Crawfordite Meeting Houses of Southeast Georgia

Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church Hardshell Alabaha Association Crawfordite Architecture Plain Interior Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church (Interior), Raybon, Brantley County

In his fascinating thesis, The “Gold Standard” of the Wiregrass Primitive Baptists of Georgia: A History of the Crawford Faction of the Alabaha River Primitive Baptist Association, 1842-2007, (Valdosta State University, 2009), Michael Holt makes special note of the architectural distinctions of the Crawfordites: “[An] aspect of the Crawfordite tradition that remains today is the construction style of the meeting houses. While other Primitive Baptist Churches, including those in the Bennettite faction of the Alabaha Association, have begun to use brick, mortar, carpet, and other modern construction techniques, Crawfordite churches remain exactly as they would have appeared over a century ago. They are still fashioned from unfinished pine, with no electricity, carpet, or running water…this austere architecture helps keep the connection with the past strong. It should be noted that in recent years, 0ne part of the church grounds has adopted more modern conveniences. The outhouses that adorned the grounds of all the churches in the association have now been replaced with outdoor restroom facilities with running water, though this change was made primarily to bring the restroom facilities in line with public health regulations. However, this addition has not encroached on the overall intended affect of the architecture…

bethlehem-primitive-baptist-church-bachlott-ga-brantley-county-hardshell-vernacular-architectural-landmark-board-and-batten-walls-unpainted-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brian-brown1Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church, Bachlott, Brantley County

emmaus-baptist-church-saint-st-george-charlton-county-ga-primitive-vernacular-board-and-batten-architecture-near-st-marys-river-picture-image-photograph-©-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-201Emmaus Primtive Baptist Church, St. George, Charlton County

high-bluff-primitive-baptist-church-schlatterville-hoboken-ga-brantley-county-landmark-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2013High Bluff Primitive Baptist Church, Schlatterville, Brantley County

oak-grove-primitive-baptist-church-raybon-ga-brantley-county-historic-hardshell-congregation-vernacular-architecture-landmark-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brian-brown-vanishing-souOak Grove Primitive Baptist Church, Raybon, Brantley County

pilgrims-rest-primitive-baptist-church-waynesville-ga-brantely-county-hardshell-vernacular-architecture-landmark-board-and-batten-walls-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brian-brown-vaPilgrim’s Rest Primitive Baptist Church, Waynesville, Brantley County

sardis-primitive-baptist-church-folkston-ga-charlton-county-crawfordite-faction-alabaha-architecture-old-time-religion-picture-image-photograph-copyright-© brian-brown-vanishing-south-georSardis Primitive Baptist Church, Folkston, Charlton County

shiloh-primitive-baptist-church-blackshear-ga-pierce-county-hardshell-religion-landmark-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2013Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church, Blackshear, Pierce County

smyrna-baptist-church-lulaton-ga-brantley-county-primitive-hardshell-baptist-church-board-and-batten-pine-walls-vernacular-architecture-landmark-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brianSmyrna Primitive Baptist Church, Lulaton, Brantley County

vsg-wayfair-primitive-baptist-church-hardshell-cox-ga-mcintosh-county-unpainted-boards-vernacular-architecture-picture-image-photo-©-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2012Wayfair Primitive Baptist Church, Cox, McIntosh County

The Crawfordites are named for Elder Reuben Crawford. Dr. John G. Crowley, the leading authority on the history of Primitive Baptists notes in his article “The Sacred Harp Controversy in the Original Alabaha Primitive Baptist Association,” Baptist Studies Bulletin July 2004 “[they] emerged as a subset of the Primitive Baptists in the 1860s and 1870s. During the Twentieth Century the “Crawfordites” became the most austere and conservative Primitive Baptists in Georgia, eschewing radio, television, neckties, painted and heated meetinghouses.”  Michael Holt further notes in his thesis: “Whereas every other Primitive Baptist association has altered somewhat from the original tenets of the denomination, the Crawford Faction of the Alabaha has remained unchanged since the time of its founding in 1842…

 

Dr. Crowley’s article can be accessed here. Just scroll down to Primitive Baptists.

PHOTOGRAPHER’S NOTE: This is not a complete photographic record, as there are more Crawfordite churches in the area I’ve not yet visited. They will be added as they are documented.

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5 Comments

Filed under --BRANTLEY COUNTY GA--, --CHARLTON COUNTY GA--, --PIERCE COUNTY GA--

5 responses to “Crawfordite Meeting Houses of Southeast Georgia

  1. Dana Crawford-Pulley

    Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church, commonly referred to as North Prong, in Baker County, FL is an example of a Crawfordite church. My ancestors were among the founding members, Elder Reuben Crawford is an uncle several times removed.

  2. Louise C Leonard

    I’ve been to all of these, and to church services at most. Back in the early 90s I made a photo book of these for my Mom, who was a member at Shiloh in Blackshear. There are at least two more in Florida: Nathalene near HIlliard, Florida and Bethel near Callahan, Florida. Both are no longer part of the Alabaha and I believe have been modernized.

    Nathalene was built when my Mom was a young girl on donated land. One of the church members had a dream where she received the name.

  3. Jamie sanders

    Alapaha is the correct spelling

  4. I think I know one of these Crawfordite type primitive baptist churches. It’s called Hebron and it’s in Jasper, Fl. actually about 2 miles from the Georgia state line. It has electricity now tho-

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