Celebrating the Past…Cultivating the Future!

One hundred years have passed since the church now known as Jackson Memorial Baptist Church first opened its doors.  The location, the building and the people have all changed since that time.  But one thing has remained constant since the beginning.  The one thing that hasn’t changed in the last century is God’s faithfulness.

We remember with reverence the men and women who have served as active members of the JMBC community over the years.  But all glory, honor and praise belong to Jesus Christ.  He has worked in and through the members of this church to touch countless lives in Portsmouth and Chesapeake, VA and many others around the world through JMBC’s mission efforts.  The hand of God has been guiding and protecting and empowering this body since its inception.

That future begins now.  As we meditate on God’s faithfulness to us through the last century, may we be inspired to show that same faithfulness to God and His family at Jackson Memorial.  May we continue this faith journey in such a way that we prove worthy of our great heritage.  And may all who come behind us find us faithful.

“Jackson Memorial Baptist Church is a wonderful church family where God’s word has always been preached. The church is a praying, loving, caring, friendly, mission-minded church. It has always been there for me through every season of life.”

-Della Hobday

The Hobday family has been a part of JMBC for 99 of the church’s 100 years.


In the latter part of 1904, at the suggestion of Rev. W.F. Fisher, then pastor of the Fourth Street Baptist Church, the trustees of that church and South Street Baptist Church, feeling a need for a Southern Baptist mission in Prentis Place, purchased two lots on the southeast corner of Elm Avenue and Lincoln Street for the purpose of erecting a building for such a mission.  There being some discussion over the large number of trustees, the South Street members turned over their portion of the purchase to the Fourth Street Church.

In 1905, the Fourth Street trustees purchased the one room Presbyterian Chapel on the southeast corner of Prentis Avenue and Randolph Street for the sum of $1000 and sold the property first bought for a mission.

A Baptist Sunday School was started in the fall of 1905 with Mr. Luther Brunson of the Fourth Street Baptist Church having charge of the work.  Sunday School was held every Sunday afternoon and a prayer service was held every Thursday night.  Some months later in the early part of 1906, the Prentis Place Baptist Church (later JMBC) was organized.  The first Sunday worship service as a congregation was held on January 11, 1906.  With financial aid from the State Mission Board, Rev. Kelly Hobbs was called as the church’s first pastor.  There were 18 charter members.  Most of them coming from the Fourth Street Baptist Church.

Charter Members

  • Ashby, Mrs. M. J.
  • Bassett, Mr. W. H.
  • Bassett, Mrs. W. H.
  • Berryman, Mr. H. L.
  • Berryman, Mrs. Ella
  • Brinkley, Fred L.
  • Brinkley, Mrs. Sarah L.
  • Buckwalter, Mrs. C. W.
  • Bunting, Mrs. G. T.
  • Carr, Mr. John H.
  • Coleman, Mr. H. M.
  • Coleman, Mrs. H. M.
  • Dozier, Mrs. May
  • Etheridge, Mr. John J.
  • Etheridge, Mrs. John J.
  • Hannace, Mr. Jesse
  • Hannace, Mrs. Jesse
  • White, Mrs. Nannie Etheridge

The last surviving charter member, passed away on January 11, 1978

Naturally the progress of this small church in a new community was slow.  But under Rev. Hobbs’ leadership, the membership grew to about 60 members by the time he resigned as pastor in November 1907.

(The above information was taken from a historical document that was published in celebration of the church’s 75th anniversary in 1981)


Jackson Memorial is indebted to its pastors for their hard work and leadership throughout our first 100 years.  These men were faithful shepherds answering God’s call to minister to His flock in our congregation.  We have been blessed by their dedicated service.

List of Pastors:

Rev. Kelly Hobbs (1906-1907)
Rev. E.S. Pierce (1907-1911)
Rev. T.Y. Seymour (1911-1914)
Rev. J. B. Jackson (1914-1919)
Rev. B.F. Robinson (1920-1922)
Rev. R. G. Kendrick (1923-1926)
Rev. I.S. Harrell (1927-1928)
Rev. E.G. McGehee (1929-1935)
Dr. J. L. Carrick (1935-1937)
Rev. D.S. Dempsey (1937-1943)
Rev. J.W. Wood (1943-1972)
Rev. C.A. Wiseman (1973-1976)
Rev. Lloyd H. Atkinson (1977-1980)
Dr. O. Eugene Mims (1981-1983)
Dr. R. Scott Good (1984-1986)
Rev. Herman H. Mauch (1986-1989)
Dr. Albert A. Peverall, Jr. (1989-2004)
Rev. H.B. Jackie Allen (2004-2008)
Rev. Mark Reon (2008-2013)
Rev. Tag Kilgore (2013-2015)
Dr. Thomas Larson (2015-Present)