The Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1873by a few concerned ex-slaves and sons of ex-slaves who, underthe leadership of Rev. D. T. Carroway, used almost nothing toMake a start. It stands on West Maple Street, Fayetteville, Tennessee which was formerly called Mud Street because the streets were not paved at that time.
The land on which the church now stands was purchased on July 28, 1873 from D. P. Holman for a consideration of $250.00. The Trustees were Charles Taylor, Jack Williams, and James Rogers.
Through the years from 1873 to 2011, there have been several additions to both the building and the surrounding land. The most recent acquisition was the Claiborne property beside the church which is used for a parking/recreation area. Along with the parcels of land purchased came three buildings, one of which is now used as a barber shop operated by Paulette Edmondson. The other structures were demolished to provide church parking and a recreation facility (pavilion).
The Mt. Zion M.B. Church, as other black churches, experienced tragedies in the early days. The older building was burned in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s causing extensive damage. An open letter to the public from Pastor D. T. Carroway was issued requesting donations for the rebuilding of the church.
The church has been fortunate to have had as its Ministers suchdedicated men as the Reverends D. T. Carroway, Filmore, Shelton, Eslick, Mitchell, C. H. Smith, Tillam, Smith, H. K. Kennedy, David Howard, Edgar Craigler, William C. McCucheon, Tate, William Lee, G. T. Howard, and J. W. Gooden. Rev. Gooden is well remembered not only for his wonderful messages, but also for his wife, Bessie, who had outstanding musical ability. Other excellent Pastors included F. J. Lowe, A. Hover, and Hicks.
Rev. Simmie Sanders became Pastor in 1950 and served for 30 years and 8 months. He was very active in community affairs. Rev. Sanders and his wife worked faithfully with organizing and developing youth activities. During his tenure, Fayetteville’s two ministerial associations became one and he served as the first president. He had worked hard to bring about this merger. Rev. Sanders’ other area of interest was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in which he played a dominant role.
On May 29, 1981, Rev. Gary Ross Hill, a native of Cowan, Tennessee in Franklin County was called as an interim pastor. In August of the same year, he was elected as pastor for a “one-year” term. This was his first pastorate and he was, at 29 years old, the youngest minister to serve this church, according to church records.
Under the leadership of Rev. Hill, several expansion programs have been realized. A Board of Trustees, consisting of a chairman and four members was instituted for improved financial management. Three women have served as Superintendent of Sunday School, Beulah Dumas, Ann G. Eady, and Irene McDonald, serves presently.
The position of Minister of Music was created and we were very fortunate to fill this position with one of our members, Jesse B. Winlock. A native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Mr. Winlock was employed by the Lincoln County Department of Education, teaching both instrumental and vocal music in several county schools to include West End High School and Lincoln County High School. His music students are serving as Church Music Directors in many local churches today.