Mount Zion Baptist Historical Church & Cemetery

Mount Zion Baptist Historical Church & Cemetery, Macon: Address, Phone Number, Mount Zion Baptist Historical Church & Cemetery Reviews: 5/5

Mount Zion Baptist Historical Church & Cemetery

Mount Zion Baptist Historical Church & Cemetery
Points of Interest & Landmarks • Cemeteries • Churches & Cathedrals
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

2 reviews
Very good

Burlington, NC5,575 contributions
Jul 2016 • Family
I know plenty about this Church because I was able to finally visit it, after hearing about it for over 40 years of my Life, from my Grandmother on my Mother's side. Her Parents were born very close to when Slavery was over, but her Grandparents were Slaves, and everyone on her side comes from that small town of Macon, NC, in Warren County, North Carolina.

The name of the Slave Owners for this Town back in the day, were the surname of Harris, which was also my Grandmother's maiden name. The town is very small and so in most cases many people in that small town of Macon are all related in some way or another.

After Slavery ended, the Harris Slave owners helped their Slaves to receive this current property for this Church, named Mount Zion Baptist. The name of the street that the Church is on, called Harristown, is also named after the many Harris families that were very populated in this small town of Macon, and they also owned the land in the area.

Although the Church has gone through some renovation from back when it first started in the 1800's, the Cemetery has been left quite original. The Church is still with an "old" feel to it, and the Bathroom's certainly show an old style. If you visit this Church's Cemetery, you will see the many different types of Tombstones, like you have not ever seen before, because some of the Graves were Slaves who did not have much back in those days, so they were creative to mark the Graves. If you truly love History, you will spend your time roaming through this Cemetery, and get the sense of what it was like back in its day, the atmosphere sets you back in time. A lot of untouched Graves that are very very old.

Slavery was not a pretty thing to have had done here in America, but nonetheless, it is very much a big part of our American History. The Harris family have a very interesting and direct route that led them here to America, and landing them here in this small town of Macon, NC, which is still around to this day, and the County is on the Historical Registry, but it is not a fancy town at all, it is pretty much left as it was, even in some spots abandoned, and you can imagine how life was back then for the residents. This place has just as much history as Jamestown and Williamsburg, VA, but it has not been fixed up "Yet" as a tourist attraction, so it is a hidden Gem of History. Some of the residents that still remain in this area, find it comfortable to leave it as is, but some would like to upgrade the area.

The original Harris family for this area of Macon, North Carolina comes from England, and every route and step that they took is known and traced. It goes as far back with the first Harris on record named Michael Harris, born in 1400, in Rockford, Essex, England. Michael married Susanna, and she is born in the same area as her husband Michael. They had a son that they named John Harris, born 1425, who was also born in the same area of England as his parents. John Harris married Anne Hartford. John Harris & Ann Hartford, had a son named William Harris, born also in Essex, England. William Harris married Anne Jernegan, and they had a son named Arthur Harris, born in 1475, in Essex, England. However, there was something that happened to this Harris family back in time, because they all died the same time back in 1480, in England, including the Grandparents, but only little Arthur Harris remained alive, at age 5. Arthur Harris went on to continue the Harris family in England. The Harris families remained in England throughout the time, up until they went under the Charters to help Colonize Virginia under the Crown. They were involved in the 3rd Charter of the Virginia Company of London, also known as the London Company of Virginia. There are many names that continue the family, some of which kept getting repeatedly named after the ones before them in the family.

The Harris family arrived in Virginia back in the 1600's. They came in through Charles City, Virginia and Isle of Wight, Virginia. The first marriage on American soil was in 1610, in Virginia, for John Harris, who was born in 1588, in Essex, England, and he married Dorothy Calcott, who was born in 1590, in Lymbrey, England. Although John Harris and Dorothy Calcott got married in Virginia, they returned to England and had their son, Thomas Harris, born in 1614, in Kent, Essex, England, but they returned to Virginia with their son. Their son Thomas Harris, married Alice West, who was born in 1615, in Charles City, Virginia. The first Harris born in the USA, was their son, also named Thomas Harris, born 1636, in Charles City, Virginia.

The Harris families remained in Virginia until they migrated over to Warren County North Carolina. The person to migrate first of the family was the wife of Robert Harris, who was born in 1674, in Isle of Wight, Virginia, his wife, Ann Fulgham, who was born in 1683, in Isle of Wight, Virginia, and they married in 1710, in Isle of Wight, Virginia, but when her husband Robert Harris died, in 1740, in Isle of Wight, Virginia, Ann Fulgham (Harris) moved to Warren County, North Carolina, and she later died in Warren County, NC, in 1759, they had a total of 8 children, but the children were born in Virginia, not in North Carolina, because their mother did not move until after her husband died, although her children did go with her to live in Warren County, NC, and they later died in that area as well. One of their children was the first to marry in North Carolina. James Harris, born in 1720, born in Isle of Wight, Virginia, married Mary Cole Claiborne, born 1730, Isle of Wight, Virginia, they married in 1753, Granville, NC. They had 4 children in total.

The first born Harris in North Carolina was James Henry Harris, born in 1758, Granville County, NC, and he married Mary Smilley, born in 1767, in Warren County, NC. They had 9 children in total. James Henry Harris and his wife Mary Smilley are the first noted to have owned any Slaves within the Family, in Warren County, Macon, NC. However, James Henry died in 1817, in Warren County, Macon, NC. Also, one of their sons died named Daniel Harris, before his father's death, in 1816, in Warren County, Macon, NC. Daniel was married to a lady named Polly Nicholson, making her a Widow in the Harris family. Also, one of James Henry Harris and Mary Smilley (Harris) sons, named Randolph Harris, was away in the Creek War at the time. Randolph joined Captain Michael Molton's Regiment, for the Creek War. So, when James Henry Harris died, all of his Slaves were split up among his children, 8 of them only, included in this 8 of children was their daughter in-law Polly, who received the portion of Slaves that her husband Daniel would have received. His wife Mary Smilley (Harris) did not take any Slaves, but instead moved to the Tennessee area, perhaps to be near her son Randolph. The Slaves were put into something called "Slave Lots" for each child. Some of the children that received Slaves were young, one was James Young Harris, born September 2, 1801, he was 19 years old at that time and not yet married. James Young Harris, lived to be in his 80's, he Died on February 4, 1886, in Warren County, Macon, NC.

The Church, Mount Zion Baptist, gains it's inheritance from the children of James Young Harris. After receiving his portion of Slaves from his Father, James Young Harris finally married in 1826, in Warren County, Macon, NC, to Ann Nancy Brown, born 1805. Ann Nancy Brown (Harris) died earlier than her husband James Young Harris, she died in 1853, but they had 3 children together. Their children were: A girl named Winifred Harris, born in 1827, but died early in 1843, and another girl named Martha Jane Harris, born 1832, and a son, named James Henry Harris, who they called "Jim", born 1836, and died in 1898. James Henry "Jim" Harris, was the only one to begin a new trend in his Harris last name, he put an extra "S" on the end, thus making his name Harriss. There is evidence of Citizens with the Harris named spelled in this way, with 2 "s" on the end, but they are still the same family.

Also, it is only verbally noted that James Young Harris, the Slave Owner, did make children with his Slave, one of his Slaves was a girl named Harriet Harris, she got the name from being owned by him. There were 2 boys born on his Plantation by Harriet, and the Boys were very fair skinned: one named, Alfred J. Harris, born 1843, and one named Thomas Richard "Dick" Harris, born 1850.

James Henry "Jim" Harriss, the son of Slave Master James Young Harris, was very close to Alfred J. Harris, who was the son of the Slave Harriet, being that they were born kind of close in age, and his Father, James Young Harris, was the Slave Owner of Alfred's Mother Harriet.

James Henry "Jim" Harriss is the one that is said to have helped Alfred J. Harris get a co-signing, or something of the sorts, for the Mount Zion Baptist Church, as well as helped him have some land. I am told that Alfred J. Harris was one of the first Deacon's of the Church of Mount Zion Baptist.

Both Alfred J. Harris and his Brother, Thomas Richard "Dick" Harris, are buried there on the grounds of Mount Zion Baptist Church. Alfred's grave is currently nicely marked with a nice Tombstone, because it was renewed, but still it is not found exactly where his Brother Thomas Richard "Dick" Harris's Grave resides in the Cemetery, but he is also certainly buried there, because the family notes it as being so. Both Alfred and Richard were neighbors in Macon, NC, and never left that area, they married there and raised their children there in Macon, NC.

Also, James Henry "Jim" Harriss was married 3 times, the names of his wives were: Sarah Noel Egerton, born 1834-1859, and they had 1 child, Emma Brown Harriss, born 1856, who married John Jesse "JJ" Myrick, then next was his wife, Mary Davis, born 1845-1860, she died early and they had no children, then he married, Mary "Mollie" Elizabeth Shearin, born 1844.

James Henry "Jim" Harriss, married "Mollie" right when President Lincoln was killed, they married on April 25, 1865. James Henry "Jim" was also a Confederate Soldier, and he took his "Slave" / 1/2 Brother Alfred J. Harris with him into that Confederate War as a Soldier back then. Both James "Jim" and "Mollie" had 6 children together, and they are the family with the extra "S" on the Harris name.

Let me also say for the Record regarding the American History of the Harris family, relating back to this Church, as noted above, that James Henry Harris, Sr. (the one who first had the slaves, who died in 1817) was also a Revolutionary Soldier, he was a member of Captain Clement Hall's Company, 2nd North Carolina Battalion. On February 6, 1778, he was listed as being in the Hospital. He married his wife Mary Smilley on October 8, 1784, in Warren County, North Carolina, as already noted.

As you can see this Church holds a very deep past in our American History. The Harris family has a straight line coming from England, and into Virginia, and settling hugely in Warren County, Macon, NC. The Slaves that were owned back in the day by them also remained in the area, and some of the descendants still remain in the area to this day, but many have branched out and relocated their families, and married other names, in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, etc.

The Church has a very nice open Banquet Room, and they sometimes cook tasty food in the Kitchen there for some of their events. On the Walls of the Banquet Room are each and every Minister that the Church has ever had, going all the way back to the 1800's when it first began, which began right after Slavery ended, up until the present day. It is truly like visiting a Museum when you visit this Church.

By the way, Thomas Richard "Dick" Harris is my Great Great Grandfather, whom was the child and slave of James Young Harris. My Great Grandparents, all come from Macon, NC, from my Mother's family, and I have heard the stories for many years about this Town, and the connections it lends, in Macon, North Carolina. My family took a DNA Test, and a lot of research was done by many family members,, and the DNA took my family to England. We knew we were Slaves of the Harris Family, and so we were searching for the African connection, but the DNA led us to England, and the deeper search of where it all began, which was with Michael Harris, born in 1400, in Essex England. It is amazing that a history and a family can go that far back and note every step of the way here in America, and the greatest thing is that the history of the Church Mount Zion Baptist holds a ton of history throughout the time for that area, beginning from when Slavery ended and the Church was officially started, and hosting such an ancient Cemetery. Yes, it may seem not best kept in the Cemetery, and a bit poor, but there is a certain pureness that you feel when you are there looking at all the Graves in the Yard. It is very appropriate to have the Street named after the Harris name indeed.

The Church welcomes all guests who would like to attend any event or Service that they host, and they have weekly Service of Worship, with the current Pastor Nolan Davis, who is also historically Kinship to the Church as well, which makes it even more special to have him Minister the Church. The Church also has some extra events throughout the Year, and everyone is welcome, whether you only want to come and see the place and experience it all, whether you are of the Faith or not, all are Welcomed there. There is no cost to visit the Church when it is open, but it is best to call first or inquire fist on the Calendar of Events for the Church so that it will be open for you to enter. Donations are of course accepted and appreciated at this Church.

The Town of Macon, North Carolina itself holds a ton of History, and there is also a Museum in the area, but I have not seen it personally yet. There is a History Marker for Nathaniel Macon Home, from 1915 - 1976), and the Macon Depot, from 1839. Hopefully, in the future the entire Town of Macon, NC, which is small, will become the next Tourist attraction for those citizens who absolutely love History, and visiting such places. Yes, this is part of my Roots, but I couldn't help but to share it here on TripAdvisor, because even if I was not Rooted here, I found it very interesting because I do love History and want to share the experience. I always look for places of History to visit.
Written July 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gloria D
3 contributions
Dec 2015 • Family
Amazing times at this church for homecomings, Sunday school, and regular services. A church that continues to reflect the family values and hard work of its community. Pastor Nolan and First Lady J. continue to carry on this tradition. They have fortified the foundation of the building and brought beauty into this area once again. Oh, and Pastor Nolan has very inspirational sermons taken directly from the Bible. . .Come see for yourself. They have services every 2nd and 4th Sunday.
Written July 22, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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