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.

      Presbytery:       N. L. Clarke
                              Zach K. Gilmore
                              And. J.  Freeman

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:

      a pine pole one room house  about 18 x 18 feet deep in south end and a log cut out north end for  windows these poles not peeled had the bark all on the cracks daubed with mud to  keep the wind out cracks in floor could stick finger in had a little stove in  the room to give heat in winter.

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.

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