History of Salem Missionary Baptist Church
submitted byJohn A. Scruggs
In the year of 1872, a group of religious minded people, namely, Bros. Bill, Tom
Balentine, Ben Bradford, Isaac Sims, Louis Blakemore, Fred Marsh, James Marsh, and
John Lewis had a desire to find a place for people in the community to serve the
Lord. Under the leadership of Rev. Joe Warren, they approached one of our liberal
minded white friends, Mr. E. L. Coleman ( N. A. Coleman ). Mr. Coleman sold them
two acres of wooded land on which to build a central meeting place of worship so
that they could serve God as they saw fit.
This band of Christians had no money and very crude tools. Even though they had
very little knowledge of carpentry, they erected a Bush Harbor and named it
"Salem." The Bush Harbor was small and uncomfortable, but they were thankful that
they had a place in which to worship.
After a few years, they used logs to build a small room which replaced the Bush
Harbor. These logs were hewn from the trees located on their two acres of land.
This same location, with renovated buildings, has served as a place of worship or
more than a hundred years and many generations.
On Saturday, December 30, 1995, an arsonist burned the church. In June of 1996,
work was started to rebuild the church, and on August 16, 1996, President Bill
Clinton, Vice-President Al Gore along with their families came to help work on the
On December 30, 1996, we had our first official service.