Catawba Springs
Baptist Church
Escambia County,Alabama

Contributed by Lygia Dawkins Cutts<> AUG 1999

Written Oct 1997 by Lygia D. Cutts




Seven years before Alabama became a state (1819), while this area was still Creek Indian Territory, in the area known as the Pollard - Catawba Springs there resided a Coleman family. There were also other residents in this area, all known as 'Squaters'. This was as early as 1812. It is possible that Catawba Springs Church could have been established in this time period. There is a story of a Preacher Gay coming across Conecuh River, tying his boat in Gay Lake and preaching at a church within walking distance of the lake. It is possible that this was the beginning of Catawba Church or Muddy Creek Church. Muddy Creek is known today as Black Creek. Around 1837 James Coleman received the patent for the land on which Catawba Cemetery is located. Although not proven, it is believed that the second grave in this cemetery is that of a Coleman. The first grave is that of Nancy Jackson, infant daughter of Joseph J. Jackson, Sr. who died in 1841.

The family of Levi Jackson, who migrated to this area from South Carolina, settled in here in 1818. The Jackson family has played an important role in the history of the Catawba Springs Church and there are descendants of this family still in this area today. After serving in the Mexican War, Levi Jackosn died on his way to New Orleans. There were two catalpa trees planted in the church yard in his memory. By 1850 the church building was a one - room building of round logs. The floor was of split lumber called punching and the benches were split logs, drawn smooth, with pegs for the legs. Because of the construction of the building and furniture, the church may have been there several years before 1850. At this time the church was known as Catawba Church and the following served as deacons: John J. Jackson, Sr., John Coleman, and Joe Brewton.

A new hued logged building with a division which accomodated the whites on one side and the colored on the other was constructed in 1856. The Catawba Church did not allow the colored to become members. During the Civil War (1861-1865), the church was used as a Confederate Hospital. During this time the church met at Pollard on property which was believed to have been owned by both the Catawba Church and the Norris Masonic Lodge No. 301. They remained there until 1878. It was at this time that a lumber building was constructed near the present church site and the church met there until 1896.

It was at this time that another building was constructed just west of the lumber church. In about 1900 this structure was moved back from the highway and is still part of the present day church. This was a one room building divided into sections for various classes. This same building was moved once more some time later for the construction of the old Highway 31. C.C. (a descendant of Levi Jackson) & Ora Jackson donated the land on which the parsonage was built as well as part of the expansion of the church. Additions have been made over the years to what is now the present Catawba Springs Baptist Church.

Over the years, some of the ministers of this church have been; Cooper, Lowery, Baggett, Daily, John Deer, Abbott, Bill Joiner, and Sutton.

SOURCE: Vertical File; Catwaba Springs Baptist Church.

SOURCE LOCATION: Alabama Room, JDCC Library, Brewton,Esc. CO., AL. Maintained by The Escambia County Historical Society.


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