Historical Record

Macedonia Baptist Church, pews, donationMacedonia MissionaryBaptist Church Museum Committee, a 501(C)() of South Point, Ohio was established to provide a historical record of the tole of the Burlington community in the lives of freed slaves in Lawrence and Gallia counties in Ohio.

Wikipedia

The description which follows appears in Wikipedia:

The Macedonia Baptist Church is a historic former Baptist church building near the community of Burlington at the southern point of the U.S. state of Ohio. Constructed in the middle of the nineteenth century, it held a significant place in the culture of the local black population, and it has been named a historic site.

Situated at Ohio’s southernmost point, the Burlington vicinity saw large numbers of runaway slaves and free Negroes in the decades before the Civil War. Into such a context, a group of Baptists settled and founded a church at some point between 1811 and 1813; after a period of worshipping in their homes, the congregation constructed a small and primitive church building. Late 1849 was the church’s watershed moment: Virginia landowner James Twyman freed many of his slaves at his death and provided for them to be given land near Burlington, and thirty-two of them settled near the church on land that they officially owned, beginning at the end of October. Joining with the existing Baptist congregation, they helped build a replacement church building on Macedonia Ridge, from which the congregation took its name of “Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church”. With such a large group of black immigrants, the church began to occupy a prominent place for local blacks, both religious and cultural,  and as the years passed, numerous groups of members were sent out to found daughter churches; eight such churches, both in Ohio and in present-day West Virginia, remained active into the late twentieth century.

Macedonia Baptist Church is a simple building, constructed without an architectural style. Its plain gable-front plan features three side windows but no openings in the front gable per se; one enters through double doors at the base of a short bell tower, which is itself set into the front gable. Simple weatherboarding covers the walls, which rest on a stone foundation and are topped with a tin roof; the main body of the building has a plain roof with a steep pitch, although the tower’s roughly square shape necessitates a pyramidal roof.

In 1978, Macedonia Baptist Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, qualifying both because of its historically significant architecture and because of its important place in local history. It is one of four Register-listed locations in and around Burlington, along with the old county jail, the local black cemetery, and the William C. Johnston House and General Store, and one of nineteen countywideThe Ohio Historical Society placed a state historical marker at the church in 2003.

Teach Freed Slaves

It served as a place of worship, the center of a community event, as well a place to teach freed slaves the rudiments of the Three Ts-“Reading, Riting, and Rithmetic”. This church is of significant importance in the history of our nation because it served as a stop along the Underground Railroad system. It was the first stop for fleeing slaves after crossing the Ohio River. This structure will display historical record denoting the relationships of the abolitionist in Ohio and the state of Virginia and photographs of some of the homes that harbored fleeing slaves. Research continues to identify and collect artifacts to be displayed. The structure was built on land deeded to the original ex-slaves who purchased it. The Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church has a long and storied history of spawning church in Ironton, Gallipolis and Blackfort, Ohio; Huntington, West Virginia, and Ashland, Kentucky. Thus, it is called the Moter Church because of its progressive efforts in providing support for newly freed slaves. Some of these churches are among those who organized The Providence Missionary Baptist Association in 1834 to coordinate their efforts and resources for the freedom of slaves. It has functioned continuously and still convenes annually. It may be the oldest such organization in America.

Calvin Vinson is the chairman of the trustees overseeing this project. He is assisted by Willene Ingram, secretary, and Charles Linthichum. Earl Rudsill. a retired Tuskegg airman who worked diligently on the project is recently deceased and has yet to be replaced. Steve Burcham, CPA, will function as the Chief Financial Officer.

It is estimated that the cost of the architectural evaluation of the structure to determine structural defects and design elements will cost about ten thousand dollars. Once that information is obtained, concerted efferts can me started to procure funds for the building’s restoration. 

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