The First Presbyterian Church On The Mississippi Frontier

Bayou Pierre Presbyterian Church | Claiborne County, MS | Church founded c. 1801-02

Bayou Pierre Landing, about 30 miles north of Natchez along the Mississippi River, was the site where many white, protestants first stepped foot in the Mississippi Territory after it was opened to settlement. During this time period, early settlers floated the Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers where they could join a section of the Natchez Trace. Opened in 1801, the Trace was the Mississippi’s territories first road, that followed a native trail path through Chickasaw and Choctaw lands.

It was here at Bayou Pierre in 1801 that two Presbyterian missionaries arrived from xyz. The region, previously controlled by the Spanish crown, was off-limits to non-Catholic settlement, so the arrival of protestant missionaries marked an era that would usher in a new wave of immigrants.

Joseph Bullen and James Smylie: Presbyterian Missionaries

Bayou Pierre was the site where many of the earliest Protestant settlers disembarked the Mississippi River and in 1801 that Presbyterian missionaries Joseph Bullen and James Smylie arrived here. In short order, they established a preaching outpost and by 1807, they had organized the Bayou Pierre Church. A meeting house of logs was erected on this land which was deeded to the church by Joseph Bullen. It served the congregation for 20 years.

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Bayou Pierre In The Civil War

Its advantageous location that welcomed new settlers along the Mississippi River also brought the battle to the doorstep of Bayou Pierre in the Civil War. During the Battle of Port Gibson, on May 1, 1863, the 20th Alabama Infantry was posted at Bayou Pierre church where they set up to secure the right flank of Confederate Brigadier General Edward D. Tracy’s Brigade.

The current building is a rough reconstruction of the original log building on this site, now called Point Lookout, and located about five miles west on the Old Rodney Road.


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