The second oldest Baptist church in Lincoln county established in 1818 -- escaped passing into oblivion a number of years ago when one of the first settlers in this region opposed closing down the historic church.
At a meeting to disband Little Bahala Baptist church, Catherine Pierce Furr, "Aunt Katie" as she was known to relatives and friends, stood up and asked that those present to leave the building standing so she could worship in it, First one person then another said if Aunt Katie was coming back to worship they would too. Before long the idea to preserve the old church snow balled and the plans to disband were dropped.
In 1950, many years after Aunt Katie had made her famous "stand" and died, the old church had grown in numbers and prosperity to where it was decided a new building was needed. The 200 members built a handsome brick structure that contains eight Sunday school rooms and an auditorium -- all of which was paid for before the building was dedicated. Today the church is served by a full-time minister, the Rev. J. A. Barnhill.
In the most conspicuous spot in the church directly behind the pulpit; hangs a picture of old Aunt Katie with her cane. As of 2001 the painting hangs in the foyer; when I visited.
"The picture looks just like her, except she doesn't have her pipe in her mouth," recalled Marion Furr, 80-year-old grandson of the doughty old lady, Mr. Furr said he remembered lighting her pipe for her. She smoked home-made tobacco, he added.
Out in the cemetery alongside the church stands a marker to Catherine Pierce Furr born in 1792, died in 1882 and wife of Christian Furr. Other names noted on the tombstones in the graveyard included Hoggatt, Smith, Hutson, White and a host of Furrs -- names still common to this area.
It was Christian Furr with his brothers Jacob and Henry who first settled the Little Bahala section in the early 1800s. The brothers came here from North Carolina by way of Georgia. A land grant deed issued to the brothers by the U.S. government is dated 1816. That was just 11 years after the Choctaw Cession, when the Choctaw Indians ceded vast tracts of land to the federal government and from which lands the counties of Lincoln, Lawrence, Pike, Walthall, Marion and others were formed.
-Emily Furr b. 23 Jun. 1813 m. Geo. W. Dunn
-George Washington Furr b. 22 Oct. 1815 m. Eliz. Case, #2 Ida Bird
-William Furr b. 15 Nov 1821
-Elizabeth Matilda Furr b. 5 Mar. 1824 m. Jesse Marion Smith
-Mary or Polly Furr b. 1825 m. Benjamin Wade Smith
-Joel Harvey Furr b. 1825 m. Malona Newton, #2 Rebecca Jane Davis
-Joseph W. Furr b. 08 Oct. 1828 d. 1830
-Nancy Jane Furr b. 08 Mar. 1830 m. Joseph Mullen
-Francis Marion Furr b 31 Oct 1832 m Adeliza Temple
-Randall Pierce Furr b. 8 Apr. 1833 m. Mary Ann Smith, #2 Emma Susan Wray
-Lott Furr b. 1 Dec. 1834 m. Martha Maxwell
-Christian LaFayette Furr b. 31 Jan. 1834 m. Amelia Melvina Smith
-James Monroe Furr b. 26 Nov. 1838 m. Nancy Maria Hoggatt
Copy of a newspaper article from a Brookhaven (MS) Newspaper of unknown date concerning Catherine (Pierce) Furr, titled SAVED BY AUNT KATIE ~ GROWS AND PROSPERS by JOHN CREWS ~ BROOKHAVEN --
This article was shared on her Find-A-Grace Memorial #50331874