About Us

History of the
Providence Regular Missionary Baptist Association, Inc.

This great Association organized in 1834, near the slavery line and also having had the unpleasant experience of being denied Christian fellowship by their white brethren, made them more conscious of the task that lay before them in the fields of both religion and civil rights. Thus the name of the Anti Slavery attachment showed two things, they did express themselves as being against the institution of slavery and exponents of freedom. Thus when we look very closely at the exploits of such men as Reverend Patrick Williams, J.M. Riddle, L.V. Bryant, who continued to carry the torch light of freedom, justice and education, we understand by Providence Association deserves its name.
One of the things that merits mention in the fight for freedom and education is the fact that in Providence there has been a celebration of the Emancipation every year continuously since 1865. In this celebration many outstanding clergymen and laymen have sounded the trumpet of freedom and justice. Congressmen, governors, white and black, have joined in this great unbroken chain of celebration of the emancipation. Providence has continued to struggle through the years, using whatever means and persons at hand to further their grip on Religion, Education, Mission, Foreign and Home Mission, and Civic Righteousness. Rendville and Glouster, Nelsonville, and Athens all have been centers of activities as well as Gallipolis and Bidwell. Situated on the Ohio River where they were always fired by the underground railroads, stories of runaway slaves and the hot pursuit of the slave master, one can see where Providence was so alert and diligent in its effort to free the enslaved and to keep them free by the Grace of God. If you want a striking example of religion and education, yes the civic righteousness working together, here it is.
When the slavery question bursted into the open conflict called the Civil War, Providence was ready made for the old masters who crossed the Ohio River with their slaves and settled down in mass. There are a number of settlements in Ohio, but Providence alone has at least two. They were integrated in the life of the church and community, and today they are among the leading citizens of that area and the state. Tabler Town in Athens County, and Piketon and Blackfork in Piketon County, Greenville is also in this category.
Among the recorded heroes that made history of Providence were Reverend J.M. Riddle, a Virginia born slave, who was sold from his mother at six months of age, but was united again after the end of slavery. He stood the advantage of Virginia schools and got a good education. He became the first Negro Magistrate in Virginia, and when his old master lost his mind, Reverend Riddle committed him to the asylum. He came to Ohio and in the capacity of minister and religious teacher and civic leader made life easier for thousands. He returned to Providence Association a few days for the Centennial and preached the centennial sermon. After returning to Pasadena, he was not heard from any more. We therefore take for granted that he went from there into the Paradise of God for a well earned rest.
Dr. Isaac V. Bryant, Virginia born and educated, said to be the greatest educator in the three state area. Fearless, he went into a mob in Huntington, where a Negro had been killed and prevented the mob from hanging the Negro up near the court house in Huntington. From Charleston, West Virginia to Huntington; Columbus, Ohio and all over you could see this dynamic leader and matchless preacher. In fact, history cannot deal justly with such a great man.
Reverend Patrick Williams, civic leader and church builder played well his part, but history has not been as kind to him as to some of the rest. Dr. A. Clayton Powell, Sr., born in Virginia, came to Ohio, was converted in the First Baptist Church of Rendville, Ohio. He wanted to marry a school teacher who snubbed him because he was illiterate, but that spurred him to go on and get an education. He graduated from Howard University and became one of the best known and most serviceable men in the Christian Ministry. He was the father of the late congressman, A. Clayton Powell from New York.
Reverend N.S. Merritt, one of the most saintly men who ever grace the ministry, was well educated, well disciplined, served many churches in the same capacity of the other heroes of faith. He built the Triedstone Baptist Church in Ironton, and was the first recording secretary of the Ohio Baptist General Association.
Reverend J. H. Rickman, well educated school teacher and preacher, great thinker and statesman served Providence for more than forty years in this capacity.
Reverend O.P. Wright, well educated, a keen analytical mind, a sage and philosophical preacher and executive all rolled up in one, was the Moderator of Providence longer than any other in its history. Under his leadership, the Association was tied to the state work. He brought many great men of stature into the Association to give the help and inspiration needed to carry Providence to the height. Reverend C.M. Payne was a great leader of the ministers. He led the Institute for many years and gave to the nation some great and notable women who have made their marks across this nation, Mrs. Dorothy Lewis Thomas and Mrs. Bernice Payne Borden.
Reverend A.A. Bass, Reverend A. C. Freeman, Reverend W. H. Hill, and Reverend D. L. Lathan all have left footprints on the sands of time that will never be erased. Among the laymen, there are three men that come to mind, James B. Davis, who got his start in Rendville and was the state president of the Sunday School Convention for many years. Mr. Aaron T. Reid, who was the president of the Providence Sunday School Convention for many, many years, and vice-president of the state Sunday School Convention. Mr. Reid was a great Christian man, inspiration and benefactor to thousands. He often went the whole length and breadth of Providence and the state carrying the news of the Sunday School mission. He was just a prominent in the white groups as in the Negro groups.
Mr. Leslie Brassfield, of Ironton was treasurer of the Association for many years. Will Wright of Glouster, whose steady character saved the church from wreck on many occasions. Monroe Tucker and Bob Taylor, two great musicians.
Among the many women, comes Mrs. Patsy Thomas, a great church worker, a youth leader, inspiration to hundreds, and worker in the district. Mrs. Ora Viney, of the First Baptist Church, Glouster, was Guild Supervisor and a wonderful worker for the Lord and His people. Mrs. Ethel Riley, who was pianist for the District Association and State Pianist for the State Sunday School Convention. Mrs. Katie Luckadoo, Hocking District President, was matchless in her energies, vision and enthusiasm for the State and for the Kingdom of God.
Mrs. Bertha Jackson stood so long in the capacity of President of the Women’s Work of the District. She also served a Vice President of the State Women’s Convention. Mrs. Maggie Ealy, who served in the Southern part of the District, and was faithful to God and her charge. Mrs. Lydia Hammond, of the Paint Creek Baptist Church in Gallipolis, was a most gifted and kindly woman. Aside from being the President of her District and her travels all over the state in the interest of the work, she wrought the great miracle in the Association one day, when the ministers were at odds and could find no grounds of reconciliation. Mrs. Hammond stood and sang as only she could do “Nothing Between”. The influence was so great that the Association broke into tears and all the estranged parties arose and shook hands. It could be rightfully said of her, “Blessed are the Peace Makers for they shall be called Sons of God.”
Mrs. Dorothy Lewis Thomas, President of the Providence Women’s Work, Teacher, B.T.U. Worker, Vice President of the State B.T.U. Convention, and Vice President of the State Women’s Work, is unique in every respect and beloved by all who know her. She is a demonstration of womanhood at its best.
Mrs. Bernice Borden, School Teacher, District Work, Teacher in the District, State and National Sunday School and B.T.U. Congress has traveled all over America in the interest of teaching religion. She is a Lecturer and exponent of the best that is in life. These two sisters were like salt of the earth and lights of the world not only for Providence, but for thousands, north, east, south and west. There were many more I am sure should be covered in this historical sketch but their records were not available to me but I am sure their records are in Heaven.

  • Church Info

    Providence Regular Missionary Baptist Association

    Correspondence Address
    6883 State Route 588
    Gallipolis, OH 45631
    (740) 245-5285 

    office@providenceohio.org