Once upon a time a person could mail a letter to a loved one in Church Hill, Mississippi using zip code 39055. That is until September 30th, 1992 when Mr. Adolph Wagner, Jr. who had served as the Church Hill Postmaster from December 30, 1963 closed the Post Office doors for the last time. Now a simple unincorporated town in Jefferson County, Church Hill, Mississippi is located up Hwy 553 about 14 miles north of Natchez. But that is the end of the story, let's go back to the beginning.
The genesis of the Church Hill community was a group of people known as the "Old Maryland Settlement" that moved to the Jefferson County area from Maryland after the Revolutionary War. For many years the town was simply known as the "Maryland Settlement" until the name was eventually changed to Church Hill around 1820.
If you drive through Church Hill, you would obviously think that the name comes from the big church on the hill, but it seems that the community name was established long before the church you see today was even built. The first church of the community, known as "Christ Church" was constructed of logs in 1820 and was located on Fairchild’s Creek, with the current structure not being built until 1858. This church was part of one of the oldest Episcopal groups that dated from the 1790's and its design was copied from the old country churches in England. Looking through the windows I could see the large beautiful beams, and I read that in the slave balcony you can still see the names of the founding members where they wrote their name with a turkey quill on one of the beams.
Around 1870 came the local goods/commissary store. I couldn't find any names for who ran the store from 1870 to 1927, but several records show that the store was run by the Wagner family from 1927 to 1997 with many Church Hill residents describing the store as the community's unofficial city hall.
So that brings us back to today. Today residents meet in the "Christ Church" once a month and the Wagner store is now the focus of a restoration project led by the Church Hill Preservation Trust, affiliated with the Historic Natchez Foundation. A push is on to not only save the old building but to transform it into an educational museum celebrating the area's history.
Now that I have researched Church Hill, I discovered that there is much more to see. There are several antebellum homes that I didn't get to. I hope to get back and see them soon. Here are a few more photos.
High Resolution Photos of Church Hill
Sources for this blog
Jefferson County Website
The Free Library