Liberty Church, 1923
the pictures for a larger view. Submitted by Bonnie Evans.
On June 8,1842 nine men and six women met
and organized Liberty Baptist Church in Kemper County, Mississippi.
One hundred years later, the descendents of those pioneers met at
Liberty Church, on August 9,1942, to celebrate its centennial and to
hold a reunion of families of those in the organization. The second
in August had been the date of the annual revival services since
1844, so it was fitting that the celebration be held on that date
and that the sermon should be preached by the Rev. Webb Brame of
Yazoo City, Mississippi, who was not only a great grandson of John
E. Lloyd, one of the charter members, but was also ordained into the
ministry by Liberty Church. His subject was "The Living Dead"-- Our
loved ones are still living, not dead.
After the sermon, a bountiful dinner was
served from tables set up in the beautiful grove. During the noon
hour, visitors and friends renewed old ties and visited the
cemetery. On one tomb in the cemetery is the name of "Polly Paris",
born 1776, the mother of John E. Lloyd. She lived to the ripe age of
96, as have many of her descendants. There were other charter
members buried in this old cemetery. Twelve grandchildren of J.E.
Lloyd were present for the centennial celebration. Enoch Sprinks,
one of the early pastors of Liberty who married Elizabeth Lloyd, was
represented by one grandson, Hunter Cole.
There were six members of the Lloyd and
Spinks families in the organization of Liberty Church. To these,
through the years, have been added many other faithful families,
such as, Gay, Swearingen, Key, Davis, Wilson, Brame, Wilkerson,
Watts, Flannigan, and others. All these have brought Liberty Church
down to the present day true to its traditions.
At the Centennial Celebration in 1942, J.C.
Wilson presided over the afternoon session. He introduced Pressley
Spinks of DeKalb who spoke on the early church history. He gave an
account of several Kemper County churches that brought authorization
from South Carolina churches to organize churches in the new
country, granting letters to be used in the organization. He spoke
of the slaves who were in the early church, they are named in all of
the early minutes; then, of the strict church discipline - no horse
swapping on Sunday, no gambling, no drunkenness, no dancing. He was
reared in Liberty Church, a great grandson of one of the charter
The Rev. Michael Ross, who helped organize
Liberty Church and a great many other Baptist Churches in East
Mississippi, was the prime mover in the organization of Liberty
Baptist Church. This grand old preacher moved to Texas in the early
1850's, taking all of his sons, and in-laws with him. There he
helped to found Baylor University. Two of his sons came back to
Mississippi to live; one William Ross, married Sarah Lloyd, daughter
of John E. Lloyd. J.C. Wilson was a great-great grandson of the Rev.
At this point, Mrs. Hervey Lloyd of
Meridian, sang a lovely solo. Dr Cox, pastor of Meridian First
Baptist Church, made a splendid talk on the pioneer spirit of the
early settlers. Miss Olive Alexander of Rolling Fork, Mississippi,
read the church covenant and articles of faith. Before the reading,
she spoke of a letter, still in the possession of the family,
written by John E. Lloyd to Sarah Lloyd Ross in 1852, while she was
living in Texas.
The church has pictures of the early
pastors, together with lists of pastors ordained by the church,
lists of Confederate soldiers, also those in World War I and II.
The last feature of the centennial
celebration program in 1942 was five minute talks by descendents of
charter members and former pastors. One of the descendants, Albert
Spinks, who in his time led all of the church music, made a talk,
then sang songs from the old Scared Harp, music of their
forefathers. One mentioned incidents in the life of an early pastor
of the church, the Rev. C.E. Brame, when he prayed for rain-rain
fell before services were over. The Rev. A.P. Davis, who was led
into the ministry by Liberty Church, was present and made a short
talk on what Liberty Church had meant in his life.
The Rev. Eugene Stephanes, pastor of the church in 1942, made a talk
praising the present membership who have carried on the church
Liberty Baptist Church, rich in history and
alive and active today still dedicated to the proclaiming of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ under the leadership of the present pastor
The Rev. Scott Harrell, is looking forward to the celebration of
their 150th year in 1992.
Published by the Kemper County Historical Association
in the Kemper County Messenger August 10,1989
P.O. Box 546
Dekalb, Mississippi 39328