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Providence Methodist Church History

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05/30/14 was the last day I modified this page.

The Providence United Methodist Church
1828-1980

Rev. J.B. Cain
Mrs. Bascom Beasley
Mr. Phillip Beasley
Mrs. B. F. Cammack, Jr.

Organization --1828:

Providence Methodist Church was organized about the year 1828. At that time Rev. Thomas GRIFFIN was presiding elder of the Mississippi District, Rev. Thomas OWENS was pastor of the Big Black Circuit (which included the northern half of Copiah County), and Rev. John Ira Ellis BYRD was pastor of the Bayou Pierre Circuit (which included the southern half of Copiah County). All three of these ministers probably had some part in its establishment

Property:

Although the church was organized in 1828, no deed to the property is on record until 10 years later. On September 3, 1838, Richard Robert BRIDGES and his wife (daughter of Phillip CATCHING, one of the early residents of the community) gave a deed of approximately eighty acres of land which was described as the east half of the southwest quarter of section 27, township 10 and range 10. Later the property reverted back to the state for non- payment of taxes and was bought by Benjamin KING on May 5, 1853, who in turn sold it to the church on August 29, 1853 for the sum of ten dollars.

The trustees of the church in the meantime, on March 31, 1849, sold to the Masonic Lodge and the Sons of Temperance five acres of the original plot for a building of their own. This five acres is not mentioned in the deed of Benjamin KING and therefore passed out of consideration. No other transfer of property took place until 1902, when the church exchanged thirteen acres of the original for nine acres adjoining which belonged at that time to the STEELE family. Thus the present holding of the church is about 75 acres.

Buildings:

The first building probably erected in the late 1820's is described by Dr. B. H. DRAKE in the Life of Rev. Elijah Steele as 'an obscure log cabin in a hickory sapling thicket.'  As the Church grew in numbers and wealth another Church was built, also of logs but much larger and more useful for the purposes of worship, with a section in the rear of the building set apart for the use of slaves.  This Church was probably built soon after the acquirement of the property (very likely the next year) and served the membership as a meeting place until some years after the civil war when another church was built in/about 1870. The contractor who built this church was named Johnson. He was a local preacher and also a carpenter. A few years later, an addition was made to the church, which greatly added to the comfort and convenience of the congregation. The Hazlehurst Methodist Church donated seats for this church. Rev. W. W. Cammack and J.E. Cammack brought the seats from Hazlehurst.

In 1946, B.F. Cammack, Sr. and Bascom Beasley saw that the membership of Providence had reached a total of 255 members and was in much need of a new church. The church being used at the time was part of the original log church with some additions having been made on the west side of the church. The pastor, Rev. R.E. Ainsworth, joined them in getting the members interested in a new building.  Soon the old building was demolished, the hewed logs from the old building were saved ands used as the foundation of the new building. The timber on the 75 acres of church property was sold and proceeds used to help build the new church. With the help of the church members and neighbors, the present church was built in a few months.

Membership:

There is no list of the early members, however, may honored names would be found on such a list if one were available. Namely, members of the following families: Catching, Cammack, Beasley, Bell, Crawford, Davis, Woods, Talley, Laney, Steele, Trawick, Hendricks, Bridges, Norman, Alford, Hays, Smith and others.

A few may be mentioned by name with propriety. Phillip Catching, owner of the Glenrose plantation, who came to Copiah County in 1818, was probably one of the first members at Providence. Mrs. Mary Steele, mother of Rev. Elijah Steele, Dr. Abner P. Steele, and Capt. Archibald Steele, spent the latter part of her life, previous to her death in 1868, in Copiah County and was a member of Providence. Her granddaughter, Mary Caroline Steele, daughter of Dr. Abner Steele and Palatire Norman Steele, attended Providence and Georgetown churches in childhood. She later married Rev. R.G. Waterhouse, who was elected Bishop of the Southern Methodist church in 1910. Holding membership in the church for a long period of time was W. Harney Beasley and his wife, Martha Jane Cammack.

By the year 1978, the membership dropped to 29 members with only 14 active members. They were the following families: Allen, Beasley, Cammack, Conn, Coker, Farmer, Pickett, Ponder, and Watts. Although the membership is small, they have been able to meet their financial obligations as well as keep up the church.  Six generations of the late Capt. Archibald Steele have been members of Providence church.

 

Early Officials:

Trustees of the Providence church in 1838 were John Woods, Daniel Davis, John Crawford, Drury Bell, and James Crawford. In 1849, the following were trustees: Drury Bell, James Crawford, Enoch H. Talley, Cornelius Trawick, William H. Hendricks, John Noel Catching, and Hugh Franklin Bridges. Four years later, August 27, 1853, the Church was organized under the name New Providence a name that was never used except in legal documents. The following trustees were elected: Thomas Simmons, Drury Bell, Robert H. Crawford, Archibald Steele, and Enoch H. Talley. James H. Laney was clerk or secretary of the church at the time.

Methodist Ministers who came from Providence:

The first Methodist Minister to hold membership at Providence was probably Rev. Richard Bridges, original owner of the property. Mr. Bridges was born June 20, 1803, and died on Dec. 5, 1848. He married Miss Patatire Catching, daughter of Phillip Catching,and was an uncle of Miss Martha Bridges, who married Dr. J. B. Catching. Dr. R. R. Bridges of the Bethesda community was his grandson and namesake.

The second minister to be identified was Rev. Elijah Steele. He was born in Williamson, TN, April 3, 1814, and came to Mississippi with his family when 12 years old. He died in New Orleans of Yellow fever on Sept. 10, 1841.

 

05/30/14 was the last day I modified this page.

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