document there is a notation in pencil that reads, "Jasper Co Old Union Bap[tist] Ch[urch] became Enon."

This collection would be of interest to genealogists, social scientists, calligraphers, and historians interested in Mississippi, Mississippi church history, and Baptist history.


Created by: Bobs M. Tusa
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Revised: December 17, 2004