Tag Archives: Churches of Coastal Georgia

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 1896, Burroughs

Established in 1832, St. Bartholomew’s is the oldest active African-American Episcopal congregation in Georgia. The Episcopal church was actively pursuing the evangelization of slaves by the early 1830s. In 1832, a white family in the area initiated religious education for its slaves and by 1845, the bishop appointed the Reverend William G. Williams as the area’s first official pastor. He established a church and school on the three plantations he served and was so successful that by 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, his congregation was the largest, black or white, in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

A gift of $400 from St. Barholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City to the Ogeechee Mission Congregation in 1881 helped stimulate interest in the construction of a permanent home. The present structure was consecrated in 1896 and named in honor of its first major patrons. The St. Barholomew’s Day School was constructed in 1897. It was operated by the church until 1916 at which time Chatham County rented the building and took over its operation. It was closed as a school in 1951 and has since served as the parish hall.

Known officially today as St. Bartholomew’s Chapel, the church which was once so integral to the life of the Burroughs community still meets on a limited schedule.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Burroughs GA

Shiloh Baptist Church, Everett City

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Everett City GA

First African Missionary Baptist Church, Everett City

Emma Gale writes: My ancestors (The Andrews), founded this Church circa 1865-1867. Originally they were up in Rumph Island, about 10 miles, headed toward Mt. Pleasant. The church and a school was started in the home of my Uncle Dock. My Grand-Uncle (Dock Andrews), and other relatives once owned Bull Island (at the end of this Road), that the Church is on, and much of the property down this Road. My Grand uncle (Rev. Alex Anderson), brother to my Maternal Grandmother, once Pastored First African Missionary Baptist(Everett).

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Everett City GA

Dorchester Presbyterian Church, 1854, Liberty County

Midway Congregational Church, founded in 1754 and a seat of power in the Colonial period, was associated with three satellite congregations known as retreats, because their locations, slightly more inland than Midway, offered a respite from the malarial swamps of the coast. The last of the retreat churches to be established was located at Dorchester. Its origins can be traced to nearby Sunbury, a short-lived boom town founded in 1758 whose trustees were members of Midway Church. Sunbury thrived nearly from its inception, rivaling Savannah in commercial importance, but its proximity to Fort Morris lead to its capture and subsequent burning by British troops during the American Revolution. While many such casualties of the war recuperated, Sunbury never seemed to regain its prominence after the devastating four-year occupation that followed. The hurricane of 1824 and a yellow fever epidemic sent many of its residents scattering into the nearby countryside. Huge plantations with names like Laurel Grove, Arcadia, Melon Bluff, Cedar Point, and Palmyra were emerging in the countryside around old Sunbury. In 1843 upon the suggestion of Reverend Thomas Sumner Winn, a tutor for prominent Presbyterian minister Charles Colcock Jones, a site was chosen for a retreat between Sunbury and Midway. It was originally known simply as “the Village,” but was soon christened Dorchester, in tribute to the heritage of its citizens. Some families built summer homes at Dorchester, though many tore down their dwellings near Sunbury and rebuilt them on the higher and drier ground the retreat afforded. As this new location was only six miles from Midway, the idea of building a church was not initially entertained, though an academy was built in which Sunday school was regularly taught. By 1854, with the continuing decline in membership at Midway, the families of the village built a permanent church, which still stands today. The old town bell from Sunbury, dated 1799, was placed in the steeple. The land was donated by Bartholomew Busby, who owned the nearby Melon Bluff Plantation. At first it was used only in summer, but by the onset of the Civil War was in regular use. The church was officially recognized by the Savannah Presbytery in 1871 and named Dorchester Presbyterian Church. The church holds services on the first Sunday of each month at 5 PM.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under -LIBERTY COUNTY, Dorchester GA

Ellabell United Methodist Church, 1904, Bryan County

Organized as Bethany in 1854, this congregation built their first church around 1860 about a mile from the present location. In 1900, during the pastorate of Reverend J. H. Frisbee, Bethany agreed to move into the town of Ellabell to increase membership. They built this church in 1904, using much of the material from the old location, and David Hess notes that this material was rolled on logs. The interior finishings of the church were done by Reverend Frisbee, who was also a contractor. I’m not exactly sure when the name was changed to Ellabell Methodist, but it was likely around this time.

Many of the early records of the church have been lost and if anyone has pertinent information, please share it here.

 

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Filed under -BRYAN COUNTY, Ellabell GA

Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church, 1859, Bryan County

Constituted in 1839, Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist is one of the most historic churches in Bryan County. The present church was rebuilt after a fire in 1859. As of 2011, the congregation had dwindled to just two members, Deacon Gene Bryant and Thelma Kangeter. Deacon Bryant, with the assistance of Chip Killingsworth of Brewton-Parker College, is attempting to have a historical marker placed at the church and organizes a reunion for member families each year.Mrs. Kangeter’s son, Benny, was leading an effort to ensure the church remain in use for reunions, weddings, and funerals and the inside is well-maintained and restored, as well. The exterior remains in relatively good shape.

It’s so nice to see a church with such a history be preserved in a meaningful way. The unpainted pine finishings of the interior add to the primitive appearance of Lower Black Creek.

Copies of the “songbook” Primitive Hymns and funeral home fans sit at the ready on every pew, awaiting congregants and reminding one of what a busy place this once was.

The cemetery, among the largest in the area, indicates that the membership here was once very large, and it’s my hope that efforts to have a historic marker placed will be successful. It would be a shame to see a place so important to so many simply be forgotten. (Note- The bulk of my photographs of the cemetery were recently lost to a digital glitch and I will be replacing them soon).

Minnie Lee Cox (4 October 1895 – 13 August 1917)

Ed Nolan writes: My GGG Grandmother and Grandfather are buried here. According to my Grandmother their house was the old one on the left, on the curve towards Hendrix Park up the road from the church/cemetery. Assuming that’s still there…..haven’t been around there in some years.Story was that when Sherman’s men came thru, Grandmother Lavinia Geiger welcomed them into her home (after stashing Grandfather and the children out in the woods somewhere.
Giving the soldiers food, etc…..they went on their way without burning their houses, etc.

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Filed under -BRYAN COUNTY, Black Creek GA

Temple Creek Baptist Church, Camden County

I believe this church has been restored since I photographed it in 2012.

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Filed under -CAMDEN COUNTY