The first Baptist missionary to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, John B. Hamberlin
Copyright by Robert C. Rogers and the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.
Although Baptists were well-established in the rest of Mississippi, they were late getting started on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In 1868, the Mississippi Baptist Convention listed the names of the Baptist ministers in Mississippi and their post offices, nearly all of which were in north or central Mississippi. Not a single Baptist minister resided on the Mississippi Coast. In 1873, W. H. Hardy of Meridian called attention to the lack of Baptist churches in Jones, Perry, Greene, Harrison and Hancock counties, and “the populous towns along the sea shore.” He called for the Convention to send missionaries to Pascagoula or Pass Christian “or some other convenient point.”
In 1875, the Mississippi Baptist Convention sent John B. Hamberlin as a missionary to the Mississippi Coast, where, he reported, there was “only one little Baptist church, and that in a disorganized state.” This church was located three miles in the country from Ocean Springs, and he relocated it in the town. He also started a church in Moss Point, which built a house of worship. Next, he targeted Biloxi, where “Roman Catholicism overshadows everything.” He found “a poor old widow” who was the only member left of a small Baptist congregation that once had a house of worship there. “He got possession of the old house, made some repairs upon it; has conducted two special meetings, and has recently organized a church of seventeen members.” Sadly, a yellow fever epidemic in 1876 took the life of Hamberlin’s wife while they were in Biloxi, and he sent his small child inland to get away from the epidemic, while he returned to his mission work on the Coast. Hamberlin wrote, “My wife is dead; my home is broken up; my child is gone, and my heart is desolate; but I hope in the future to be a better man, and to do more and better work for Christ than ever before.”
Minutes, Mississippi Baptist Convention, 1868, 22-23, 29-30; 1873, 17-18; 1875, 12; 1876, 24-25.
12 signs that you’re from Mississippi
Copyright by Bob Rogers.
Are you from Mississippi? Then you should know the following:
- A “pack of Nabs,” is a package of crackers (as in “Nabisco”) in a wrapper.
- Kosciusko is pronounced Causey-ES-ko.
- When you need a shopping cart at Wal-Mart, you ask for a “buggy.”
- When you say you’re “fixin’ to git a coke,” you may be about to purchase a Pepsi, and if you’re “fixin’ to cut out the light,” you are about to turn off the light switch.
- Biloxi is pronounced bill-UX-ee. If you say bill-OX-ee, you are a Yankee.
- When you’re going to visit your parents, you say, “I’m gonna see mom and ’em.”
- The noon meal is dinner, especially if it is on Sunday at mom and ’ems.
- When you see a mother pushing a baby stroller, you tell her she has “precious cargo.”
- Saucier is pronounced SO-sher, but Gautier is pronounced GO-shay.
- You love to eat fried catfish with hush puppies and ketchup.
- Pecan is pronounced puh-CAHN. (If you say PEE-can, you are either a Yankee or from southern Georgia.)
- You take a pecan pie to dinner on the grounds at church after revival meeting, and to the family meal at church after a funeral, and to mom and ’ems for Sunday dinner.
- BONUS: You pronounce it: Miss-IPPI.
Guest blog: “Comparing life on the Mississippi and Georgia coasts”
(Below is a guest blog from my daughter, Lauren Rogers Knight. She met her husband Philip when they both lived on the coast of Georgia, but after they got married, they moved to their current home on the Mississippi coast. This is the second installment of three guest blogs from my three children.)
My dad asked me to write about the differences in life on the Mississippi gulf coast and life on the coast in Savannah, Georgia.
I think the first difference to note would have to be the reason each of them are tourist destinations. Savannah is a beautiful historic city, with huge beautiful trees, parks, and historic buildings. Tourists come to walk through the squares, along River Street, and visit historic sites like Civil War forts, cemeteries, and churches. On the Mississippi gulf coast, the beach is the attraction. Everything that people come to the coast for is right there along the beach. The huge attraction here is the casinos. There are also some really well-known family owned restaurants that people travel to the coast for.
Also, the weather concerns are another big difference. Both areas are hot and humid, but on the Mississippi gulf coast hurricanes and flooding are huge concerns. In Georgia, hurricanes are a threat, but not a huge concern. On the Mississippi gulf coast, insurance and property taxes prices are very high, especially if you live south of Interstate-10.
Although seafood is obviously popular in both places, there is more of a Cajun influence on the Mississippi gulf coast. Gumbo and poboys are very popular here. Catfish is also extremely popular here in Mississippi. In fact, it is not uncommon to find a catfish restaurant or “catfish house” where it is the only thing on the menu. I remember that in Savannah “low country boil” was popular. That usually includes shrimp, corn, and sausage.
In Savannah, you get out of school for St. Patrick’s Day. On the Mississippi gulf coast, you get out of school for Mardi Gras.
The last difference I can think of is time zone difference. In Georgia, people eat around 7pm, and the local news comes on at 11pm. Here on the coast people do everything earlier. We have usually already eaten by the time 7pm rolls around, and the local news comes on at 10pm.
So whether you’re into catfish or low country boil, beaches or history, Mardi Gras or St. Patrick’s Day, both places are great to visit or reside in!