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Tom Leatherwood
 
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Gray's Creek Baptist Church

This church is Shelby County's oldest African American congregation. It was founded by two free men of color, preachers Simon Price and Joseph "Free Joe" Harris and numerous slaves, right after its former occupant, a white congregation, vacated the premises around 1840. Historical evidence indicates that elder Price was the congregation's first pastor. The Baptists, in 1843, adopted the name Gray's Creek, after the then name of the road on which it is located. This church also served as a school for African Americans, beginning right after slavery ended in 1865, and continuing until the establishment of county schools in 1918.