Description: An old photograph, date unknown but likely prior to 1897, depicts Bethesda Baptist Church of Marshall. Originally known as "Colored Baptist Church," the members renamed it about 1887 and then added the word "Missionary" during the 1980's to make the official name "Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church." Bethesda is one of the oldest African-American congregations in Harrison County, being founded in 1867 by 450 souls led by Rev. William Massey with the assistance of Rev. A. E. Clemmons, the pastor of the white First Baptist Church. The members met in Rev. Massey's home at 601 Massey St. until the construction of this one-story wooden structure, probably between 1867 and 1875. The plan included a veranda leading to the vestibule, three aisles, and colored glass in the arched Gothic windows. There was an organ, the first in Marshall, and a belfry. Outside facilities included a baptistry and a well. During 1897-1901, this structure was razed and replaced by a larger brick structure of Gothic style which later burned and was itself replaced. However the front facade of the wooden structure was incorporated into the new buildings as a link with the past. The site at 801 W. Grand (Hwy 80) has been ...
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