In 1867, years before its formation, Cade Chapel’s beginning was set in Jackson, Mississippi and intricately tied to the beginning of another church, Mount Helm Baptist Church. In that year, a white businessman named Thomas E. Helm donated land for former slaves to build their first church. This church was erected at the corner of Church and Grayson Streets in 1868. For more than a decade, the new church was the only one for blacks in the city of Jackson. As a result, black Baptists who moved to Jackson from all points in and around Mississippi usually affiliated with the church that had been named Mount Helm Baptist Church.
Such was the case for a group of ex-slaves who had migrated from Grenada and Carroll counties and the other points north of Jackson sometime after the Civil War. Among this number were several families whodecided that they would establish their home sites near each other. They selected a section of Hinds County called “Asylum Hill,” so named because of its closeness to the mental institution. Presently, the site is occupied by the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Once they settled at Asylum Hill, around 1879, these families traveled a distance of four or five miles (round-trip) by foot to attend worship services at Mount Helm. Inevitably, however, the religious and physical organization of their own community created a new need - the need for the children to be formally educated. To this end, the Asylum Hill residents decided to build a conveniently-located school. The property for the school was donated by Isham Cade, an ex-slave and member of the community, who is believed to have been born in Carroll County, Mississippi. That property was located at Old Canton Road and Duling Street, where the Woodland Hills Shopping Center is presently located.
Although Asylum Hill was a community with adequate houses and its own school, the residents still were not satisfied. They wanted to build a church in their community, particularly because Mount Helm was two miles away, and there was no mode of transportation. It is in this desire for a convenient place to worship that the nucleus for Cade Chapel was formed, and the people of Asylum Hill went forth with their plan for a community church. United around another common goal, these residents made Cade Chapel Missionary Baptist Church a reality during the latter part of 1880. It is recorded in the Historical Record Survey of 1942, as well as in William McCain’s History of Jackson, that this church was built in 1885. However, the oral history of the church indicates that the first church was formally organized under a “Brush Arbor” late in 1880. The land on which the Brush Arbor was located was donated by Isham Cade, the same resident who donated the land for the community school, and it was for him that the new church, Cade Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, was named. (Isham Cade’s legacy extends beyond the name of our church in that members of his family continue to worship with us at Cade.)