Second Baptist Church

Second Baptist Church 428 S Frederick 09-03-2015The small white church at the corner of South Frederick and Jefferson has a sign on the front that says “The Bridge Outreach Center.”

A Missourian Bicentennial feature by The Rev. Wesley T. Tillman in 1976 said “Although the Second Baptist Church congregation erected its present church building at 428 South Frederick in 1864, it had been organized in 1867 as the Missionary Baptist Church.

First Baptist Church became all-white

Site of First Baptist Church on N Lorimier 04-15-2011Prior to the Civil War, members of the First Baptist Church (which had been organized in 1834) who owned slaves or had black servants encouraged them to attend that church, and blacks held membership in that congregation.

After the war, however, matters changed. Some accounts say that the black Baptists decided they wanted to meet separately from the members of the “Mother Church.” Other accounts say they were “lettered out” (released from membership by being given a written statement) of the First Baptist Church, which then became all-white.

For eight or nine years, the black Baptists met in the homes of members of the congregation. Then, in 1873, a lot at the northwest corner of South Frederick and Jefferson streets was purchased from Mrs. Amanda Giboney Brown (presumably the widow of Dr. Wilson Brown, who was serving as lieutenant-governor of Missouri at his death in 1855).


I had a little trouble sifting through Rev. Tillman’s account, so here’s how I interpret it: the First Baptist Church, the first Protestant church in Cape Girardeau, organized in 1834, originally welcomed black slaves and servants and actually allowed them to join the congregation. After the Civil War, they either chose to leave or were “lettered out” of the “Mother Church.” If I had to guess, it was probably the latter.

That’s when the small church on the corner of South Frederick and Jefferson was founded.


7 Replies to “Second Baptist Church”

  1. I hold out hope that someone will have a photo of my 3rd gr-grandmother Cecelia (Celie) Wilson who was a Baptist, freed slave woman and was reported to be the oldest citizen of Cape when she died in 1911. She was a small built, mulatto woman, mother of John Brown (well respected negro man in the city)and Emma Wilson. Often there are archives in these old churches, with group photos naming the members. If anyone possibly has any photos from the church that could identify Grandma Celie, I would be undyingly appreciative.

    Celeste Stanton

  2. This building is now owned by LaCroix United Methodist Church and is used as an outreach facility for that area of Cape Girardeau. They may own it in connection with another church, not sure about that. I always thought it was such a sweet building and I’m glad it is still being used.

  3. My mother Pat Timmerman lived down the street on middle. She could recall the the all black choir singing in that neighbor hood in the 1930s. She said that their singing sounded beautiful as she smiled.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *