Little Bethel Church and Cemetery, 1858 

1902 Main Street

Beautiful in its simplicity, this church stands as a proud tribute to diligence and freedom. It was built in 1858 by newly emancipated slaves on land deeded to them, and to their heirs, by their ex-master, Major Lewis Starke.  Major Starke was renowned for his generosity, integrity and chivalry (“a soldier from plume to spur”…from the “grand old stock of Southern gentlemen, who, alas, are rapidly passing away”). One of the members of this congregation, Russell Dick, was an entrepreneur who became a very successful landowner and businessman.  As a young man, Mr. Dick served in the Confederate Army as a cook during the Civil War.  After the war, he returned to Daphne and became renowned for his diligence and multiple talents.  No job was too menial for him.  He seemed to be at the center of all town events...ringing the bell for Sunday services, serving as sexton at his church, grilling at barbeques, maintaining the graveyards, cooking for prisoners at the jail, and performing janitorial services at the Court House.  At every opportunity, he bought land until, at one time, he owned most of downtown Daphne.  He also operated a small restaurant and general store on Main Street.  He married more than once and was the father of twenty-three children.  He took exceptionally good care of his mother, and  deeded some of his land in her name.  Local tradition holds that Russell Dick’s mother, Lucy ,was brought to this area on the last voyage of the slave ship Clothilde. The small graveyard immediately behind the Little Bethel Church  is the final resting place for Russell Dick, his mother and many members of his large family.