Sunday, October 30, 2011

Church Record Sunday 1858
Receipt for Hiring Preacher for Negroes

Prior to the Civil War, records of the area where my ancestor lived show that one method by which African Americans received their religious training was from a preacher hired by several slave owners. Reverend Smiley and most of the men who paid for Reverend Smiley's services were Presbyterians and lived in Union Church or Fayette, Jefferson County, Mississippi.

We the undersigned promise to pay the Rev. J H Smily the sums anexed to our names for his services viz to preach to the negroes at Zion Hill twice in each month for the balance of this year comencing with April, payable the first of January next. this April 3rd 1858

Wm Shaw $15.00 paid
- (Shaw owned 53 slaves in 1860.)
D McArn $20.00 paid - (McArn owned 51 slaves in 1860.)
D H Cameron $5 paid - (Cameron owned 21 slaves in 1860.)
R D Torrey $5 paid - (Torrey owned 24 slaves in 1860.)
M McPherson $5 paid - (McPherson owned 8 slaves in 1860.)
John C McCormick $2 paid - (McCormick owned 9 slaves in 1860.)
J ? Scott $5 paid - (J L Scott owned 18, J W Scott owned 22 in 1860.)
?? paid by corn

Shaw, McArn, Cameron, Torrey, and McCormick owned members of my family.

See Copy of Receipt

My notes are between parentheses.
McArn (Duncan) and Family Papers, Collection Number: Z/1487, Box 3
Collection found at Mississippi Department of Archives and History
1860 Jefferson County, Mississippi, Slave Schedule


  1. Thanks for sharing. This is an interesting and well-research post.

  2. Thank you, Sheryl. History is interesting.