Dr. Isaac Peter Brockenton
Isaac P. Brockenton was born in Lee County, SC on May 19, 1828. Brother Isaac was sold to Dr. Tom Flynn of Darlington, SC in 1856. They both joined the First Baptist Church of Darlington the same time.
In 1860, Dr. Brockenton married Martha Jackson, born Feb,1838. Their 10 children were Caroline "Carrie" b.1861, Mercy b. March 12, 1864, Frank b. Nov.1865, Isaac Jr. b. Oct. 20,1867, Edgar b.1869, John b.1870, Charlie b. June 1873, Jolley (Reverend) b.1876, Edward b.1878, and Easter b. Oct.1880.
Shorty after the Civil War, Dr. Brockenton organized Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Darlington when he and several other African-American parishioners of Darlington's First Baptist Church sought letters of dismissals to constitute a new church in Darlington. He was assisted in this effort by Dr. Charles H. Corey, a white northern Baptist Missionary and Rev. James Hamilton, a black pastor from Philadelphia. Brockenton became the first pastor of Macedonia and served Macedonia for forty-two years before his death on January 6, 1908.
Dr. Charles Henry Corey, the author of "A History of the Richmond Theological Seminary", and later President of Richmond Theological Seminary, came to Darlington, SC and helped instruct Dr. Brockenton and others in the ministry by assisting in organizing churches and ordaining ministers. Dr. Corey was concerned with educating the colored ministry.
According to the words of Dr. Corey, in his book "A History of the Richmond Theological Seminary", p. 78-79, "I remember that Isaac P. Brockenton, a colored young pastor from Darlington, South Carolina, also a pupil, was present on this memorable occasion. He told us that he had already built a meetinghouse for his people since the war closed, the first offering towards it being twenty-five cents which he himself contributed. He gave us a most vivid picture of how he led his people to victory from so small a beginning as that. How his church members at first laughed to scorn his poor little twenty-five cent piece as it lay there lonesome upon the table; and how a year later they cried for joy, and sang and shouted triumphantly over their little meetinghouse, built and paid for by a great many twenty-five cent gifts, which they themselves had brought in. It is not at all to be wondered at, that this same man Brockenton, child of God and brother of Jesus and hero of faith, as a grain of mustard seed , has since built two other Baptist Churches in his own town of Darlington, the last one costing $18,000."
Dr. Brockenton was a Trial Justice in Darlington for eight years.
Dr. Brockenton was a member of the House of Representatives during the Reconstruction Period.
January 14 - March 18, 1868, Dr. Brockenton was a delegate to the S.C. Constitutional Convention held at Charleston, SC. This convention met in Charleston on January 14, 1868. This convention was memorable for several reasons. It was the first body of the sort in which the Negro members constituted a majority. It was the first experiment in this country of working out a government based on the cooperation of the two races. It was composed of members who for the next several years would control the destiny of the State. Other Delegates elected to the convention from Darlington were B.F. Whittemore, white; Jordan Lang and Richard Humbird, black.
In the spring of 1867, a Convention of the colored Baptists of the State was called at Morris Street Baptist Church in Charleston, SC. Delegates from nearly a dozen churches met in the Morris Street church on May 1st. Rev. I. P. Brockenton was the President and J.C. Pawley was the Secretary. Out of this Convention grew the Gethsemane Association, the first in the State.
According to the Pee Dee Baptist Association History and the History of the Great Gethsemane Baptist Missionary Association, Rev. Brockenton, during the Pee Dee Baptist Association's annual session held at Zion Baptist Church in Columbia, SC on October 21, 1875, introduced an initiative which would eventually lead to the organization of the Baptist Educational Missionary and Sunday School Convention of SC. As the Pee Dee Baptist Association's Moderator, Rev. Brockenton recommended that the Gethsemane Baptist Association Lower Division and the Gethsemane Baptist Association III Division, be consulted about organizing a state convention. On October 21, 1876, at the next annual session which convened at Macedonia Baptist Church in Darlington, the Association heard a report on the subject of the formation of a state convention. All Baptist Associations and Sunday School Conventions of South Carolina were asked to meet at Shiloh Baptist Church (First Missionary Baptist Church) Sumter, SC. On the first Wednesday in May, 1877, three Associations, Pee Dee, Ashley, and Gethsemane, met at the above named church and the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of SC was formed. The Bethlehem Baptist Association joined that same convention year. Rev. James Hamilton served as the organizing Moderator from 1877-1881 and was succeeded by Rev. A.R. Bacote who served for one year. Rev. I.P. Brockenton served as Moderator from 1883-1908.
For seven years, 1875-1882, Dr. Isaac P. Brockenton, then pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Darlington, SC, was the second Moderator for the Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Association (organized November 12, 1867). The Association took its name "Gethsemane" from the old Gethsemane Baptist Church of Chester, where its first session was held. At that time, the Gethsemane Baptist field took in from Charleston on the south, to York on the north, from Society Hill on the east to Abbeville on the west. After a number of years, the Association became too large to be handled properly. The brethren in the lower part of the state divided the Association into the Upper and Lower Gethsemane Baptist Association. After some years, the Lower Gethsemane Association renamed itself the "Ashley" Association.
From 1877-1908, Dr. Brockenton was President of the SC Baptist Education & Missionary Convention.
From 1883-1908, Dr. Brockenton was Moderator of the Pee Dee Baptist Association formed in 1881 at Pee Dee Union Baptist Church in Cheraw, SC.
Dr. Brockenton was one of the organizers of the SC Baptist Convention.
Dr. Brockenton was responsible for the organization of several churches in South Carolina.
In the book "The Negro in South Carolina During Reconstruction", it is noteworthy that Brockenton whose work converged mainly around Darlington built in that city three magnificent churches, the first of which increased in membership from thirteen in 1866 to thirteen hundred in 1889.The third church was erected at a cost of $18,000. Regarded to all who knew him as a Christian gentleman, Brockenton was honored by the Negro Baptists
throughout the State. In addition to the promotion of missionary work, the Negro convention was instrumental in securing to Benedict Institute the generous financial support of their communicants in the State. Besides this direct aid given to the institution, the convention assisted in training young men known as beneficiaries whose expenses defrayed, wholly or in part, gave the latter the opportunity to prepare for the Christian ministry.
In 1887, the National Baptist Publishing Board organized to render a hymn and tune book. In September 1900, at a meeting of the National Baptist Convention, Dr. Brockenton, along with representatives from other states, was appointed to the National Baptist Hymnal Publishing Board to assist in the adaptation of a hymnal for use in Negro Baptist Churches.
While attending Richmond Institute (later Richmond Theological Seminary), Dr. Brockenton's benefactors were Rev. and Mrs. C. W. Waterhouse of Lakewood, Ocean County, NJ.
According to "A History of the Richmond Theological Seminary", p. 142, Dr. Brockenton was taken in infancy from his parents and, at age twenty, he was sold to pay his master's debts. Securing the elements of an education, and enjoying the confidence to a rare degree of his owners under the old regime, he has a record of which any man might be proud. He has enjoyed the confidence of the community and has held important positions in church and State. For a number of years he has been President of the Baptist Educational Missionary and Sunday School Convention of South Carolina and Moderator of the Pee Dee Baptist Association. Dr. Brockenton became a highly esteemed and prominent minister, attended Richmond Theological Seminary, assisted in starting over 50 churches (2 in Darlington) and as many Sunday Schools and baptized above 3000 persons.
Dr. Brockenton taught the first school for Negro children in Darlington County, SC. Brockington Elementary School (now Brockington Magnate School) and Brockington Heights Apartments was named in his honor.
Dr. Corey said the type of leadership Dr. Isaac P. Brockenton provided Macedonia for forty-two years until his death in January 1908, is best depicted by his extended vision. First, he found it necessary to establish the first black church in his community of which seven other churches evolved. Then he found it necessary to lead the congregation in enlarging its physical facilities on two separate occasions. He helped to organize the Pee Dee Association and the State Convention. Dr. Brockenton served as first president of the latter parent organization. He also helped to establish higher education among Baptists in South Carolina. Dr. Isaac Peter Brockenton is remembered as a great man of vision.
Dr. Brockenton was quoted as saying "A large part of my success as a pastor is due to the influence which the Institute has had upon me. I was there stimulated to strive to become 'a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.' "
Rev. D. M. Pierce, another prominent minister, was baptized by Dr. Brockenton at Macedonia. Rev. Pierce became the AM Principal of the Timmonsville, SC Colored Graded School.
Rev. P. H. Callaham of Society Hill, SC had both a church and a school.
Rev. Isaac Peter Brockenton and Martha Jackson Brockenton's children:
1. Caroline "Carrie" Brockenton born 1861, died Feb 13, 1942. She married Albert Gregg. He was born in May 1858. They had the following 2 children: Perry L. Gregg born 1895 and Edward Gregg born 1903.
2. Mercy Brockenton born March 12, 1864. She married Frank Keith. He was born in 1861. They had the following 2 children: Willard Keith born 1896 and Julia H. Keith born 1898.
3. Frank Brockenton born Nov.1865. He married Alice Brockenton. She was born in April 1870. They had the following 5 children: Isaac M. Brockenton born October 1890, Benjamin Franklin Brockenton born October 1892, Lillian B. Brockenton born July 1894, Nicholas Brockenton born August 1896, and Ernest Brockenton born May 1898.
4. Isaac Peter Brockenton, Jr born October 20, 1867.
5. Edgar Brockenton born in 1869.
6. John Brockenton born in 1870.
7. Charlie Brockenton born June 1873.
8. Jolley (Reverend) Brockenton born in 1876.
9. Edward Brockenton born 1878.
10.Easter Brockenton born Oct 1880. She married Edgar Garfield (Reverend) Thomas. He was born Feb. 28, 1880 in Shellman, GA. He died on October 26, 1944 in Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee, USA. They had the following 3 children: Ester B.Thomas, Edgar G. Thomas and Henry Thomas.
Dr. Brockenton's son-in-law:
One of Brockenton's daughters,Easter N. Brockenton, married another prominent minister, Rev. Edgar Garfield Thomas, A.B., B.D., pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, Newnan. Rev. Thomas was a native of Calhoun County where he was born on Feb. 28, 1880. Mrs.Thomas was a college graduate of Shaw University and before her marriage she was a teacher. Their children were Ester B., Edgar G., and Henry. Rev. Thomas' parents, Henry and Delilah (Miles) Thomas, were both slaves. In July, 1906, Rev. Thomas was elected State B.Y.P.U. Organizer and Corresponding Secretary of the State Sunday School Worker's Convention of Georgia, a position he filled for two years. In September of that same year, he was called to the pastorate of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Monroe where he served for three years. Rev.Thomas gave up field work and accepted a call to Harmony Baptist Church, Augusta, serving for more that two years. While serving as pastor of this church, he also held the position of Theological Instructor at Walker Baptist Institute. In August 1910, he was elected President of Twin City Seminary of McRae, Ga. In addition to this position, in Nov. 1911, he was called to the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of McRae. He also served the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Dodge County for one year. Early in 1915, he resigned McRae to accept the call of the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Newnan.
Dr. Brockenton's grandson:
One of Rev. Edgar and Easter Garfield's sons was Henry Thomas, born July 1, 1914 in McRae, Telfair County, Georgia. Henry's father served as pastor from 1924-1928 of the historic First African Baptist Church, Franklin Square, in Savannah, Georgia. Constituted in 1777, First African Baptist is the oldest Black church in America. Mr Henry Thomas, as his father before him, graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He then earned a Master of Arts in English Literature from the University of Michigan at AnnArbor. He began college teaching at Tougaloo College in Mississippi and chaired English Departments at Spelman College in Atlanta and at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He moved his family to Los Angeles, CA and became a high school teacher of English so that his son could access the University of California at Los Angeles. During the first years of the 1950's, Mr. Henry Thomas worked at the United Nations, serving in the English Language Services unit that was responsible for the production of reports, documents and proceedings of United Nations in English language. Mr. Thomas was a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He also held life memberships in the NAACP and in the Morehouse Alumni Association. He passed away on April 27, 2004 in Jacksonville Duval County, Florida and was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood Los Angeles County, CA.
Found name spelled Brockenton, Brockinton and Brockington.
Credits given to the following books, articles, sketches, websites, conversations, etc.
"Historical Sketch: Roots and Fruit" by Dr. Lawson G. Bonaparte
"History of Macedonia Baptist Church" by Mrs. LaVicia P. McDowell
"The Directory and Pre-1900 Historical Sketch of SC Black Baptists" by Reverend John Allen Middleton
"A History of the Richmond Theological Seminary" by Dr. Charles Henry Corey
"History of the American Negro and His Institutions", Georgia Edition, Part 2
"Under Their Own Vine and Fig Tree; The African-American Church in the South 1865-1900"
"The African Repository"
"Journal of Negro History" Vol 5, No. 1
Chatham County GA Archives History
"The First African Baptist Church", Chapter XV, 1925
"A Historical Retrospect" by Dr. W.H. Neal, Moderator and Dr. M.C. Fennell, Sec (1997)
National Register of Historic Places
S.C. Dept. of Archives and History
"The Baptist Home Mission Monthly" Vol. XX-1898
"History of the Greater Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Association"
"South Carolina Baptist Association"
US Census, 1880, 1900, 1910
Darlington Historical Commission
Conversations with Peter Wilds
Conversations with Scott Wilds
Info from Renee Brown Bryant, daughter of Bennie Brown
"Three Iron Horses and A Butterfly" by Arthur Bolden
"At Freedom's Door" by James L.Underwood and W. Lewis Burke
The Negro in South Carolina During Reconstruction
UPDATED: March 3, 2016
NOTE: This work has been compiled from a number of different sources, researched and compiled, in no particular fashion or order, by Patsy Yarborough Sawyer. I take no credit for any writings, articles, etc. Credit goes to the authors of the above articles, books, etc. Please send all corrections and/or additions, or any other assistance you wish to render, to Mrs. Sawyer by phone at 843-319-1837 (cell) or e-mail at email@example.com. You may also mail correspondence to Macedonia Life-Skills Center, PO Box 179, Darlington, SC 29540.
We would love to hear from descendants of any of the previous pastors, officers, and/or members of Macedonia to have family info entered into our historical database.
Deacon Patsy Yarborough Sawyer