Midway Baptist Church
by Harold Graham
Minute Book A of the church record provides the following account of the formation of Midway Baptist Church:
By previous arrangement the following brethren met at the place known as Midway in Newton County, Mississippi on the 23rd of March A. D. 1878 for the purpose of complying with the wish of the brethren and sisters in that vicinity to be organized into a Regular Church of Jesus Christ--to wit, Elders N. L. Clarke, Zach. K. Gilmore and And.. J. Freeman. The brethren in consultation appointed Elder N. L. Clarke Moderator of the Presbytery and And. J. Freeman, Clerk.
After Divine services conducted by Elder N. L. Clarke from 3rd chapter 15th verse of first Timothy the Presbytery proceeded to the business before them.
The letters of the brethren and sisters were called for and read and the names of the bearers recorded in the order of their reading, to wit, Sister Laura T. Greenlee, Sister E. W. Greenlee, Sister M. C. Harris, Mary A. Scoggins, Sophia Atkinson, Frances Hammond, Almana R. Hammond, John B. Hammond, W. J. Ratheal, Sarah E. Ratheal, Asberry Bell, Sarah J. Bell, J. C. Pearcy, Martha Pearcy, Ellen Pearcy, J. A. Keith, Ida M. Freeman, Sarah J. Freeman, Elder And. J. Freeman, Elmira C. Freeman, Mahana Harris (notation shows count of 21 members) which letters of Mt. Pisgah Association were found to be regular.
The Abstract of Faith of Mt. Pisgah Association was then read and approved by the Presbytery, who after consultation deemed it expedient to constitute and declare the above brethren and sisters a Regular Baptist Church of Christ, whereupon the Presbytery proceeded to give them the right hand of fellowship as suchfollowed by visiting brethren and sisters and the members giving each other the right hand. The constituting prayer was then offered by Elder N. L. Clarke and the church declared constituted March 23rd 1878.
The autobiography of W. J. McMullan, church clerk for a period of sixty-two and one-half years, and a church history prepared by his daughter Bernice McMullan on the occasion of the church’s centennial observance in 1978, provide further information about the early days of Midway Church.
The community of Midway became recognized as early as 1874 as a mid-way point between Newton and Decatur. A school was built there, aptly named Midway, and was constructed by J. C. Blalock, Henry George Ledlow, William Cooksey, John A. Keith, Craig, S. C. Ashmore, and Gibbs. Miss Bettie Atkinson was the first teacher. W. J. McMullan describes the building as follows:
The school was later relocated nearer Decatur; however, the building remained and was used by the church congregation. In the years that followed many improvements were made to provide the modern air-conditioned building used today.
A committee was appointed in July 1885 to procure a plot of ground to use as a grave yard, this committee consisting of George F. Williams, W. M. McMullan, and William Loranzo Robinson.
Early members of the church not listed above, and received either my letter or experience, included George Franklin Williams and his wife Nancy (Hammonds), James Gibson, Mrs. Catherine Norman, Sister C. F. Freeman, Marion McMullan, Newton Harris, Alice Greenlee, W. M. McMullan, Nancy Caroline (Carline) Hollingsworth Cooksey, William Loranzo Robinson, Roscoe R. Freeman, Mrs. Milly Gibbs, Bro. Duckett, Mariah Duckett, W. D. Hammond, Mattie Bugg, Izilla Riser, Will Galloway, Lula Cooksey, William Cooksey, Robert Jones, Milton R. (Mitt) Jones, Henry George Ledlow, Janey Jones, Elizabeth Jones, Henrietta Gibbs, Medeline McMullan, Sister Sarah Gibson, William McMullan, Bro. Norris, Sister E. M. Land, Sister Melinda Gibson, Sister Dicey Rich, W. J. McMullan, Miss Sallie J. Freeman, Mrs. Emiline Rich, Miss Arrett A. McMullan, W. B. Freeman, & Bro. & Sister J. C. McDowell.