Missionary Baptist church

The Bear Creek Baptists.

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Baltimore Afro-American, 3 November 1917.

“The Bear Creek Missionary Baptist Association was organized in 1872 by Rev. R.H. Harper, who was in the organization of Educational and Missionary Convention, together with Rev. W.H. Croom, Rev. J.C. Carroll and Rev. I.N. Patterson. Much credit is also given to Rev. A.A. Smith, the secretary who did much to strengthen the cause of the Bear Creek Baptist Association.” Rountree Missionary Baptist is not listed as a current member of the Bear Creek Association.

Studio shots, no. 54: Rev. Benjamin F. Jordan.

This portrait of Rev. Benjamin F. Jordan hangs in a ground-level hallway at Jackson Chapel First Baptist Church in Wilson.


In the 1880 census of Richland, Beaufort County, North Carolina: day laborer Phillip Jordon, 38; wife Elizabeth, 30; and children David F., 10, Solomon, 6, Judy Ann, 4, and Benjamin F., 1.

In the 1900 census of Idalia township, Beaufort County: farmer Phillip Jordan, 56; wife Elizabeth, 49; son Solomon, 26, daughter-in-law Carseary, 21; their child Perline, 1; daughter Julia A., 23; and son Ben F., 21.

In the 1910 census of Lumberton, Robeson County, North Carolina: Benjamin F. Jordan, 30, minister, was a boarder in the household of John H. and Margret Kinnear.

On 26 October 1910, B.F. Jordan, 32, married Maggie E. Dickins, 24, in Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County, North Carolina.

In 1918, Benjamin Franklin Jordan registered for the World War I draft in Bladen County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 21 April 1879; was married to Maggie E. Jordan; and worked in the ministry.

In the 1920 census of Mullins township, Marion County, South Carolina: on Laurel Street, clergymen Benjamin F. Jordan, 40; wife Maggie, 32; and children Benjamin F., Jr., 6; Marion, 4, Milford, 2, and Odis, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1113 East Nash Street, minister Benjiman Jordan, 50; wife Maggie, 44; and children Milford L., 12, Odis, 11, Williard, 10, Irene C., 8, and James D., 6.

Benjamin Franklin Jordan died 8 December 1955 at 717 East Green Street, Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 75 years old; was a minister; was born in North Carolina to Phillip Jordan and Elizabeth (last name unknown). Informant was Marion J Maultrie, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Mary Grove.

Mary Grove Missionary Baptist Church is on Wiggins Mill Road northwest of Lucama in Springhill township. Founded in 1909, the church is home to branches of the Kent, Renfrow, Jones, Barnes, Creech and Powell families, among others. (Including members of the Gospel Four.)

These photographs, which appear to date from the early 1970s, show the church’s wooden mid-century iteration, an early cornerstone, and the road sign that once identified the church to passersby.


Mary Grove Church today. The sanctuary has undergone several remodels in its 100+ years and is now a modern brick structure with attached offices and meeting space. The cornerstone in the brick plinth shown above is now embedded front left.  The church’s cemetery is located behind the parking lot at the far right edge of the image below.

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Many thanks to Edith Jones Garnett for sharing family photographs of Mary Grove Church.

Cemeteries, no. 9: William Chapel church cemetery.

William Chapel Missionary Baptist Church is one of three extant 19th-century churches in the Elm City area, and the only one with a cemetery. The church is about three miles northwest of Elm City on William Chapel Church Road, which runs just inside and roughly parallel to the Wilson-Nash County line. The cemetery lies a few hundred feet west of the church, across from Silver Lake Cotton Gin.


Among the oldest graves at William Chapel are those of:



  • Alexander and Sarah P. Barnes


  • Harriet Hines


  • W.S. Ward


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 (1855-1940) 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