Baptists and the American Civil War: November 15, 1865

Colorado Territory

Colorado Territory

Today in Denver, Colorado Territory the Zion Baptist Church is founded by “an intrepid group of black pioneers,” most of whom had migrated to the area in recent years or months from the South. Having little education and by and large, they determined to establish a church as part of an effort to improve their lives. Zion Baptist is one of the earliest black Baptist churches established west of the Mississippi River.

One of the founders is Barney Ford, later a successful entrepreneur in Denver. The first pastor is William Norrid, and the congregation initially worships in a small wooden frame building at 20th and Arapahoe (or Holloday Street). In 1883 a new brick meeting house is completed.

Zion Baptist Church remains an active and thriving congregation to the present day.

Source: Lisa Roy, “Zion Baptist Church, Denver, Colorado (1865-), (link)