The Early History of St. Marks Missionary Baptist Church

Subject

Religion; community; St. Marks

Description

This is a collection of articles about the early history of St. Marks MB Church. According to Florence historian Lee Freeman, the documented history begins with John Portlock: "John A. Portlock (1802-1878) was a North Carolina native who ran a blacksmith shop in Florence. Married, with several children, the value of Portlock's real estate in the 1850 federal population census was assessed at $1200, which by 1860 had increased to $2000; by 1870 his real estate was still valued at $2000 while his personal estate was valued at $5000. Portlock was also a slave-owner: by 1850 he had three slaves, one 52 year-old male, an 18 year-old male, and a 28 year-old female. By 1860 Portlock had five slaves, three males, aged 45, 44, 17 and 17 respectively, and one female aged 9. Unfortunately, at present we don't know any of their names.

In March of 1859 John A. Portlock, "as trusty [trustee] of the Colored members of the Missionary Baptist Church," purchased lot no. 185, on the corner of Market (now Wood Avenue) and Alabama Streets, for the sum of $15 from WH Wade. We don't know Portlock's religious affiliation, only that he was "a truly pious man" who "pursued the straitforward [sic], honorable course in all transactions with his fellowmen and by universal good humor and gentle courtesy gained their admiration as well as respect." Presumably Portlock's slaves formed the nucleus of this new Missionary Baptist congregation.

According to tradition, the church initially assembled in a brush arbor; by 1872 a building had been constructed which was enlarged in June of that year.

The first pastor of which we have record is the Rev. Ephraim Cordie “Cordie” White (ca. 1840-1899) who pastored the church from 1881 until his death. In 1901 under the pastorate of White’s successor, Sumter Co., AL native Rev. Lawson John "LJ" Green (1864-1944) the present structure was built. "

Source

(1) Florence Gazette
(2) Lauderdale County Deed Record 17, 1861-1868, p 161
(3) Lauderdale County Deed Record, Vol. 21 1871-1874, pp. 594-595
(4, 5, 6) Florence Times-Journal

Publisher

(1) Florence Gazette
(2) Florence Times-Journal

Contributor

Lee Freeman

Rights

Images are available for educational and research purposes. This image may not be reproduced for commercial purposes without the express written consent of the copyright holder. It is the responsibility of the interested party to identify the copyright holder and receive permission.

Format

JPG

Language

English

Type

Still Image

Identifier

(1) John_A._Portlock_Obit.jpg
(2) Deed1859a.jpg
Deed1859b.jpg
(3) WadeDeed1.jpg
WadeDeed2.jpg
WadeDeed3.jpg
(4) Amusing.jpg
(5) PoneyIrvine.jpg
(6) Editorial_Brevities_Cropped.jpg

Original Format

Paper

Files

John A. Portlock Obit.jpg
Deed1859a.jpg
Deed1859b.jpg
WadeDeed1.jpg
WadeDeed2.jpg
WadeDeed3.jpg
amusing.jpg
PoneyIrvine.jpg
Editorial Brevities Cropped.jpg

Collection

Citation

“The Early History of St. Marks Missionary Baptist Church ,” Shoals Black History, accessed December 15, 2019, https://shoalsblackhistory.omeka.net/items/show/772.