SESQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
UNION CHURCH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
1817 - 1967

Jefferson County, Mississippi
November 12, 1967
PARTICIPANTS IN THE SERVICE:

  The Rev. Mr. W. A. Shumate, Pastor

Thomas H. Grafton,
Professor of Sociology, Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, Virginia
Minister, Fairfield Presbyterian Church, Fairfield, Virginia

Mr. George Bates,
Union Church, Mississippi

Mr. John Pritchard,
Union Church, Mississippi

The Rev. Mr. John T. N. Keels,
Executive Secretary of Church Extension Presbytery of South Mississippi

The Rev. Mr. Russell Naron,
Baptist Church, Union Church, Mississippi

Mr. Joe Thompson,
Choir Director, Chamberlain-Hunt Academy, Port Gibson, Mississippi

Mrs. Marie C. Thompson,
Organist, Union Church, Mississippi

Mr. Paul C. Cato,
Chairman of Sesquicentennial

USHERS:

Mr. Randall Cupit
Mr. Wayne McCormick
Mr. James E. Meteer, Jr.
Mr. Herman W. Osborne
The Clarion Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi, November 25, 1967

More than six hundred persons, from eight states, attended the Sesquicentennial Services at Union Church Presbyterian Church on Sunday, November 12, 1967.  Many traveled long distances in order to be present and all seemed to feel their efforts were well justified.

One hundred fifty years of church history was recounted by Mr. George Bates and Mr. John Pritchard.  Both addresses were scholarly and dignified in tone and will become valuable historical papers; however, both reflected the drama inherent in the history of the church and held the rapt attention of the congregation.  The sermon was delivered by Dr. Thomas H. Grafton of Staunton, VA, grandson of Dr. W. W. Grafton, who was minister of this church for sixty-two years, ending with his death in 1934.

The title of his sermon was "The Past is Open," and it was a brilliant and moving exposition of the meaning of the past in terms of the future.

Chamberlain-Hunt Academy Choir rendered special music and the Choir Director, Mr. Joe Thompson, led the congregational singing.  Mrs. Marie C. Thompson was organist.  Mr. Paul C. Cato served as Sesquicentennial Chairman.

Union Church is the third oldest Presbyterian organization in the state of Mississippi, having been organized in March, 1817, before the state was organized.  In 1805, just after the Louisiana Purchase, four men with their families, came from North Carolina to Tennessee and thence by way of the Mississippi River to Bruinsburg in Claiborne County.  These were the first settlers in the section known as the Scotch Settlement.  These four men were George Torrey, Dougald Torrey, Laughlin Currie and Robert Willis.  They made two crops in Claiborne County and in 1806 settled in Jefferson County.  They were soon followed by the Gilchrists, Galbreaths and Camerons.  A few years later all of the country around Union Church was filled with Scotch settlers who came mainly from North Carolina.  Some of them, it is said, spoke the Psalms and the Westminister Shorter Catechism in that old dialect.  These Scotch people were nearly all Presbyterian and the history of the settlement is mainly a history of the two Presbyterian churches that were organized at the very beginning of the period.  These two churches were Ebenezer and Union Church.  More than 75 years ago, Ebenezer Church was dissolved and the building sold to the Methodists.

There have been three church buildings in the history of the church.  The latest one was erected in 1852 and it stands today upon the old site surrounded with venerable oak trees and crowned with blessed memories.  During the existence many hundreds have been received into its communion.  All its friends will recognize the following leading family names:  McArn, McArthur, McBride, McCall, McCallum, McClure, McCormick, McClutchie, McCorvey, McDonald, McDuffie, McIntyre, McEachern, McFaer, McLaurin, McLean, McMillen, McMurchie, McNair, McRea, McPherson, McQueen.  There were six different Buies and there have been 16 families of Catos.  A few more leading family names are Alsworth, Baker, Barnes, Blue, Brown, Buckels, Clark, Currie, Fairly, Galbreath, Gilchrist, Knapp, Knox, Lee, LeGette, Newman, Patterson, Ray, Scott, Smiley, Smith, Torrey, Warren, Watson and Wilkinson.

Seldom has an event in Jefferson County been attended by so large and distinguished an audience and so filled with meaning for the people of a community. 

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