A newer church at this site is now in use, but the congregation has maintained this historic structure. I’m still searching for a history of New Bethel and will update when I learn more. An historic schoolhouse, associated with the church, is located on the property.
Tag Archives: African-Americans in North Georgia
I’ve only been able to determine that this was a schoolhouse associated with New Bethel A. M. E. Church at Leslie Mill. The style indicates early 20th century construction. It’s a significant historical school, from a time when churches set the standard for the education of African-American children.
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
This church was built by Captain James Nichols as Nacoochee Presbyterian, soon after he arrived in the valley and built West End. Freedmen were welcomed as early members. It served the Presbyterians until moving to Nacoochee Institute in Sautee in 1903. It is one of the most visually appealing churches in the area and remains an active congregation.
Nacoochee Valley Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Captain James H. Nichols came from Milledgeville to the Nacoochee Valley in 1870 and soon thereafter established Nacoochee Presbyterian Church (present-day Crescent Hill Baptist Church). Freedmen were welcomed by the earliest members. In 1903 the congregation began holding services in the Nacoochee Institute, where they remained until it was lost to fire in 1926. After meeting in an open-sided shed and a dairy barn, they completed the present church building in 1927. The belfry was added in 1989.
Sautee Valley Historic District, National Register of Historic Places