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A History of the First Churches in Jackson, MS

Contributed by Frances Clark Cronin December 2, 2005
    This information is from a book I have had since I was a child growing
up in Jackson.  The book is 'JACKSON'S EARLY HISTORY AND 28 YEARS OF
MUNICIPAL PROGRESS" BY W.F.POWELL. It was published in 1944.

Methodists organized in Jackson was by the Methodists in 1836.  This occurred in the little first Capitol building on the afternooon of the day the 1836 Legislature adjourned.  The building was cleaned up and the bell of the hotel kept by Auditor Mallory and his wife was rung to summon the one man and four ladkies assembled to hear a sermon by the Rev. J.B. Jones. this organization was also the first to erect a church building.  a modest liettle church was built in 1838 on the present site of the Galloway Memorial church and was enclosed with aq neat picket fence.  This building was replaced in 1883 and in turn gave way to the present building in 1915.
First Baptist Church Organized.  The first Baptist Church was organized in 1838 with Rev L.B. Holloway as pastor.  Members effecting the organization were Mr. and Mrs. George Work, Mrs. Forest Runnels (wife of the then Governor of the State) Mr and Mrs. Walton and Rev and Mrs Holloway.
Services were conducted in the little Statehouse until a brick building was erected in 1844, the first services in the new church building being the funeral of the pastor, Rev, John Whitfield Buie. This building is still standing, now being known as the Colonial Apartments.  It was shelled during the Civil War when the Federal raided Jackson in 1863 and scars of these shells may still be seen.  A number of the early schools in Jackson were conducted in the basement of this church wich is now one of the historic landmarks of the city.  In 1894 the congregation erected a new church on the corner of Capitol and N. President Streets which served until 1927 when the present First Baptist Church was completed.
First Presbyterian Church.  This church was also organized in the little Capitol building--on April 8, 1837 by Rev Peter Donan.  The membership consisted of only four persons, John Robb, Mrs. Margaret Mayson, mrs. marion Robb and Mrs. Susan Patton.  The first communion service was held in 1839
and by 1842 the membership had increased to 37, of whom 12 were slaves.  In 1846 they erected a frame church building costing $8,000 which was replaced in 1893 with the present brick church building.
St Andrews Episcopal church.  Although this church was not orgainzed until 1844 there previously existed a devout little group of Episcopalians who would meet together for religious servcis and to whom had been sent Rev Heber Weller, a young missionary.  Their first church was erected in 1844 on the southeast corner of Amite and President streets but was burned by General sherman in 1863.  The second church buillding was built in 1869 where Kenningtons Department Store now stands with the rectory occupying the site of the present Jackson-State National Bank.  The present church
building was begun in 1903 and dedicated in 1917.
The Christian Church.  Although the exact date of organization of this church is not definite, it was in the 1830's, soon after the coming to Jackson of General W.M. Clark who donated two acres of land as a site for a church building.  The church was also damaged by shellfire in 1863 and after the Civil War it was torn down to be replaced with a frame structure.  In 1884 the present building was erected on the same site and enlarged in the nineties.
St Peter's Catholic Church.  The first Catholic Church was built in 1846 on the corner of South president and Court Streets and was dedicated by Bishop Chanche. It was also burned by Federal troops in 1863 and the congregation then worshipped at various places including the City Hall and
the second floor of the No 1 engine house.  In 1866 the second church was built on the corner of
West and Amite Streets accross the street from the present church which was erected in 1898.
Beth-Israel Temple.  This church was incorporated on january 21, 1861 by H. Goodman, M. Adler, M. Ullman, E, Bloom and I. Strauss.  Their first building was erected soon afterwards but later burned with all records.  In 1874 another brick temple was erected on the corner of south and South State
Streets which stood util 1940 when the present temple on Woodrow Wilson Avenue was built.  For many years the congregation was too small to have a rabbi and services were conducted by lay members including Isidore Strauss, Aaron lehman, Laz Kahn and others.


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