Right reverends.

For more than 100 years, three churches have loomed over a two-block stretch of Pender Street, near the northwest edge of black Wilson. Jackson Chapel Missionary Baptist and Saint John A.M.E. Zion were among the earliest established black churches in Wilson, and Calvary Presbyterian Church was not far behind. Saint John, especially, was a plum ministerial assignment, but Jackson Chapel and Calvary also attracted high-profile clergy.

Here, a running list of African-American ministers of the gospel active in Wilson County before 1920. (All worked in Wilson, unless otherwise noted.)

A.M.E. Zion (Saint John unless noted)


  • Nick AndersonNew Vester Missionary (Sims)
  • Nick Arrington, New Vester Missionary (Sims)
  • Solomon Arrington, Free Will
  • William Baker, Missionary
  • Frank Barnes, Primitive (Elm City)
  • Crockett Best, Ellis Chapel Free Will
  • A. BluntPiney Grove Free Will
  • D. BluntPiney Grove Free Will
  • Jim Brown, Brown’s Chapel Free Will, Wynn Chapel (Elm City)
  • Thomas Bunch, Primitive
  • Alfred Carmen, Piney Grove Free Will
  • G.W. Buckram, Second Missionary
  • James G. Coppedge, Second Missionary
  • E.H. Cox, Free Will
  • Fred M. DavisFirst Missionary/Jackson Chapel First Missionary
  • G.W. Davis, Free Will
  • L.M. Davis, Missionary
  • Spurgeon D. Davis, First Missionary
  • Thomas Davis, Free Will
  • Nelson Hines, Free Will
  • Nathaniel L. Horton
  • R.A. Horton, Mount Zion Original Free Will
  • Andrew J. Jackson, First Missionary
  • Joseph S. Jackson
  • Charles T. Jones
  • William H. Mitchiner, New Vester Missionary (Sims)
  • Alonzo Moore, Piney Grove Free Will
  • H.H. Neil, Free Will
  • Esrom P. Pearsall, Missionary
  • John W. Pitts, Free Will
  • C.H. Register, Missionary
  • P. Rodman, Brown’s Chapel Free Will
  • Fred M. Rogers, First Missionary
  • W.J. Sasser, Ellis Chapel Free Will
  • J. Scarborough, Missionary
  • [unknown] Stamper, New Vester Missionary (Sims)
  • Daniel Stokes, New Vester Missionary (Sims)
  • Marshall A. Talley, Missionary
  • B.W. Tippett, Free Will
  • E.H. Ward, Missionary
  • E.C. Watson, Missionary (Taylor township)
  • P.P. Watson, First Missionary
  • Alfred L.E. Weeks, First Missionary, Tabernacle Missionary
  • Jonah Williams, London’s Primitive, Barnes Chapel Primitive (near Stantonsburg), Little Union Primitive (near Elm City)
  • William B. Williams, Primitive
  • London Woodard, London’s Primitive
  • W.T.H. Woodard, First Missionary
  • Abram Wooten, Pilgrim’s Rest Primitive

Presbyterian (Calvary)


  • A.B. Abney, Seventh Day Adventist
  • Horace Bowens, United Holy
  • G.J. Branch, Mount Zion Holy/Branch’s Memorial Tabernacle United Holy
  • J.H. Harrison, Mount Zion Holy
  • W.H. Horton, Christian
  • J.H. Jones, Saint Mark’s Episcopal
  • Joseph Lancaster, Church of God and Saints of Christ
  • Isaac Lewis, Pentecostal
  • Alex A. Locker, Saint Luke African Methodist Episcopal
  • William H. Neal, Saint James Holiness
  • John W. Perry, Saint Mark’s Episcopal
  • Robert N. Perry, Saint Mark’s Episcopal
  • John H. Scott, Saint James Holiness


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