committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

HISTORY

OF

Louisiana Negro

Baptists

BIOGRAPHIES.

SOME OF OUR WORKERS WHOSE FULL BIOGRAPHIES WE DID NOT SUCCEED IN GETTING.

        Bishop J. S. Love, tireless worker of 10th District Association, was born in Richland Parish. After his conversion, he was baptised into the membership of Holly Grove Church, by Elder H. A. Scates. October 19th, 1899, he was ordained to the work of the Ministry. He now (1913) pastors three of the best churches of the 10th District. Bishop Love owns a nice home at Rayville, La., where one of his churches is located and where he is doing a good work.

        Bishop E. S. Stills is one of the strong young preachers of the 13th District. Although he has been ordained but a few years, yet his work speaks volumes attesting his worth and ability as a preacher. He now (1914) pastors the Galilee Baptist Church, Shreveport, which in point of membership is the largest or easily among the largest churches in the 13th District Association. Bishop Stills pastors two other churches, and is doing much for the Cause of Christ. He is always anxious to study him who said "Learn of Me," having studied hard and successfully at the 13th District Academy and Bishop College, Marshall, Texas.

        Bishop C. S. Shelton, one of the most honored Secretaries of the state, is doing good work in the 13th District. He has been secretary of the 13th District Association since its organization or there-about. He has pastored Trinity Baptist Church, and other of the District's best churches. As Secretary, he has been identified with all the work of the District, and stands well with his brethren.

        Elder Robert Taylor was, perhaps, the 13th District's first Missionary. Brother Taylor is among the oldest and most respected pioneer preachers of the state. For many years he served the Galilee Baptist Church, Shreveport. He now (1914) pastors successfully the Baptist Temple, Shreveport. Brother Taylor is orthodox, bold and uncompromising in preaching a WHOLE GOSPEL.

        Elder S. M. Bendau is another of Louisiana's Clergy who has made good, and done much for the Master. As many as four of the 13th District's country churches clamor for the services of Brother Bendau constantly. Bishop Bendau though comparatively young in the ministry has done a deal of work and gives promise of still larger usefulness.

        Bishop B. Moore, who came into our state a few years ago from Texarkana, Tex., is pastoring the old historic Antioch Baptist Church at Shreveport. In point of location, architecture and beauty this brick house of worship leads in the state among Negro Baptists. It was planned and erected by Bishop J. B. Green whom Brother Moore succeeds. Elder Moore has accomplished much during the short time he has been here, having paid many dollars on the church debt and won many souls for the Kingdom, and gives promise of much more usefulness.

        Bishop J. W. Wells is found among the young clergymen of North Louisiana, energetic, aggressive, and pushful. He has pastored and now pastors some of the best churches of the state. Brother Wells has been elected to many positions of trust by his brethren with whom he stands well, and among whom he gives promise of working out a great future.

        Elder J. W. Whaley was among the first organizers of the Baptist forces in North Louisiana. After the New Orleans brethren had gotten their work well on foot, and the State Convention had been organized and the state districted, Brother Whaley with his organizers got busy in North Louisiana, and within a few years associations were born and churches dotted the northern part of the state. Many leading churches of the state called him to their pastorate, and his brethren honored him with many important positions of trust. When he left for Heaven he was and had been for many years President Trustee Board of Coleman College, Gibsland, La.

        Elder Wm. Head like Bishop Whaley led in the earliest church and associational organizations in the northern part of the state. He was among the first to teach school in the northern parishes of the state, and to ask for schools for his recently emancipated people. Brother Head began serving his brethren as secretary of associations when it was dark--there being scarcely a ray of intellectual light. Very often he would be the only man that could read in the meeting. This was the condition of the Baptist cause just after we emerged from slavery. The brethren have thrust positions of trust upon Bishop Head, and many leading churches have honored him with their pastorate. All honor to the pioneers.

        Bishop Luke Allen, Jr., although among the youngest of Shreveport pastors, has wrought well and built up a large membership at the Avenue Baptist Church. He has also been called to the Greenwood Baptist Church, Greenwood, La. Here as at Shreveport he has accomplished much in helping "the man fartherest down." Bishop Allen is a strong young preacher with a stentorian voice. His pleasing manner, energy and pushfulness bespeak for him a brilliant future. He is the son of one of Louisiana's greatest preachers--Elder Luke Allen, Sr.

        Elder L. W. Canfield must be numbered among the men who have done much for the cause in Louisiana. The Republican Baptist Church, near the line of Louisiana and Texas, owes its life to God and the unselfish labors of this great man. He preached a faithful Gospel to them" "in season and out of season," making 20 mile trips in his buggy out of Shreveport twice per month; sometimes almost swimming the swollen creeks. The Furrh community will never forget Bishop Levi W. Canfield. Henderson Chapple Baptist Church, Shreveport, recently called him to its pastorate.

        Bishop J. T. B. Labeau holds forth at Baldwin, La., where he has done a great work. For years Brother Labeau has been among the Baptist leaders in this section of the state. He has held the high office of Vice-President of the Louisiana Baptist State Convention, and other positions of trust within the gift of his brethren. In addition to these positions some of our first churches have called him to pastor them.

        Elder Taylor Frierson--No truer Herald of a whole Gospel has ever taken a text than Dr. Taylor Frierson. He is orthodox to the core, and believes in and preaches a "what saith the Lord" Gospel. He was among the first students who entered Leland University in 1870. After pastoring some years in Mississippi, he was called to succeed the late Bishop Jiles North at Lake Charles, La., where he now labors--doing much good. Leland University has long since acknowledged his worth and ability as a preacher by conferring upon him the D. D. degree. He is a pioneer upon whom too much honor cannot be conferred.

        Elder A. T. Sumpter is among the Louisiana preachers who are "doing things." Like the Apostle Paul he works at times with his hands as well as preaches the Word. He has done much in building up the cause of Christ along the Red River where he has labored for years. He has bought land and built up a nice home in Shreveport. Brother Sumpter is one of the oldest and most respected Ministers of the 13th District, and enjoys the confidence of his brethren. He has also been a member of the Executive Board of the Association and the Managing Board of the 13th District Academy.

        Bishop Jordan Taylor, although deprived of a great deal of early school advantages, is easily one of the foremost young ministers of Louisiana. His work like Bishop Sumpter's has been principally in the Red River bottoms. Some of his church work is in the hill country of Bossier Parish. Brother Taylor is one of the most respected and honored leaders in this section of the state. He studied hard and successfully under the writer in the Ministers Department at the 13th District Academy, and is ever ready to learn more and more of the "Lowly Nazarene." In Christianity and economy he teaches his people both by precept and example, having accumulated some property, built up a home, and he has let his light so shine, and has preached the Gospel with such power that many hundreds have been converted unto God.

        Elder L. C. Capers is, perhaps, the oldest pioneer in Bossier Parish church work. As far back as the writer can remember the Friendship Baptist Church, Bossier City, was in his charge. He was the first Moderator of the local association of the 13th District, prior to the organization of the Thirteenth District Association proper. Brother Capers has presided over many of the churches of the 13th District, and baptised hundreds into church membership. The present day ministry owes Elder Capers and scores of other pioneers a debt of gratitude for their well done work in laying the foundation on which the work now stands, and operates.

        Miss Mattie E. Walker, of New Orleans, La., has the honor of being one of the first two lady graduates of Leland University, and thus one of the race's first teachers. She is a daughter of the sainted Bishop George W. Walker, who was one of the leaders of Louisiana Baptists. Miss Walker a teacher of large experience, having studied at The Woman's Home Mission Training School, Chicago, Ill., in addition to her course at Leland. She has taught successfully several years at the Baton Rouge College, Baton Rouge, La., where she now labors.

        Bishop G. W. Toney within a few years has made his way like a meteor from ministerial obscurity to one of the highest positions among Louisiana Baptists, that is, Moderator of the First District Association. Brother Toney's kind disposition, energy and pushfulness have been deservedly rewarded. He has been serving a New Orleans church for many years, and has accomplished much for the Master. Bishop Toney is a lover of education, having spent several years at Leland himself as a student, and has encouraged scores of others to do likewise. His District actually carries on the work that Jesus commanded and emphasized when He said: "Ye have the poor always with you, but me ye have not always." Matt. 26:11. "Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he shall also cry, but shall not be heard." . . . .Prov. 21:13. The operation of the Old Folks Home proves that Bishop Toney is loyal to this teaching.

        Elder Guy Beck was one of the first preachers in the city of New Orleans recently after the war. He was a power for good in New Orleans, and pastored a church in Carrolton, where he did a deal of abiding work. Elder Beck was a grand old man--strong in morals, and powerful in the Spirit, leading hundreds to Christ and Heaven. He went to his home in Heaven late in the seventies or early in the eighties, leaving a consecrated widow to mourn his loss to earth. She has proven herself to be a widow in deed.

        Elder George Byrd, an honored old pioneer, wrought well at Baton Rouge in early times. He came into the state from Virginia, and pastored the Shiloh Baptist Church many years. Brother Byrd was an old-school preacher believing wholly in the "What saith the Lord." He was respected by the people of Baton Rouge for his moral worth and Christian bearing. When called from labor to reward he had built up a strong church, and accomplished the work he was divinely sent to do.

        Elder Charley Williams was the noted pioneer worker below Canal Street in New Orleans for many years. He was the much loved and honored pastor of the Amazon Baptist Church. Although he was down there among many Roman Catholics, he held his own, preached "One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism" and built up a great church. Elder Williams was a great preacher, loved and respected by all who knew him. The work of Brother Williams goes on today through the untiring labors of Bishop Piercy, who caught the banner when falling from the hands of Elder Williams, and has been gallantly marching with it up the hill. Brother Williams hearing the blessed applaudit, as it were, "Well done thou good and faithful servant," left New Orleans for Heaven.

        Among the many efficient Baptist teachers of the state, is Professor J. S. Clark, B. A., who for many years was the able instructor, head and builder of Baton Rouge College, and today through his energy and push holds the highest position of a Negro Educator within the gift of the State of Louisiana, being recently appointed by the Governor of Louisiana, President of the state school--Southern University. After finishing a course of study at Coleman College, Professor Clark entered Leland University where he graduated with honors from the B. A. degree course.

        Professors S. S. Gray, member faculty of Leland University; A. C. Priestly, Principal High School in New Orleans; A. J. Lagard, B. A.; Francis Boley, B. A., Mrs. Amelia Boley, B. A., J. M. Frazier, B. A., Mrs. J. M. Frazier, Mrs. Betsy Planving, B. A., Harris Hamilton, William Boston, Principal City School, Lake Charles, John Jones, Principal City School, Lake Charles, William Thomas, Principal, Alexandria Academy, C. C. Smith, B. A., and scores of other Baptist scholars are making good and accomplishing much. We are proud of these.

        Bishop H. L. Davis was one of the first Secretaries of the North West Louisiana Association No. 2. After many years of successful labor in Desoto Parish, he removed to Gibsland, La., Bienville Parish where he has with his own hands built a good home. Sister Mollie Davis, his wife, a zealous church worker has stood by him in the building of a Christian home and succeeding in the ministry. Two boys and one girl bless their union.

        Elder Davis has pastored and now pastors some of the best churches in the state. The First Baptist Church at Minden, and the Republican Baptist Church, Furrh, La., being among the churches pastored. He pastors Republican at this writing.

        Elder H. R. Flynn is among the oldest workers in the state. He came into the 13th District from the 10th District some years ago and accepted the pastorate of the Avenue Baptist Church at Shreveport. He increased his membership of this church to five or six hundred, leading in point of numbers every other church in the 13th District. Brother Flynn now pastors the 20th Century Baptist Church, Shreveport, and churches in the 10th District. Mrs. H. R. Flynn who is deeply interested in church and District work has helped the Elder much in achieving his great success in the ministry.

        Professor Albert W. Stewart was without question one of the greatest Baptist school teachers not only in Shreveport, but in all America. He was kind in disposition, firm in decision, painstaking and thorough in his work as a teacher. As a true husband he had no superiors and but few equals. When the Lord called him, he was standing loyally at his post, as the efficient Principal of the Peabody Normal, Shreveport, La.

        Professor F. S. McKeel came to Louisiana many years ago from New York City, and became one of the first Negro teachers of North Louisiana.

        When overtaken by affliction and called to his reward, he was the honored principal of the West End Public School, Shreveport. He had served this post for many years with credit to himself, denomination and race. Professor McKeel was a "Progressive" ever ready to do what he could for the uplift of his race and humanity. He was a devoted husband and father.

        Mrs. Marget Thomas and Mrs. Grace Williams are among the honored pioneer teachers of North Louisiana, having taught successfully and with credit before many of the present teachers were born.

        Mrs. Williams is at present one of the popular teachers of the West End Public School of Shreveport.

        Mrs. Margret Butler Thomas resigned the work of teaching some years ago for the higher and more honored duties of the home.

        The writer of this History will always feel grateful to her for teaching him his alphabet before she left the school room.

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