The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
Historical Manuscripts Home
Alphabetical List of All Collections | Collections Listed By Subject

Collection Title: Leaf River Baptist Church Minutes

Collection Number: M146

Dates: September 18, 1829-February 7, 1971

Volume: .25 cu.ft.

Provenance: Unknown

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Settlers of the Baptist faith in the upper Leaf River area of Covington County, Mississippi, under the leadership of Elder Norvel Robertson Sr., pastor of Providence Church, had held monthly meetings in a school house as early as 1820-21. As attendance grew, the meeting was granted permission to receive and baptize and to celebrate the Lord's Supper under the name "The Leaf River Branch of Providence Church." By 1828 settlement in the surrounding area had increased, and the church desired to establish itself as an independent body. With approval of Providence Church, "The Baptist Church of Christ at Leaf River" was constituted as an independent church on September 18, 1829. Between 1829 and 1969 the church had 36 pastors, the first two of whom were the father and son Norvel Robertson Sr. and Norvel Robertson Jr. Together they served the church during its first 28 years of existence.

In 1830 the site for a church building was selected by Elder Robertson, and a committee composed of James Reddock, James Jolly, and Amos McLemore was appointed to oversee construction. The structure was to be 30 feet by 24 feet, built of hewn logs with a plank floor and shingle roof. Notes from the 100th anniversary celebration record that this first structure stood until 1858 when a new building was completed, but minutes of May 1859 state that the new building was then ready to be occupied. This second structure stood until 1939 when it was destroyed by fire. The rebuilding effort which followed involved the total community as described in the reprint of an article inserted in the minute book entitled "Leaf River wins 1939-40 Church Improvement Contest." The 1940 structure was approximately six miles east of Collins, Mississippi, off Highway 84E, as the building of Leaf River Baptist Church.

In 1928 the church celebrated its 100th anniversary and in 1978 its 150th anniversary.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of a bound photocopy of the minutes of Leaf River Baptist Church, Covington County, Mississippi, from September 18, 1829, through February 7, 1971. The title page of the book reads "A Record of the Acts and Doings of the Baptist Church of Christ at Leaf-River, Covington County, Mississippi, Beginning Anno Domini 1829." Included at the front of the book are a brief introduction; two tables, one of pastors with lengths of service and a second of baptisms; and a summary of eleven articles of faith to which the church subscribed.

Recorded in the book are the regular activities of the church at its monthly "conference"-- receiving and dismissing members, reports of collections for missions and other special offerings, election of messengers to associational meetings, interactions with fellow churches in settling disputes, and reports of church discipline for such actions as dancing, drunkenness, profanity, and fornication.

Other special details which can be found in the minutes include deaths of members, contents of the yearly associational letter, treasurer's reports, records of repairs to building and grounds, and licensing of ministers.

There is little mention of the Civil War, although many members or their children served in units from Mississippi. The only reference (p.92) is a report that Ebenezer Association had asked its member churches to assist in collecting money to provide Bibles and Testaments to volunteers in Confederate Service.

Although the minutes were transcribed at church direction in 1882, the photocopy is not always readable. Page numbers after 200 are only occasionally clear, and there are several gaps or reversals of pages.

Related Collections:

Cropwell Baptist Church Records, M 28

Gonzales, Louisiana, Baptist Church Records, M 21

Salem Baptist Church Records, M 121

Prepared and maintained by
The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries Special Collections
118 College Drive #5148   Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5148