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Houston County Black  Heritage

"Thei​r DNA is BURIED in your SOUL"   ~  "WE are the HOPE and the DREAM of the SLAVE"

KINGS CHAPEL CME CHURCH

Violet and Gabriel Green

Charlie and Amie Littlejohn Bannister

John R. King (Slaveowner)







Charles Bannister was the first ordained minister for King's Chapel in 1912 by Bishop W. H. Housley.


            King's Chapel’s history began around February 1851 when John Rudolph King, a cotton planter and Methodist, along with his 300+ slaves, moved here from the Sumter District of South Carolina to about 1,700 acres of land that the slaves farmed.


           On that farm the slaves worshipped in a bush harbor under the pastoring of Mr. Jim Wiggins, a King slave. In 1856, the slaves built a structure next to the bush harbor where they worshiped. This church was built of pine by skilled artisans among the slaves. Each board was hand-fitted and pegged into place. Not a single nail was used in the original construction.


           In 1865, after Emancipation, the slaveowner King, deeded the church and cemetery land to a church board of trustees. The deed contained a stipulation that if the land should be used for anything other than a church, the land would revert back to the heirs of the King family. The oldest legible grave was the resting spot of Mr. Charles Ross, Sr. Born 1852 died 1928.


          The founding trustees of King's Chapel were Gabriel Green and his wife, Violet Davis Green, Ben and Emma Marion, John and Rebecca Bannister and William Turner ( all ex-slaves of the King Plantation). The first minister to the congregation was Rev. Jim A . Wiggins, Sr., among the local and connectional ministers were John Bannister, Ben Marion, Charlie Bannister Sr., and Virgil Colson.


         During Reconstruction, the church also served as a school to educate their children. Classes were held during the evenings. The church served as the public school in the community until 1922. At that time a Rosenwald school was built.  

 

         Sometime in 1877 another church was built to replace the hand-hewed lumber and pegged church.

           

        In 1977, exactly 100 years after the old church was built, a new modern brick church was erected. The dedication of this church was held on September 25, 1977. It brought the descendants of the former slaveowner, John R. King, and the descendants of the former slaves together to worship. On this day the Cornerstone of the church was laid and dedicated. Trustees on the stone were Aubrey Daniels, Alphonso Owens, Norman Durham, Mack Fluellen, Charlie Bannister - Chairman, Rev. E. K. Hall - Pastor, Rev. J. L. King - Presiding Elder and Joseph C. Coles, Jr. - Presiding Bishop. 

           Mrs. Thelma (Collier) McCoy, who was a school counselor in Perry, attended school in the Rosenwald building next to the King Chapel CME Church, where she is a life- long member, was instrumental in the planning of the church’s anniversary on September 25, 1988. She along with the great-great grandson of the slaveowner, Monroe King, worked diligently to turn the church’s anniversary into a reunion of both black and white families, descendants of slaves and descendants of the slaveowner. Calling this day, “Unity Day”. The families met prior in 1977 when the new church building was dedicated.

L to R:    Luther Leary, Ethel Dwight, 96 yrs., Thelma B. Collier McCoy, and Marian Norwood, 83 yrs old.  These two ladies were the oldest members of the church in 1988.


Photo caption reads:

Brian Norwood,  14, knows the hisory of his ancestors buried here.  He stands with his mother's cousin, Annie Lawson.


Sept. 25, 1988

Today, King 's Chapel Church is the last part of the King Plantation remaining.