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Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Historic Landmark)

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Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, located at the top of Macedonia Hill in South Point, Ohio, was built in 1849 and is believed to be the first African American Church established in Ohio. The 165-year-old building is not currently in use, although it is in desperate need of restoration. The church was established by the 37 slaves who were freed by James Twyman from Virginia. The church still has the original outhouses used by its congregation. The congregation was also involved in assisting other slaves during the Underground Railroad. The church location is also within just a few miles from the Burlington 37 Cemetery and the First County Seat along with the Burlington Jail.

The structure includes several original buildings, such as these outhouses
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church
Memorial Marker
Front of church

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Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Burlington, Ohio was built in 1849 and established by the 37 slaves who were freed by slave owner James Twyman from Madison, Virginia. Before the church was built, Baptists of the area, who organized a congregation from 1811-1813, had church in their homes. Macedonia Church became the "Mother Church" for the surrounding Baptist churches in the community. Slaves or Blacks were not welcome in white churches at that time. These few emancipated slaves assisted others during the Underground Railroad from the North.

Twyman had declared in his will that the 37 slaves he owned were to be freed when he died. Although the slaves were happy to be free, their future was uncertain. The will stated that they had to all "go away" from the plantation, but didn't say where they should go. The will only said for them to go to some "free state." The closest free state was two hundred miles away in Pennsylvania and the next closest was four hundred miles away in Ohio. The 37 slaves chose to make the journey to Ohio. Martha Kounse tells in her article that "Eli Thayer of Massachusetts was an abolitionist congressman and founder of Ceredo, WV who supplied lumber for the church. The former slaves and their white neighbors carried the lumber across the Ohio River in rowboats, transported it up Macedonia Ridge, and erected the present structure."

"Because the Macedonia Church location is isolated, this makes it an easy target for vandalism," says Chris Saunders, who has been interested in the church for years. In a news broadcast in 2012, the church was said to have been vandalized, marked by graffiti on its walls and pews. The church windows are boarded up and a padlock secures the door. The historical site is also located three-tenths of a mile from the Burlington 37 Cemetery, in which lies the 37 slaves who were emancipated. The Baptist Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places  in 1978. Monetary donations can be made to preserve the church by contacting Ohio Historical Society.


Sources

The Ohio Historical Society: Marking Ohio's History. N.p., 2005. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. "Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church." Ohio History Connection. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. "Historic Church Vandalized." Host Andrew Colegrove. WSAZ. WSAZ. Huntington, 2 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. Pratt, J. Earl. The Promise Land. New York: Vantage Press, 1964. 15-16. Print. Kounse, Martha. Burlington Macedonia Church Was Organized. the Lawrence Register, 1964. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

Address
Lawrence County Road 144
South Point, Ohio 45680
Tags
  • African American History
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Cultural History
  • Religion
This location was created on 2014-10-14 by amanda kimler .   It was last updated on 2017-12-01 by Megan Malone .

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