Liberty Baptist Church, 1858, Grooverville

Liberty Baptist Church Grooverville GA Brooks County Historic Antebellum Architecture Slave Gallery Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in August, Liberty Baptist is one of the few surviving examples of an antebellum church structure in South Georgia. Though nearby Grooverville Methodist is thought to be antebellum, as well, it’s privately owned and not listed, to my knowledge. The following images show the sanctuary and slave gallery.

Liberty Baptist Church Grooverville GA Brooks County Historic Antebellum Architecture Pews Slave Gallery Interior Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Liberty Baptist Church Grooverville GA Brooks County Historic Antebellum Architecture Windows Shutters Pews Pulpit Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Liberty Baptist Church Grooverville GA Brooks County Historic Antebellum Architecture Pulpit Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

The “balcony” seen in the images above is the slave gallery. I’ve photographed several churches with slave galleries, mostly near the coast, and they are generally larger there.

Grooverville GA Brooks County Liberty Baptist Church Antebellum Architecture Slave Gallery Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Liberty Baptist Church Grooverville GA Brooks County Historic Antebellum Architecture Pews Slave Gallery Stairwell Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

And finally, this historic marker placed by the Georgia Historical Commission in 1956: Between 1837-1841 the Baptists in this section were stirred on Missions, Sunday Schools and ministerial support. In 1841 the Ocklochnee anti-Missionary Baptist Assn. passed a ruling to dismiss members believing in the “new fangled institutions of the day.” Disagreeing, Sister Nancy Hagen asked for her letter from Mt. Moriah Church and, at her request, was excommunicated. With Elisha Pack Smith, R. T. Stanaland, James I. Baker, Mrs. Sarah Ann Groover, Mrs. Mary Smith, Mrs. Amanda Denmark and Sam Whitfield, she organized this church. The first pastor was Elder R. J. May. Mt. Moriah Church ceased to exist long ago.

Liberty Baptist Church Grooverville GA Brooks County Historic Marker Antebellum Architecture Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

National Register of Historic Places

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7 Comments

Filed under --BROOKS COUNTY GA--, Grooverville GA

7 responses to “Liberty Baptist Church, 1858, Grooverville

  1. Pingback: New Hope Primitive Baptist Church, Wilcox County | Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown

  2. Edwin C. King, Colonel, USMC, Ret.

    Bryan, I recently your comments concerning the slaves attendance of white’s churches and the formation of First Elizabeth Church. My study, for about 49 years, has uncovered no evidence that slaves were forced to attend white churches. Some did attend and become members as a very few did at Liberty. My belief is that most if not all those that attended and became members of Liberty were house slaves and not field slaves. Also, I’ve studied every record of Liberty that I think can be found and have found nom\ evidence that it was former Liberty members who established First Elizabeth. I am writing a book on the history of Liberty Church and would like to have the info on this to include in my book. Thanks. Please e-mail to: edwinking@webtv.net. Ed King

  3. Does anyone have a photo of Nancy Hagan? Any in church records? Would like to see it if it is available. Thanks Mary

    • Edwin C. King, Colonel, USMC, Ret.

      Mary, I have researched Liberty Baptist Church and Nancy Hagan for a number of years. I have found no photos. Info is contained on the net and in several books,” Creating an Old South, Middle Florida’s Planation Frontier Before the Civil War,” byEdward E. Baptists and “Indian Springs, the tory of a Pioneer Church in Leon County, Florida.” Further, the Florida State University, Tallahassee, has a box filled with her writings. Ed King

  4. tarobinsonsr

    What more do you know about the church slave galleries, you photographed in these pictures. Was such simply a place for the slaves of the Church-goers to ‘enjoy’ the services?

    • They were, indeed, Tom. Obviously, masters didn’t want to leave slaves behind on the plantations while they were in service. So yes, they were essentially forced to attend. Most created their own churches after emancipation, as the slaves of Liberty Baptist created First Elizabeth in Grooverville.

  5. David Hutchings

    Thanks. I will visit that one. This is another interesting church on Oak St in Thomasville. Good Shepherd Episcopal which ran one of the earliest pre schools for Afican-Americans

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