Like Rocky Springs Methodist Church, Bethel Presbyterian is no longer an active church but is maintained very well–bring a few dollars to help with the maintenance, and sign the guest book. Built around 1829, the building’s stern classicism is an early example of the Greek Revival, moving away from the more dainty trim and arches of the Federal style. It’s located on the east side of Highway 552 (Rodney Rd.) south of Port Gibson and north of Alcorn State University, at the intersection with Russum-Westside Road.
The MDAH Historic Resources Database has this to say about the building:
Organization of the Bethel Presbyterian Church, fourteen miles southwest of Port Gibson, marked an important step in the expansion of Presbyterianism into the Old Southwest during the first half of the nineteenth century. Bethel Church also brought concomitant educational and sociological benefits to its immediate area. The architectural significance of the structure lies in its application of classical detail to a form small in scale yet striking in the context of its rural surroundings. The congregation is no longer active.
You can read more of the building’s history, which included use as a school and a damaging tornado in 1943, in the National Register nomination.
Categories: Antebellum, Churches
My family is from there– two brothers, Thomas and Augustin Freeland, lived about equal distances down the road on either side of the church, and, according to family documents, were involved in having it built (two other family names, Magruder and Smith Daniels, are among the names on the original charter). All those folks are buried on an Indian mound a couple of hundred yards from Windsor.
My brother Robert was married in the church in the 1990s. It is a beautiful place, and the old road to Port Gibson hits the pavement right beside it. You can follow that really beautiful and ancient-feeling road (and it is pretty old– a couple of hundred years now) and go through the Port Gibson battlefield site.
This is so beautiful and wonderfully maintained. Pure and simple with none of the hullabaloo that churches think they have to have today.
Here’s a few pictures that I took when I visited the church a few years ago. Some pictures of Bayou Pierre church a few miles north of it too.
I’m Johnny MedicineBear and travelled along this road and just happened upon this little church in May 2014. I play native American flutes and have a few with me in my motorcycle saddlebag. Went inside this peaceful beautiful little church and found the acoustics to be incredible. There is nothing on the walls to absorb sound and I recorded several flute pieces on my iPhone and just totally enjoyed the experience. Back through in 2015 and now in 2016. it’s just an absolute jewel of a little church. Blessings to all.
Great article. Beautiful church. So thankful it’s been saved !
Love Mississippi. Mom born in Meridian, all her family from the State of MS.