Rev. William N. Morton
23 – January 23 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST
No parsonage, but a mansion
The late Reverend William N. Morton formerly of Washington, DC served as the first pastor of Messiah Baptist Church from August 3, 1888 to January 23, 1919. Reverend Morton was converted in September 1872 and was baptized at Zion Baptist Church in October 1872. He entered the public schools in Kings and Queens County, Virginia in January 1874. He attended and graduated from Richmond Institute at Richmond, Virginia, which is now known as Virginia Union University. From October 1882 until June 1884, he taught public school at Forestville, Maryland. In the fall of October 1884, he entered the Theology Department at Howard University in Washington, DC from which he graduated, May 27, 1887. For one academic season (1887-1888), he taught public school in Middlesex County, Virginia. Ordination to the ministry took place at Zion Baptist Church, King and Queen County, Virginia, June 3, 1888. When Reverend Morton pastored Messiah, the lot for the former Arch Street church was purchased in 1892. The church building was erected and dedicated. The congregation grew rapidly making it necessary to enlarge the structure in 1910. The Connecticut Missionary Baptist Union was organized and held its first session with Messiah in May 1904. Reverend Morton was chosen President. On June 6, 1916, the honorary title “Doctor of Divinity” was conferred upon Reverend Morton by Virginia Union University. Dr. William Morton conceived the idea that the church should have a parsonage. By strictest economy the church managed to save $2,200 toward the purchase of a parsonage. However, it was not the Lord’s will that Dr. Morton see his idea come to fruition, for after thirty years and six months of service, on January 23, 1919, God called Dr. Morton to rest from his labors from this church. Upon his death, January 23, 1919, the church that was Reverend Dr. Morton’s only pastorate was clear of debt and there was a $2,200 bank account balance.
Dr. Dale R. Hart, from: “MESSIAH BAPTIST PASTORAL HISTORY “