Category Archives: –BRANTLEY COUNTY GA–

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 2013

Oak 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-brown1

Bethlehem 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-201

Emmaus Primtive Baptist Church, St. George, Charlton County

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High 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-sou

Oak 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-va

Pilgrim’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-geor

Sardis 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-2013

Shiloh 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-©-brian

Smyrna Primitive Baptist Church, Lulaton, Brantley County

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Wayfair 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…

For the PDF of Michael Holt’s thesis:

http://vtext.valdosta.edu:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10428/430/HoltThesis.pdf?sequence=1

For Dr. Crowley’s article, follow this link and scroll down to Primitive Baptists:

http://www.centerforbaptiststudies.org/bulletin/2004/july.htm#Dates

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

Handpainted Road Sign, Brantley County

Brantley County GA Handpainted Traffic Sign Dirt Road Slow Ya Roll Dangerous Curve Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

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High Bluff Primitive Baptist Church, Schlatterville

historic high bluff primitive baptist church raybon ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 20133

Originating on a high bluff of the Satilla River near Raybon in 1819, this congregation is one of the oldest and most historic in Brantley County. Mrs. Martha Mizell Puckett’s history of the church highlights much more information. There is no consensus as to why these early settlers left Raybon, but Judge Folks Huxford, South Georgia’s best-known genealogist, suggested they came to the Schlatterville area around 1822 to escape a cholera outbreak.

historic high bluff church raybon ga photograph copyright bian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

For a time, the congregation was known as Big Creek, but restored the name of High Bluff Church between 1878-80.

historic high bluff primitive baptist church brantley county ga interior photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

Still active, High Bluff is the largest congregation in the Alabaha Primitive Baptist Church Association.

historic high bluff primitive baptist church raybon ga seat cushions photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

Seat cushions and funeral home fans are the only “modern conveniences” to be found at High Bluff.

historic high bluff cemetery raybon ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

What moved me the most at this location was the magnificent cemetery, one of the largest in the area and the final resting place of many pioneers of South Georgia. I think of it as a sort of rural Bonaventure and could spend countless hours wandering its historic lots. A comprehensive guide to interments has been compiled for researchers and those with an interest in locating ancestors.

historic-high-bluff-primitive-baptist-church-cemetery-brantley-county-ga-lydia-a-stone-queen-of-the-okefenokee-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2013Lydia A. Stone (27 June 1864 – 4 January 1938)

In a lot near the front of the church can be found the burial place of Lydia A. Stone, who was known as the Queen of the Okefenokee for her vast land holdings and business successes. Also buried here is her first husband, D. G. Stone (19 October 1878 – 18 August 1926), her second husband and heir, John Melton Crews (17 August 1906 – 7 January 1970), as well as his second wife, Kissie (8 September 1913 – 15 November 1947), and Mrs. Stone’s parents.

historic high bluff cemetery brantley county ga picket fence photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

Adjacent to the Stone plot are two picketed enclosures retaining what appears to be the original woodwork, quite a rarity in the coastal climate of Brantley County.

historic-high-bluff-primitive-baptist-church-cemetery-brantley-county-ga-john-ammons-revolutionary-war-marions-men-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2013John Ammons, NC & GA Militias Revolutionary War (1760 – 1852) One of Marion’s Men

This headstone, placed by the Sons of the American Revolution,  is of great significance to genealogists and students of the American Revolution for its connection to General Francis Marion, better known as the Swamp Fox.

historic high bluff primitive baptist church cemetery circus headstone photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013Daniel F. Gill, Sr. (15 September 1905 – 18 December 1981)

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Effects of Okefenokee Wildfires, Brantley County

Brantley County GA 2011 Wildfire Effects Landscape Pine Forests Racepond Fire Okefenokee Area Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Driving from Racepond to Hoboken, on Georgia Highway 121, you’ll notice several miles of desolate landscape like this, all the result of the Racepond Fire of 2011, which eventually burned 21,000 acres.

http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2012-02-04/story/southeast-georgia-fire-season-could-be-repeat-2011

http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2011-06-03/story/firefighters-making-headway-race-pond-fire

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Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church, Raybon

historic oak grove primitive baptist church raybon ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

The cemetery at Oak Grove would suggest that this congregation is a bit younger than other Hardshell churches in the area. The earliest headstones date to the turn of the last century.

historic oak grove primitive baptist raybon ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

The architecture is the board-and-batten vernacular style emblematic of the Crawfordite meeting houses.

historic oak grove primitive baptist church raybon ga elevation photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

The beautiful interior is smaller than most but equally awe-inspiring.

historic oak grove primitive baptist church raybon ga interior photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

The pulpit, or “the stand’ as it’s known by these congregations, is always oriented at the side of the meeting house.

historic oak grove primitive baptist church raybon ga pulpit stand photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

An infant burial of 1901 is the earliest I could located in the cemetery, but there are many Brantley county pioneer families represented here.

historic oak grove primitive baptist cemetery raybon ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

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Log Tobacco Barn, Bachlott

Log Tobacco Barn Bachlott GA Brantely County Landmark Endangered Agricultural Architecture Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

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Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Chuch, Bachlott

historic bethlehem primitive baptist church brantley county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

This church was founded in 1842 and joined the Alabaha Association (Crawfordite) in 1905. They joined the Satilla River Association in 1969. The congregation disbanded in 1991. I’m not sure when the present structure was built.

historic bethlehem primitive baptist brantley county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

Below is a good representation of the old-style shuttered windows.

historic bethlehem primitive baptist church bachlott brantley county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

The interiors of all of the Hardshell churches are beautiful testaments to faith and good carpentry.

historic bethlehem primitive baptist bachlott brantley county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

historic bethlehem primitive baptist church interior brantley county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

Bethlehem Cemetery is large and well-maintained, as are all of the Hardshell cemeteries, but is unique in that it contains a pair of grave houses, a real rarity in South Georgia.

historic bethlehem primitive baptist cemeterey grave house brantley county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

Adult Grave House

historic bethlehem primitive baptist cemeterey childs grave house brantley county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

Child’s Grave House

historic bethlehem primitive baptist cemeterey brantley county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

Note the gopher hole at the edge of this lot. Gopher holes are a sure sign of rattlesnakes, too.

For cemetery and genealogical information:

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gabrantl/cemlistbethlehem-1.html

Some references list this church’s address as Bethlehem Road in Hickox, but if you attempt to take that road from U. S. Highway 301, you will find an overgrown field road that leads to an inaccessible bridge. Since I had to access it from Bachlott, and due to the fact that it’s closer to that settlement, I listed Bachlott as its location.

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