Our History

     In 1828, the Presbytery of Mississippi appointed the Rev. William Montgomery to preach at Meadville and other nearby areas.  His son, Rev. S. H. Montgomery, later took up the work.  These two men held occasional services in Meadville until about 1857.

     While these services continued under men whose names have since been lost to history, about 1875, Dr. C. W. Grafton, pastor of Union Church in Jefferson County, began to hold quarterly meetings at the Nazareth schoolhouse on Middlefork Creek a few miles east of the Oldenburg community.   He was assisted in these services by Louis Cato and Daniel G. Bouie, ruling elders of Union Church.  Meetings began on Saturday and continued through the next day, always a fifth Sunday.  Living in the community at that time, were the:  Warren, Knapp, Torrey, Currie, Newman, McIntyre, and Hovis families.  Many in these families moved away, and some died, so in 1883 these services were discontinued.

     There appears to be no record of the Presbyterians in the Meadville area between the years of 1883 and 1906, but doubtless services continued to be held intermittently under ministers sent out by the Presbytery of Mississippi and Dr. Grafton of Union Church.

     In 1906, Rev. J. F. Eddings, evangelist of the Presbytery, held a series of meetings in Meadville and in the Oldenburg community, some 12 miles away.  One direct result of these meetings was the decision to form a Presbyterian Church in Meadville.

     A petition requesting organization of the Meadville Presbyterian Church as presented to Presbytery which concurred, and appointed an organizing commission to effect it.  The commission was chaired by Dr. Grafton, the Rev. Eddings, and Union Church elder, George Torrey, as members.

     On the third Sunday of the month, September 6, 1906, the commission met on the lower floor of the Masonic Lodge in Meadville.  There being present also those interested in forming a Presbyterian Church, Dr. Grafton preached from Galations 2:20.  At the conclusion of the sermon, the commission formally constituted the Meadville Presbyterian Church according to the Book of Church Order of the Presbyterian Church of the United States.

     On that day, twenty people were recognized and enrolled as the Charter Members of the new church.  These twenty being:  Victor H. Torrey, Sr., Carl Lillian Torrey, Robert John Torrey, Elizabeth Ann Burke Torrey, Caroline Oletha Torrey Allen, Kate Torrey Guice Curtean, Alma Lucy Torrey, Lehman, Nellie Grafton Guice, Henry Louis Lehman, Mattie Jane Mullins Lehman, Arminia Bertha Lehman, Sophie Helene Louise Lehman Guice, Emma Ruth Mullins, Eula Newman Ducker, William Samuel Newman, Archibald Monroe Newman, Jr., William Walter Scott, Moses Gordon Bradley, Luta Annola Newman Scott, and Rutilius Newman Scott.

     After lunch, the congregation held its' first official congregational meeting with Dr. Grafton as moderator and V. H. Torrey as clerk.  The main order of business was the nomination and election of officers to serve the new congregation.  After due deliberation, V. H. Torrey was elected ruling elder and W. W. Scott, deacon.  These men served unofficially while the new church was being reported to Presbytery.  The Presbytery welcomed them and them commissioned Dr. Grafton and ruling elder George Torrey to ordain and install these new officers.

     On Sunday, June 16, 1906, the Presbytery's commission met at Meadville and, in the presence of the congregation, ordained and installed Mr. Torrey as ruling elder and Mr. Scott as deacon of the Meadville Presbyterian Church.  Immediately after this service, the new session met with Dr. Grafton as moderator and examined and received into membership of the church, Mrs. Annie Lura Butler and her daughter, Jimmy Mae Butler, upon their profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  Thus the church and its' work began.

     The congregation directed its' energies and resources toward two goals, an increase in membership and the building of a house for worship.  Membership did increase and, on May 29, 1910, with Rev. W. W. Patton, the first pastor, the congregation dedicated to the Lord's service a new frame building on Oak Street in Meadville.  The church building consisted of a vestibule on the corner with two doors, topped by a bell tower and spire, together with a large sanctuary having a sloping floor toward the pulpit, which was raised about floor level.   Although there have been some alterations since, the congregation still worships in that same building.  On that Dedication Day in 1910, the congregation enjoyed a huge dinner served by the ladies of the church in the Butler building, which was almost next door to the new church building.

     In 1912, the church acquired a manse located on Franklin Street on the same block as the church building on Oak Street.   The new manse was a frame building with five rooms and a large front porch.   It served a number of pastors on the field, until another "new" manse was built.  In 1950, and following Dr. McGehee, Rev. C. B. Yeargan, accepted a call to the church and labored here almost three years.  It was during his time here that the "new" manse was built.  It is situated nearer the church building, on the church block, and fronts Franklin Street.  The manse is a six room frame building.

     After Rev. Yeargan left in 1952, the church was served by Dr. E. G. Boyce, Professor at Chamberlin-Hunt Academy of Port Gibson, until 1956, when Rev. P. B. Burleigh was called, to be succeeded a year later by Rev. A. C. Davis, who remained on the field until 1961, when Rev. Joel P. Easterling took up the work and continued it until 1965.  Rev. Easterling came as a single seminary graduate of Columbia Seminary, was ordained into the Gospel ministry at Oldenburg Church, and brought his bride to the Manse in Meadville.

     About a year later, Rev. William A. Shumate was called and remained until 1969.  He would become the last regular pastor, with Dr. Boyce filling in the gap, until ministerial candidate, Robert E. Hayes of Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, began to hold services in 1973.   Mr. Hayes was in turn succeeded by ministerial candidate, Tom Dake, in 1974.

     In 1974, in the face of an increasingly liberal bent of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUSA), the congregation of the Meadville Presbyterian Church decided to withdraw from that church and unite with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), a new denomination which was being formed of other PCUSA churches, which were concerned about the actions of the mother church.  Accordingly, in January 1974, the South Mississippi Presbytery of the PCUSA dismissed the Meadville Presbyterian Church to Grace Presbytery of the new PCA.

     Bro. Dake served the Meadville and Oldenburg Presbyterian Churches as stated supply until 1976, when he was ordained to the Gospel ministry in the Meadville Presbyterian Church.  He continued to pastor the churches until 1979, when his relation with Oldenburg Presbyterian Church was severed by mutual consent of the pastor, congregation, and Presbytery.  Bro. Dake continued to serve as pastor of the Meadville Presbyterian Church until his death in 1996.  In 1997, Rev. John L. Ford took up the ministry until September 23, 2001.

 

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