Culture & the Arts

Montesoma Indian Baptist Church Celebrates 125th Anniversary

By Eddie Mouss

Montesoma Baptist Church

Montesoma Baptist Church – September 22, 2012, Haydenville, OK

On September 22-23, 2012, Montesoma Baptist Church celebrated its 125th anniversary of service. A fish fry dinner was held on Saturday with an evening service and ceremony. The Master of Ceremonies was Joesph Berryhill. Also on Saturday was a presentation of the history of the church as well as a reading of the list of past and present pastors, deacons, women’s leaders and missionaries from Montesoma. Over sixty military service men and women from Montesoma were also acknowledged at the celebration.

The following is a history of Montesoma Baptist Church that was included in the booklet commemorating the anniversary compiled by Florence King.

“Montesoma Indian Baptist Church began holding services in 1848 and was formally established in 1887. The first church began west of Tuskegee Store which is northwest of the present church (date unknown). During the early stages of development, Okfuskee Baptist Church became the mother church of Montezuma.

In the late 1960’s or 1970’s Montezuma’s name was changed to what was determined to be the correct spelling and pronunciation- Montesoma. Members believed that the church was originally named after the pastor Martin, who was called Mate’ and his wife, Somv, therefore Montesoma was most appropriate.

Some of the charter members of the newly established church were Louisa Scott, Hoye Micco, Pefiney Micco, Cheemake, Lizaoce and Arnie Chupo, Wilson Beaver, Talsa Yahola, Takusoce and Lvme. After the death of Mate’ the church had no pastor and was abandoned until, a Methodist preacher the only preacher in the area, was called to Bro. Thompson King’s Home to hold services. Through these services members were able to hear the word of God and quench their thirst for more knowledge of Christ.

Women of Montesoma Church Circa 1950

Women of Montesoma Church Circa 1950 – (L-R & Camp #s) Ernestine Marshall #9, Georgia Kaney #6, Minnie King #9, Ada Scott #3, Lousana Stoddard #1, Ida Burgess #6, Edie Keys #6, Annie King #2, Gladys Mouss #1, Bertha Yahola #7

Deacons and members attending the services became concerned because the preacher was a Methodist and the church members were Baptist. Recognizing the need for support from a Baptist Church, one of the deacons and a member (names unknown) went to Greenleaf Indian Baptist Church to ask for assistance. Upon hearing the need of the members, Greenleaf felt a responsibility to assist Montesoma in reviving its church.

In the early years missionaries were assigned districts with Rev. John McIntosh being assigned to Montesoma. He instructed the deacons to look for a place to build the church house. in his mind he had already selected the present site through a higher power, but asked the deacons to make a decision on a site for the church through prayer. Even with the constant prayers of the deacons, they were unable to make a decision on a site and under the guidance of Rev. McIntosh, the site of which he had a vision was chosen- the present site was established in 1887. The first church building was transported from Muskogee Oklahoma to the campus where we are today.

Later church members began to see a need for a new church and agreed to demolish the first church and construct a new one for its growing membership; it was completed in 1906. The third and present church was rebuilt in 1966. The aim of Montesoma Baptist Church is Christian witnessing through Church organizations which is Sunday School, Discipleship, Brotherhood, WMU, and Music. Montesoma is the mother church of Mekusukee Baptist Church which started as a mission in 1855 and was dedicated by Montesoma in 1856.

With the commitment and support of its members through many generations, Montesoma Baptist continues to grow, thrive and provide a beacon of spirituality and Christianity for all who seek the Lord. Today, we are happy to share our 125th year history with each and everyone. Mvto.”

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Montesoma Indian Baptist Church Celebrates 125th Anniversary

  1. My family belonged to Montesoma when it was pronounced Montezuma. My Uncle and Aunt were Ben and Bertha Porter, my Dad was Jasper Porter, and my Aunts were Esther Porter Sheahart, and Hazel Porter. I am named after my grandfather. Have not been to the church house in 55 years or so. My Aunt Bertha and my Aunt Hazel are buried in the Church’s cemetery. I am related to the Knight family and others. God bless you all as you work for the Lord. Listen for the Trumpet and the Shout. We will all meet one day.

    Posted by James Elliott Porter | July 15, 2017, 2:41 am
    • Hello Mr. Porter. My name is Eddie Mouss. My parents are Ed and Sharon Mouss and my grandparents were Gladys and Albert Mouss. My great granddad was William F. Stoddard who was the pastor for almost fifty years at Montesoma. My mom, Sharon, said she knew your dad, Jasper, when they attended Chilocco Indian School. My dad knows everyone you mentioned in your comment.

      I too remember when it was pronounced Montezuma. It was interesting to find out how the church’s name came to be.

      Thank you so much for your comment. God bless.

      Posted by Tribal Town Radio | August 1, 2017, 11:32 am

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