19th Century Clergy in East Carroll Parish

Thanks to our friends at Afrigeneas, we recently came across a digitized version of Sermons, Addresses and Reminiscences and Important Correspondence,With a Picture Gallery of Eminent Ministers and Scholars by EC Morris. A digital copy of the book was made available on the web by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.  The original publishing date was 1901.

There are a number of things featured in the book, but a thing of major importance is the "Directory of Ordained Ministers" that is organized by state.  A search for "Providence, LA" displays the following names:

Page 212:  Conn, G. C., Lake Providence; Gaither, S. G., Lake Providence; Green, S. H., Lake Providence;  Kent, J., Lake Providence.

Page 213:  Scott, A. S.; Lake Providence; Smith, C., Lake Providence; Torrey, J. C., Lake Providence; Williams, J. W., Lake Providence.
More About the Clergy Featured in the Directory

The GC Conn mentioned in the directory was Grandison or Granderson Conn, who was the maternal grandfather of Rev. John Henry Scott.  Rev. Scott, along with his daughter Cleo Scott Brown, wrote the book entitled "Witness to the Truth:  My Struggle for Human Rights in Louisiana" that details the struggle for voting rights for African Americans in East Carroll Parish.  GC Conn was also known as Elder Conn, as per page 23 of the book.  The book further states on the same page that Conn died from scarlet fever, but as evidenced in a recent post on this blog, it may have been yellow fever, as he was listed amongst other African Americans in the parish that succumbed to the disease as of November 1905.  Witness also makes claims as to GC Conn's ancestry and former slaveowner on page 24.  (For a preview on Google Books, click here)

SG Gaither was named Samuel G. Gaither, and was the man to whom Gaither Memorial Cemetery (also known as the East Carroll Baptist Association Cemetery) was named.  According to Witness (pages 50-52), Sam Gaither was the pastor of Seven Stars Baptist Church, which was formed in 1867 and served as a base church for many of the plantation churches in the area.  Gaither also served as the first pastor of Progressive Chapel Missionary Baptist Church as per the obituary of Louis Balfour/Bareford Atlas, Sr..  Based upon a Louisiana Deaths, 1850-1875; 1894-1954 record, SG Gaither was born about 1861 in Louisiana and died February 18, 1925 in Lake Providence, LA.  His wife's name was Victoria.

S.H. Green - No information located.

J. Kent is most likely Jessie Kent.  As per the Beatrice Singleton's obituary, "at the age of 12 she professed a hope in Christ and joined Central Baptist church under the leadership of Rev. Jessie Kent."

A.S. Scott - No information located.

C. Smith - No information located.

J.C. Torrey - No information located.

JW Williams was named Jack Williams and was the pastor of Mt. Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church, as evidenced by the obituary of Louis Bareford/Balfour Atlas, Sr.  An additional notation in the obituary of Nancy Ruth (Marshall) Russell also states that Jack Williams was the pastor of Mt Olive Baptist Church and that this was the case when Nancy was 17 years old or in 1899.  Jack Williams was born about 1840 and died May 9, 1917 in Lake Providence, LA as per this death record.

Other Clergy in the Area

A look into the AtlasFamily.Org Obituaries archive provides a glimpse into other notable clergy in the East Carroll Parish Area.

Source:  Obituary of David George Carter
David is noted as "[confessing] Christ at the early age of nine years old, at the Sweet [Canaan] M.B. Church, under the leadership of Rev. T.E. Yell."  David would have been 9 years old in 1927.  TE Yell was named Thomas Edwin Yell and was born about 1876 in Lake Providence, LA and died November 3, 1941 in Monroe, Ouachita Parish, LA as per this death record.  He was married to a woman named Elizabeth and was the son of Jones Yell.

Source:  Obituary of  Louis Bareford/Balfour Atlas, Sr. and Obituary of Nancy Ruth (Marshall) Russell
Louis died on July 15, 1958.  Nancy died on November 2, 1964.  Both of their funerals were held at Progressive Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and were officiated by the Rev. FW Wilson.

Source:  Obituary of Cora Mae (Atlas) Thompson
Cora is said to have "converted at an early age and was baptized at the Progressive Baptist Church by the Rev. A. S. Cooper."

Source:  Obituary of Sarah (Jennings) Turner
Sarah is noted as "[confessing] a hope in Christ in the year of 1900 at the age of 12 years at the Evergreen Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. Henry Smith."  Another Henry Smith is noted as her nephew and may be the son of the Pastor Henry Smith.

Using Witness as a source once again, a photo of pastors and officers of the East Carroll Parish Baptist Association during the late 1950s also accounts for clergy in the area:

Rev. Newson, Percy Knighten, Rev. Francis J. Atlas, Rev. Handy Jackson, Genevieve Shorter, R.B. Stevenson, Rev. N.B. McCall, Rev. Spencer Hall, Rev. Freddie Green, Rev. J.H. Moore, Rev. Mansel Mason, Rev. O.L. Virgil, Rev. H.T. James, Rev. Percy H. Henders, Rev. John H. Scott.
Photo, page 108, "Witness to the Truth:  My Struggle for Human Rights in Louisiana," by John H. Scott and Cleo Scott Brown


What a fine project!
Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

Dr. Bill ;-)
Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"
Liz said…
Hi, welcome to the Geneabloggersphere! Your research looks great. I have roots in NW & SW La. & Colonial New Orleans. Look forward to reading more about your finds.

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