19th Century church in Chatham listed on National Historic Registry

(reprint of Monroe New-Star article by Ian Robinson published on 11/22,22)

A historic church and cemetery in Jackson Parish sitting on the outskirts of Jackson Parish retain a rich history that dates back to the 19th century.

The Brooklyn Church and Cemetery, located along Mariah Road, about 5 miles southeast of Chatham, represents an almost perfectly preserved example of an austere turn-of-the-century country frame church. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Aug. 2, 1984.

The church has a simple pitched roof form with four deep bays. A central transom double door on the gable end frames the entrance to the sanctuary. The rear gable end features two windows and a second door. According to the National Register of Historic Places records, the windows are six over six and the doors are of the six-panel “Cross and Bible” type. Detailing is simple with narrow gauge clapboards and plan door and window frames with molded tops.

The plain flush board interior culminates in a slightly raised balustraded platform with a three-part pulpit-lectern. At the time of the church’s addition to the National Register, the floorboards were noted to be original.

The history of the Brooklyn Church can be traced back to 1857 when a wagon train of settlers from Georgia camped at the church site and decided to settle in the area. According to church history, there was already a small log church at the site, but the settlers erected a new building soon after their arrival. Neither of these earlier structures is extant; the present building dates from 1902.

Regular services at Brooklyn were discontinued in 1939, but homecoming services are held every year. Upkeep of the church is held by the Brooklyn Church Preservation Society, Inc.

The present cemetery has been in use at least since the arrival of the settlers in 1857. Almost all of the tombstones date from 1860 throughout the early 20th century, according to the National Register of Historic Places records.

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