“A Brief History”
As we look back to those early years when Mount Level history was in the making by our forefathers and mothers, let us pause during this Homecoming Celebration to review some of the events and honor some of the heroes of that era. Much of the early history prior to the Church evacuation in 1942 is shrouded in obscurity because few written records were preserved for later generations.
The first Mt. Level Church was established in Butner (Granville County), North Carolina in 1864. The building was a small cabin, which provided sanctuary for 50 members. About 24 years later (1888) the cabin was replaced by a large frame building that had wooden plank seats. The front door was its only entrance. In those days services were held one Sunday each month; however Sunday School was held every Sunday.
The church building was located deep in the woods near the Durham-Granville County line, east of the Flat River Dam. Its location was well off the beaten path causing its existence to be little known to the average traveler passing through. According to information given to survivors, at the time, the church was a huge, well-kept building surrounded by a large spacious church yard. Like most churches built during that era, a small cemetery was included as part of the church property. Many names of deceased members etched on tombstones in the cemetery, includes: Bullock, Daye, Evans, Harris, Hayes, Hopkins, Norwood and Tabron.
During its early existence the names of faithful workers and Deacons within Mt. Level consisted of John Rhodes, Jim Cocks, Andrew Daniels, Andrew Holman, Edman Jefferies, Dennis Mitchell, Tom Bullock and Johnny Hopkins. Names that are remembered generations later.
A few years prior to 1942, the Government decided to build an army base in the area of south Granville, north Durham and southeast Person Counties. Many churches were affected by this decision; causing the churches to either disband or relocate. Only two Black Churches (Mount Level and Mount Vernon) survived and later moved to another location. Some members living during that time believe that Mount Vernon and Mount Level were organized around the same time. However, the current membership recognize the date of Mount Level’s organization as 1864. Mount Vernon gives its date of constitution as 1872.
During the early stages of Mount Level’s evacuation the church remained in the Camp Butner area. Mount Level held its last service at the Camp Butner site on the first Sunday in April 1942. At the conclusion of this service the Church packed up and left after dismantling the frame building. The structure was loaded on a wagon bed and moved to the lot on Hebron Road in Durham NC.
Services were held at Cameron Grove Church from February 1942 until May 1944. On the first Sunday in May 1944 Mount Level held its first service, at its current location. The Rev. J. B. Brooks of Hillsboro was pastor at that time. He served the Church for 20 years, from 1938 to 1958. Six other ministers have served this body, at Mt. Level, since the tenure of Rev. Brooks. Dr. William C. Turner, Jr. has been pastor of Mt. Level since December 1990.
In more recent years Mt. Level has licensed and contributed too many young women and men preaching the gospel. Since 1979, for example, the Church has supported interns from Duke University Divinity School.
Mount Level Missionary Baptist Church continues to emanate excellence in leadership through church lead education, recreation, community and spiritual resources.