Early history of New Vester Missionary Baptist Church.

The roots of New Vester Church go back to the brush arbor in the mid-1860’s. Vester Church, located in an area known as Parker’s Island, was led first by a Reverend Stamper, who was followed after a few years by the Reverend Nick Anderson.  Reverend Daniel Stokes and Reverend Nick Arrington succeeded Reverend Anderson. In 1891, the church was relocated to its present site, where two deacons, Harry Dunston and Ned Kent, contributed lumber to build a new edifice. Under the leadership of Reverend Anderson, who served from 1891 until 1903, the church adopted the formal name New Vester Missionary Baptist Church. Reverend W.H. Mitchiner served from 1903 until his death in 1953, with Reverend Offie Richardson serving as Associate Pastor for three years due to Rev. Mitchner’s illness. Rev. Mitchner was succeeded by Reverend J.H. Bryant and Reverend A.A. Crum, who served from 1956 until 1970.


New Vester is located near Buckhorn reservoir southwest of Sims (and due south of Bailey), in western Wilson County. It remains an active congregation.

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  • Daniel Stokes may have been the 35 year-old farmer who is listed in the 1880 census of Castalia, Nash County, with wife Cherry. Their 1871 marriage license describes Daniel as born in Franklin County to Cary and Eliza Stokes and Cherry as born in Franklin to Redic and America Wheeless. Daniel died in 1917 in Cypress Creek, Franklin County.
  • Harry Dunston (1855-1950) was the son of Ben and Harriet Hester Dunston. He is buried at New Vester.
  • Ned Kent was born about 1855 in Johnston County. His death certificate lists his parents as Elbert and Abbie Sanders, but a family story published at Ancestry.com names Lightfoot Sanders and Angeline Kent. Ned Kent married Lydia Barnes circa 1875, probably in Wilson County. He died in 1940 in Springhill township, Wilson County.
  • Offie William Richardson was born in Wake County in 1884 to Richardson “Dick” Richardson and Cornelia (or Topsy) Richardson. He died in Johnston County in 1965.

Church history adapted from http://www.newvesterchurch.com/churchhistory.html


  1. This articl shares a hidden piece of my family history. Reverend Offie Richardson is my paternal great great grandfather.

    1. Rev. Offie W. Richardson was married to Maggie Lucus Rlchardson of Wendel, N.C. and had 15 children. He was my grandfarher, I am the son of Ruth one of 8 daughters by him and Maggie.

  2. Ms. Lisa V. Henderson: I LOVE your blog! A friend who is researching her family, including Powell, Powel, Powe, Powers, etc., shared it with me. I shake my head at all the interesting “stuff” I’ve found. I am the official genealogist of my families… many of whom are from Wilson County, or migrated there from Georgia, and all the counties from Wilson to Wake!

    My dad, the late John Powell, was from Wilson County as were his dad, Edward C. Powell and family. My mother, on the other hand was born in Knightdale, in Wake County. Whereas I can find lots of family members via my extensive research, I cannot find one great grandmother!! Ironically, she is the half sister of Rev. Offie Richardson. I knew Uncle Off well as my parents visited Wilson from Washington, DC, at least once a year, and the year I was eight, I decided I wanted to spend the summer and it is what I did until I turned 11, when I found my way to Wendell, where there were scads of my dad’s mom’s family, including the Stricklands.

    While in Wilson, I got to work in my uncle’s store. Some afternoons when Uncle Jim (James Richardson; brother of Offie) would take his dinner break, I would operate the store until he returned. I had a lot of fun pressing those huge cash register keys!! I loved the experience. Every Wednesday evening, I traveled with my Aunt Pattie Powell Bass down the street and around the corner to Aunt Snow’s house for Bible study. What a time we would have. I loved it when we sang and someone made music with the washboard and something metal. I recently learned Aunt Snow’s name… Senora Richardson Beckwith… sister to Uncle Off and Uncle Jim. Ironically, they were the siblings of my “unknown” grandmother, Rosa. I think she was a Debnam, but not a Richardson. I would appreciate it if there is anyone reading this if you would share any information you might have about my great grandmother, Rosa. She and John Henry Strickland, Sr. were the parents of Nellie and Augustus Strickland, from Wendell. Nellie married Edward C. Powell of Wilson, NC, and she is interred in New Vester Church Cemetery.

    Interestingly enough I was told a story by my late aunt, Lura Bell Strickland Tilley of Wendell. She told me that my great grandmother, Rosa, was killed in a house fire. Someone set fire to her house and killed her and her small children. Rumor? I don’t know but well attending a family reunion at the home of a Debnam years ago, there was a small “blurb” at the top of the program with a brief story referencing Rosa and the fire.

    I would appreciate any help I can get.

    Recently, I was here and found a picture of a quintet where two of whom were my granduncles, Russell and Robert Powell (sons of Sarah [nee Boykin] and David Bryant Powell). I was elated. Then, I found the grave of my late great grandmother, Sallie Deans Powell (can’t remember the cemetery; not New Vester); she was the first wife of David Bryant Powell and they were the parents of my grandfather, Edward C. Also, on the same day, I found references to some three more great grandmothers, but I have forgotten their names (I have them written her in my office). They included Katie Freeman (mother of Sallie Deans); one with the last name of Robinson and finally one by the name of Mary Dawson. I was greatly intrigued about meeting these women and want to know more about them.

    Thank you so very much, Ms. Lisa V. Henderson for all your great work on Wilson County, NC! It has provided me with invaluable information and saved me a lot of time!

    1. Wow, Andra!!! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and for sharing so much about your Wilson connections! I love reading reminiscences about everyday life in our community. I’ll keep an eye out for the names you mention. Thanks again!

      1. You’re so welcome!! You have helped me tremendously. I am so glad you felt Wilson important enough to write about it. Thanks, much for all you do!! If there is anything I can do to help you, please let me know!! I should be writing a book for my grands and great grands. I don’t want them to have to research anything unless they want to. I was lost until I began to connect the dots in my family. Now, I feel whole!!

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