“He was faithful in all his houses”: the obituary of Jonah Williams.

On 15 December 1915, Zion’s Landmark published a lengthy obituary for Elder Jonah Williams of Wayne and Wilson Counties. The Landmark was a semi-monthly newsletter begun in 1867 by Pleasant Daniel Gold, (1833-1920), pastor of Wilson Primitive Baptist Church, who filled the periodical with sermons and homilies, ads for homeopathic remedies, testimonials, altar calls and, most enduringly, obituaries of Primitive Baptists throughout eastern North Carolina.

African-Americans did not often make it into the pages of the Landmark, but P.D. Gold held Jonah Williams in considerable esteem as the founder or leader of nearly every church in the Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Association, including Turner Swamp (1897), London’s (1897), Barnes (1898), Little Union (1899), and Rocky Mount (1908). The middle three congregations were in Wilson County.

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