Entry Category: Religion - Starting with M

MacKrell, James “Uncle Mac”

James “Uncle Mac” MacKrell made a name for himself in Arkansas, first through radio and then through politics. Known as “Uncle Mac” to his adolescent radio audience and as a radio evangelical to others, he is perhaps most remembered for his two campaigns for governor of Arkansas, in 1948 and in 1970. James MacKrell was born in Houston, Texas, on August 8, 1902. He lived in Texas until 1929, and there he attended primary and secondary schools as well as Southern Methodist University in Dallas. After moving to Arkansas in 1929, MacKrell began his career in radio in Fayetteville (Washington County). In 1930, he moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) and accepted a job at KLRA. In 1934, MacKrell began …

Marylake Monastery

Founded in 1952 and located thirteen miles south of Little Rock (Pulaski County), Marylake Monastery is a residence for Discalced Carmelite friars of the Province of St. Thérèse, which includes Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The monastery is a novitiate for the province, which is a type of religious “boot camp” for young men entering the Carmelite Order of the Roman Catholic Church. As solitude is sought as an aid to contemplative prayer, the rural site was chosen because it offered a more secluded setting than the former novitiate within the urban setting of San Antonio. In 1895, brothers of the Tull family bought a 400-acre tract in East End (Saline County) and dammed Clear Creek to form a fifty-acre …

Mason, Charles Harrison

An outstanding preacher and the founder of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), the largest African-American Pentecostal denomination of the twentieth century, Charles Harrison “Bishop” Mason ordained both black and white clergy in the early 1900s, when few did so. Mason was baptized, licensed, ordained in Arkansas, and he preached his first sermon in Preston (Faulkner County). Charles Mason was born on September 8, 1866, on the Prior Farm near Bartlett, Tennessee. His parents, tenant farmers Jeremiah “Jerry” Mason and Eliza Mason, had been converted to Christianity while they were slaves and attended the Missionary Baptist Church. Mason had two brothers and one sister. When Mason was twelve, a yellow fever epidemic forced his family to move from Tennessee …

McDonald, Andrew Joseph

Andrew Joseph McDonald served as the fifth Roman Catholic bishop of Little Rock (Pulaski County)—a diocese that encompasses the boundaries of the state of Arkansas—from 1972 to 2000. During his tenure, the Catholic Church in Arkansas witnessed significant growth. In 1970, Catholics numbered 55,283 (or 2.8 percent) out of a total state population of 1,923,000. However, in the 1990s, the number of Catholics in Arkansas ballooned, and by 2000, they constituted 93,480 (or 3.4 percent) out of a total state population of 2,643,400. This growth was fed mainly by Catholics from other states retiring to Arkansas, coinciding with a Hispanic influx, primarily from Mexico. Andrew McDonald was born on October 24, 1923, in Savannah, Georgia, the eleventh of twelve children …

Meek, John Alexander

A doctor, minister, and landowner, John Alexander Meek was one of the leaders in establishing Baptist churches. He is credited by The Baptist Encyclopedia as being the founder of nearly all of the early Baptist churches in south Arkansas and north Louisiana. John Meek was likely born on April 16, 1791 (though some records show the years 1790 and 1792), in Laurens County, South Carolina, the sixth of seven children, three of whom became ministers and medical doctors. Details of his early education and medical training are not known. Meek married Sarah “Sally” Spraggins on December 12, 1809, in Abbeville District, South Carolina. Sally Meek died on December 13, 1825, in Laurens County; two of their five children also died …

Melody Boys Quartet

The Melody Boys Quartet was a Southern gospel music group based in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The Melody Boys Quartet officially disbanded on December 31, 2012, at the end of the group’s “Exit 63” tour, celebrating sixty-three years together. The group had its origins in the late 1930s when Herschel Foshee, aided by Joe Roper, created the Stamps-Baxter Quartet. The group was named after the music publishing company founded by V. O. Stamps and J. R. Baxter in 1926; the publisher was established in Texas but later opened an office in Pangburn (White County). The quartet’s original purpose was to sing and record the company’s publications exactly as printed and thus aid in selling Stamps-Baxter songbooks to interested musical groups …

Methodist Children’s Home

The Methodist Children’s Home, located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), began as a movement to create an orphanage in the denomination’s Little Rock Conference in 1897. The institution was incorporated on May 3, 1899, in Pulaski County and called the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The trustees were Colonel George Thornburgh, Dr. James Thomas, Reverend J. A. Cason, and George Culberhouse. Soon afterward, the stockholders of the Women’s Industrial Home at Fifteenth and Commerce Streets offered their property, consisting of three lots and a two-story building, to the orphanage incorporators. Mrs. L. R. Tabor and Mrs. Logan H. Roots were the property’s largest stockholders. Orphanage officials accepted the property, and the home began receiving children. The …

Methodists

Methodism came into what is now Arkansas at least two decades before statehood, just as it had been brought to North America at least two decades before the American Revolution. Led by John Wesley, an Anglican priest; his brother Charles; and a few others, Methodism had begun as a movement within the Church of England in the 1720s. Wesley never considered himself anything but an Anglican priest, but after the Americans had won their independence, his followers here demanded a new and separate church. Structure of the Church Wesley’s followers studied and worshiped as small independent classes or societies until the Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church in America was officially organized in Baltimore in 1784. At that time, the church had …

Millar, Alexander Copeland

Alexander Copeland Millar was a prominent Methodist minister, educator (elected one of the nation’s youngest college presidents), and publisher. Alexander Millar was born May 17, 1861, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, to William John Millar and Ellen Caven. His father engaged in the drug business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, until the great fire of April 10, 1845, destroyed at least one third of the city, including his drug business and his family’s home. Later, William Millar tried his hand at being an inventor. In 1867, he moved his family to Missouri, where he bought a farm near Brookfield in Linn County. In 1885, Alexander Millar graduated from the Methodist-affiliated Central College in Fayette, Missouri. Four years later, he earned an MA from Central …

Missionary Baptist College

In the decade before the Great Depression, Missionary Baptist College opened its doors in Sheridan (Grant County). This small denominational educational institution brought the advantages of higher education to what was then a rural area, and though it operated only briefly, it exerted profound influence upon Missionary Baptist education in the state. The churches of the State Association of Missionary Baptist Churches of Arkansas, organized in 1902, have long maintained a commitment to Christian education, especially the training of student ministers. Three years after its founding, the association took over the operation of Buckner College at Witcherville (Sebastian County) in western Arkansas. However, its location far from the center of the Landmark Baptist movement in the state hindered its support, …

Missionary Baptist Seminary

The Missionary Baptist Seminary and Institute serves as the oldest educational institution among Missionary Baptists in the state of Arkansas. The school fulfills the role of training pastors in the Bible and the foundational principles of pastoral work. The Missionary Baptist Seminary and Institute was started on April 1, 1934, when Antioch Baptist Church, located at 22nd and Brown streets in Little Rock (Pulaski County), passed a motion during a regular business meeting to start the school. The Great Depression led to the closing of the Missionary Baptist College of Sheridan (Grant County), and the new seminary was started in response. Conceived by pastor Benjamin Marcus Bogard and two other men, J. Louis Guthrie of Oklahoma and Conrad Nathan Glover, …

Monastery of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge

aka: Good Shepherd Home
The Monastery of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge, also known as the Good Shepherd Home, has provided education and childcare in Hot Springs (Garland County) since its inception in the early twentieth century. The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge, a Catholic order of nuns who operate the monastery daycare, attracted national and state attention in 2007 when most of their members were excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church for heresy; these constitute the only excommunications issued in the history of the Diocese of Little Rock. The monastery began with the arrival of five French-speaking Canadian nuns to Hot Springs from Ottawa on September 18, 1908. They came at the request of Bishop John Baptist Morris, who …

Morris, Elias Camp

Elias Camp Morris was an African-American minister who, in 1895, became president of the National Baptist Convention (NBC), the largest denomination of black Christians in the United States. Recognized by white Arkansans and the nation as a leader of the black community, he often served as a liaison between black and white communities on both the state and national level. He was also an important leader in the Arkansas Republican Party. Morris was born a slave on May 7, 1855, in Murray County, Georgia, the son of James and Cora Cornelia Morris. In 1864–1865, he simultaneously attended grammar schools in Dalton, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. From 1866, he attended school in Stevenson, Alabama, and in 1874–1875, he attended Nashville Normal …

Morris, John Baptist

John Baptist Morris was the third Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock, which still corresponds to the political boundaries of Arkansas. Known as a gifted orator, Bishop Morris served for four decades as Arkansas’s Catholic leader while the diocese underwent tremendous institutional growth. This was accomplished as the U.S. went through two world wars and a massive economic depression. John Baptist Morris was born on June 29, 1866, on farm near Hendersonville, Tennessee, the eldest son of John Morris and Anne Morrissey, both immigrants from Ireland. Morris received his first formal education at St. Mary’s College in Lebanon, Kentucky. It is not clear what degree Morris earned, for in 1887, he returned to live with his family, …

Mount Pleasant Methodist Church

Mount Pleasant Methodist Church is located on Highway 248 east of Waldron (Scott County). The church’s architectural style is not common in the area, making it a unique nineteenth-century church for Scott County. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 5, 1986. Methodist congregations were well established in Scott County as early as the 1820s. After the Civil War, Joseph L. Self brought his family to the Ouachitas from rural Georgia. They farmed and soon opened several small businesses on their property. By the 1890s, these consisted of a cotton gin, a saw and grist mill, three general stores, and a blacksmith shop. As the small-scale enterprises attracted other families to the area, it became …

Mount St. Mary Academy

Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock (Pulaski County), a Catholic school established in 1851, is Arkansas’s oldest educational institution still teaching today. The academy is the state’s only all-girl secondary school. Today, Mount St. Mary educates about 550 high school students. In late 1850, Bishop Andrew Byrne went to Ireland in search of an order of sisters to promote Catholic education in Arkansas. Upon contacting the Sisters of Mercy, Byrne was granted twelve members of the order. The women arrived in Little Rock on February 5, 1851, a date now known as “Founders Day.” The sisters lived in Byrne’s house on 2nd Street and then in a meeting house on Markham Street. Their “official” convent at 6th and Louisiana streets …

Mountain Meadows Massacre

In April 1857, near Harrison (Boone County), 120 to 150 settlers, mostly Arkansans, started a journey toward the promise of a better life in California. Before they could reach their destination, a party of Mormons and Indians attacked them while they camped on a plateau known as Mountain Meadows in southern Utah. All of the travelers died except for seventeen children, who were taken into Mormon homes. Beyond this information, little can be agreed upon, from the number of victims to who was responsible. About forty families, composed mainly of Arkansans from Marion, Crawford, Carroll, and Johnson counties, met at Beller’s Stand just south of Harrison. This migration was known by several names, including the Baker train and the Perkins train, …

Muslims

Islam is the world’s second-largest religion, with 7 million Muslims living in the United States and more than 2.1 billion all over the globe. The largest concentrations of Muslims can be found in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, with Indonesia being the largest Muslim country. The majority of Muslims began arriving in Arkansas in the 1960s as part of an exchange program with the universities in the state. Most of the students came from the Middle East, India, and Bangladesh. The universities had no formal student organizations at the time, but the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) …