Rev. Prince Williams was an escaped slave from South Carolina – he fled to St. Augustine Florida. He was the first African-American Baptist missionary to the Bahama Islands. He left Saint Augustine, FL, around 1790 headed for Nassau. On August 1, 1790, he obtained land and ground breaking ceremonies for Bethel’s Meeting House commenced on Monday, August 1st, 1790.
Williams was not satisfied with the thatch roofed structure – but it was the style of building that anabaptists were relegated to at the time. In 1801 he built a ‘proper’ wooden house of worship, and changed the name to Bethel Baptist Chapel. Bethel was not only the first church in the vicinity but it was also the first wooden building ever erected in an undeveloped area. Williams served as the Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church for 44 years. The Foreign Missionary Baptist Society then assigned a new pastor to the church.
Pastor Williams continued to lead people to Christ and at age 70 Williams erected St. John’s Baptist Church and ministered there until his death in 1840 at age 104.
164 churches were birthed from his ministry in the Bahamas! Amazingly he could read but could not write.