First Missionary Baptist Church

In 1867, Huntsville Methodists and Baptists shared the Union Church. Two years later, the Baptists built a separate church in the Rogersville neighborhood called First Missionary Baptist Church, which was organized by Reverend J.J. Rhinehardt with the assistance of “Mother” Sarah Rolling. On February 27, 1872, the church purchased property on 10th Street, near the present-day location of Avenue P and 10th, from Phyllis Randall for $40 in gold by aid of Clark Roland (Rolling), John James, and York Henderson, who were the church trustees. It is said that this site was where General Sam Houston and a lawyer named Wylie (Andrew P. Wylie) debated the questions of succession and slavery.

A second tract of land on the west bank of Tanyard Branch at the north side of Fannin (10th) Street was purchased from Ellen Montgomery for $100 by the church trustees on August 4, 1877. The membership of the church grew under Reverend J.R. Woodall’s leadership and remained strong until his untimely death. Under the administration of Reverend Woodall, a modern brick structure was built in 1952 at 1530 10th Street on land bought from the Boldin family, across from the site of the original church, a simply wooden structure, which was demolished.

The church has had several notable members including Professor Samuel Walker Houston, Deacon J.M. Mettawer, and Joshua Houston, Sr. Important contributions to the community have been the Central District Missional Association, “Youth Revival”, in which the youth department developed a scholarship and free lunch program for the sick and shut-in, Sunday school classes for the elderly and young, food drives, Black History Month events, and a scholarship fund for graduating highs school seniors. Today, the church continues on as a foundation for community pride and progress.

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