Delta Democrat-Times, Aug 29, 1976

Delta Democrat-Times, Aug 29, 1976

Mt. Horeb Missionary Baptist Church is the oldest of Greenville’s many Black churches.

This church was established in 1868 by Rev. Moses Black, Paul Woodruff, Jerry Bland, Riley Barnes, Jim Campbell and Shep Hughes, all former slaves, according to “The Mt. Horeb Story” printed in the church’s Brochure of the Centennial Celebration in 1968.

The first church building was located on one of the streets later engulfed by the Mississippi River. St. Matthew AME, the second oldest Black congregation in Greenville, established in 1869, also had its first church in this location.

On March 4, 1869, Rev. Black represented Mt. Horeb at the First Saints Baptist Missionary Association in Vicksburg with the sum of $3 and reported a membership of 350, the history states.

Following the death of Rev. Black, Rev. W. M. Gray became the pastor. During his ministry the church offered the Baptist Convention a half acre of land to build a Theological school. This school was subsequently built in Natchez and called Natchez College.

Rev. H. M. McIntyre took over the ministry in 1877 and together with the entire deacon board was expelled from the church by traveling missionary, Rev. G. W. Gayles who took over the position as minister in 1878.


Although Rev. Gayle was a “brilliant firebrand minister,” a former state legislator and president of the state convention for many years, the church became a “battleground of strife and dissention” under his ministry. “Church meetings were at times so bitter that police had to be called in as monitors.” Thus, Rev. Gayle went the way of his predecessor and was banned from the church along with some of his deacons. From these members came the New Hope First Baptist Church, founded in 1901.

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