St. Mark Baptist Church

Marker Name

St. Mark Baptist Church

Marker Dedicated

October 31, 2021

Marker Sponsor

West Baton Rouge Historical Association

Marker Location

6025 Section Road
Port Allen, LA 70767

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Marker Text

St. Mark Baptist Church was erected in 1877, in Chamberlin. St. Mark had its beginnings as a barge structure for 44 years when pulled from the Mississippi River and taken by wagons to this spot. Over 150 members from Smithfield, Orange Grove, Winterville, and Erwinville Plantations started the Church. Cornerstone contains the names G. McQuillon; J. Tackneau; L. Payne; P. Huntley; C. Payne; E. Savage;  and R. Williams. St. Mark served as the first school for many black people in the area. Louise Viola Logan was the only teacher for all grades. To date, there have been 9 pastors, who have ministered the members from the north part of West Baton Rouge Parish. The Church serves the community as a voting site, storm shelter, community meeting place, and food pantry. Originally purchased from the Devall Family and paid by member lease for 100 years. St. Mark has saved many souls and buried many in its two cemeteries, Ashland and Orange Grove (donated by the Laws family). Ashland Cemetery, located behind the church, was donated by the Henry Devall Family. Members of the Devall family are buried along with black members of the community and St. Mark Baptist Church.