Tag Archives: Churches of Liberty County

Flemington Presbyterian Church, 1852

Flemington Presbyterian was the second of the Midway retreat churches. It remains the most active of all the congregations associated with Midway Congregational Church. In 1815, Midway member William Fleming established Gravel Hill, a retreat in the pinelands of Liberty County. Like the settlers of Walthourville before them, the people who came to Gravel Hill established a more permanent presence as time passed. For many summers, worship services were held in homes and then in a log structure which also housed a magistrate court. The first permanent church was built in 1832 on land given by Simon Fraser and was used for twenty years. The church followed the organization of Midway and was seen as a branch, not a mission, of Midway. In 1850 the name of the retreat was changed to Flemington in honor of William Fleming. A new home for the old Gravel Hill church was constructed between 1851 and 1852, and one of the selectmen of the congregation, T. Q. Cassels, was the architect. Though an amateur, he was well read in classical civilization and its monuments. The impressive steeple, to this day the pride of the congregation, was built by member Irwin Rahn. By the end of the Civil War, those who had settled in Flemington found the ten-mile trip to Midway nearly impossible, sought and were granted independence. In the spring of 1866, they officially adopted Presbyterianism. Upholding Puritan values of good education, a school was established, known by the 1830s as the Tranquill Institute. Confederate, then Union soldiers, used the old school as a hospital in 1864, and three of the Union casualties are buried in the Flemington cemetery. By the Victorian era, the Flemington Musical Society’s influence on popular entertainment in the area illustrates the shift away from Puritan roots toward a more secular society.

National Register of Historic Places

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under -LIBERTY COUNTY, Flemington GA

Ebenezer Presbyterian Church & Reverend Joseph Williams Memorial, Freedmen’s Grove

Freedmens Grove GA Liberty County Midway Area Ebenezer Church Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Founded in 1887 by the Reverend Joseph Williams, Ebenezer Presbyterian is an important African-American congregation. Reverend Williams’s headstone, which faces the church from across US 17, reads: In Memory of Rev. Joseph Williams – Founder of Presbyterianism among the colored people of Georgia – Born in Providence Island West Indies A. D. 1805 – Died at Riceboro Ga U.S.A. Nov. 22, 1899.

Freedmens Grove GA Liberty County Reverend Joseph Williams Memorial Ebenezer Presbyterian Church Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

“A Chronicle of Black History in Liberty County, Georgia”, by Lillie Walthour Gillard, gives insight into the work of the Reverend Mr. Williams, as he was widely known.

The Reverend Joseph Williams, a native of the West Indies, came to Liberty County from Macon, Georgia, in the year 1867. On April 12, 1868, he organized a Presbyterian church in the building of “Old Midway” church with 300 members and worshipped there for eighteen years. This congregation became part of Knox Presbytery and of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., and was known as the Midway Presby­terian Church. Following a period of controversy over the rights of occupancy of Old Midway-Congre­gational or Presbyterian-the Reverend Mr. Williams organized a group of forty-six persons formerly members of a church pastored by Dr. C. C. Jones. In 1880 the church moved to Riceboro where a new building was constructed with the assistance of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

http://libertyhistory.org/topics/black-history/61-a-chronicle-of-black-history-in-liberty-county-georgia

1 Comment

Filed under -LIBERTY COUNTY, Freedmen's Grove GA