{As narrated by Mrs. Catherine Stephens in 1993}

In 1913, the DeBardelben Coal Company opened up mines in the rich coalfields of Walker County. One of these mines was located in Sipsey, Alabama. It was here that miners from older mines came to live and work. Many of the miners were formerly farmers from Mississippi who first settled in Patton, Alabama. Patton was an older mining community. One family was from Georgia via Patton.

In 1913 they came to Sipsey. These were people with deep Christian convictions who had affiliated themselves with the C.M.E. Church in Patton. They refused to live in a community without the church of their choice, the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church.

So, in December 18, 1913, the Reverend E.D. May with the following families organized the Church that bears his name, Mayes Chapel C.M.E. Church. The first members were:

1. The Rev. And Mrs. Keeler

2. Bro. Tom Lamar and his wife, Georgia

3. Bro. Sam James and his wife, Izora

4. Bro. Cephas Ramsey and his wife, Anna

5. Bro. John Wesley Moore and his wife, Mary

The presiding Elder at that time was the Rev. C.J. Nickels. Luther Stewart, Sr. was our Bishop. We were then in the Seventh District. Rev. E.D. May was our First pastor.

Three years later, in 1916. There was an influx of C.M.E.s from Patton, Alabama and Moundville in Hale County Alabama. These families more than doubled the membership.

There were three denominations in Sipsey at that time; the C.M.E; the A.M.E.; and the Baptist. The Baptist was the largest in numbers. We, the C.M.E.s were next in size, with the A.M.E.s being smallest in numbers. The A.M.E.s had their individual building for worship services. We, the C.M.E.s and the Baptist shared the same building, the Baptist holding their meetings on the first and third Sundays, we on the second and fourth. (Most Methodist went to church every Sunday. A few Baptists went every Sunday.)

In 1986, the Baptist secured their own building for Worship. That left us with the original building as our own. However, our Sundays for worship remain the same.

In the early fifties the A.M.E. Church became extinct here. The few members that were left joined with the C.M.E. Church.

In the early church there were very few children. The children were Johnnie B. Moore, Lillian Moore, Gorzelia Moore, Joseph Moore, and John Wesley Moore (a grandson), Margaret James, Roberta James, and Theodore James. Today the children and youth with the young adults make up the largest part of our Church.

We have many members who were formerly Baptist who are now loyal dedicated members. They work in the local Church and on the District level.

As of this writing, more than half of our membership is under the age of thirty. They are active members and seem to be happy with the various roles they play in the Church.

Thirty-four ministers have served this charge. One minister, the Rev. W.M. Nelson, served three different charges, 1948-1949, 1965-1966, and 1973-1975. The longest pastorate was Rev. W.D. Brantley, who served from 1966-1972.

The first three pastors of the Church were the Rev. E.D. May, Rev. A.J. Hicks, and Rev. G.B. Poole.

Our present pastor, the Rev. Richard McDuffie, is now in his second term with us.



Bob, Kat, Gwen, Shirley, and John

(In Mayes Chapel parking lot with Mama Maude's house in background)