Rev. James Page was Florida’s first ordained black minister. He came to Leon County as a slave serving as carriage driver, gardener and body servant for his owner, John Parkhill. After he was ordained, Parkhill gave him land on his plantation to build a church.
There he founded Bethlehem Baptist Church, the first known uniquely Baptist African-descendent congregation in Florida. He also served as the first pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church for 13 years. Later in life, he unsuccessfully ran for the Florida Senate.
Rev. Page died in Leon County and is buried in Tallahassee’s Old City Cemetery.
– Jennifer Fennell, CoreMessage, Inc.