History compiled by the late Mr. Milburn J. Crowe (pictured), Certified Local
Government Coordinator and member of the Mound Bayou Historic
Isaiah T. Montgomery and his first cousin, Benjamin T. Green,
Co-Founder, both of who were born in slavery on the Hurricane
Plantation on Davis Bend, Warren County, Mississippi, the property of
Joseph Emory Davis, elder brother of Jefferson Davis. Montgomery's
father, Benjamin Thornton Montgomery, was purchased in the slave market
at Natchez, Mississippi. He had the advantage of a liberal education
received under the tutelage of a former master in Louden County,
Virginia, which was encouraged by the Davis brothers to inspire their
other slaves and promote their business affairs. Isaiah's mother, Mary
Lewis Montgomery was also of Virginia extraction, though she was born on
the Hurricane Plantation. Isaiah was born on the 21st day of May,
1847. He was the younger of two sons, and there were two sisters
younger than himself.
Isaiah never attended school as we customarily think of school, but his
father was concerned about the education of his children. He taught
them the elementaries and hired both black and white tutors for them.
When Joe Davis discovered his slaves were receiving a better education
than some of his family members, he arranged for his relatives to attend
to have that opportunity. Neighbors learning of this integration
education arrangement, pressured for a stop to the practice. At about
nine or ten years of age Isaiah was called to work in the office of Joe
Davis, later he assumed entire charge of his public and private offices.
and held this responsibility until the outbreak of the Civil War.
Benjamin Montgomery was a remarkable man who rose above the condition
of slavery. He operated a mercantile business on Davis Bend with a high
rating by Brad & Dunn Street. He keeps accounts with his slave master's
family members, extending credit to Joe Davis on several occasions,
operated the Post Office on the Bend, and marketed the crops from the
plantations. The Montgomery’s managed the plantations for a period of
time during the war when the Davis’s moved inland for safety, taking
some of the slaves. The Freedman's Bureau operated the Bend as a refuge
for slaves, which proved to be a less than agreeable arrangement for the
Shortly after the war in 1867, the Montgomery’s entered an agreement
with Joe Davis for the purchase of the plantations, consisting of four
thousand acres, for $300,000 at 6% per annum. Joe Davis wished that the
plantations would be managed by the Montgomery’s as a home and for the
benefit of their former slaves.
The Montgomery’s managed the property for eighteen years during which
time they ranked a the third largest cotton producers in the South,
receiving several coveted prizes in international competitions. Isaiah
and his family lived at the Brierfield Plantation. The Hurricane
Mansion was burned by federal troops during the war. On account of
recurrent overflows of the river and disagreement of the heirs of Joe
Davis, they surrendered the plantations and moved to Vicksburg,
Mississippi, where Isaiah had opened a store. Benjamin Montgomery died
at Brierfield mansion in 1878, and Mary Lewis Montgomery died in 1875.
The Founding of the Colony
In the spring of 1887 Isaiah T. Montgomery and a few other stout
hearted men set foot on the ground at Mound Bayou, "the forest
primeval", in quest of a country where "God dwelt and liberty". These
men had left comfortable homes for this undertaking. "Freedom from the
annoying and unnecessary restraints imposed upon them by continued
residence in the midst of and surrounded by those with whom they had
always heretofore lived, on terms apparently altogether incompatible
with the concession of those privileges and prerogatives appertaining to
free and untrammeled citizenship was one very strong actuating motive in
determining these men to discard the comforts and conveniences of the
lives to which they had become accustomed and to break into the
wilderness hitherto unexplored, engaging in hand to hand conflict with
the forces of nature, there to erect (in imitation of the white man, if
you please), a civilization of their own. The utmost liberty of the
individual consistent with the preservation of the rights of others
against infringement is surely an indispensable condition of free
government, and it is toward the realization of this condition that the
administration of democratic government should be made to tend, in
practice as well as in theory", wrote A.P. Hood in The Negro at Mound
How Mound Bayou Began
Isaiah Montgomery and George McGinnis, Land Agent of the Louisville,
New Orleans, and Texas Railway (L.N.O.T.), began corresponding, and a
meeting was arranged between the two men through the Black Secretary of
State, James Hill. Montgomery negotiated the proposition of an
all-Black colony, and submitted a plan to the railroad which was
accepted. A series of trips through the Delta was made by Montgomery
for several months in the fall of 1886, accompanied by a civil engineer,
in search of a site "as remote from other established settlements as
possible." Finally, on July 12, 1887, he selected a site in Bolivar
County just about half way between Vicksburg and Memphis, at the
junction of two bayous and a large Indian mound that was a part of an
Indian plaza, from which the name was derived.
Isaiah, now a man of forty, had little difficulty convincing Benjamin
T. Green, A. Wilbert, Beverly J. Arrington, Peter Harris, Thompson
Black, Alfred Johnson, Perry Strong, and others on the advantages and
desirability of the undertaking, and he soon enlisted their cooperation.
It was not an easy beginning for the men who worked at clearing land
during the fall of 1887, where they had cleared about 80 or 90 acres,
and most of their work was destroyed by a flood later in the year.
Montgomery had arranged with the railroad for the men to sleep on the
night train to Memphis, where they would transfer to another train
heading toward Vicksburg in the morning. Some of the men were posted to
watch for the wild animals while the others worked at the clearing of
the dense undergrowth. Ben T. Green rigged up a groundhog saw mill to
lay by timber for homes, and by October the first cabin went up, while
providing some protection, were anything but comfortable. In late
December, Montgomery and Green purchased 840 acres of land at $7.00 per
acre, paying $420.00 down with the balance due in five annual payments.
Montgomery acted as land agent for the railroad offering 40 acre tracts
at $8 or $9 per acre, though he required a $40 entrance fee on each 40
acre tract. There have been several accounts, but it is estimated that
there were about thirty families who undertook the challenge.
Montgomery recounted that, "The people had to be found and then inspired
with a sentiment similar to this,
'Why stagger at the difficulties that confront you; have you not for
centuries braved the miasma and hewn down forest like these at the
behest of a master? Can you not do it for yourselves and your children
unto successive generations, that they may worship and develop under
their own vine and fig tree?'"
The first women and children arrived in February, 1888, and the first
crops of corn and cotton were planted. Isaiah's sister, Virginia,
started holding classes for the children in their home. In March, Mrs.
Montgomery and Benjamin Green set up a small supply store. They
purchased the saw mill and erected the first gin. The post office was
set up at Montgomery's home, and train tickets were available in the
Two years after the founding of Mound Bayou, at Clarksdale,
Mississippi, the Mississippi Jurisdiction of the International Order of
the Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor, Mississippi Jurisdiction, was
organized, later to be headquartered at Mound Bayou, and destined to
play a significant role in Mound Bayou's history.
The Desire For a College Town
Isaiah Montgomery was instrumental in the founding of Campbell College,
and he persuaded the railroad company to donate over one thousand acres
of land near Mound Bayou for educational purposes. He was elected as
its second president and served until about 1898, when he resigned as
president. He revealed that he had plans for the land as a site of an
agricultural education school, which did not materialize. Although a
school was established on a portion of the land for a few years,
affiliated with the A.M.E. Church. In later years, after the death of
Montgomery, an effort to establish the college on the land proved a
failure, and the college went into receivership and failed.
Montgomery's Public Service
In public life, Montgomery had been a delegate to the Warren County
Republican Convention during the Blair Campaign, from which he was sent
as a delegate to the District Congressional Convention where he
delivered his first public speech, naming Mr. R. F. Beck, at Magnolia
Hall in Vicksburg. It was in 1888 that he was placed on the Republican
County Committee in Bolivar County, where he endorsed the fusion
movement in county elections, but the Democratic Party ignored the
arrangement for the selection of delegates to the Constitutional
Convention. He was pressed by the Republican County Committee to
become a candidate in company with George P. Melchoir, and the result of
the election held July 29, 1890; he was elected as a delegate from
Bolivar County to the Constitutional Convention.
Bitterly criticized by many Black leaders for his participation in that
gathering designed to disfranchise blacks, he stated that he would
rather see his people disfranchised based on ignorance than to be
disfranchised based on race. He reasoned that his people could overcome
ignorance, but could never overcome race. He believed that his approach
provided a long range solution to the race problem and conditions
existing at that time, for the ultimate benefit of his state. A. P.
Hood wrote in 1909 of his participation, "An untoward condition had
provided the theme, his soul was in the final effort he was to make to
'bridge the chasm' of racial temperance and feeling, and his speech was
a masterpiece of oratory such as been seldom heard on the floor of the
Mississippi house of representatives at any time and in any age.
Montgomery approached the subject in the spirit of conciliation and
sacrifice. His address was received with varying emotions throughout
the country, many of his own people dissenting from the compromising
tenor assumed by him, but it has been made to appear since that
Montgomery was probably more nearly right than those who opposed the
stand he took. At least, it has not yet clearly appeared that any
material good end would have been served by the assumption on his part
of an attitude of belligerency rather than one of compromise and
conciliation as adopted by him."
Also, in 1890, Montgomery led a delegation from the Delta to Washington
seeking support for the construction of a levee system to control the
overflows of the Mississippi River.
In the spring of 1902, Montgomery was appointed Receiver of Public
Monies for the State of Mississippi by President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt had directed Edgar S. Wilson, who headed the U.S. Land Office in Mississippi to offer
Montgomery the appointment, after conferring with Booker T. Washington.
Montgomery was not to eager to accept, but did so after Wilson and other
state Republicans urged him to do so. Thornton Montgomery claimed that a
Mississippi Republican faction wanted to oust all black officeholders
and instigated an audit, conducted by a special agent from Washington in
a surprise inspection one Sunday morning in May, 1903. One man
Montgomery appealed to was A. A. Sharp, President of the Round away
Manufacturing Company. Sharp insisted that Montgomery, a man of the
highest integrity had been guilty of no more than a technical error.
In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt stopped his train at Mound Bayou,
and spoke to the citizens for ten minutes from the rear platform. He
payed high compliments on the town and the bank.
In 1909, at the dedication of a permanent memorial to Abraham Lincoln
at his birthplace near Hodgenville, Kentucky, on the centennial of his
birth, President Roosevelt gave the major address, and deposited in the
box a cop of the United states Constitution. Governor Folk handed
Montgomery a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. Montgomery, on
behalf of former slaves, deposited a copy of the Emancipation
Proclamation, saying, "At this the birthplace of the immortal Lincoln I
speak as one of the four million slaves that received the priceless boon
of liberty through a stroke of his pen, and as a representative of ten
millions of Negro citizens of our beloved country.
"I would speak of him as one of exceeding humble birth, rocked in the
cradle of adversity, but chosen of God the prophet of human liberty and
the liberator of not merely the body of four million black men, but of
the minds and hearts of all his countrymen.
"I wish that words of mine could merely recall but impress upon you the
fact that he entered the mighty contest that engaged his great talents
not as the enemy but as the true friend of the South, opposing slavery
in the spirit of Kentucky's great statesman, Henry Clay, whose sublime
utterances he frequently quoted in the famous anti-slavery debates with
"From the moment he entered that contest we see him rise and tower
above all the other figures of his day. Whether in pleading, in
suffering or in commanding, his rugged character stands out as a
beacon-light marking the pathway of truth and righteousness until the
culminating act of his career: the promulgation of the immortal
'Emancipation Proclamation,' a copy of which I now have the honor to
deposit among the archives of this commemorating cornerstone. I deposit
this proclamation:- "First, on behalf of ten millions of grateful people
who will ever remember the noble man who espoused their helpless cause
without hope of fee or reward. "Second, on behalf of a free and united
people still impressed with the presence of grave and unresolved
difficulties, yet all alike cherishing the life and example of this
great man, looking upward full of hope, with an abiding faith in the
great Author of our national destiny."
It was on this date that in New York the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People was born, following a race riot in
Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln Land. A southern publisher's editorial
following this riot sparked the response that led to the Lincoln
Birthday gathering that gave birth to the interracial NAACP. This same
year, according to Hermann, inequities continued, $7,000 for Bolivar
County schools came from Negro poll taxes and only $1,300 from whites,
but the funds were always equally divided between the races. That meant
that 1,300 white children received the same education allotment as
12,000 colored pupils; as a result, black schools could pay teachers
only $15 to $35 per month for four-month terms, while white teachers
received $55 or more per month for a six-month session.
An Emphasis on Education
The value of education was recognized. Aside from getting the railway
to donate over a thousand acres for educational purposes, Montgomery and
Green donated a tract of land in 1892, on which the Mound Bayou Normal
and Industrial Institute was built with assistance from the American
Missionary Association, "designed to supplement the inadequate
curriculum of the public schools." (Present campus of the I.T.
Montgomery Elementary School.) The school was supported largely by
tuition but continued to receive some financial assistance from the
A.M.A. which was responsible for providing the first principal
(teacher), Mrs. Annie Randolph from New England. She was succeeded by
Miss Mary E. Crump of Memphis, TN. Later Miss Minnie S. Washington
Jordan, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute, headed the school. The school
continued to grow under the able principalship of Professor B.F.
Ousley. A complete high school course was added. Vocational
instruction in domestic arts and science, and music was offered.
Professor Ousley served for a period of sixteen years, and upon his
resignation, was succeeded by Professor F.M. Roberts, a graduate of
Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado, who was assisted by a
former student of the same school and graduate of Hampton Institute,
Professor Robert Ross.
Was established about 1904, through the efforts of Mrs. A.A. Harris by
orders of the General Baptist State Convention. The school was
supported by an annual tuition and regular fund drives by the Baptist
Women Workers' Union. Others among those responsible for the early
success of the school were Mrs. V.L. Alexander, Mrs. M.C.C. Collins and
Mrs. M.D. Crawford. The first principal was Professor John Capshaw;
second, Professor R.C. McCorkel; third, Professor P.M. Smith; and the
last, Professor A.A. Thompson. The school was discontinued in 1936.
Booker T. Washington and Others Helped
Washington, with his close dealings with Mound Bayou, mostly through
the National Negro Business League and Charles Banks, in 1912, got
Julius Rosenwald to donate $1,000 for a school. He had also convinced
Andrew Carnegie to donate $4,000 for the construction of a library.
Town of Mound Bayou - A School
Washington said that Mound Bayou was "...not merely a town, but at the
same time and in a very real sense of the word, a school. It is not
only a place where a Negro may get inspiration...but a place, also,
where he has the opportunity to learn some of the fundamental duties and
responsibilities of social and civic life."
Montgomery, in a letter to Mrs. Jefferson Davis in 1900, said that the
churches and schools were: "...well represented, though we are not doing
as well in this line for the younger generation as I would like; special
care and preparation is needed to train and educate the youth in order
that they may be well qualified to take up our farm work and bring it to
higher development instead of being drawn away by the peculiar
attractions of town and city life..."
Montgomery told Washington in 1907 that Mound Bayou needed an
"But more than that we need here a system of education that will teach
our young men and women the underlying meaning of the work that is being
done here. The problem of education is at present the most important
which the town and colony have to solve."
Charles Banks said in 1910 that the private schools in Mound Bayou were
"superior in every way to the public schools paid out of state funds."
A visitor to Mound Bayou in 1915 wrote that though the schools were
better than most he had seen for Blacks, he still cited the public
schools as being inadequately equipped, running for only five months per
year and the private schools for operating on a very slim budget.
Public Schools Consolidated and BCTS Started
During the movement to consolidate and improve the schools, Montgomery
and other citizens worked to solve the problems. Montgomery's
son-in-law, E.P. Booze, went to New York and other places in 1917
soliciting money for a new school. The Board of Trustees floated bonds
in the amount of $115,000, erected a three-story brick structure, and
all the public schools in the vicinity of Mound Bayou and the Mound
Bayou Normal and Industrial Instituted consolidated in 1920, to form the
"Mound Bayou Consolidated Public School and County Training School."
Located on the four-acre tract that had been donated by Montgomery and
Green in 1892, the first classes started in 1921. The school was
administered by a local board of trustees responsible to the County
Superintendent of Education. This first board of trustees consisted of
I.T. Montgomery, chairman, B.W. Byran and John W. Francis. The second
board of trustees of BCTS were B.A. Green, chairman, D.J. Hill, T.S.
Morris, John Tharpe, Sr., Rev. Jim Jones and P.M. Smith.
The school served an area of thirty square miles, although students
came from as far away as Vicksburg to take advantage of the schooling
offered here. For a number of years, the only high school for Blacks in
Bolivar County, it had sixteen classrooms and an auditorium with a
seating capacity of 700. The average annual enrollment was 850.
Classes were held 9 months a year. The first principal was Professor
J.H. Moseley who was succeeded by Professor J.H. Powell in 1926. Both
men were graduates of Alcorn A.&M. College. Powell was succeeded by
Professor A.R. Taylor in 1934. Principals since Taylor have been: C.
M. Green, Olevia Holmes-Ryles, Richard Williams, Mrs. Richard Williams,
Rev. Hardin, and B.T. Johnson. Mrs. Holmes-Ryles carried out the term
of C.M. Green, and Mrs. E. Williams carried out the term of her husband,
Richard Williams who was the victim of an accidental drowning, even more
tragic because it perhaps may have been attributed to the lack of
community recreational facilities available at that time.
"Bolivar County Training School has
built a bridge that many people
have crossed, and Mound Bayou is
still a place where the future
begin for those who prepare for it."
Mrs. Ola C. Gray
Supreme Court Rules Segregated Schools Unconstitutional
Following the 1954 decision, a county reorganization created a sixth
school in the county, and Professor C. J. Jones became the first Bolivar
County District 6 Superintendent. Since C.J. Jones, there have been
Arthur Holmes, Langdom, and William Crockett, and others.
Public school principals since B.T. Johnson, the last under the name
B.C.T.S., have included Ruth Scott, O.W. Howard, Samuel McGee, Arthur
Jackson, Arthur Holmes, and Legora P. Mitchell Norwood, the present, all
for the I.T. Montgomery Elementary School. For the High Schools they
have been G.G. Young, A.L. Moore, Willie Gates, L.T. Lambert, and Robert
Latham, as of this writing.
Other Schools In Our Past
A school established about two and a half miles to the East of Mound
Bayou with Rev. T.S.J. Pendleton as its president in 1926. Some of the
students were Nancy and Willye Vence, Beatrice Daniel, Willie Lee
Norwood, and Earnestine Reed. Some of the teachers were Lavada Dixon
and Ethel Clegg. The "college" operated for about 3 or 4 years. Rev.
Pendleton was also Pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Mound Bayou.
"College" was a misnomer, although it was located on lands belonging to
the A.M.E. Campbell College, located at that time in Jackson,
Mississippi. A building program was started on this land in more recent
years in an effort to locate Campbell College here, but the project had
to be abandoned due to financial difficulties. A two-story and a
one-story concrete foundation can be seen today on the remaining
property owned by the A.M.E. Church.
Henrietta Clegg School
Henrietta Clegg held a prominent position in Mound Bayou's educational
and cultural Heritage for generations. Henrietta started her legacy in
1914 when she began offering private music instruction to rural students
of the Mound Bayou area. In 1915, she moved back to Mound Bayou from
the rural area and started music classes in town. Her school grew
during those early years until the Clegg School became a Mound Bayou
tradition of cultural enrichment. Mrs. Clegg continued her school until
the decade of the seventies. Her last pupils were Cora Lee Darling and
a Brinson child. She gave some private music lessons as late as 1977,
when an illness necessitated her retirement. She spent her remaining
years staying with a daughter in Chicago, Synorvia Moore in Chicago, and
alternatively with a daughter, Dorothy Micou in Mound Bayou. When she
died, she held the distention of being the longest resident of Mound
Bayou and the last person to have been pictured in A.P. Hood's 1909, The
Negro At Mound Bayou.
The Opportunity Center Kindergarten
Founded by Beatrice O. Felder October 19, 1932, it was a private school
receiving its revenues from tuitions. Ms. Felder's students gave
numerous cultural performances, and provided them with a good foundation
for their public school years, as most of Mound Bayou's private schools.
This private kindergarten school was in operation from 1962 to 1966,
and was owned and operated by Mrs. Alla Fair Pace Turner at Mound
Bayou. Some of the youngsters that attended her school have since made
outstanding achievements in development after receiving their
educational foundation at this school.
The Royster Private School
Significant Roles in Education
Moses Dickson organized a secret society of twelve men in
Missouri in 1846, known as the Knights of Liberty and Knights of Tabor.
After the Civil War, in Missouri, he organized the International Order
of the Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor, as a memorial to the
twelve men who had silently enlisted over 47,000 men to prepare to fight
for the freedom of bondsmen of the African race. It was his design that
the organization would, among other thing, encourage education.
On March 13, 1889, at Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi, less
than two years following the arrival of the first settlers at Mound
Bayou, the I.O.T. Knights & Daughters of Tabor, Mississippi Jurisdiction
was duly organized and chartered. There were about 500 members grouped
into forty units. During the administration of Sir. R. D. Smith,
between 1893 and 1909, saw the erection of the Taborian Home and School
at Renova, Mississippi.
During the administration of Sir. Perry Monroe Smith, the Achievements
and Awards Program was instituted, to help young people with their
In 1952, the Annual Oratorical Scholarship Contest began, increasing
from $150 to $1,050 by 1964. Under the present administration of Rev.
Kemper H. Smith, it was increased to $1,500 in 1974. During the 44 year
period between 1935-1979, 110 young people had been awarded $28,500 to
assist with their college careers.
After the Taborian Hospital opened its doors February 12, 1942, Meharry
Medical College played a major role in providing a training ground for
medical care at Taborian Hospital.
Delta Health Center, Inc. Roles in Education
Maintenance of good health is not only the result of providing quality
service but also providing health education and advocacy. DHC believes
that service area residents can be responsible for their health care and
that education of their patients toward this objective is their
fundamental duty. DHC has been providing improved Child Health program
education for children and pregnant women, and health education and
outreach activities to the community including sex education seminars to
schools and other community groups.
Mound Bayou Churches Play an Educational Role
Bolivar County Baptist Seminary
One of the primary objectives of the seminary has been the training of
ministers, lay workers, missionaries, teachers, deacons, Sunday School
superintendents, and leaders for young people's groups. Erected under
the administration of Rev. H. C. Cherry, of Benoit, Mississippi, with
the backing of a Baptist Laymen Movement, headed by Mr. C. L. Gibson,
Sr., a prominent Mound Bayou merchant. Working with Mr. Gibson in the
intensified campaign to initiate the building program for the seminary
were Messrs. Lee Harris, co-chairman, C. J. Mitchell, Sammie Mitchell,
Ross Mitchell, Dudley Hill, J. B. Butler, B. T. Hayes, P.M. Smith, Wade
Bell, Dr. P. M. George, Osby Mason, Sam Sterling, M. C. McCoy, Mayor B.
A. Green, Will Bailey, Frederick Miller, Prof. I. C. Roberts, along with
a number of white business and professional leaders of Bolivar County.
The Seminary became a center of a number of civic and cultural
Religious Life Important Fabric
In addition to education, religion has occupied an important place in
the life of the citizens.
Early in 1888, the settlers had erected a brush harbor under which
community services were held. The entire church-going population
worshiped together and shared in common "Holy Communication" until 1891
when Green Grove Baptist Church was erected with contributions received
from all faiths. This edifice served as the community church until
1895, when inhabitants once again united with a common purpose and
erected Bethel A.M. E. Church.
Among the early settlers responsible for the founding of the Green
Grove Baptist Church were Mrs. Sallie Ramsey, Mrs. Matilda Davis, Mrs.
Patsey Seals, Mrs. L. T. M. Brooks, Mrs. Elizabeth Fisher, Mrs. Delia
Wilbert, Mrs. Mrs. Mary Slate, Mrs. P. R. M. McCarty; Brothers Alex
Wilbert, Cal Ramsey, Mack Slate, George Kincaid, Ridley Walker, Jackson
Washington, Mark Anderson, W. J. Lewis, Lenor Wibert and J. D. Strong.
Pastors have been:
- First, Rev. Charlie Blackston
- Second, Rev. W. M. Gardner
- Third, Rev. W. W. Whiten
- Fourth, Rev. Tobe Murphy
- Fifth, Rev. Nick Wallace
- Sixth, Rev. J. J. Pleasant
- Seventh, Rev. W. H. Jernagin (Who for many years served as
president of the National Sunday School BTU Congress and a
minister of the historic Mount "Carmel Baptist Church, Washington,
- Eight, Rev. A. A. Cosey (Distinguished leader in state and
national circles, and as Chief Grand Mentor of the Knights and
Daughters of Tabor.)
- Ninth, Rev. W. E. Bradford
- Tenth, Rev. Joseph Peterson
- Eleventh, Rev. A. D. Purnell
- Twelfth, Rev. C. L. West
- Thirteenth, Rev. W. L. Moore
- Fourteenth, Rev. Thomas Phillips
- Fifteenth, Rev. L. J. Jordan
- Sixteenth, Rev. Earl Hall, Present
It was under the leadership of Rev. Cosey that Green Grove Baptist
Church changed its name to First Baptist Church and that a brick
building was erected at a cost of $10,000. (Reported to be one of the
first brick churches to be built in Bolivar County.) Rev. Jordan,
youngest in the line of pastors, had the responsibility of erecting at
the historic site of the old church building on the west side of the
Illinois Central Railroad tracts a modern sanctuary at a cost of
$118.000. A Ground Breaking Ceremony was held September 17, 1961,
construction began in 1962 and completed in 1964. A dedication Program
Sunday, April 20, 1969, Rev. Perry A. Smith, III. delivered the
Dedication Sermon, and a Mortgage Burning Ceremony was held on January
First Brick Church in Bolivar County
Early in 1888 the settlers had erected a brush harbor under which
community services were held. In 1891 Green Grove Baptist Church was
erected. Rev. A. A. Cosey, distinguished leader in state and national
religious circles, and as Chief Grand Mentor of the Knights and
Daughters of Tabor, was the eight pastor. It was under the ministerial
leadership of Dr. Cosey that Green Grove Baptist Church changed its name
to First Baptist and that a brick building was erected at a cost of
$10,000.00. (This was reported to be the first brick Church in Bolivar
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