I happened unexpectedly upon Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church a few miles east of Lucama.
The style of the building suggests that it was built circa the turn of the 20th century. The original block of the church consisted of a rectangular, gable-front section with a square tower on the gable end facing the road. Five peaked windows grace each side. The cinder-block wings on each side of the double front door are relatively recent modifications, built to house restrooms. There are also newer additions at rear.
The church is decorated with a large cross fitted with lightbulbs and a cast-iron bell in the yard. Thelma B. Forbes states the bell was rung to announce church services.
When I sought information about this church, my childhood friend Dawn Forbes Murphy informed me her maternal grandfather Kennell Braswell and family had belonged to Macedonia. (Her grandmother Marie Cannady Braswell was a member of Mary Grove Missionary Baptist Church.) Dawn has wonderful memories of attending Macedonia as a child, sitting on wooden benches in summer heat, singing hymns without piano or organ accompaniment, delicious food served at church functions, and lots of love. Dawn’s mother Thelma Braswell Forbes recalls there was once two-room school on the grounds of the church. The school was moved down the road from the church, but may still be standing. Though Mrs. Forbes is not sure when the church was founded, she knows her father Kennell Braswell joined as a child, and eventually his mother Minnie Cox Braswell was mother of the church. The church met only twice a month, so the Braswells attended Mary Grove on alternate Sundays.
Kennell and Marie Cannady Braswell.
In the 1920 census of Nahunta township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Braswell, 30; wife Minnie, 26; and children Sadie, 10, Missie, 9, Aira, 7, Sallie, 1, Mary, newborn, Ira, 6, Kennon, 5, and Roland, 3.
In the 1930 census of Cross Roads township, Wilson County: farmer Thomas Braswell, 39; wife Minne, 37; and children Ira, 16, Kennen, 15, Roland, 14, Sallie, 12, Pennie, 10, Irene, 9, Hessie C., 7, Allen, 6, Hazel, 5, Bessie, 3, Leslie, 2, and William T., 10 months.
On 28 November 1936, Kennell Braswell, 22, of Lucama, son of Thomas and Minnie Braswell, married Marie Cannaday, 20, of Lucama, daughter of Charlie and Mary Cannaday, in Smithfield, Johnston County. Ossie M. Cannady and Curtis L. Cannady of Lucama were witnesses.
In the 1940 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: South Carolina-born farmer Charlie Cannady, 60; wife Mary, 50; daughter Marie Braswell, 23; son-in-law Kennel Braswell, 24; and grandchildren Minnie M., 2, and Charlie T., 1. Mary and Marie were also born in South Carolina.
In 1940, Kennel Braswell registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 15 September 1916 in Wayne County; his contact was mother Minnie Braswell; and he worked for Ceney Boyex, R.F.D. #2, Wilson.
Kennell Braswell (1914-1992) as a World War II soldier.
Photo of church by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2019; family photos courtesy of Dawn F. Murphy.