Ways Baptist Church, 1851, Jefferson County

Ways Baptist Church was organized in 1817 near the present-day community of Stellaville, about three miles east of Wrens. It was named for Bill Way, who donated the land on which it was sited. The members were originally part of Brushy Creek Baptist Church but were dismissed for some reason, perhaps because they had slaves. Enslaved persons were among the first members of the new congregation. A log cabin was built first, then a more formal structure, replaced by this church in 1851. It features what appears to be a slave gallery (common in churches with slave members) and was likely built by the slaves themselves. After emancipation, they founded their own congregation nearby, known as Ways Grove Baptist Church.

It is a beautiful church and churchyard, and there is an historic cemetery across the highway.


Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--, Stellaville GA

2 responses to “Ways Baptist Church, 1851, Jefferson County

  1. Dr. Fay Stapleton Burnett

    Is it documented anywhere that members of Brushy Creek were dismissed because they owned slaves? Were they dismissed in good standing to start another church, or expelled from the church? It is important to know the facts before suggesting a historical narrative.

    • It isn’t specifically documented, which is why I said “perhaps”. This is simply an educated guess, considering the controversy over slavery which arose from the 1845 Triennial Convention of the American Baptist Home Mission Society a and the establishment date of Ways Chapel. The split between regional factions and the embrace of slavery and secession by the Southern Baptists of Georgia that came by 1861 are possible clues. To their credit, the early Baptists of Georgia had been largely anti-slavery.

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