*Based on notes prepared by William L. Jenkins 1999(?) Note: Some of the directions included may be based on old records and visitors to the sites are advised to confirm locations if possible before seeking them out.Natchez-Vicksburg Area
1. Natchez. Early Methodist center. It is said that before the Civil War there were more millionaires in the Natchez country (most of them rich planters) than in New York, and the Annual Natchez Pilgrimage (held each spring) gives the visitor a tour to many of the large, stately homes that were found nowhere else so numerous and lavish as in and around Natchez. One of these homes for years was known as "The Parsonage." It was built by the husband of Mrs. Elijah Little, a Methodist who was continually inviting Methodist ministers to stay in the Little home, and was given to the Natchez church as a parsonage.
2. Washington Church at Washington (6 miles e. of Natchez, on 64, 81, 98) is the oldest Methodist congregation in Mississippi, it having been organized by Tobias Gibson in a school in 1799, with eight members: six white and two colored. Its first building burned in 1810, but in 1812 a brick church was built just inside the campus of Historic Jefferson College (founded in 1802, the first institution of learning in the southwest) on a lot given by Lorenzo Dow, the eccentric roving evangelist. In this church the Constitutional Convention met that adopted the first constitution for the state of Mississippi, and also three early sessions of the Mississippi Conference. A fourth session met in 1829 in the present building (erected in 1828) which is probably the second oldest Methodist building in the state today.
3. Kingston church. Southeast of Natchez, in Adams County. Kingston (15 miles s.e. of Natchez, on 554) is the oldest Protestant community in the state; Tobias Gibson organized a Methodist congregation here in 1800, the second in the state. In 1803, Lorenzo Dow sold his watch (which someone had given him in Georgia) and bought a lot not far from the present church. This lot was the first Methodist property in Mississippi. In the present Kingston church, completed in 1857, the slave galleries still remain, and the old-fashioned high pulpit still adds a touch of formality and dignity.
4. In Natchez (corner of Jefferson and Union) the Jefferson Street Church, known originally simply as Natchez, goes back as a congregation to 1805. The brick church wore the name Cokesbury Chapel when it was erected in 1807. A second building was erected in 1823. The Natchez church was made a station in 1826, the first station church in the southwest, and has been host of 15 sessions of the Mississippi Conference. The first "Sabbath School" in Mississippi was started in this church in April 1829 (when it was known as Lovely Lane Church and was located on Union Street). Moses Floyd is buried in an unmarked grave in Natchez.
5. Site of Elizabeth Academy, earliest school for girls on edge of village of Washington, on Highway 84 East. One half mile east, only the vine covered walls of one side of the building remain of Elizabeth Academy, one of Methodism's earliest educational ventures. This school, begun in 1818 and chartered in 1819, educated some of the outstanding women of early Mississippi Methodism and other states. It is said to have been the first school in the United States chartered to give degrees to women. Audubon was among its faculty.
6. Site of Clear Creek Camp Ground. First Methodist camp ground in state. About one mile east of Washington, on Highway 84. Organized November 12, 1804 by Lorenzo Dow, Learner Blackman, and Nathan Barnes. Dow here once announced he had the latest news from hell, and would declare it from the pulpit.
7. William Foster Home. At Pine Ridge, just north of Natchez. Site of Annual Conference of 1816, first session at which a bishop was present. A half mile from the Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church (5 miles n. of Natchez, on 554) is the William Foster home. In the church and in this house in 1816 was held the first Annual Conference in Mississippi presided over by a Bishop (Bishop Roberts, who had traveled on horseback from Western Pennsylvania). The business sessions were held in an upstairs room in the home and the preaching and ordination services in the church. William Foster and his wife, who had been a part of the first Methodist congregation in Mississippi, are buried in the family cemetery near the home. Both house and church still exist.
8. Selsertown. Site of church organized in 1807. Emerald Mound and Indian mound on the Natchez Trace in Jefferson County, mark the place now.
9. Fayette. Near Fayette (n.e. of Natchez, on 61) the site of Spring Hill church (founded 1802), where the first and organizing session of the Mississippi Conference (no Bishop present, because of inability to attend), was held in 1813 in the Newett Vick Home (for whom Vicksburg was later named). a marker points out the site three miles west of town off 61(sw of Fayette on Highway 553). Vick left for Warren County in 1814. Church abandoned in 1870's.
10. In Fayette the first Methodist parsonage in Mississippi was acquired in 1827 as a church, converted to a parsonage in 1835 and was used more than 70 years.
11. The Cool Springs Methodist Church, near Fayette, was begun in 1809, and was the second Methodist church in the state to remain.
12. Site of Cool Springs Methodist Campground. Established 1806. Four miles s. of Fayette.
13. In Port Gibson (on 61, n. of Lorman; s. of Vicksburg) the Methodist congregation was organized in 1826. Not far from the present church (completed 1860) stands the building of the Methodist school which once meant so much to this section: the Port Gibson Academy, Collegiate Institute, and Female College, as it was variously known from 1839 to 1928. It became a historical museum.
14. Woodville Church, at Woodville (county seat town, 36 miles s. of Natchez on 61), the Methodist church, which was built in 1824, is the oldest Methodist church building in Mississippi and possibly in several adjoining states. The sanctuary has been completely redecorated and an educational unit added. This church entertained the Mississippi Conference four times before the Civil War and at least 10 Bishops have preached here.
15. Site of Bethel Campground. Established 1812. South of Highway 24 between Woodville and Centreville. Site of Bethel Church, one of the earliest in the state, now abandoned.
16. Site of Midway Church, built in 1811 under the ministry of Matthew Bowman, local preacher, where fifth and eighth sessions of the Mississippi Conference were held. Just South of Centreville on Highway 33.
17. Home place and grave of William Winans. On northern edge of Centreville (13 miles e. of Woodville, on 24), is the home place (large, two-story house) and grave of William Winans, an Ohio minister who moved to Mississippi and became one of the most eloquent and prominent ministers in its Conference. He played an important part in the Louisville convention in 1845, which organized the Methodist Episcopal Church, south. His works, and his voluminous papers, sermons, and letters, are in the State Historical Museum in Jackson. The Methodist church at Centreville is the successor to the Midway Church, which was organized about 1811 and where the Mississippi Conference met in 1817 and 1820. [In March, 2001, an effort to locate the home and grave failed. It is speculated that this entry is based on 1930 records. A school named for Winans now stands on the suspected site of the home.]
18. The present Lorman Methodist Church (built in 1916) (n. of Fayette, on 61) is the successor to the famous Cane Ridge Church which was organized in 1817. This church furnished 18 ministers to the Conference, five of whom were members of various General Conferences, a record possibly not equaled by any other rural church anywhere.
19. Rocky Springs (on Natchez Trace, 15 miles n.e. of Port Gibson) has one of the oldest active Methodist congregations in the state. It dates back to 1805 and its building, erected in 1837, is the fourth oldest in the Conference.
20. Dow Springs, secluded two miles from Rocky springs, where in 1809 Lorenzo Dow camped on one of his trips through the area. He carved his name on a birch tree that stood near the spring. It was cut down, but the carved inscription was saved and in 1933 was in the possession of Dr. J. M. Sullivan.
21. At Vicksburg, in the yard of the large Crawford Street Methodist Church (Crawford and Cherry), is the gave and monument of Tobias Gibson, who originally was buried in a remote spot four miles to the southeast. Visit this large church with its worshipful sanctuary.
22. The grave of Rev. Newet Vick, the first local preacher to come to the state, and the one for whom Vicksburg was named (a few miles to the north of Vicksburg on the Oak Ridge road).
23. Asbury Church [ no longer standing]
24. Asbury Cemetery. Graves of Mr. and Mrs. Randall Gibson (Hariett McKinley Gibson) the first two people to join the Methodist church in the southwest, 12 miles s.e. of Vicksburg off Halls Ferry Road.
25. Hopewell Church
26. Historic Redbone Church, (Warrenton) near Vicksburg was organized in 1814.Brookhaven Area
27. Felders Camp Ground. On Topisaw Creek in Pike County. Established 1843.
28. China Grove Church. NE. of Tylertown. Home church of Lewis and Lampton families. Property deeded in 1836. Church begun 1854, finished 1861, hewn out of pure heart pine. Had slave gallery.
29. John Ford Home at Sandy Hook, south of Columbia on Highway 35. Site of 1818 session of Annual Conference. Foundation laid in 1792, completed in 1809. The Ford family included generations of Methodist preachers.
30. Site of White's Campground. Second session of Conference held there. In NE corner Amite county.
31. Adams Campground, Auburn, in s.e. Lincoln County. site of 1815 Annual Conference and first district conference in Mississippi, October 1822.
32. Pleasant Valley Church. Home church of Maj. Millsaps and Clara Chrisman. Near Highway 28, SW of Hazelhurst.
33. Whitworth College, Brookhaven, (further s. on 51), across from the large First Methodist Church, are the grounds and the buildings (still a college) of Whitworth College which served the Mississippi Conference as a girls' junior college from 1858 until it was merged with Millsaps about 1928.
34. Near Gallman (30 miles s. of Jackson, on 51) is Camp Wesley Pines which is beautifully located and serves the Mississippi Conference in various ways. Many retreats, institutes, and conferences and youth camps are held here.
35. Kavanaugh College, Holmesville, 10 me. e. of Mccomb, founded by H.W. Featherstun in 1884 to 1890.Jackson Area
36. In Jackson, Mississippi's capital city Methodism started in 1836, under the pastorate of Rev. Thomas Ford, son of Rev. John Ford. Galloway Memorial (319 N. Congress, near the capitol building) was known as First Methodist until 1917. for years it led the whole church in the Week of Dedication and the One Great Day of Sharing offering. It possesses Mississippi Methodism's only plant with a one-million dollar valuation.
37. Millsaps College in Jackson (n. on 51, at 1701 N. State St.; also West St.), operated by Mississippi Methodists since its founding in 1890, is one of the small "superior quality" colleges of the nation. Its Founders Hall, built soon after the Civil War, formerly housed Jackson College for Negroes. Site of the tomb of Major Millsaps (the layman who founded the college).
38. The former Mississippi Methodist Children's Home (2003 West St. and Woodrow Wilson Blvd. - near Millsaps College), formerly housed in a large, dormitory-type building, became a beautiful cluster of homes with separate chapel and dining facilities for its 120 children. Established first at Water Valley in 1898, this Home was moved to Jackson in 1904. Sold in 1990's.
39. Central Church, Jackson. (on N. Farish) is Mississippi Methodism's largest Negro congregation.
40. Farish Street Historical District
41. The Jackson Area Headquarters Building (321 Mississippi St., across from state capitol building) is adjacent to Galloway Memorial church and houses the offices of the Bishop, the Mississippi Methodist Advocate, and the boards of the Mississippi Conference.
42. A few miles north of Jackson, in a rural setting, is Pearl River Church (five miles e. of Madison and two miles n. of the Natchez Trace), famous as being the home church of James W. Lambuth and his wife Mary. The Lambuth family has given more than 300 years of ministerial and missionary service, including Bishop Walter Russell Lambuth who was born in the Orient and established Methodist missions in Africa.
43. In Brandon (on 80 just e. of Jackson) in the present elegant old church in 1878 the first Woman's Society in the Mississippi Conference was organized. Near Brandon, at Brandon springs, (8 mi. east) is the original site of Centenary College, which was founded in 1841, moved to Jackson, LA, (which was then in the Mississippi Conference) in 1845, and is now thriving at Shreveport, where it moved in 1907.
44. At Shiloh (s.e. of Brandon) is the attractive Shiloh Methodist Church (organized 1826) and Campground. This is the oldest campground in the state where annual camp meetings are still held on the same spot, the custom having been started in 1832. This campground is equipped with cabins.
45. Site of Cooper's Well, famous mineral well discovered by Rev. Preston Cooper. Once a resort area. Near Terry.
46. Thornton Chapel Church. Has mourner's bench. W. of Canton, just off Highway 16. [The mourner's bench is now in the Millsaps-Wilson Library, along with a pulpit.]
47. Soul Chapel Church. South of Pickens, on Ol Highway 51.
48. Sharon. Site of Sharon College, Madison College, and first district parsonage.
49. Seneasha Camp Ground. Attala County.Hattiesburg Area
51. At Hattiesburg (between Jackson at Gulfport, on 49, at 98 and 11) the 160-bed Methodist Hospital (Bay St. and Hall Ave.) has served the Mississippi Conference since 1920. Connected with it is a School of Nursing. Main Street Church (downtown, on Main, north of Pine) has the second largest valuation in the Conference and an educational plant worth visiting. A Wesley Foundation and the Parkway Heights Methodist Church (Hardy St. at 25th) serve the University of Southern Mississippi.
52. Bethel Church and McRae's Camp Ground. 1822 session of Conference. Near line between Wayne and Greene Counties.
53. Hopewell, first Methodist Protestant Church in state. Near Rose Hill in Jasper county.
54. Site of Montrose Training School. Montrose in Jasper County. Established before the Civil War by Rev. J.N. Waddell, later president of the state university. Became Jasper County public school in early 1900s.
55. In Winchester (a small town off 45, just s.e. of Waynesboro) is the first Methodist church organized in east Mississippi. The town was incorporated in 1818, but existed previously, and the church was organized in 1816 or 1817. Bishop H.Y. Dubose joined the church there.
56. At Brookhaven (further s. on 51), across from the large First Methodist church, are the grounds and the buildings (still a college) of Whitworth College which served the Mississippi Conference as a girls' junior college from 1858 until it was merged with Millsaps about 1928.Gulf Coast Area
57. Pearlington Church, Pearlington. Second oldest continuous community of Mississippi Gulf Coast. Simon Favre settled here in 1770s. Oldest Methodist church on coast. Probably a stop on "Pearl River" circuit organized in 1813. Capt. log mentions Methodist minister in Pearlington in 1831. Pearlington circuit organized in 1836. 1851 city plat shows "M.E. Church" on same site as present structure, built in 1930.
58. At Gulfport (s. of Hattiesburg, on 49, at 90), First Methodist Church (downtown) is the largest Methodist congregation in the state outside of Jackson.
59. At Waveland (w. of Gulfport on 90 to Bay St. Louis, then turn left and follow coast road three miles) is the Gulfside Assembly Grounds begun in 1922, for use of the churches and Conferences of the Central jurisdiction. With a half mile beach front and several buildings on more than 300 acres of land, Negroes own nothing else like it in the United States. The activities include summer schools of theology, schools for rural pastors, leadership training schools, youth institutes, adult assemblies, and various kinds of in-service training for pastors.
60. Palmer Creek Camp Ground. About fifteen miles NE of Gulfport.
61. New Prospect Camp Ground. Near Vancleave in Jackson County.
62. Salem Camp Ground. in NE Jackson County, near Highway 63. From Biloxi go east on 90 to Pascagoula and then north on 63 about 25 miles. Two miles west of 63 on Cedar Creek is Salem Camp Ground, the oldest Methodist campground in the state still in existence and perhaps the second oldest in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. It was established in 1826 about two miles from where it now stands and has been on its present site more than 100 years.
63. On the sest beach of Biloxi (on 90 e. of Gulfport) just inside the city limits are located the grounds of the Seashore Assembly. Established in 1872 as the Seashore Campground, annual camp meetings were held here through 1943, and many residents owned summer or year-round cottages on the grounds. The Seashore Campground School, a quality preparatory school, was also operated here for years. Today, in place of the tabernacle, there is the beautiful Leggett Memorial Church, and in lieu of many of the cottages there is Seashore Manor, a magnificent home for the aging. The Assembly grounds are used for the Mississippi Conference Pastors School and the Woman's Society School of Missions.
64. Moore Community House, Biloxi, was established by Rev. Waldo W. Moore, then pastor of Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Biloxi. The work began as an extension service of Wesley House by Miss Sophie Kuntz, a deaconess. Rev. Moore sought to provide ministry in the Back Bay area, resulting in his founding of the Community House and Epworth Methodist Church, both in 1924.Delta Area
65. Yazoo City. Originally Manchester. Richard Abbey buried here, once known as most prolific Methodist writer in America. Yazoo appears in appointments in 1829. Site of several annual Conferences.
66. Fletchers Chapel
68. Greenville. First Methodist church organized 1837. Originally Bachelor's Bend. First log structure built in 1839, frame building in 1845.
69. Cleveland. Bolivar circuit served this large area of the Delta as early as 1833.
71. Black Hawk Church, Holmes County
72. Ebeneezer Church, (10 mi. s. Lexington) Holmes County. Organized September 1828 at home of Thomas Rule with seven members. Greenwood Leflore interpreted the minister's messages to his Indians in this church.
73. Mal Maison: home of Greenwood Leflore, CarroltonMeridian Area
74. Meridian, (11, 80, 45), has many fine Methodist churches. For years it was the center of culture and Methodist education in east Mississippi. The famous Beeson Colleges (the Meridian Male College and Female College) occupied the area between 34th St. and 38th St., between Highland Ave. and Didley Branch. Of the 16 Methodist churches in Meridian today, Central Methodist Church (23rd Ave. at 10th) is the oldest in its organization, the fourth largest in the state membership, and has a sanctuary and educational facilities that merit attention.
75. Macon (n. of Meridian, on 45) has an interesting church that was built in 1852, while its organization goes back to 1834. during the Civil War the state government used this building for a while after Grant's army captured Jackson.
76. Rock Hill Church (Winston Co., 10 mi. s. of Louisville) organized between 1830-1835.Columbus-Tupelo Area
77. In Columbus the First Methodist Church organized in 1823 is the oldest congregation in North Mississippi. The large brick building which it erected in 1844 is now the Jewish Temple. The present large structure was begun in 1858 with slave labor and was completed in 1870. The first Memorial Day Service, for confederate and Federal dead, was held here in 1866. In 1914 an annex was built, and in 1940 an educational building added.
78. Cotton Gin Port, near present day Amory, site of one of the first permanent settlements in North Mississippi, served by Methodist circuit riders in 1819.
79. Tupelo, just north of (near the junction of the Natchez Trace and 45) is Parkway Manor, a home for the aging.
80. Aberdeen (n. of Columbus, on 45) was the home of Bishop Robert Paine (a native of Tennessee) who is buried there.
81. At Starkville (w. of Columbus on 82), a Wesley Foundation serves the students of Mississippi State University in a new building. The First Methodist Church, (near downtown) is successor to the society organized in 1835. first building was erected 1839.
82. at Mathiston (w. of Starkville, on 82) Wood College is one-half mile north of the junction of 82 and 15, near the Natchez Trace. This school, organized in 1885, has been sponsored by the woman's Division and the North Mississippi Conference to serve low-income youth. It has a unique work-study program. Visit its Museum Gallery in Wood Memorial Building and its rustic "Cathedral in the Pines."Grenada-Oxford Area
83. Grenada ( junction 51 and 8 ) was the site of the headquarters building of the former North Mississippi Conference. Grenada College, a junior college for girls, was operated by the North Mississippi Conference in Grenada from 1882 to about 1950, when it was merged with Millsaps.
84. At Water Valley Methodist Church (n.e. of Grenada, on 7), in 1870, the North Mississippi Conference was organized. The territory and churches involved had been previously in the Mississippi and Memphis Conferences. Site of first Mississippi Methodist Orphanage.
85. At Oxford (n. of Water Valley, at junction of 7 and 6), the University Methodist Church and the Wesley Foundation, serve the town and the students of the University of Mississippi ("Ole Miss"). In the Oxford cemetery are the graves of L.Q.C. Lamar and A. B. Longstreet.
86. Near Oxford if the Old Oxford Campground where camp meetings were held nearly 100 years.
87. Lake Camp Stephens, the assembly grounds for North Mississippi Methodism, is near Oxford to the southeast.
88. Rust College, Holly Springs, the oldest of the nation's Methodist colleges traditionally operated for Negroes, is on the northern edge of Holly Springs (near the intersection of 7 and 78). Established by the Freedmen's Aid Society in 1866 and named for the secretary of that society, the college is supported by the conferences in the Minnesota, Iowa, Dakotas, Jackson, and Birmingham Areas of The Methodist Church. It is related to both the Board of Missions and the Board of Education. There are 18 main buildings on about 60 acres of land - and about 550 students. The McCoy Administration Building and the new Science Building especially merit a visit on the campus of the four-year liberal arts college.
89. In Holly Springs (n. of Oxford on 7, at junction of 78) the Methodist church was constructed in 1849 and additions were made in the 70's (the congregation dates back to 1837). For a while after the courthouse was burned during the Civil War, court was held on the lower floor of the church.
90. Yalobusha Circuit was organized 1834 along Yalobusha River in Grenada County.
91. Snowdown Church (Tishomingo County), organized 1850.
Further Research Proposed:
1. Indian Mission
3. Mars Hill (Montgomery County) 1850s
4. Davis Chapel (Panola County) 1850s
5. Howell's or Pleasant Hill (Tishomingo County) 1850s
6. Union Grove (Tishomingo County) 1850s
7. Cross Roads (Calhoun County) 1850s
8. Corinth (Alcorn County) 1850s
9. Midway (Carroll County) 1850s
10. Pine chapel (Webster County) 1850s
11. Prospect (Chickasaw County) 1850s
12. George's Chapel (Chickasaw County) 1850s
13. Liberty Hill (Holmes County) 1850s
14. Richland (Holmes County) 1850s
15. Benela (Calhoun County) 1850
16. Rocky Springs (Tishomingo County) 1850
17. Hubbard Salem (Tishomingo County) 1850
18. Piney Springs (Tishomingo County) 1850
19. Pine Chapel at Clarkson (Webster County) 1850
20. Leganon (Webster County) 1850
21. Pittsboro (Calhoun County) 1853
22. Friendship (Montgomery County) 1853
23. Shiloh (Holmes County) 1854
24. Wheeler's Chapel and Pleasant Valley (Alcorn County) combined to form Kossuth in 1854
25. Providence (Attala County) 1857
28. Bartick (Tishomingo County) 1858
29. Paradise (Tishomingo County), 1858
30. Bera (Tishomingo County), 1858