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Patrick H. Mell, (1814-1888)
His father, Major Benjamin Mell, was raised at Laurel Hill, one mile from Midway Church; and his mother, Cynthia Sumner Mell, was the grand-daughter of Edward Sumner, who moved from South Carolina to Liberty county with the early settlers of that portion of Georgia.  P.H. Mell was the second in age, and the eldest son.  Major Benjamin Mell died when Patrick was only fourteen years of age, and but sixteen or seventeen at the time of his mother's death.  A mere youth without experience, he was forced to rely solely upon his native genius to provide a means of support for himself and dependent brothers and sisters. 

At the age of seventeen he taught, for a time, a primary school in a log hut with a dirt floor and thus secured the funds required to supply the absolute necessities of life, and was enabled also to add a small sum to the income for the benefit of his brothers and sisters.  Remembered by his dear friend, Dr. John Jones, the eminent Presbyterian minister, Patrick was said to be of intelligence, vivacity and ready wit.  When he made a promise he fulfilled it; he was true to his friends, and his integrity won the love and confidence of his schoolmates.

Though spending several years in a spiritual struggle, Patrick came to realize his condition and finally surrendered his life to the Master's service. 

Patrick H. Mell survived his early years without parents, the Civil War, the ravages of war and cultural chaos from both the North and the South, slavery, and academic acceptance and rejection to become one of the original founders and many times president of the Southern Baptist Convention.  He is truly one of the "shapers" of our Southern Baptist heritage.

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