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Some slave & freedmen records at Red River Baptist Church, Benton, LA

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January 11, 2014 by elhseven

Red River Baptist Church was started in 1849 in the Willow Chute community of Bossier parish with the following 13 charter members: James Engram, J.G. Curry, Caroline Curry, Dudley Curry, Matilda Curry, Peter Curry, Jane Curry, Adline Pouncy, William Perrit, Nancy Perrit, Selener Romby, Thomas Hamilton and Louisa Hamilton. Brother Benjamin and Sister Hermy were the first two slaves admitted as parishioners of the church within its first year of existence. The church adopted the 16 Articles of Decorum and heavily enforced member discipleship. For instance if you failed to attend 2 consecutive Saturday’s you were considered “disorderly” by the congregation. If you were ever absent thereafter, you were required to apologize to the congregation and remained in danger of having your membership excluded. They initially held church services on Saturdays but later changed to Sundays to increase attendance. Here are some other reasons for membership exclusion: dancing, using profane language, drunkenness, gaming, leaving a spouse, birthing “illegitimate” children, running away from the plantation, working slaves on the sabbath day, moving around and fishing on the sabbath. September of 1866 the church issued letters of dismal to many of the former slaves in order for them to form their own church at Goldpoint Plantation. In spite of the large exodus, there were still former slaves who chose to remain at Red River Baptist Church after Emancipation Proclamation in 1865.

The following are selected entries from the church minutes between 1862 – 1870.

June 1863- Excluded Caroline, Gama, Emiline and Lizza Buck colored members of Red River Church, servants of James Belton Pickett Jr. on Gold Point Plantation.

Sept. 1863- Restored Caroline, colored woman of James Belton Pickett Jr.

Oct. 1863- Received by experience Henry & Olla, colored people belonging to James Belton Pickett Jr. on Red Chute Plantation.

Dec. 1863- Excluded Charlotte Ann colored woman of James Belton Pickett Jr. for disorderly conduct.

Nov. 1864- During the last ten months there has been no records kept in consequence of the absence of the Clerk. The church however held its regular meetings and received four colored members on the plantation of James Belton Pickett Jr.

Jan. 1865- Received at Gold Point 3rd Sabbath, 1865 the following freed men by experience..Ving, Dolly and Nancy

Sept. 1865- Received from Cash Point by baptism the following named freedman 3rd Sun in Sept. Moses Jackson, Lucy & Mary

Oct. 1865- Received on the Cash Point plantation on the following freedmen by experience and baptized them the same day..Charrity Polly, Judy and Judy again, Mealeen and Samuel

Sept. 1866- Granted letters to the following freedmen on Gold Point Plantation, Jim Hoverkin, Frank, Randle, Jerry Tall, Lewis, Jim “Buck”, Edmund Talley, Alford, “George”, Calvin, Albert, Teague, Phillip, Dave, Jerry Whitehat, Harry, Peter, John Barrett, Ben Carrey, Sam Morris, Seborn, Wade, Jessey Brown, Gracy, Cicily, Samule, Moasy, Knack, Louisica, Elizabeth, Charles, Hester Jr., Hester Sr., Rose, Eliza, Sally, Hertia, Ellen, Caroline, Annie, Sophia, Dalphrin Jr., Louisiana, Linnese, Nancy, Charity, Lucy, Dollie, Bethenay, Amanda, Mahala, Vilot, Mary Bess, Mineva, Marcy, Josaphene, Ester, Mahala Jr., Leddia, Vilot Jr.

Sept. 1869- Received by experience the following freemen, Toby Gilliad, R. Fordinham, Andrew Williams, females.. Cary Ann, Mary Jackson, & Julia Bell and John by letter…sir name not known, once a slave of Mr. Arnold.

Oct. 1870- The following freedmen having applied were granted letter of dismissal…Reuben Pickette, Stephen Jackson, Anna Jackson, Mary Jackson, Carry Ann Lee, Emily, Adamia, Nathan Murphy, Mike Hensley and Toby Gilliard, Sarah Vaughn and Tom Jackson.

Slave Membership at Red River Church
Slave Members of Red River Church from Goldpoint Plantation

Albert

Alford

Anney

Barnette

Ben

Calvin

Caryl (received by sponsors)

Cassaty

Charlotte

Dave

Edie

Edmund

Emily

Frank

George

Gracy

Henry

Jerry Tall

Jerry White Hat

Jessie Brown

Jim Buck

Jim DeBows

Jim Hickory

John

Larry (excluded)

Lewis

Mike

Morris

Moses Jackson (Cash Point)

Peter

Phillip

Randle

Sally

Sam

Samuel (Cash Point)

Seaborn

Stephen

Stephen

Teague

Tom

Wade

AmandaAnnieBetseyCaroline (excluded)Charrity

Dafney

Ellen

Eliza

Eliza Big

Elizabeth Cht

Emiline (excluded)

Ester

Hester Jr.

Hester Sr.

Hetty

Jane

Jennry

Josaphine

Judy (Cash Point)

Judy A.

Liddy

Livey

Lizzie Buck (excluded)

Louisia

Louisiana

Mahalia

Mahalia Jr.

Mary

Mary Ben

Mary F.

Minerva

Mary Cupid

Mary Knox

Mealien

Nancy

Olla (Red Chute)

Olla

Polly

Rose

Sally

Sophia

Violet

Viny

Violet Jr.

Source: ” A Lighthouse for God”, History of Red River Baptist Church, Benton, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, 1849-1949 by James Harold Jones


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