History of Santa Rosa County, A King's County

by M. Luther King. Used with permission.


Protestantism was not openly permitted, except at intervals of British occupation, in this area until 1821. The first mission established in this area was December 7, 1821 and was at Pensacola. This mission was established by the Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Church, then in session at Washington, Mississippi, with Dr. Alexander Talley as the first missionary to be sent to the area. The next missionary was Rev. Ashley Hewett who in turn was succeeded by Rev. Henry P. Cook.

Dr. Cook, whose territory was somewhat shortened, had rather amazing success for that day and reported his first membership at 37 white and 47 colored for a total of 84. Dr. Cook died in the fall of 1825 of yellow fever while still in the service of this mission. The Mission Board paid him the munificent sum of $72.31 for his year's service.

We do not know where these men preached before 1824, but a news item in the Pensacola Gazette of March 20, 1824 mentions the services of Rev. Cook being held at the courthouse.

Supposedly Dr. Cook was buried in St. Michael's Cemetery, but with the passing of years his grave has become completely lost.

The next appointee to the Pensacola-Mobile Mission was Dr. John R. Lambuth, who did not serve very long since the area was transferred to the South Carolina Conference in 1826. This Dr. Lambuth was the grandfather of Bishop Lambuth.

Some of the old manuscripts of the archives at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, reveal a record of expenditures for a new church building at Pensacola in 1827, and the committee is listed as Rev. Charles Hardy (the next missionary appointee apparently), Mayor William Sebree, Dr. C. Y. Fonda. The same account records the death of Mayor Sebree leaving a surviving committee of the other two gentlemen. The committee listed expenditures of $1,192.63 for the First Methodist Church building in Pensacola, which was located at or about the corner of Intendencia and Tarragona (Railroad) Streets.

It is interesting to note that many of the contributors to this church building fund are names even now common on the rolls of the Methodist churches in Milton and Bagdad: Keyser, Allen, Rogers, Mitchell, Campbell, Thompson, Wright, Salter, Simpson, Hannah, Smith, Chase, Fisher, Warren, Pendleton, Wilkerson, White, Collins. It is even more interesting to contemplate the fact that a great number of these names moved to Milton and Bagdad later when these places gained an ascendancy over Pensacola to such an extent that it was feared the latter city would entirely disappear. There was, for instance, a steamship line that by-passed Pensacola enroute from Milton to New Orleans.

It was about the year 1827 that the Escambe (Escambia) Mission began to operate effectively, and it included mission stations at various places in what is now Santa Rosa County -places that remained a part of Escambia County, however, until 1842 when Santa Rosa County was formed of parts of Escambia and Walton Counties (Okaloosa County was not formed until more than 50 years later).

Following Rev. Charles Hardy (1827), we find the name Rev. Isaac Boring. Rev. Boring was one of the very few such men who kept a running day-by-day diary, which, by the way, furnished us with some interesting facts. For instance, we find that he was appointed to this mission February 14, 1828; and starting from Camden, South Carolina, he traveled by way of Augusta, Georgia, Macon and Columbus, crossed the Chattahoochee River at Marshall's Ferry, thence to the Creek Nation in southeast Alabama, thence to the Choctawhatchee settlement (Jackson and surrounding counties especially Holmes and Washington) in Florida and on to Pensacola by way of Floridatown, arriving in Pensacola on Wednesday, March 12, just short of one month of travel on horseback. We note, also, then he sold his horse to his predecessor (Dr. Hardy) for $100.00, so that gentleman had his transportation to his next charge.

In 1829 Rev. Adam Wyrick was assigned to the Pensacola-Escambia Mission. He said of Pensacola " . . . a most terribly ... wicked place. Can see little evidence of good being accomplished."

The appointee for 1830 was the Rev. (or Dr.) John W. Talley. Dr. Talley mentions as one of his parishioners a little girl named Miss Octavia Walton, whose grandmother (also living in Pensacola) was the widow of George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Dr. Talley related with considerable emphasis some facts concerning the Escambe Mission which included the group at Milton and at Bagdad. The Milton group met at a bluff overlooking Blackwater above Milton and below Morton's Brickyard, while the Bagdad group must have first met at Hunt's Brickyard (the Dog Farm) and later near or at the present site adjacent to Bruce's Point (the Bagdad terminus of the first ferry).

Dr. Talley was the last one sent to this area by the South Carolina Conference. His successor, Rev. P. C. Shelman, was sent out by the Georgia Conference in 1831.

The period beginning in 1831 was the one which saw the area that we now know as Santa Rosa County begin to show tremendous growth. The city of Pensacola had so shrunken until its population was probably less than 2000 while Milton, Floridatown, Arcadia, Blackwater (Bagdad), and Mulatto Bayou probably embraced twice that number. The Escambe Mission included 18 appointments during the year 1832 and those appointments were scattered through Covington, Butler, and Conecuh Counties of Alabama as well as Escambia and Walton in Florida. This mission reported 69 members in 1832 and 260 in 1833. The Pensacola Mission was declining until during the next few years no missionary was sent to Pensacola -really not another until 1837. The appointments since 1832 have been out of the Alabama Conference which includes South Alabama and Northwest Florida.

These years just before 1837, which saw such a decline at Pensacola, witnessed the establishment not of congregation, for they were already in existence, but of buildings in the Milton-Bagdad area. During those years when Pensacola became a mission station of the Escambe Mission, some of the illustrious names were added to those serving this area: 1838-39 Green Malone (Supply); 1840-49 John D. Loftin, George R. W. Smith ' F. A. McShaw; 1849 John R. Rush; 1850-51 W. K. Norton; 1852-53 Thomas C. Crymes and Elisha Phillips; 18S3 Joseph B. Cottrill, Pensacola; Walter C. Harris, Warrington; L. P. Golson, Milton-Bagdad.

In December, 1865, following the dark war years, Pensacola was again attached to the church at Milton-Bagdad and W. H. Carter was the missionary. Likewise in 1866, but in 1867 Pensacola-Milton was left "to be supplied." For the year 1868, the name was Milton-Pensacola Navy Yard Mission and J. A. Parker was the appointed missionary. He was succeeded in 1869 by Rev. E. B. McClellan.

According to records Milton Methodist Church had a Rev. W. B. Dennis assigned to it in 1871. From that time, pastors were regularly assigned to the Milton Methodist Church. Most of these also served as pastor of the Bagdad Methodist Church, though in 1956 a separate pastor, a supply pastor from Pensacola, was assigned to the Bagdad Congregation.

Miss Clara Andrews, who has been a member of First Methodist Church, Milton, for many years, recalls "For years there were only two churches in Milton and Bagdad. They alternated services, meeting in the morning at the Methodist Church and at night in the Presbyterian Church. The next Sunday this was reversed. At both places the entire congregation of each church would attend in a body."

"Mr. Henry Thompson was Methodist Sunday School Superintendent and his brother-in-law, Mr. Ed Creary, was the same at the Presbyterian Church. When the Presbyterian Church went on full time at Milton, the Bagdad members joined the Milton Church. The Bagdad Church was moved near Tallahassee."

"When the Hendersons and Works came to Bagdad, the Baptist Church was organized and the Mill Company donated some amount to all three churches."

Listed below are the available names of pastors who served the First Methodist Church beginning with Rev. W. B. Dennis, 1871, who is mentioned earlier:


Rev. W. B. Dennis


Rev. J. 0. Andrew


Rev. J. 0. Keener


Rev. E. E. Cowan


Rev. J. H. James


Rev. A. C. Hundley


Rev. George M. Sellars


Rev. Laban Henry Scott Chappelle


Rev. B. C. Glenn


Rev. J. Bancroft


Rev. W. T. Ellisor


Rev. W. P. Homer, D. D. (An Oxford graduate whose great grandfather was a helper of Wesley. His daughter, Mary, taught school here.)


Rev. E. C. Maye (His daughter married Ernest Edwards' uncle, Mr. Wiley Edwards.)


Rev. L. C. Calhoun


Rev. J. C. Harrison


Rev. Joseph Prior Roberts


Rev. Thomas Young Abernathy


Rev. Schuyler Green Boyd


Rev. Francis Marion Atchison


Rev. Charles W. McConnell


Rev. Marvin A. Rooks


Rev. Luther S. Gilmer


Rev. J. A. Seale


Rev. H. W. Williamson (His son James married Julia Nell Byron.)


Rev. A. B. Carlton


Rev. S. E. Spencer


Rev. F. M. Atchison (Second term of service here.)


Rev. L. B. Green


Rev. R. W. Judkins


Rev. A. C. Britt


Rev. A. H. Vanlandingham


Rev. R. L. Hoagland, Jr.


Rev. R. L. Hagood


Rev. Comer Woodall


Rev. Joseph E. Hastings

"Miss Clara" also recalls that Rev. H. W. Williamson was pastor when the old church burned down during the White Christmas program in 1932. In 1933 the bank closed and church funds on deposit were lost.

This shows the second Methodist church building in Milton. It was erected in 1905 and burned in 1932. Its location was Conecuh Street. This congregation was the first protestant congregation organized following the acquisition of Florida by the United States. Its auditorium served as an assembly hall for town and county assemblies during the years of territorial government and early statehood. The Milton Vigilantes were organized here by Intendent Joseph Mitchell.

Rev. A. B. Carlton was pastor of the church in the years following the burning of the old building, and he conducted services in the courthouse. Every Sunday he would ask how long the congregation was willing to stay in the courthouse.

During Rev. Carlton's stay the new church building was finished and paid for. Bishop S. R. Hay dedicated the new church at a morning service, and Rev. Carlton's daughter was married by the bishop at the conclusion of the service. (Note -It was 1966 before another bishop participated in services at the First Methodist Church. Bishop Goodson conducted at several morning services during the illness of the pastor, Rev. Comer Woodall.

The membership of this church has continued to grow, and in 1964 a small group left to form the Christ Methodist Church in the northwest section of town. Both churches have continued to grow with membership in 1967 of approximately 570 for the First Methodist Church and approximately 85 for the Christ Methodist Church.)

Present sanctuary of First Methodist Church on Berryhill Street in Milton.



This is another of those sketches in a series of source materials on the history of Milton. This one comes to me from Hon. T. Franklin West, Milton attorney, in the form of a cooperative cookbook published by the Ladies Aid Society of the Presbyterian Church in Milton. The title page reads: Souvenir Cook Book compiled by the Ladies Aid Society of the Presbyterian Church, Milton, Florida. As a sort of preamble there are a few pages in the front of the book titled: "History of Milton Presbyterian Church -Milton, Santa Rosa County, Florida."

I have copied the last-named material above verbatim. The date-line of the publisher on the cover of this book is 1906. The printer is given as The News Book and Job Print, Pensacola, Florida.

Milton, Santa Rosa County, Florida

"In April, 1866, Rev. J. N. Lewis, in passing on his way to Pensacola stopped at Bagdad and Milton, preaching once at each place. After leaving for Pensacola, he received a written invitation to return and labor for them. Believing the field to be a promising one for usefulness, and feeling his need of a warmer climate, he promised to come and settle among them.

"in December, 1866, he moved from Alabama to Bagdad, Florida, and commenced preaching regularly, and at Milton occasionally, as our Methodist and Baptist brethren could spare the use of their houses of worship, which they very kindly did for over a year.

"Mr. Lewis taught school in Bagdad, to aid in making a support, in addition to his other labors for several months; but as most of the population lived in and around Milton, he felt it very important that we should have a house of our own. "After much thought, consultation and prayer, he determined in face of any difficulties to make the effort to build. In order to give himself to this ,work, he gave up his school and commenced by making an appeal for aid

the papers, and personally by letter. This did not promise to bring in --sufficient funds to enable us to go forward. In February, 1868, he went to Mobile and New Orleans to ask aid in person. In Mobile he obtained in cash and ,material, $535. In New Orleans he received $115, and from other points $27. 'His expenses were $31.25, leaving $645.75 to be applied to the building. In March, 1868, we began to build. (J. W. Bishop was the builder.)

The First Presbyterian Church, which was built in 1868, had as its first pastor, Rev. J.N. Lewis.

"On August 14, 1868, Rev. J. N. Lewis preached the first sermon in the new house, at night. Saturday, August 15, The First Presbyterian Church of Milton was organized, consisting of twenty-eight members, viz:

"Received by certificate from Bagdad: Dr. Zepheniah Swift, James A. Chaffin, Mrs. Victoria V. Chaffin, Mrs. Harriet Keyser, Mrs. Susan Simpson, and Mrs. Lauretta Fisher.

"Received on profession by J. N. Lewis previously: William J. Keyser, Mrs. Kate Monroe, Fannie Cater, Sophronia McKee, Mary A. W. Monroe, J. L. Mayo, Mrs. Eliza Cary, and Rebecca Jones.

"Received by letter from other churches: Mr. Alexander Monroe, Mrs. Jane Monroe, Mr. W. D. Monroe, Miss Sallie A. Monroe, Mrs. Catherine McMillan, Mrs. S. S. Peters, Mrs. Martha Farrar, Mrs. George Marquis, Mrs. Mary B. Fitzpatrick, Mrs. E. J. Lewis, Mr. Alexander McRae, Mrs. Mary McRae, Mr. E. R. Corry, and Mr. A. S. Commyns.

"There were twenty-eight charter members.

"Mr. Alexander Monroe was elected ruling Elder in the new church; he had

 [Picture Missing]
First Presbyterian Church (Present Day)

been previously ordained elsewhere. Dr. Zepheniah Swift was elected ruling Elder. Mr. W. D. Monroe and James A. Chaffin were elected and ordained as deacons of this church. On Sunday the 16th of August, 1868, the dedication sermon was given by the Rev. W. A. Caster of Pensacola. The Rev. J. N. Lewis said to the Church, the congregation standing, 'You, the Presbyterian Church and congregation of Milton do now in this public and solemn manner, set apart this house from all secular and worldly uses to the above services of Almighty God to be used for His worship only, in all the ways of His appointed ordinances to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you do now dedicate this house as a meeting place between God and His dear people forever, praying that his blessing may rest upon it, and upon all who may ever meet here to worship Him.' "

"Also Rev. J. N. Lewis offered the Dedicatory Prayer, returning our hearty thanks to God for His goodness, and asking His acceptance of the labor of our hands, and imploring His presence and blessing upon house and people, saying, 'May this house and church long remain a monument to the praise and glory of God, Amen.' "

The Trustees of the Milton Presbyterian Church were appointed as follows: W. J. Keyser, W. D. Monroe, and Zepheniah Swift.

Mr. Lewis resigned the charge of Milton Presbyterian Church December 2, 1885, but continued to live at Bagdad.

Rev. C. P. Walker supplied the pulpit from July 12, 1885, until March 27, 1887, when he was unanimously elected pastor of the congregation. At this time an application was made to Alabama Presbytery for the church to be withdrawn from said Presbytery to join that of Florida. Mr. Walker was pastor until February 17, 1895, when his resignation was read at a congregational meeting. The people accepted his resignation. Mr. Walker then had charge of the State Normal at De Funiak Springs, but he continued to serve the church as a supply pastor until September 6, 1895, when Rev. W. S. Porter became pastor of said church, October 29, 1899. Mr. Porter resigned November 13, 1899. Rev. C. T. Walker came to take charge of Milton High School, and he was also employed to supply the pulpit of the Presbyterian Church, until they could obtain a pastor. No stated salary was promised. This provision Mr. Walker accepted, and officiated as pastor until April, 1901. Rev. G. W. Tollett was then called; he accepted the charge and began to labor as our pastor in July, 1901, and resigned November 10, 1903.

Rev. S. G Hutton next accepted the pastorate December 1903, but was never installed. He served as pastor until November 1, 1904. The next pastor, Rev. B. R. Anderson, assumed the pastorate of this church the third Sunday of February in 1905. He was installed April 9, 1905, by a committee from the presbytery, consisting of Rev. R. Z. Baker, Rev. B. L. Baker, and Elder Daniel Campbell who were appointed for that purpose.

(Note: Other ministers serving the First Presbyterian Church were:)


C. W. Humphreys


Frederick B. Smith


W. F. Harris


George Mason


J. C. Delaney


John T. Young


John D. Thomas

H. G. Wiggins


R. Clyde Douglas


W. Peter Kott


William Louis Hiemstra


Joseph F. Clark


Robert Porter


Chaplain Morley


Robert T. Coit


W. W. Thrower


Dr. C. D. Dicks


William B. Lemosy

But from all of our reminiscences how impressively comes back to us that lesson written upon the works of man. "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh. Our Fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?" In yonder cemetery they lie, the fathers with the children and children's children to the third and fourth generation. All that now live will soon be numbered with the past, those who came after us will gather up the story of our lifetime, and as we have fulfilled our obligations to God and His Church, will write the record of our faith or the record of our folly.



(This material was contributed by Miss Anice Brown, member of St. Mary's Church.)

St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Milton, Florida was founded in 1867. Their first rector was Rev. James S. Jarett. He had the first service August 4, 1867 and at that time there was a yellow fever epidemic here. He was victim of

St. Mary's Episcopal Church

yellow fever and died thirteen days later, August 17, 1867. The church was a parish at that time and they gave the pulpit in memory of him. It is still in use in St. Mary's.

They were then without a rector from August 17, 1867 until Easter 1868 when Rev. C. F. D. Lynn came and served from Easter 1868 until Easter 1871; then Rev. H. 0. Crane came on November 17, 1874 and served until May 18, 1875. Rev. Charles E. McDougall, M. D., served from April 20, 1876 until May 25, 1916. Rev. Jon Scottow served St. Mary's from 1925 to 1927.

During the first three years the church was only a shell of a building, and a man by the name of Zelious did all the carving and built the pews all by hand. The windows were just openings on the inside of the church. They used the church three years, winter and summer, in that condition. Then they began to give and work to get stained glass windows. Many functions were held until they had enough money to buy the beautiful window over the altar ($600) with all the symbols, each of which had a meaning.

On Wednesday, June 3, 1868 the "Ladies Aid Society" was organized in the home of Mrs. H. A. Bushnell, Sr. Mrs. Potter, Mrs. Bushnell, Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Swift, Mrs. Lynne, and Mrs. Amos were all present. Other members included Mrs. Morrill, Mrs. Snow, Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. McDougall, Miss M. Adams, Mrs. Dorr and Mrs. Zelious. The ladies began to work on the altar linens, the hangings, and the many other things that were needed in the church.

Mrs. Adams gave the altar, which is still in use in St. Mary's. It cost one hundred dollars.

Miss Mabel McDougall told me about making the white hangings. Her brother, Charlie, had a drugstore in the building on Willings Street where one part of the 5¢ & 10¢ store is now. She worked in the drugstore and did most of the work in the back of the store when she was not busy with customers. A sheet was spread on the floor with a rocking chair put in the center of the sheet, thus keeping her white goods off the floor. When she had to go wait on a customer, she just dropped it all down on the sheet.

Miss McDougall gave the chimes that are in the church now in memory of the Bishops Young and Weed who were guests of the McDougall family on most of their visits to St. Mary's.

The Rt. Rev. Frank A. Juhan, D. D., fourth bishop of Florida was the youngest bishop that Florida had ever had. At the time he was elected, he was thirty-eight years old. He had many heartaches during the time he was bishop. He was in an automobile wreck and was hurt severely. He also lost a son in World War 11.

The Ladies Aid Society worked, sewed, and sold the things they made. They bought the kerosene lamps (they have electric lights in them now). Each lamp in the church cost them four dollars each, and there were four in the chancel and sanctuary that cost seven dollars each. They had round globes on one round rod and were used until electric lights were put in.

In later years they had flood lights put up in the top of the church to shine on the altar, and the round globe lamps were taken out. The ones on each pew are the ones that were put there when the church was being furnished.

Many of the beautiful altar linens were made and given by Mrs. Sam Stewart and Mrs. Ethel McDougall Golson. The little reed organ was given the church by the McDougall family. Mrs. Golson played it until she was, as she said, "tired" and then Miss Anice Brown, whom Mrs. Golson taught to play, became the organist.

In later years the church received a gift of five hundred dollars as a start on a Hammond electric organ. Every member who could, gave enough ($1700.00) to buy the organ that is there now, and they gave the little reed organ to the mission church in Crestview, Florida.

The church was heated by steam heat for several years until the chimney to the furnace cracked from top to bottom. They were afraid it would fall on the church or on somebody, so they.had the old chimney torn down and the pipes taken out of the church. Meeker Gainer gave the church a heatrola which had to be fired with wood and coal. Bogan Hoodless was a good sized boy (perhaps twelve years old) at the time, and he came every Sunday morning from across the river where he lived and started the fire in the furnace.

The coal and wood were kept in the little room at the back of the church. This room didn't have a floor in it and was as black as coal. The choir guild (Carrie Allen, Mabel McDougall, Elma Hardee, Marguerite Williams, Fred Gwaltney, and Anice Brown) paid a pledge of twenty-five cents a month and sold Christmas cards to make enough money to have a concrete floor put in the little room. Sheet rock was put on the walls and a utility cabinet was added. The heatrola was used for a few years, and later, gas heaters were put in by Fred Gwaltney, and then this room was used for a choir dressing room in which the vestments could be kept.

Dr. McDougall had served St. Mary's forty years. Having grown unable to practice medicine or take care of his church duty, he retired. From then forward the church had a member of different rectors.

Many of the members had moved away, many had passed on, and the church didn't grow, so it became a mission instead of a parish with the bishop sending whom he could.

Rev. A. C. A. Smith, D. D. was here from 1916 to June 1, 1917 when Rev. J. J. Perry came. He was here until February 25, 1922, after which Rev. Grant Kuauff served until September 30, 1925. Rev. Kuauff lived in Pensacola and only came here on Sunday mornings. He was an Englishman.

On March 20, 1927, Rev. Thomas A. Schofield and his wife came. They were about middle-aged and they boarded at the McDougall home until he could get a place to live. Then they moved to a house on Berryhill Street near the cemetery.

Bill Bonifay and Amy Bonifay were baptised by him and confirmed while he was here. He served until 1931 and then went to Live Oak, Florida.

In July, 1931, Rev. Eldrid C. Simpkins came and lived at the Bagdad Inn in Bagdad. On the second day he was here Aubrey Gainer died, and he conducted that funeral.

He was also very good to people in need. One of whom I can remember, especially, was the man who was bridge tender for the L & N Railroad. He was very sick, and Rev. Simpkins would go to his house and work with him all night. Although the man was sick a long time, he got well and strong.

Jack Straughn was the server. The Bishop sent him to Pensacola to serve at St. Catherine's and live in St. Catherine's Rectory. He would come up here and serve St. Mary's too. He didn't like St. Catherine's and asked to be transferred to the southern diocese. He had served here until December 31, 1932.

From January 1, 1933 until September 23, 1934 the church services were conducted by university students and lay leaders. Then Rev. Russel S. Carleton served from September 23, 1934 until August 23, 1936. Rev. Carleton was also an Englishman.

In August 1936 Norlon Brown, a layreader, started coming from Pensacola every Sunday afternoon. He conducted evening services until January 15, 1939. Once a month Rev. H. B. Hodskins and Arch-Deacon Weller from Pensacola would come and celebrate Holy Communion.

In January 1939 David Rose came. Since he was just out of seminary and was not ordained Deacon, he served only six months and went back to his home church. There he was ordained Deacon and then came back to live in Pensacola in the home of Miss Lelia Ablecrombie. He came to Milton every Sunday for eleven o'clock services, and every Thursday to spend the day visiting members of the church.

(The reason the rectors of St. Mary's had to live elsewhere was there was no one here who could furnish them a room).

Mr. Rose was not a healthy man and would rest part of the day at the home of Miss Mabel McDougall. He was only twenty-six years of age and was therefore quite a favorite with the young people as well as old. Rufus Stewart especially liked him and when Mr. Rose was ordained to priesthood, Rufus wanted to be confirmed, although he had been a Presbyterian all of his life, as well as h s people before him. When the Bishop came, he and Lucile Williams were confirmed.

Rufus wanted to study for the ministry but he joined the Army Air Corps and served until the Second World War was over. He then went to the University of the South in Sewannee, Tennessee, and on June 24, 1949, was ordained Deacon by Bishop Juhan.

Rev. David Rose served St. Mary's until February 1942, when he went into the Navy and served as chaplain until the close of World War 11, serving in the Pacific theatre. He came back to St. Mary's on a visit for a few days, having services twice while here. He then went on to Jacksonville for a short stay and married the wife of one of his comrades who lost his life in war. They had a little boy. He and his family went to Corpus Christi, Texas to the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Rufus Stewart went to Alice, Texas about one hundred miles from Corpus Christi, so they again became neighbors.

After Mr. Rose left, Rev. H. Lindey Smythe had services a short time followed by Rev. Fred G. Yerkes. He also lived in St. Catherine Rectory. The first Sunday he was to be at St. Mary's, the congregation was there at eleven o'clock but there was no preacher. Everyone waited and waited, knowing he had to come from Pensacola. At 11:40 he came in, his hair tousled (he was blonde and needed a haircut) and looking like a boy. When he got to the pulpit, he stopped and told the people that he started from Pensacola in plenty of time but his old car, furnished by the Bishop, had broken down. He worked on it, unsuccessfully, so he finally hitchhiked a ride with a pulpwood truck . . . He then got his vestments on and really had a good service. He had an asthmatic condition in this climate which caused him to request the Bishop to send him to Cedar Key.

A young man named James Williams was serving at St. Johns in Warrington. He and his wife, whom he called "Sookie", would come by bus every Sunday afternoon and have evening prayer and sermon. They came about six months and then went to a church in South Carolina.

The church had layreaders then for quite sometime, until Henry W. Havens came. He, too, was just out of the University of the South, and was ordained Deacon in his home church in Jacksonville, but was ordained Rector in St. Mary's in Milton. Miss Mabel McDougall gave him the three upstairs rooms in her home to have one for his study, a bedroom, and an adjoining bath. He married Joyce Williams of Jacksonville while he was here, and they lived at Miss Mabel's.

He served St. Mary's three years and then went to Trinity Church in New Orleans. They had two children while in New Orleans, and he named his first son .Peter Havens.

Rev. L. C. Bailey came in September 1949. He had served in the U. S. Army, and had served the church in Australia seven years. The people there didn't want him to leave, but he said he just felt that he must come home. He came to his home in St. Petersburg, Florida intending to go to Oxford for a two-year course in church work. He had a four-year course given him, but Bishop Juhan asked him to come to St. Mary's. All the time he was here the Bishop in Australia was writing him to come back over there. He gave up his Oxford offer.

Rev. Bailey lived at Miss Mabel's. He took a great interest in all the church property and helped Miss Mabel all he could. There wasn't a parish house at that time and when there was any kind of activity that involved a large group, it was held in the Woman's Club house near the church. Mr. Bailey was very much interested in adding as much on the back of the church and as far over to the Rozier property as could be done.

St. Mary's had been in use for twenty-three years before it was consecrated. When Rev. Bailey was here, it had been a consecrated church for sixty years so they had a celebration of the event. A large cake with sixty candies was bought for the special occasion, which was held at the clubhouse with a large crowd in attendance.

In April, 1950, Mr. J. C. Rozier, who owned the property adjoining the church property, built a home in Pensacola and sold his home to St. Mary's for a parish house.

Rev. Bailey helped Miss Mabel and also took care of the church yard and parish house yard, with the help of two very poor little boys, whom he paid to help him. One of them was a sickly boy (he had diabetes) and although he was fourteen years old, he looked as though he were nine. Rev. Bailey saw to it that he had the food and medicine he needed.

In February 1951, Miss Mabel died and he lived in her home, left for a rectory, until July, when he left to go to Camp Weed to stay two weeks. He was to have the month of August for his vacation, intending to return the first of September, but he didn't return. Instead he went back to Australia in October, where he had a very large church.

Then Elmer Allen came in September from the University of the South and was ordained rector in St. Mary's. He served three years and went to Clearwater, Florida to be assistant to the rector there.

Rev. George A. P. Jewell, came from Panama City, Florida and served St. Mary's three months, but he had to retire from active duty due to bad health. Two weeks before Easter, 1954, Rev. Francis M. Hamilton and his wife and daughter came.

The present rector, Rev. Robert F. Cowling, has served the church for several years now. He and his mother occupy the rectory. They are much-loved by their congregation and are very faithful to their church and community.

Dr. and Mrs. McDougall willed their home and everything in it to the church for a rectory, but it was to be used by their children while any of them lived, and Miss Mabel was the last one. Mrs. Golson had left all she had to Miss Mabel (her home across the street from the church and a residence on Berryhill Street), and Mr. Charlie McDougall owned eighty acres out on Highway 90 across from the County Farm and three business places on Willing Street. Miss Mabel, being the last one, willed the whole property to the Diocese of Florida. One-half of the income from it is to go to St. Mary's. The Diocese sold the two residences, rented the three stores, and still have the eighty acres on Highway No. 90.

St. Mary's Church, Milton, might well be called a church of memorials as it has so many beautiful ones given with much love for the ones they remembered and the church that they loved.

The window on the left is not a memorial window. It was given by Colonel G. 0. Waits of Bagdad, January 18, 1927.

The middle window on the right was given by St. Mary's Guild in 1928.

The windows in the vestry room and music room are the leaded stained glass ones that were taken out of the windows where memorials were placed.

Listed below are some of the memorials placed in the church by various members and friends:

Window on right in sanctuary -in memory of Lewis P. Golson -1916

Window on left in sanctuary -Bessie McDougall -1866-1914

Window on right next to pulpit -Meeker Greenleigh Gainer 1866-1927

Opposite window on left -Mary D. Pearson -1827-1914 and Martha Caroline Newman 1847-1927

Middle window on left -Louise Caroline McDonald -1856-1923

Middle window on right -Callie Bishop Hannah -1861-1915 given by her three daughters, Maxie Betterton, Elizabeth Read, and Carrie Allen

Front window on right -Ethel McDougall Golson -1866-1939 and Charles Clinton McDougall -1862-1930

Front window on left -Lt. Nathan Forest Lindsey -July 12, 1918 -April 17, 1944 given in his memory by his mother. He was killed in a plane wreck in the Pacific in World War 11. Their house is in Perry, Florida, but his mother lived here until she married. She was Alma Blake and their home was in the same place where Anice Brown now lives. The Blake home burned.

Choir rail and font -Fannie Elizabeth McDougall -who was born in Alabama in 1855 and lived four years.

Red Bible -given by Mrs. Elma Hardee in memory of her mother, Ella Merle Gainer and her father, James Cooper Gainer.

Chimes in music room -given in memory of Bishop Young and Bishop Weed by Miss McDougall.

Altar Rail -in memory of Leon Perrenot Mints 1864-1889 by his mother, who took in sewing to pay for it. She made dresses for twenty-five cents apiece.

Cross -William Edward McDougall -December 19, 1857 -February 1, 1891.

Eucharist candle sticks -Ebon and Clara Dovour.

Vases -Willie McDougall Golson -August 24, 1895 -June 26, 1896. She was Mrs. Golson's little girl and died of what is now called colitis.

Bread box -Samuel Jesse Stewart -September 27, 1900.

Paten and chalice -Charles Edward and Sarah Elizabeth M. McDougall.

Hymn board -George Henry Gronour, Jr. -January 16, 1911 -December 25, 1911. It was given by his mother.

Alms basins -Carolyn Floyd Stewart -1863 -1945 by her granddaughter Carolyn Granan Shepherd; and Samuel Jesse Stewart, 1861-1919, by his granddaughter, Mrs. Shepherd. Mrs. Shepherd was living in Lunia, Peru when her grandmother died. Knowing of the skill of the Peruvian silversmiths, she took a picture of a pair of alms basins from a catalogue of an Ecclesiastical supply house and had them copied. The South American silver has less alloy than our sterling, therefore it is rather soft and the design is not as clear-cut as the English hand-wrought silver.

Light in vestibule of church -in memory of Lawrence Brown by his daughter, Anice Brown.

The two lights on the front of the church -in memory of William A. Bonifay, Sr. by his son, William A. Bonifay, Jr.

The sign board in front of the church was given by Fred and Maxie Betterton.

St. Mary's has had many changes during the years, but it is a church where for many years, many members have worked with pleasure and given willingly of their time and talents.


(These are notes from an original printing of the minutes of the Pensacola Bay Baptist Association held in the Milligan Baptist Church, Santa Rosa County, Florida, September 30, October 1-3, 1897, together with notes from a compilation of the previous ten years of history of the association. These minutes were examined by me as the property of Mr. W. D. Robertson, attorney, Milton.)

Ordained ministers of the association:

W. F. Arnette, Holt
J. D. Beck, Pensacola
W. D. Bell, Warrington
I. L. Taylor, Milton
William Edwards, Milligan
J. E. Holley, Crestview
A. P. Pugh, Pensacola
J. W. Senterfitt, Holt
Henry Kierce, Pensacola (great uncle of Steiner Kierce of Milton)
W. E. Phillips, Milton
J. T. Mapoles, Milligan (grandfather of Clayton Mapoles of Milton)
N. B. Parker, Pensacola
R. H. Littlefield, Holt
Executive Board:
Paul Gray, Chairman, Pensacola
L. M. Rhoda, Secretary, Milton
E. B. Lovelace, Treasurer, Willigan
John Ronloff, Pensacola
J. E. Williams, Pensacola
The following churches were listed as members of the association with the date of constitution of the church as given:














Dogwood Grove



East Bay














Mount Pleasant



New Hope



Oak Grove

Pensacola -- First





Pilgrim's Rest

Pleasant Grove





Shady Grove



Spring Hill


Union Hill




Yellow River


Oak Grove

(The following was contributed by a member of the First Baptist Church.)

Very little is known of the early history of the church now known as the First Baptist Church of Milton, Florida because the first record was lost. "However, in 1847, shortly after Rev. Travis organized a Baptist Church in Pensacola, he, with true missionary zeal, began to survey the surrounding territory and was led to come to Milton, where he organized this church.

The record begins with March 18 ' 1897. The pastor was the Rev. 1. L. Taylor who served the Crestview church, too.

The Pensacola church which was organized by Rev. Travis is now The First Baptist Church of Pensacola, and its present pastor is Rev. James L. Pleitz.

The church adopted Articles of Faith, Church Covenant, and Rules of Order on March 2, 1898. It had difficulty (largely financial) surviving during the early days.

This church was a member of Pensacola Bay Association until the latter part of 1912, and a member of the Smyrna Association until 1915 when the new Santa Rosa Baptist Association was formed. The church is still a member of this association.

The oldest church letter on record was for the year 1899 to the Pensacola Bay Association, and it showed 14 males and 40 females on the roll and a Sunday School with 6 officers and teachers and 68 pupils. Dr. C. 0. Chum was the Sunday School Superintendent.

It was a custom during those days to call a pastor for twelve months ' and also to prefer charges of unchristian conduct against offending members. They were visited by a committee from the church and if they would not mend their erring ways, the church would withdraw fellowship from them. After one's name was withdrawn from the church roll, it took much proof of repentance before the party was reinstated, so much that it became a chronic condition. In 1898 one member was taken off the church roll for signing a whiskey petition.

The church in conference on March 14, 1909, passed the following resolution: "Resolved that we, the Missionary Baptist Church of Milton do hold that any member of this church who uses his or her influence by signing or in any other way encouraging the restoration of the whiskey traffic in Santa Rosa County is guilty of unchristian conduct and shall be dealt with by the church as such.,'

The first church building was where the Episcopal Parish House is now located and it was later moved to the present site but was nearer the corner of the lot. It was used until it was sold in 1912. The Masonic Hall was then rented until the present building was completed in 1914. This building was later turned from facing Canal Street to its present location in 1938. Later the building was raised and a basement added to take care of the growing Sunday School.*

The first mission of the church was started in Bagdad, and it organized as a church on February 10, 1918, and shared the First Baptist Church pastor on a half-time basis until 1929, when both churches received full-time pastors.

As far back as 1897, the church ordered the pastor to preach on missions once each quarter, and also to take up a collection for missions once each month. The pastor's salary then was $250.00 per year for half time, and they had to appoint a committee to solicit funds to pay the pastor's salary quite often, because the church was behind financially.

In 1899 the church decided on the envelope plan to raise the pastor's salary. Apparently it was not a success because it was supplemented with moonlight excursions and ice cream suppers.

follows: $50.00 on current expenses; $137.00 to pastor; $2.16 to state missions; $28.01 to association missions; $5.00 to foreign missions; $1.00 to aged ministers; $106.10 to ministerial education; $2.50 for minutes of the association; and $12.30 for associational purposes. The Ladies' Aid Society contributed $112.10.

The pledges of the church to the association at this time were to be one collection for each of the mission projects mentioned in the above paragraph. The messengers to the association that year were: -L. M. Rhoda, Miss Daisy Chum, C. 0. Chum, Mrs. M. E. Chum, W. A. Mills, Mrs. S. C. Guinn, G. W. Curtis, Mrs. Peppy, and Miss Millie Anglin.

This method of distribution was soon abandoned for the cooperative program, a method by which a set amount is sent by each church and distributed by the state for the different causes.

The church nearly passed out of existence from 1900 to 1903 when it was revived by Rev. J. W. Senterfit on a half-time basis at $20.00 per month. He did such a good job that it went on full time November 20, 1904, when Rev. A. J. Abbott was called at $35.00 a month. It was more than they could pay so they got the State Board of Missions to lend them $200.00 to pay the pastor, and they decreased their pastoral services to a half-time basis the next year at $25.00 per month.

During this decade there was much discussion about delinquent members, and committees were appointed to call on them and try to get them to come back, or find the reason they would not return and support the ministry of the gospel.

There is no record of the cost of the new church that was built in 1914, but an associational letter of 1919 valued the church property at $3,500 and noted a membership of 155; Sunday School membership was 152; and the pastor's salary was $642.50. The total expenditures were $1,397.78. This showed a considerable growth in every department in the twenty years from 1899 to 1919.

In 1938 the church building was remodeled and turned to face the highway, which increased the value of the property. When the basement was added in 1938, a cornerstone was laid with the following articles sealed inside: an open Bible, the history of the church, a copy of the church roll, the Masonic emblem, a Masonic apron, and a sprig of evergreen.

In 1942 $11,000.00 was spent remodeling and redecorating the building. The next year new pews, carpeting, and pulpit furniture were installed at a cost of about $1,500.00. In 1947, redecorating the church and the pastorium brought the value of the church property to $40,000.00.

On May 25, 1947, this church observed a day-long celebration known as the Centennial. It was a fine day together and much was learned about the church from the older members.

In 1947 Rev. J. M. Bamberg, from Brent, Alabama, was called to serve as the pastor. He had just been given his discharge from the Army chaplaincy. He accepted his duties here in September of 1947, and the church has made outstanding progress under his leadership.

The church decided in 1949 to build a mission church on Ferris Hill with Rev. Bamberg preaching there during the First Baptist Church Sunday School hour. He then preached in his own church at the 11:00 a.m. service. The mission was very successful.

Later the church planned another mission church on the east side of town. East Side Baptist Church was made into a mission because it was not strong enough as a church to support itself. This plan worked very well because a pastor who served Ferris Hill could alternate between the two missions. Both churches made considerable progress with Rev. Elmer Nielsen as pastor. Both missions have now become organized churches with full-time ministers serving each church.

In 1953 the First Baptist Church built a beautiful new sanctuary beside their old sanctuary.* This is one indication of the success and progress of this church as it continues to serve its members and its community.

* (The old church building was torn down in 1971, following the construction of a large church school facility at the rear of the new sanctuary.) 

First Baptist Church (Present Day)

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