Photo right: The Lambuth family is called one of the great missionary families in World Methodism.
Photo below right: Several people attending the Lambuth Day service had ties to the Pearl River Methodist Church.
The annual Lambuth Day observance held in Madison, Mississippi involved another celebration this year. The site for the occasion, Pearl River Methodist Church, was celebrated too. The church was designated a United Methodist Church Heritage Landmark during the 2016 General Conference in May. On Thursday, Oct. 6, the General Secretary of the UMC Commission on Archives and History, Rev. Fred Day, travelled to Mississippi and made a presentation to the Pearl River Church Historic Church Council. This church is one of only 49 world-wide UMC Heritage Landmarks.
According to Millsaps College archives:
Pearl River Church is on land located near the Natchez Trace, which first belonged to Native Americans of the Choctaw nation. It was deeded to the Methodists in 1833 for a school, church, and meeting place.
The church began its lifelong relationship with the Lambuth family when Rev. John Russell Lambuth, missionary to Indians and Creoles, settled in the area in 1843. Rev. Lambuth's father was a Methodist minister sent in 1798 as a missionary to the newly-opened areas of Tennessee. Three of John Russell Lambuth's sons became Methodist ministers, and his grandson Walter Russell Lambuth became general secretary of the Board of Missions and was elected bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1910.
For several months during the civil war, the family of Mary I. McClellan Lambuth and James William Lambuth, medical doctor, minister and missionary to China, came back to Madison County and attended his home church while on respite from missionary work in China. During this stay, one of their young daughters died and was buried in the Pearl River Church cemetery. Many Lambuth family members have been laid to rest under the majestic oaks adjacent to the church.
In 1900, Pearl River Church established an annual Lambuth Day celebration.