Built in 1844, College Hill Presbyterian Church is the oldest church building in Oxford, Mississippi. The Greek Revival building features original furnishings including the pulpit and pews. Its history is interesting for its association with the Civil War and author William Faulkner. During the war, Union generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant used the church grounds as an encampment. Many unmarked graves of Union and Confederate soldiers as well as slaves are located here. As for William Faulkner, he married his wife Estelle Franklin here at the church in 1929.


  • College Hill Presbyterian Church was built in 1844.
    College Hill Presbyterian Church was built in 1844.
  • Another view of the church
    Another view of the church
  • A plaque located outside the church
    A plaque located outside the church

College Hill Presbyterian Church began when an early Scot-Irish settler named Alexander Shaw organized a meeting in his North Mississippi home on January 11, 1835. The congregation was first named Neriah Church and then soon renamed Ebenezer Church. After church members moved to Oxford in 1836, the church was renamed again as College Presbyterian Church for the newly founded North Mississippi College. 

In 1842, the congregation bought 23 acres of land to construct a worship space. At the time, the land was worth $400. Under the direction of Francis Timmons, construction on the building began in 1844 and was completed in 1846. Built from bricks fired at the building site, the total cost of the church building was $2809.75. The website claims that the building is

"the oldest Presbyterian structure in North Mississippi and the oldest church building of any denomination in the Oxford area."1

College Hill Presbyterian Church is somewhat well known for several historical reasons. More recently, the church was the location of William Faulkner and Estelle Franklin's wedding in 1929. The site was also historically involved in the civil war. Union generals Grant and Sherman encamped on the grounds with their troops during the war. Inside the church cemetery, there are a number of unmarked Union soldiers' graves, slave burial sites, and Confederate soldier burial sites.

1. History. College Hill Presbyterian Church. Accessed July 11, 2019. http://www.chpcoxford.org/history/. 

2. Photo: Tina H., via Wikimedia Commons
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Register_of_Historic_Places_listings_in_Lafayette_County,_Mis...

3. College Hill Presbyterian Church. Mississipi Hills. Accessed July 11, 2019. http://www.mississippihills.org/directory/listing/college-hill-presbyterian-church.