Vaiden, Mississippi

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Where is Vaiden, Mississippi?



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Vaiden United Methodist Church


Vaiden United Methodist Church




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Vaiden United Methodist Church -- April, 2000


Vaiden United Methodist Church of Long Ago


Methodist Church Before Steeple Was Added (Top Photo) and Episcopal Church (Bottom Photo)


Hollingsworth Educational Annex Dedication Announcement -- May 10, 1959


Church Annex Dedication Ceremony


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The Methodist Episcopal Church of America was organized December 24, 1784, at Lovely Lane Meeting House in Baltimore, Maryland. The Mississippi Conference was established in 1813. Carroll County was in that conference until 1874, at which time the North Mississippi Conference was established. The first conference connection was in 1868 and Vaiden Church was in that district. Rev. P.A. Johnson was minister. Vaiden was in the Carroll Circuit.  There is an account of the Rev. Milton H. Jones serving the Carroll Circuit in 1836, and had a narrow escape from a panther attack in the Big Black vicinity, according to Methodist Church history.

The Vaiden Methodist Church was the outgrowth of pioneer Methodists who settled in this area. They met and worshiped in homes and schools until they could build churches.. The first organized congregation was in the late 1830s. The Rev. James Applewhite was assigned to the Carroll Circuit in 1838. His territory reached from Old Greensboro to Yazoo City. He later settles on a farm east of Vaiden, reared a family, and is buried in the Applewhite family cemetery. He was too old for military service in the Civil War, but gave much service to the Vaiden area during these years.

In 1847, Mr. Allen Turrentine and step-son, J.C. Wright, built a gin house and when the body of the house was covered, the Rev. Humphreys Williamson, assisted by the Rev. James Applewhite and Lorenzo D. Langford, held a ten-day meeting and "such another protracted meeting was never held before or since," according to their accounts. This was known as the Gin House Meeting.

The circuit riders were God-fearing men of great faith. They had to have super-courage, strength, and convictions to face unchartered forests, unbridged creeks, and rivers. The dangers of wild beasts, unfriendly Indians, exposure, and other hardships often caused impaired health and short life-span.

A church was built at Old Shongalo by early settlers Messrs. Turrentine, J.C. Wright, Mr. Stone, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Kaigler, Rev. James Applewhite and others. Some retained their membership until their death.

Bishop Robert Paine was the first Bishop to reside in North Mississippi, and that was in the year 1846. In 1850, he traveled almost a thousand miles on horseback. He became sick with "chills." Physicians of that day gave calomel, blue mass, and quinine.

Information is not available for all years, but a search of Advocate Material Volume 15, October 22, 1869 from the Pastor, Rev. P.A. Johnson, told of a revival at Vaiden where 40 conversions and 25 prospects were made.

The present Methodist Church was built in 1870 -- finished and dedicated by Bishop Kenner in May, 1871. The Rev. T.C. Parish was pastor. Members who helped build the church were Milton Amos Wilson, owner of Briarwood, and David Durrett Fullilove I.  They were among charter members. Mr. Milton Amos Wilson and his family, 17 in number, were the largest number attending.

Volume 25 of April 24, 1879 of the Christian Advocate states:

“Dear Doctor:

     On yesterday some of the ladies of Vaiden Church met at the residence of Rev. K.A. Jones, Presiding Elder of Winona District and organized a Woman’s Missionary Society, Auxiliary to our conference society.  Mrs. E.P. Sage, President; Mrs. Ada Williamson, Vice-President; Miss Sallie Jones, Secretary; and Mrs. K.A. Jones, Treasurer.  These Ladies Mean business.

     Health of the county good, farming interest progressing satisfactorily.  I am busy in my charge, people attentive to the Word and we are hopeful of a revival of God’s Work.  Respectfully, A.P. Sage.”

A letter to the New Orleans Christian Advocate, May 13, 1886 (in part), noted that the District Conference held at Carrollton focused primarily on the evils of the day which seemed to be whiskey, and they waged a vigorous campaign to correct this. Also a parsonage was completed and a tribute was paid to the women of the church who worked hard and inspired everyone and, due to their efforts, the work was completed.  D.M. Codgell, Pastor.  These letters to the Advocate reveal that the Methodist Church has always been concerned with the social and economic problems of the day and has met the challenge in a positive way.   Following soon after the Rev. Page and the Rev. D.M. Codgell, the Rev. W.B. Murrah served from 1881-1884. He was later to become the first president of Milsaps College, and was later made a Bishop.

On March 17, 1887, the Rev. W.S. Lagrone came to Vaiden as Pastor “with a family of nine.”  The members gave this family a “pounding.”

In 1891, a Women's Missionary Society was organized by Mrs. J.F. Evans, wife of Pastor, Rev. J.F. Evans. The eight charter members were: Mrs. Ellen Grantham, Mrs. B.R. Lowe, Mrs. T.W. Fullilove, Mrs. W.P. Stuckey, and Miss Molly Cain.

Christian Advocate, Volume 39, 1892.  January 28, 1892. 

     “Rev. A.J. Jones, Vaiden, Mississippi, January 14

     We are in the parsonage at Vaiden at last.  A change being made after conference caused considerable delay in getting moved.  We met with a very warm reception, just such as makes a preacher and his family feel at home at once.  On New Year’s Day the ladies stormed us with a pound party, supplying a very important part of a Parsonage home.  I believe we are to serve a kind and appreciative people.  Work is abundant.  The man who follows such workers as Brothers’ Evans and Lagrone will have his heart and hands full to keep up.  We have received one into the church on profession of faith, and trust that we may be able to add many to this name during the year.  Pray for us brethren that we may have a prosperous year at Vaiden.  E.R. Craddock”

The New Orleans Christian Advocate, Volume 41, August 23, 1894 (giving this information):  Rev. L.P. Lipscomb, Presiding Elder gave an interesting account of a revival when a 78-year-old man, who had not heard a sermon in 29 years, due to having been out west, joined, and a 4-year-old child joined.  The Rev. J. Ritchie and the Rev. S.M. Thames assisted with the revival.

In the appointments listed at the end of this chapter, the Rev. J.F. Evans is listed as pastor in 1890-91, and again in 1895 for the next four years.  He continued to make his home here and is buried in the Vaiden Cemetery.

New Orleans Christian Advocate, January 13, 1903:  A letter written by the Rev. E.P. Craddock relating an inspirational quarterly conference states that Rev. T.S. Dorsey, Presiding Elder, gave the message.  An interesting thing mentioned that the Vaiden Furniture Factory sold a set of furniture to the Parsonage.

The Rev. E.G. Boyett is listed as Pastor from 1912-1913.  He made his home here.  His son, the late C.G. Boyett, was lay leader in the Methodist Church for years.  He and his family served the Church in many useful ways.

Dr. W.L. Duren was born near Vaiden. He preached his first sermon at Enon. After finishing his education, he later became editor of the New Orleans Christian Advocate. For years, he was the Presiding Elder of the City of New Orleans. He was the author of The Life of Bishop Asbury.

Around the turn of the century, Mr. W.M. Armstrong was Superintendent of the Sunday School in Vaiden Church for approximately 25 years.  Following him was Mr. E.G. Randle.  He and his family were faithful workers in the church.  His son, the Rev. Charles G. Randle, was called to preach.

There are highlights in the life of every church.  Vaiden Methodist had a mountain top experience in the late summer of 1921, as recorded in Volume 68 of the New Orleans Christian Advocate, September 22, 1921.

     “From Vaiden, Mississippi:

     Dear Advocate:

     We have just closed here one of the most successful and far reaching revival meetings ever held in this midst.  So the old residence say.  The preaching was most ably done by our capable and talented Rev. E.R. Smoot of Amory, Mississippi.  Rev. Smoot is a great preacher; he is sensible, sane and very evangelistic.  He is a great scholar and his knowledge of men and the ways of the world makes him indeed very acceptable and worthwhile to have in a meeting.  He ought to be filling the largest pulpit in Southern Methodism or at the head of some district in our conference.  Our beloved Rev. W.W. Woolard of Grenada, Mississippi was with us sometime during the meeting.  He, too, says Smoot is one of the biggest preachers in Southern Methodism.  Brethren, those of you who can get Smoot’s services do so for he will help you in many ways.  He does not resort to any clap-trap methods – just gives the plain pure Gospel in its simplicity, yet in a most attractive way, with choice English and impressive and emphatic manner.  With the help of the Lord he moved men to action and to take a stand for the cause of righteousness who had heard Sam Jones and McIntosh and others and had yet never moved before.  We indeed had a glorious meeting.  The entire community is on higher ground spiritually.  Pray for us that we may scale greater heights.  All glory and praise to the dear Lord for what is done.

     Respectfully, W.V. Shearer, Pastor”

Such experiences are necessary for a continuousness of courage and hope, necessary to carry through the oft times turbulent eras through which a congregation lives and a faith to sustain.

In Volume 76 of 1930 a letter from the Rev. W.O. Hunt reporting to Dr. Robert Harper, Editor, on five years of service to the Vaiden charge states:

     “Vaiden church lost many valuable records in a fire that caused this damage before being discovered and brought under control.  Fortunately the damage otherwise could be replaced.”

Realizing the need for church expansion and renovation, the membership started giving memorial donations and on May 10, 1959 the Educational Annex was dedicated, honoring Rev. and Mrs. R.T. Hollingsworth, and Miss Annie Alford.  They helped so much to make this goal a reality.

The organ chimes were given in memory of Margaret Cade Bennett, by Mr. and Mrs. James Charles Bennett.  Later the pulpit was given in memory of Mrs. Maggie Louise Cade Bennett.  These valuable items were given by Mr. P.A. Bennett and dedicated by Rev. Grady Ss. Bailey.  The hymnals were given in memory of Vivian Welch in 1967, dedicated by Rev. Jack M. Nabors.  The Carillon Chimes were given in memory of William Russell Cross and his son, James Russell Cross, by family and friends Christmas of 1970 and dedicated February 7, 1971 by Bishop Marvin Franklin, Rev. E.C. Abernethy, Pastor. 

The sanctuary was refurbished next.  Gifts were as follows:

Pews in memory of Dr. and Mrs. P.T. Flowers, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Eddins, Mr. A.E. McMonigal, Vivian Welch, Estell Welch, Russell and Rusty Cross, Mr. Jesse Wilson, Mr. Anderson Austin, and W.B. Smith

Gifts of pews were given by Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Boykin, Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Bennett, Mr. and Mrs. Luther A. Braswell, Mr. and Mrs. Haggard Yates and family;

Choir pews and annex pews were given in memory of Mrs. Thelma Canon;

Baptismal Font and lighted cross was given in memory of Mrs. Mynelle Vaiden;

Silver collection plates and urn were given in memory of Mr. Willie P. Crook;

Silver urn was given in memory of Mrs. Alice Johnson;

Entrance hand rails in memory of Mrs. Gertrude Gray;

Flower stands in memory of Mr. L.H. Braswell;

Dossol curtains and hand rail curtains in memory of Dr. and Mrs. P.T. Flowers;

U.S.A. and Christian flags in memory of Mrs. Estelle Welch;

Candle lighters in memory of Mr. Tom C. Vaiden;

Memorials for carpet fund – L.H. Braswell, Roy Crook, Mr. and Mrs. G.V. Crook, Dr. and Mrs. M.O. Huffman, Dr. and Mrs. J.P.T. Stephens, D.D. Fullilove, Sr., and D.D. Fullilove, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Word and Roy, Mrs. Alice Johnson, Mrs. Lura Armstrong, Mrs. Clarence Cook, L.D. Pullen. 

Memorials for air conditioning: W.R. Boykin, Mrs. Thelma Canon, Mr. Winston Cook, Mrs. T.A. Crook, Dr. and Mrs. P.T. Flowers, Mrs. Angie Rogers

Vestibule picture in memory of Mrs. John Fisher, Sr.

Parsonage Building Memorial: Mrs. Charles Sampley, Mrs. E.G. Randle

Dedication service for these was held November 25, 1973 by Bishop Mack Stokes, the Rev. Garland Holloman, D.S., the Rev. Larry Goodpaster was Pastor.  Special donations on air conditioning and building funds were given also.

The Rev. Jack M. Nabors came to Vaiden as his first Pastoral assignment after graduation from Emory Candler School of Christianity.  Under his leadership the church gained an awareness of better organization.  He accentuated the different ministries and as a result of his leadership the church has had excellent trained organists and pianists.  The highlights of his ministry was a visit to the church by the Milsaps Singers, and a Lay Witness Mission, and a Charge-Wide Revival with Bishop E. Pendegrass as Evangelist.

Since previous dedications, a Pulpit Bible has been given in memory of Mrs. T.A. Crook and Pew Bibles in memory of Mrs. John Fisher, Sr.

Each minister with his individual talents, left his imprint as he passed the torch to his successor.  Three Ministers in the past four decades stand out as wearing a cloak of Spirituality: Rev. E.C. Driscoll, Rev. N.L. Threet, and Rev. Warren Black.  They typify the St. Francis of Assisi image in Ministry. 

The Rev. Larry Goodpaster came to Vaiden Methodist Church as his first appointment from Candler School of Christianity.  He did much Bible teaching as well as other studies in the church.  He worked hard toward making the church a true community of believers.

Many services have been held in the beautiful sanctuary over the years, and the church still proudly stands as a reminder of the hard work of its members.

The membership of Vaiden United Methodist Church over the years has varied little in numbers, according to conference journal listings. No church history is complete without acknowledging those who served in different official capacities and the general membership that faithfully supported the church through the years. Their names are legion, and we are unable to list them. However, the Lamb's Book of Life contains the names of all faithful servants of God.

LISTING OF MINISTERS: James Applewhite, 1838; J.J. Jones and D.A.J. Parker, 1839; G.W. Gould, L.D. Lankford, Associate, 1840; John D. Deskin, Robert R. Gill, Associate, 1841; J.J.E. Bird and H. Avery, Associate, 1842; Peter James, 1843; James Walton, 1844-1845; Edwin Phillips, J.S.I. Bird, Associate, 1846; Humphreys Williamson, 1847; John J.E. Bird, William Hines, Associate, 1848; John J.E. Bird, 1849; Peter Green, 1850; Green Rogers, 1851; George T. Vickers, 1852; Joseph Nicholson, 1853-1854; James Carlisle, 1855-1856; Wiley P. Dickerson, 1857-1858; James Carlisle, 1859; Asbury R. Hines, 1860-1861; Louise Kendall, 1862-1863; Asbury Hines, 1864; T.W. Castle, 1865; H.C. Buck, 1866-1867; P.A. Johnson, 1868; T.C. Parish 1870-1871; George W. Brown, 1872-1873; No Conference Journal Records for 1875-1876; T.J. Newell, 1877; A.P. Sage, 1878; A.T. Scruggs, 1879; J.W. Lawrence, 1880; W.B. Murrah, 1881-1884; B.M. Cogdell, 1885; W.S. Lagrone, 1886-1888; J.F. Evans, 1890; H.L. Vaughn, 1891; R.A. Meek, 1892; Lee P. Lipscomb, 1893-1894; J.F. Evans, 1895-1898; H.T. Cunningham, 1899-1900; R.I. Allen, 1901; E.R. Craddock, 1902-1904; R.M. Evans, 1905; J.H. Smith, 1906-1909; G.W. Gordon, 1910; W.M. Langley, 1911; E.G. Boyette, 1912-1913; W.M. Langley, 1914; E.G. Boyette, 1915; H.M. Young, 1916; J.A. Patterson, 1917-1918; W.B. Shearer, 1919-1920; J.W. Raper, 1922; R.I. Collins, 1923; R.G.A. Carlisle, 1924; W.O. Hunt, 1925-1929; W.W. Bruner, 1930-1931; J.W. Raper, 1932; H.R. McKee, 1933-1934; J.C. Wasson, 1935-1937; E.C. Driskell, 1938-1940; A.L. Davenport, 1941-1943; J.W. Holliday, 1944-1945; N.L. Threet, 1946-1950; J.T. McCafferty, Jr., 1951-1952; A.N. Gore, Jr., 1953; W.C. Black, 1954-1955; Robert Y. Butts, 1956; R.T. Hollingsworth, 1957-1960; L.M. Wright, 1961-1962; D.L. Sampley, 1963; G.S. Bailey, 1964-1965; J.M. Nabors, 1966-1968; E.C. Abernathy, 1969-1970; R.N. Wade, 1971-1972; Larry Goodpaster, 1973-1974; Harold Street, 1975. Rev. George Cantin also served in the late 1970s/early 1980s, but the dates are not currently available.  Prior to territorial and conference organizations, itinerant pioneer preachers visited this area.

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