Tag Archives: Churches of Burke County GA

St. Clair Missionary Baptist Church, Burke County

St. Clair Missionary Baptist Church Burke County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Like many older African-American congregations, St. Clair Missionary Baptist utilizes a new church building but retains an older facility on the property (below). Note the baptismal pool to the right.

St. Clair GA Burke County Missionary Baptist Church Social Hall Old Church Baptismal Pool Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

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Clark’s Chapel M. E. Church, 1847, Burke County

Historic Clarks Chapel M E Church Burke County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

This is one of the best maintained and neatest little country churches I’ve ever seen in Georgia. It was built by Charles Clark as a plantation church to serve the spiritual needs of his large family. He was married twice and had 25 children. The Methodist Episcopal affiliation came in 1878, as the family spread out and left the plantation, but they resumed care for it in the late 1970s, after membership dwindled.

Historic Clarks Chapel ME Church Front Porch Antebellum Landmark Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Charles Clark came to Savannah from Westfield, New Jersey in 1802 and married his first wife, Eleanor Carswell, there. As his interests in agriculture grew, they acquired plantation lands in Burke County and resettled here. Upon Eleanor’s death in 1826, Clark married Sarah Murphey. A memorial outside the church reads: In Memory of Charles Clark (Jan. 30, 1782 – Feb. 2, 1852) Who in 1847 built Clark’s Chapel Church upon these rocks. He now lies buried in the family cemetery 1 1/2 miles away.

Clarks Chapel M E Church Charles Clark Memorial Burke County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

National Register of Historic Places

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Hopeful Baptist Church, 1855, Burke County

Historic Hopeful Baptist Church Burke County GA Antebellum Landmark Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

It’s thought that this church was built by David Demarest, the architect of Old Mercer Chapel in Penfield and the Greene County Courthouse in Greensboro. It certainly harkens to his mastery of Greek Revival architecture. The congregation of Hopeful Baptist dates to 1815, when a church was organized on the lands of Alexander Carswell’s plantation. Three smaller less formal churches predate this structure. The pulpit is at the entrance to the church, in contrast to the layout of most houses of worship. A member told me that this was to insure that every congregant would interact with the preacher. A small section at the rear was used as seating for slaves.

Historic Hopeful Baptist Church Burke County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

National Register of Historic Places

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Green’s Cut United Methodist Church, 1901, Burke County

Greens Cut United Methodist Church Burke County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

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Haven Methodist Episcopal Church, 1891, Waynesboro

Haven Memorial ME Church Waynesboro GA Sunset Through Broke Stained Glass WIndow Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Burke County freedmen organized Haven Academy in 1868 and after operating the school and church in a more utilitarian structure for 20 years, completed the present church building in 1891. It’s an important example of early formal architecture in the Georgia African-American community.

Haven Memorial ME Church Waynesboro GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Despite the positive attention brought to it by a National Register designation in 1996, it remains highly endangered.

Haven Memorial ME Church Waynesboro GA Side View Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

UPDATE: At 2:00 yesterday (16 September 2017) Sarah Barber sent me a  message that this church was on fire. Rob White confirms: This Waynesboro icon burned and was completely destroyed on September 16, 2017. There are now only 2 sites in Waynesboro on the National Historic Register. I was very concerned about the future of this structure the last time I saw it and now the worst possible end has come to it. The Augusta Chronicle reports that it was a case of arson.

Waynesboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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