Legacy lives on|’Bible castle’ deeded to Dennis couple’s church

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Vicksburg icon some call a “Bible castle” will be taken over by a local church which hopes to preserve it and do something useful with it.

The colorful North Washington home of the Rev. H.D. and Margaret Dennis, painted red, pink and yellow and decorated with Bible verses, scrap iron columns, sculptures and welcoming signs of God’s love, was decorated more than 25 years ago by the couple.

They deeded the home to Cool Springs M.B. Church “some years ago,” said Leslie Maxwell, mother of Cool Springs pastor Byron Maxwell. The one condition was that they be allowed to live there and pay the bills and upkeep as long as they were able. Cool Springs, a red brick church with white trim, sits directly behind the home, down a short, steep hill on Falk Steel Road.

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Margaret Dennis died Oct. 5 at the age of 94. Herman Dennis has lived at the Vicksburg Convalescent Home for years.

“It belongs to the church,” Maxwell said of the home Tuesday. “They did it some years ago through a lawyer and paid a good price for it. They’re hoping somebody will try to preserve it and do something constructive with it.”

The home that was once Margaret’s Grocery was turned into a sort of biblical castle 25 years ago when Margaret met and married the Rev. H.D. Dennis. The two were both 69 at the time, and “Preacher,” as some called Herman Dennis, turned the store and home into a tribute to his wife and their faith in God.

The place had been her home and store for 39 years.

Margaret Dennis said in a 2005 article in The Vicksburg Post that she had no idea what would happen to the house after she and Herman Dennis died.

“When we heard that, we realized we didn’t want just anybody to come along and take over the place,” Maxwell said of the Cool Spring MB congregation. “So the church said we better try to get it, and went and talked to her. Of course, she was crazy about that church. That was her church. She had already said she was going to give it to the church if she was the long-est to live.”

Maxwell does not know what was paid for the house and property. Margaret Dennis lived there until she went into the hospital and then to Vicksburg Convalescent Home in mid-August, Maxwell said.

“It’s in bad shape, but we would like to preserve it,” she said.

Cora Dennis Williams, Herman Dennis’ daughter, lives in New York City. In a phone interview, she said she did not know about the couple selling the property to Cool Springs.

“He never told me anything about his business,” Williams said.


Contact Pamela Hitchins at phitchins@vicksburgpost.com