From the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church: In the late 1850s, Dr. Ayer from Rome came to the community to visit his daughter, Mrs. Anderson P. Longstreet, who lived in the community. There was no Methodist church in the area at this time and so Dr. Ayer contributed financially to funding a church. Lewis Grovenstein, Benjamin C. Porter, and A. P. Longstreet was selected to organize the new sanctuary and four acres were selected from property owned by George W. Best. The new structure was a frame building measuring thirty-five feet by fifty feet by thirteen feet and was completed in December 1859. On March 18, 1860, the church was organized with twenty females and twenty males on the roll. This church was served by two pastors, Rev. B. F. Breedlove and Rev. L. L. Strange. The first quarterly conference was held in September 1866, under the pastorate of Rev. N. D. Morehouse. In 1885, money was collected to “remodel, repair and paint” the church and, in 1886, the roof was extended in the front and pews were built…In August 1945, electricity was installed at Mizpah… Also in the 1940s, the inside of the sanctuary was remodeled so that the separate entrances and seating for men and women were changed to one double door and one center aisle. In 1953, the wood burning stove was replaced with a gas heater…
Tag Archives: Churches of Effingham County GA
Celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, New Hope A. M. E. Church was founded by former slaves on 4 August 1869. It’s the oldest black church in Guyton and among the oldest A. M. E. congregations in Southeast Georgia. The original members, mostly the families of carpenters, farmers, turpentiners, and millers, had been members of Methodist churches and sought to build a congregation and community. The neighborhood came to be known as Sugar Hill.
I had the good fortune of meeting Mrs. Pearl Powell Boynes, who graciously invited me inside the church with my camera. She was a delightful lady who has a background in history and great reverence for her ancestors’ contributions to New Hope. The above photo of her great-grandparents, George (born 1828) and Eve McCall, graces the vestibule of the church.
Reverend W. H. Wells was the first pastor. The church was built with rough-hewn lumber joined with wood pegs and square nails. Originally, the exterior was covered with hand-carved shingles and the walls made of hog-hair and cement plaster. Some of the shingles remain on the exterior. The chandelier in the middle of the sanctuary has been a prominent feature since around the turn of the century. It was originally gas-powered.
The hand-carved pews have been in use since the church was completed.
National Register of Historic Places
Bethel Lutheran was founded as a branch of Jerusalem Lutheran Church. People regularly walked or rode the 10-15 miles from this area near Springfield to Ebenezer to attend Jerusalem. Sometime prior to 1855 congregants began gathering on this site and conducted services in a brush arbor. Soon, it was obvious that a permanent church was needed here. Reverend Ernest Bergman was the first pastor to hold regular services at what would come to be known as Bethel. It remains an active congregation to this day.
To my knowledge, this is the only antebellum structure standing in Guyton. There was a Confederate hospital in the community and General William T. Sherman’s forces occupied the area in their approach to Savannah so I was intrigued to learn that this wonderful old church was somehow spared. I’d appreciate further information on its history. It’s known today as Guyton United Methodist Church.
Guyton Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
This beautiful church was organized no later than 1873 as Antioch Christian Church. It is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation. Its name was changed in 1900 to Guyton Christian Church. The congregation cemetery, located nearby on Little McCall Road, dates to 1873, but I do not know the date of this structure. It may be contemporary to the cemetery.
Guyton Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Thought to be the oldest campmeeting in continuous existence in the South, the Effingham County Methodist Campground has been held at several locations since 1790, with the present tabernacle dating to 1910. The family “tents” which line the campground are actually permanent structures where people gather during events, which were once much longer in duration than today.
A historical marker placed by the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1990 notes: Effingham Camp Meeting has the longest record of continuous service in South Georgia-from 1790 according to oral tradition. The first camp ground was off Sisters’ Ferry Road on land of George Powledge, later sold to Gideon Mallette. In 1864 the site was burned during Sherman’s March to the Sea. In 1865 and 1866 encampment was held at Turkey Branch Methodist Church. In 1867 the camp ground was rebuilt on the Edward Bird tract at Springfield. In 1907 the present site was occupied after an exchange with G. M. Brinson. August encampment includes the third Sunday.
“Tents” of the Effingham County Methodist Campground
Organized as a branch of Georgia’s oldest church, Jerusalem Lutheran in Ebenezer, Zion Lutheran Church traces its origins to 1845. Around that time, a meeting house was built on this site near the Ogeechee River to accommodate members who found it difficult to make the journey to Ebenezer. On 8 December 1864, Major General William T. Sherman headquartered in this historic churchyard en route to Savannah. The present structure was built in 1872 and continues to serve an active congregation.
For several years I suspected this church to be antebellum due to the second-floor windows, which often indicate a slave’s gallery, but thanks to Pastor Greg McAlister, I now know that isn’t the case. McAlister is the pastor of Solid Rock Baptist Church, the congregation presently calling this beautiful old building home and he notes that it was established as the Meldrim Christian Church in 1896.
From the church website: Elim Baptist Church was constituted in the summer of 1870 about two miles north of Egypt. A man of great influence and social leader in the community brought about a split in the church at Oliver (Little Ogeechee Baptist) over the use of an organ in their song services. Dr. A. B. Lanier organized Elim Baptist Church because of this issue. He and others who favored the use of an instrument left the Little Ogeechee Baptist Church and founded Elim Egypt Baptist Church. The first church building was erected in 1871. After the rift over the organ was healed, Elim Baptist and Little Ogeechee joined together in a union Sunday School from 1874-1876. In 1902 Elim changed its name to Elam Egypt and moved to the Egypt community. By 1902 the Egypt community was growing… There was also a 17-room hotel, two grocery stores, a post office, and a train deport. The present sanctuary was built in 1902 and the same year a pump organ was given to the church.