Category Archives: Greensboro GA

Springfield Baptist Church, Circa 1907, Greensboro

An historic marker placed by the church and the Georgia Historical Society in 2010 states: Springfield Baptist Church was established on January 27, 1864 prior to the abolition of slavery, and is among the first African-American churches founded in Middle Georgia. Enslaved workers purchased land from Mrs. Nancy Bickers and began monthly meetings. Levi Thornton, a slave, served as the church’s first pastor. Prior to the Civil War most local congregations were racially integrated, though blacks and whites sat separately. However in 1867 African Americans were dismissed from local congregations. At their dismissal, the white congregations presented Springfield with $200 to help build the current building…

Henry Porter, Frank Massey, Umply Stocks, and Jack Terrell were instrumental in the organization of the church. The congregation first met in the old Georgia Railroad depot in Greensboro. To my understanding, construction of the present structure commenced in 1907 and the bricks were salvaged from the old Greensboro Methodist Church.

National Register of Historic Places

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Old Gaol, 1807, Greensboro

The oldest masonry jail in Georgia, Greensboro’s ‘Old Gaol’ is distinguished by its English spelling, which seems fitting considering the structure’s appearance. Locally quarried granite was used in construction, which was patterned after European citadels known for their harsh conditions. The downstairs cells were dark and catacomb-like, reserved for particularly unsavory characters. Such prisoners were chained to the walls with absolutely no creature comforts, including heat or ventilation. Non-violent criminals were placed upstairs, where conditions weren’t much better, but at least allowed for outside light. A trap-door gallows is also present. The jail served Greene County until 1895, when a more modern jail was constructed.

Greensboro Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Old Greene County Jail, 1895, Greensboro

Within the same block in Greensboro are two historic jails, this being the ‘newer’ of the two. This Folk Victorian/Queen Anne example is typical of Georgia jails of the era, in which the sheriff kept a residence and everything was self-contained. It is now known as the L. L. Wyatt Museum, named in honor of the longtime Greene County Sheriff.

The historic marker on this site notes: This 1895 jail is named for the legendary Sheriff, Loy Lee Wyatt, who enforced the laws in Greene County for fifty-two years until his death in 1977. Sheriff L.L. Wyatt was born on January 2, 1904, in Paulding County. He was recruited to serve the citizens of Greene County due to his fast legs and honest reputation. In 1925, L.L. Wyatt began his law enforcement career as a Greene County policeman who waged a “one-man war” against the making of illegal corn whiskey. Prior to his arrival, moonshine production was considered the leading industry in Greene County and its produce was enjoyed in all of the finest hotels of Atlanta. After having rid the County of its moonshiners, Wyatt ran for the Office of Sheriff in 1940 defeating the incumbent. He served as Sheriff until he died in 1977. At the time of his death he was the longest standing Sheriff in the State, with thirty-seven years of service.

During his 37 years as Sheriff, Wyatt became a legend in his own time. Few men become legends and even fewer achieve the status of a “living legend” as did Sheriff Wyatt. He was a religious man who believed that God blessed him with protection during all of his fights, gun battles, and dangerous encounters. His law enforcement exploits exposed him to at least five gunshot wounds in the line of duty, in part due to the fact that he seldom carried a gun on his person, requiring him to retrieve it from his car at the sight of danger. In the early days of his career, when moonshiners resisted arrest, Wyatt regularly shot it out with them. He killed over a half dozen men, all of whom shot at him first.

The most famous gunfight of Sheriff Wyatt’s career occurred in 1974. He was 70 years old at the time. Bank robbers eluded a 100-car police chase that started in Wrens, Georgia, and ended in Greene County. The bank robbers had killed a teller at the bank in Wrens and had taken two women hostage. Sheriff Wyatt set up a road block midway between Union Point and Greensboro. Wyatt stood in the middle of the road as the speeding car approached. The robbers attempted to shoot him, but the gun misfired. One bank robber was killed in the ensuing battle, but both women were unharmed. Sheriff Wyatt subsequently received the award of the Peace Officer of he Year for his bravery in this incident.

Sheriff Wyatt was a family man, devoted to his wife, son, and grandchildren. He was a businessman, lending his experience to the operation and affairs of the Citizens Union Bank as a director. He was a community leader who had concern for all citizens – rich and poor, black and white. Out of a concern for these people, legend has it that Sheriff Wyatt confronted a notorious member of the Dixie Mafia and proclaimed, “These are my people and I want you to leave them alone!”

Sheriff Wyatt, also known as Mr. Sheriff, was the epitome of a community oriented police officer long before such an idea was born and served as an example for every officer to follow.

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Greensboro Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

 

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Bellheart, Circa 1810, Greensboro

Tax records (which aren’t always reliable) indicate this was constructed circa 1810, though later surveys by preservationists have dated it circa 1850 and 1860. There do seem to be hints of Federal origins, supporting the earlier date, but I will have to do more research.

North Street-East Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Shade Tree Bait Shop, Greensboro

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Pioneer Farmhouse, Greene County

Greene County GA Pioneer Farmhouse Bethany Church Road Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

This is located near Bethany Presbyterian Church, in one of the earliest areas of settlement in Greene County.

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Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 1868, Greensboro

Episcopal Church of the Redeemer Greensboro GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2014

Among the first members of the Church of the Redeemer were women who had fled the Civil War in Savannah and Charleston. In September 1863 the Right Reverend Stephen Elliott, first Bishop of Georgia, held the first communion with members in the home of Mrs. Philip Clayton. (Mr. Clayton had the distinction of serving as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during the administration of President Buchanan, and he held the same position in the government of the Confederate States of America.  After the war, he was considered a person of great integrity and served as United States Ambassador to Peru).

J. G. Barnwell of Rome was the architect and builder and on 14 June 1868 the church was consecrated by the Right Reverend John Beckwith, Bishop of Georgia. The first rector was Father Joshua Knowles. He served for nineteen years and, at his request, was buried with his wife by the side of the church in an area now known as “The Knowles.”

For a more comprehensive history: http://www.lakeoconeeepiscopal.org/about-redemmer/history/

Historic Episcopal Church of the Redeemer Greensboro GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2014

National Register of Historic Places

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