Jewell Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Tag Archives: North Georgia Architecture
Organized as Folsom Creek Baptist Church on 28 June 1792 by Adam Jones and Jeptha Vining, this church was renamed Horeb in 1798 and relocated to the present location in 1799. As was often the case, slaves were members until the Civil War and some are buried in the adjacent cemetery. Newly emancipated, African-Americans began to organize their own churches after the war. At its bicentennial in 1992, membership in Horeb had dwindled to such a low number that the church officially disbanded. It is still well-maintained and used for occasional events and services.
I believe this was built by the Mayfield Methodist Church to replace an earlier structure on the site dating to 1897. The property was a gift of Lena Birdsong. The congregation formed earlier in the 1890s and originally met in members’ homes and a one-room schoolhouse. Construction began on this church in 1949, but I’m not sure when it was completed. The congregation was never very large and disbanded years ago.
In recent years it has been home to a couple of African-American congregations, including the Mayfield Church of God in Christ and the Ogeechee Ministries of God.
St. Paul Methodist Church was originally known as Enterprise. They worshiped a few miles away in a church built in 1871 by William and Kinchon Little and assumed the name of St. Paul in 1879. In 1897, they merged with another church in the area, New Hope, and built this structure adjacent to Rockville Academy. The land was donated by Professor F. G. Branch, principal of the academy, and the land was chosen because it was halfway between the old St. Paul Church and New Hope Church.
Rockville Academy and St. Paul Methodist Church Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
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
Bethesda Baptist is one of the iconic rural churches of Georgia and one of the greatest extant examples of vernacular Federal architecture in the state. The congregation traces its origins to 1785, when it was organized as Whatley’s Mill. The first structure was of wooden frame construction. Notably, Bethesda is among the oldest Baptist congregations in the state and the present structure one of the oldest surviving church buildings. The most influential Baptist of early 19th-century Georgia, Jesse Mercer, performed the dedication on 20 December 1818. In what would seem progressive by today’s standards, they licensed an African-American called Brother Sam to minister to members of his race in 1834 in a separate monthly service but revoked the right in 1836 over claims of “disorder”. Enslaved people of the community were required to attend church with their owners and the remains of the gallery are still visible in the church.
Bethesda is located in a rural area of Greene County near the South Fork of Little River on land given by Samuel Whatley. The original name of the congregation, Whatley’s Mill, honored his parents, who were killed by Native Americans trying to protect their lands from the white men. Silas Mercer was the first pastor and his son Jesse Mercer became pastor in 1796, serving for thirty years. The name was changed from Whatley’s Mill to Bethesda just before the dedication of the present church building in 1818. It remains a thriving congregation to this day.