Saint Alphonsus will serve the colored parish in Wilson.

Bulletin of Catholic Laymen's Assoc of GA 4 25 1942

Southern Cross: Bulletin of the Catholic Laymen’s Association of Georgia, 25 April 1942.

SaintAlphonsus 001

Saint Alphonsus youth group, circa 1942. R.C. Henderson is second left of the priest, Rev. Francis J. Walsh, at top. His sister Hattie Henderson Ellis is shading her eyes on the bottom row. Maggie Barnes Crawford (1893-1971) stands at far left.


Saint Alphonsus today, with the rectory beyond. (What happened to the belfry?)

A brief history of Saint Alphonsus Catholic Church may be found here. The congregation has merged with Saint Therese in Wilson.

Photographs in possession of Lisa Y. Henderson.


  1. Hi Lisa
    I was reading some of your awesome work, by clicking on each category. I came across the picture of Saint Alphonsus School youth group circa 1942. I saw a woman named Maggie Crawford. I’m in tears… Maggie’s father was Short W Barnes; who was the brother of my maternal great, great grandmother Jennie (Jenny)Barnes. Jennie Barnes married Edward (Eddie, Ed)Smith. I’m so thankful to put a picture with at least one of my 1800-1900s relatives.
    Thank you so much!
    Lois ARTIS Daniels

  2. What a great write up! I’m the archivist for the Redemptorists who staffed this place for many years. I paid a call here a few years ago just to see what had become of the place, but of course everything was locked up. The old rectory is now a convent for sisters from Nigeria, I believe. When the Redemptorists were first invited into the diocese to minister to Black Catholics they had excellent relations with the families they met. I know that they were very proud of the work done in this part of the Lord’s vineyard.

    1. I grew up with friends who were members of Saint Alphonsus and, as a three year-old, attended summer classes taught by the nuns. If photos exist from the church’s earliest days, or if information is available about its early nuns, I’d love to share it here!

  3. All of the Hoskins children of Clarence and Nebraska except the youngest of 10 went to and completed their elementary and middle school grades at St. Alpphonsus. We have lots of stories to tell. The oldest of us is 71. Thank you for the pictures.

  4. Hello there, Lisa!

    Really lov’n your content and awesome work! It’s been a really long time… Hope you & your loved ones are well!

    In doing some online research about my home church, I came across your article (& pics) on St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Wilson. My dad, Augustus Davis was a devoted member of St. Alphonsus since its dedication & inception in 1942 until his death in 1979. From what I’ve been told by my elder relatives, he & my mother were at that celebration. All seven of my parent’s (Gus & Thelma’s) children were members there (& students at the Catholic school until it closed). Then, Steven, Deborah & I had to go to St. Theresa’s (the White Catholic school in Wilson) for a few years. We also attended many summer camp classes taught by the nuns for years at St. Alphonsus.

    I think some of my relatives are in that same picture as your Dad, but I don’t recognize any of them right off — particularly my brother, Gus Davis, Jr., my sisters, Eula Jean Davis & Wilter Montrose Davis, my aunt Barbara Jean White, my uncle Richard White, and my cousin, Anita Maria Meadows (who upon graduation went into the Convent & became a nun up north for many years.
    I’m her “name-sake” (Anita Maria-Denise), who my parents decided to name after her…

    Anyway, do you think your Dad may know?

    Shalom Blessings,

    Anita Davis-Taylor

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