Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church

Sept 2016

Located at Ohio’s southernmost point, the community of Burlington saw large numbers of both runaway and freed slaves during the decades before the Civil War. Around 1811 a small group of Baptists settled here and founded a small primitive church. In late 1849 a Virginia landowner named James Twyman freed many of his slaves at the time of his death and provided land for them near Burlington, Ohio. Forty-six former slaves settled near the church on land that they now officially owned. After joining the existing Baptist congregation they helped build a replacement church on Macedonia Ridge, from which the they took it’s name of “Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church”. The then newly built church is believed to be the first African-American established church in the state of Ohio. Among various other things, the congregation was also involved in assisting other slaves during era of the Underground Railroad. Qualifying both because of being historically significant in local history and architecture, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in February of 1978. The included photos were taken in spring of 2013, as the church sits now all of the windows are boarded up and the front door is sealed shut after strings of vandalism on the somewhat secluded property. A July 2016 local newspaper article states that a Lawrence County native named Calvin Vincent is currently seeking grants to restore the building and turn it into a museum.