Tag Archives: Churches of Screven County GA

Walker Grove Church, Newington

I’ve not been able to locate any history of Walker Grove Church, but it is an important landmark of African-American religious architecture and was obviously integral to its community since. A school was located on the same property.

Board walls were paneled and sheet rock and ceiling tiles added at some point in the congregation’s history. There is no air conditioning and since I didn’t locate a chimney I presume there was a flue for a pot-bellied stove somewhere.

A baptismal is located beside the church.

This style was very common among African-American congregations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and I believe the church dates to the early 1900s-1910s.

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Bethel Brick United Methodist Church, 1827, Screven County

Brick Church was established on land given by the Reverend Payton Wade and built by enslaved persons from Sam Manor’s nearby Lebanon Forest plantation. Manor’s daughter Sarah was the wife of Reverend Wade, having married him upon the death of her first husband, the Reverend John Crawford. Upon Sarah’s death, Reverend Wade married her younger niece Elizabeth Robert. It’s the oldest extant church building in Screven County. So many early wooden churches have been lost to time, but Brick Church has weathered nearly two centuries. Reverend Wade owned over 500 slaves, and Brick Church counted far more African-American members than whites in the antebellum era. A slave gallery was located around the upper part of the interior but was later removed; the small windows (now boarded shut) along the top of the building are evidence of the gallery. James McBride is thought to have been the brick mason and a Mr. Potter the carpenter. The date the name was changed to Bethel is not confirmed, but thought to be in the 1860s.

A nice old cemetery stands adjacent to the church, the final resting place of numerous Wade descendants and relatives, among them numerous doctors and Confederate veterans.

Behind the church is a beautiful remnant pine forest and Tom Hudson Lake, a reservoir on Rocky Creek named for a former Wade Plantation manager.

 

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Douglas Branch Baptist Church, Screven County

This is an architecturally unusual church for the area, but a new favorite of mine. The bricks are handmade. The congregation dates to June 1850 and enslaved persons often attended with their owners.  Many attended after the Civil War but likely dispersed during Reconstruction. (Source: A Brief History of Douglas Branch Baptist Church, Mrs. H. S. McCall, 1938).

I was rushed when I made the photographs and didn’t have time to explore the adjacent cemetery, but it’s quite large and is the final resting place for many early citizens Screven County.

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Oak Grove Methodist Church, 1919, Screven County

Oak Grove Methodist Church Screven County GA Dirt Road Cemetery Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Oak Grove stands at the end of a lonely dirt road in rural Screven County, not far from the Savannah River and the South Carolina state line. It’s as perfect a setting for such a place as one could imagine.

Historic Oak Grove Methodist Church Endangered African American Landmark Screven County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Established in the first generation after slavery, the congregation dates to 1876. The first church built here is now lost to history, but was likely of crude construction.

Historic Oak Grove Methodist Church Screven County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

The present structure, which is critically endangered and beyond saving, was built in 1919. It was likely in use until the 1970s. The congregation survives at another location today.

Oak Grove Methodist Church Screven County GA Interior York Player Piano Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

Nothing remains inside the church but the ruins of a York Player Piano. I would advise strongly against entering due to the instability of the structure.

Oak Grove Methodist Church View Out the Front Portico Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

 

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Trinity Church, Screven County

Hiltonia Area Screven County GA Abandoned Church Being Dismantled Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This is located just west of Hiltonia. It appears the lumber is being salvaged.

Abandoned Church Near Hiltonia Screven County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The front gable features shingles at the corners.

hiltoniachurchshingledetail

The interior, which must have been a lovely space at one time, is merely a shell of its former self today.

Screven County GA Hiltonia Area Abandoned Country Church Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The pulpit is the only feature that still resembles a church.

Screven County GA Abandoned Church Interior Near Hiltonia Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Thanks to Rita Howard for the identification.

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Filed under --SCREVEN COUNTY GA--, Hiltonia GA

Wesleyanna Memorial Methodist Church, 1870, Screven County

Wesleyanna Memorial Methodist Church Screven County GA Historic Landmark Vernacular Architecture Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

This quaint historic church is a testament to a congregation’s desire to preserve a place of worship, long after its last regular services were held. Most of the people in this community weren’t even born when the church was still active but according to Cheryl Bazemore, whose grandparents were among the builders of the church, a homecoming is held by descendants of the congregation each year. This explains the ceiling fans.

Wesleyanna Memorial Methodist Church Screven County GA 1870 Landmark Interior Pulpit Pews Preserved Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

It’s a simple, utilitarian design, with board-and batten exterior walls, and very plain pews and pulpit, yet it really exemplifies the beauty of the country church.

Wesleyanna Memorial Methodist Church Screven County GA 1870 Landmark Interior Pulpit Pews Utilitarian Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

A historic marker placed on the grounds in 1963 states: Organized 1868 under bush arbor on Stephen D. Lewis farm by Elder Theo. A. Pharr, John Hardy Bolton, Julia Wells Bolton, Stephen D. Lewis, Martha Howard Lewis, Paul Jenkins, Temperance Jenkins, Fulton L. Oglesby, Mary Bolton Oglesby and others on land given by Alexander James Wells and Isaac Thomas Bazemore. Original Trustees: John W. Boston, James Allen Bazemore, Green Berry Waters, Alexander James Wells and Abisha Humphrey Bazemore. Among early preachers: John Jenkins, W.D. Smith, Abisha Humphrey Bazemore, A.F. Ellington, Emory F. Dean, Jacob Perry Bazemore, David Matthews Bazemore, A.M. Johnson and John W. Roach.

June, 1957: church and cemetery set aside as perpetual memorial to founders by deed from Methodist Conference to Trustees, all of whom are descendants: Dora Bazemore Brooker, E. Lampkin Bazemore, I. Thomas Sanders, James Eugene Bazemore, Charles Thurman Hopkins, Sr., Lilla Sanders Smith, John W. Gross, Palmer A. Bazemore and Bertha Hoffman.

A sign over the entrance to the church yard dates the building to 1870.

Wesleyanna Memorial Methodist Church Screven County GA 1870 Landmark Interior Pulpit Pews Utilitarian Preserved Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

It’s good to know that the property is actively patrolled by the Screven County Sheriff’s Department and I’m glad to see that deputies leave notes when they notice suspicious activity.

Wesleyanna Memorial Methodist Church Screven County GA Historic Landmark Patrolled by Police Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

The cemetery has a nice fence with alternating white and green boards.

Wesleyanna Memorial Methodist Church Screven County GA Green and White Picket Cemetery Fence Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

It’s definitely worth finding if you happen to be in the area.

Wesleyanna Memorial Methodist Church Screven County GA Historic Landmark Board and Batten Siding Vernacular Architecture Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

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First Baptist Church, 1918, Sylvania

First Baptist Church 1917 Sylvania GA Screven County Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

The congregation dates to 1847. The present structure, dating to 1918, was renovated in 1972 by Augusta civil engineer Harry Peihl Vankerhoff.  It’s one of the most noticeable landmarks in Sylvania.

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Filed under --SCREVEN COUNTY GA--, Sylvania GA