Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church

Fiftieth anniversary of First Baptist Church.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 September 1922. 

Was a memorial drinking fountain ever installed in front of the church? I do not recall ever seeing one. 

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  • “the late Rev. Jackson” — Rev. Andrew J. Jackson was founder of First Baptist Church, now known as Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church. 
  • Rev. J.A. Mebane — John Alexander Mebane, a native of Bertie County, lived in Wilson only briefly. In the 1922 Hill’s directory of the city: Mebane John A Rev (c) 308 Hackney

Rev. J.A. Mebane (1885-1974).

  • M.E. Rogers — Mary Elizabeth Rogers
  • John Battle — probably, John Parker Battle.
  • Henrietta Foster — Foster, who was listed as living at the rear of 308 Hackney Street in 1922, later married Rev. Mebane. Henrietta Foster Mebane died in 1950 and, though the Mebanes spent most of their married life in Tarboro, N.C., both are buried in Wilson’s Rest Haven Cemetery. Their daughter Grace Mebane, who died in Tarboro in 1940 at age 14, is also buried in Wilson.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user Satwun.

108 years ago this month …

Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church opened its iconic brick edifice at the corner of East Nash and Pender Streets. First Missionary Baptist’s pastor Rev. Marshall A. Talley welcomed a line-up of mostly local prominent guest speakers.

Wilson Daily Times, 12 August 1913.

John F. Bruton was the keynote speaker on opening day and delivered this strange and eye-poppingly (by today’s standards) offensive homily: “One thing you people cannot afford to stop, it is your native song. When you cut that off, you cut off your right hand. I remember my old mammy as she clasped me to her withered bosom singing ‘These bones shall rise again.’ Then I was taught the meaning of immortality, ‘when I can read my title clear,’ she sang. I knew that she was going to read her title in the skies. I do not know what heaven is, but I know she is there. As for me I’ll be content to spend the first thousand years there, listening to the angels singing, with that old mammy joining in the chorus, with her hand in mine leading me to my mother. That will be heaven for me. You can’t abandon those songs! When you do, you’d just as well turn this church into a moving picture show.”

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Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Anatomy of a photograph: First Baptist Church.

This image of First Missionary Baptist Church (later Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church) was taken by an unknown photographer circa 1920.

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Below, detail of the original entry facing Pender Street. A girl in a hat stands near the cornerstone and what appears to be a street sign at the corner of Nash and Pender Streets. Today, this entrance is seldom if ever used and features a solid set of steps lined with wrought-iron railings leading down to a landing, then turning left toward Church Street.

The close-up below reveals that the boy and man (or perhaps man and taller man) at far right of the image are standing next to their bicycles, which may have purchased cattycorner across the street at C.L. Darden‘s bicycle shop.)

Photograph courtesy of the Monk Moore Collection, digitized at digitalnc.org.

The Junior Mission Circle goes on a tour.

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Wilson Daily Times, 10 November 1941.

  • First Baptist Church
  • Lealia Hilliard — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Lelia Hillard, 36, born in South Carolina, lived in Florence, S.C., in 1935, teacher at Lucama Grade School, and husband Rufus Hillard, 43, fireman at City of Wilson power plant.
  • Margaret Bridgers — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: furniture company truck driver Jessie Bridgers, 32; wife Margret, 27; and children Elizabeth, 6, Jessie Jr., 5, and twins Saul and Carl, 2.
  • Elsie Hobbs — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1205 Atlantic Ave., rented for $12/month, Hadie, 39, and wife Elsie Hobb, 32, both of Wayne County. Hadie’s occupation was “sick”; Elsie was a cook at Coon High School.
  • Mary Mitchell
  • Rosa Sutton — in the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Arthur Sutton, 29; wife Rosa, 26; and children James J., 7, Rosa Lee, 3, Sarah Jane, 1, and Ellen Gray, 3 months.
  • Cora Parker — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: James Parker, 25, Carolina Laundry employee; wife Lois, 19; mother Cora, 47, cook; and son William, 18 months.
  • Nannie Barbour
  • O.M. Royall — Ossie M. Royall.

Rev. Taylor sells his house to First Baptist Church.

In January 1923, Halley B. and Marie Taylor of Paterson, New Jersey, sold the trustees of First Baptist Church a large lot “in the southeast corner of Chas. Thomas‘ lot on Green Street and runs with Green Street, Southeasterly 60 feet to the corner of Green and Vick Streets, thence with Vick Street, Northeasterly 60 feet, cornering thence at right angles to Viola Street, Southwesterly 210 feet to Green Street.” Trustees Noah J. Tate, Austin N. Neal, George Roberson, Ed Holden, Harry Brown and Glenn S. McBrayer paid the Taylors $6500 for the property. H.B. Taylor was pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church from 1908 to 1920.

The 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson shows a large one-story house with wrap-around front porch at 721 East Green Street. In the 1988 nomination form for historic register designation for East Wilson, the house is described as “ca. 1913; 1 1/2 stories; H.B. Taylor House; intact Queen Anne cottage with double-pile, hip-roofed form and front-facing wing….” The house has since been demolished.

Deed book, page, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.

Studio shots, no. 103: Victoria Ennis Whitehead.

Generations of the Whitehead family have been members of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church for well over one hundred years. Portraits of their matriarch, Victoria Ennis Whitehead, and her children hang prominently in a church hallway.

Victoria Ennis Whitehead (1891-1974).

On 8 December 1908, Henry Whitehead, 34, of Wilson, son of Ben and Frances Whitehead, married Victoria Innis, 22, of Wilson, daughter of Freeman Innis of Smithfield, at the residence of James Hardy in Wilson. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of James Hardy, George Brodie, and Lizzie Wayfield.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Smith Street, brickyard laborer Henry Whitehead, 34; wife Victory, 23; daughters Della M., 3, and Lucille, 1; and son Willie, 18.

Lucial Whitehead died 23 December 1910 at home at 120 Smith Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 3 March 1908 to Henry Whitehead and Victoria Ennis. Informant was Henry Whitehead.

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Henry Whitehead, 48; wife Victoria, 32; and children Willie, 27, Della Mae, 13, Catherine, 9, Odell, 7, James, 5, Grace, 2, and Rosalie, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Highway 91, owned and valued at $2500, oil mill contractor Henry Whitehead, 53; wife Victoria, 43, seamstress; and children Katherine, 19, Odell, 17, James, 15, Grace, 13, Rosalyn, 11, Herbert, 9, Gertrude, 6, Mable, 4, and Victoria, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: widow Victoria Whitehead, 52, sewing; children James, 25, apprentice carpenter; Rosaline, 21; Herbert, 20, tobacco company floor hand; Gertrude, 16, Mabel, 14, and Victoria E., 12; and nieces Elizabeth Brodie, 32, public school teacher, and [actually, granddaughter] Joan Bynum, 6.

Victoria Ennis Whitehead died 2 March 1974 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 December 1891 to Freeman Ennis and Della McCullers; was a widow; resided at 108 Tacoma Street; was a retired seamstress. Informant was Catherine Bynum, 1008 Carolina Street.

The children of J. Henry and Victoria Ennis Whitehead. Top: Victoria W. McCray, James Whitehead, Gertrude E. Whitehead, Herbert V. Whitehead, Rosalyn Whitehead. Bottom: Grace W. Artis (who recently turned 102), Della W. Murrain, Catherine W. Bynum, Odelle W. Barnes, Mable W. Parks.

The Jackson Chapel choir.

In about August 1946, Charles Raines and/or Guy Cox visited Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist to photograph its choir. Recognize anyone?

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Many thanks to John Teel for sharing this image from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. It is catalogued as PhC_196_CW_177H_BaptistChurch.

Trustees purchase land for the Baptist Church.

In 1906, Samuel H. Vick and Elijah L. Reid sold a lot at the corner of Nash and Pender Streets to trustees of the Missionary Baptist Church. The document below is a mortgage securing the purchase price.

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This agreement made and entered into this the 19th day of July, 1906, by and between S.H. Vick and E.L. Reid of the first part, and Parker Battle, George Woodard, S.D. Henderson and Walter Foster, Trustees of the Missionary Baptist Church, of the second part.

WITNESSETH: — The said parties mutually agree the one with the other, that in consideration of the mutual stipulations herein contained, as follows, to wit

That the said S.H. Vick and E.L. Reid shall have the rights to the rents to Jan. 1st, 1907, and to remove from the lot on the corner of Nash and Pender Streets, in the town of Wilson, and heretofore conveyed unto the said Trustees by them, all the buildings now located thereon, at any time prior to the 1st day of January, 1907, and that such removal shall not in wise effect the purchase price for the said lot heretofore agreed upon as set forth in the deed for the said lot.

It is further agreed, that if the said trustees shall not be able to pay such an amount on the note held by Silas Lucas and secured by a mortgage to him on the said real estate, as shall satisfy the said Lucas so that he shall give his consent to the removal of the said buildings then and in that event the said S.H. Vick and E.L. Reid hereby agree that they will extend the time of the payment of the note due unto them as a portion of the purchase price and secured by the mortgage on said lot, by allowing the sum of Three Hundred dollars to be paid at any time within six months after the 1st, day of January 1907.           /s/ S.H. Vick, E.L. Reid, W.M. Foster, Parker Battle, George W. Woodard, S.D. (X) Henderson

[Handwritten] It is also further, agreed that the buggy house and stable situated on the premises herein described shall remain on said premises, and be used by the trustees until the church contemplated to be built on said lot shall have been completed. E.L. Reid & S.H. Vick via E.L. Reid.

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  • S.H. Vick — Samuel H. Vick.
  • E.L. Reid — Veterinarian Elijah L. Reid seems never to be credited as half the partnership that sold the lot at the corner of Nash and Pender to First Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Parker Battle — Battle died in 1914, just a year after the new church was completed.
  • George W. Woodard
  • S.D. Henderson — Sandy D. Henderson.
  • Walter Foster — Walter M. Foster.
  • Missionary Baptist Church — This church later merged with Jackson Chapel to become today’s Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church.
  • Silas Lucas — A wealthy brick maker, builder and real estate developer.

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The corner of Nash and Pender as shown in the 1908 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson, two years before ground-breaking for church’s construction.

Deed book 72, page 141, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson.