The Rev. Basil Tolson, an African American farmer in eastern Matagorda county, joined with his neighbors in 1887 to form a Baptist congregation which they named Mount Zion Baptist Church. Tolson was elected pastor, and served the congregation until he moved to Bay City in 1905.
In 1906 Tolson led a small group of people in organizing mother Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Bay City. Charter members of the church included Isaac Wiggins, Manuel Mills, Simon White, Martin Hardin, Allen Frazier, John Tolson, Birdie Tolson, Harriet Peters, Nellie White, George Edward McNeel, and Amanda Tolson. The Rev. Basil Tolson served as first pastor of the congregation, and his brother, John Tolson, was elected superintendent of the Sunday School.
The Congregation's First Sanctuary, built in 1907 by the Alamo Lumber company, was destroyed in a 1909 hurricane. The members quickly rebuilt, however, and eventually erected larger structures to house church programs. Throughout its history, the church has been active in community and foreign outreach programs, including aid to the poor and educational programs for youth. The church continues to play an integral role in the religious life of Bay City citizens.