Tag Archives: Georgia Churches

Macedonia Baptist Church, Circa 1930, Sterling

This historic African-American church was built circa 1930 and serves the Sterling community. I’m not sure if it has always been affiliated with the same congregation but will update it when possible.

This post begins our merger with Vanishing Coastal Georgia.

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Filed under --GLYNN COUNTY GA--, Sterling GA

Abandoned Baptist Church, Gough

This is one of two abandoned churches in Gough.

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Filed under --BURKE COUNTY GA--, Gough GA

Smith Grove Cemetery, Jefferson County

This well-maintained African-American cemetery contains a collection of vernacular headstones of statewide importance, both as artifacts of ingenuity in the face of adversity and as sacred ground to the loved ones of those interred here. Thanks to Cynthia Jennings for making me aware of the site. Smith Grove [Smiths or Smith’s in some references] members made the best of what was available to them, which was typical of rural congregations. Many of the memorials are nearly unreadable*, but consider that at the time they were made, most rural African-American schools were grossly underfunded and were barely able to provide the basics of an education, and the makers of these were likely “drawing” the letters as opposed to writing them. I believe Smith Grove Cemetery should be on the National Register of Historic Places.

*-All names and dates that follow are presumed to be correct but the nature of the script makes it difficult to be completely accurate

Triangular Headstones

There are four triangular memorials, likely all accomplished by the same maker. Dates on Findagrave for these stones are not completely accurate. The way the numbers are positioned makes it nearly impossible to determine an actual date, in most cases.

Alex Stone (10 August 1862-22 November 1930). The date of Mr. Stone’s birth would indicate he was likely born into slavery.
Ed Way (1873-?)
Billie Lee Way (1865-1902).
Reverend B. T. Smith (1900-?). It is possible that Reverend Smith was the first pastor here and of the family for whom the church was named. [The name is listed as B. C. Smith on Findagrave, but I believe that may be an error in translation].

Unique Headstones

Inell Belle (2 December 1932-1944). This unique memorial is perhaps the most interesting of all the vernacular headstones at Smith Grove. I believe it represents a crown and/or the trinity.

This is the back side of the Inell Bell monument.

Unknown Memorial. It appears at first to resemble a keystone, but I don’t know if that was intentional. The rectangle in the middle likely once served as a frame for a piece of glass that held something of importance. The grave of PFC Robert W. Lockhart (not pictured), while a simple form, also has such a space and retains the original glass.
This side of the memorial has an even more complicated appearance, including incised areas that seem to be purposeful.
Tora Hymes (18 February 1864-?). This is a small wedge-shaped stone. I am not sure if the name I have given is correct.
Unknown. Stacked stones were once a common way to mark burials in African-American and white cemeteries, especially in rural locations.

Round Headstones

Sanie Brown (2 December 1932-1944)
Jessie Campbell (1931-1953)
Willie J. Hymes (1895-1945)

Traditional (Rectangular/Square) Headstones

Mell Berrie (1890?-February 1930). This is identified as Nell Berrie on Findagrave but I believe it to be Mell.
Unknown Avera (1850-1936). The first name is unreadable but contains an “o”, and an “r”. The surname is misidentified on Findagrave as Iveya. Avera was a common name in the area at one time.
Elex Tyler (14 November 1933-14 July? 1934)
Tom Hymes (February 1886-January 1920)
Professor L. W. Seabrook (January 1864-October 1956). Many of the later headstones in the cemetery use a form slab and stenciled letters.
The beautiful churchyard at Smith Grove.

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--

Old Mt. Olive Baptist Church & School, Circa 1909, Jefferson County

This historic African-American congregation is still active and this structure is adjacent to the associated cemetery. I am unaware of the history of the church, but it is possible that itwas established by former slaves of the Old Town plantation, located nearby.

This structure is located near the old church, and may have been a schoolhouse. Near the newer church is also a structure which appears to have been a school. I hope to learn more.

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--

Hebron Baptist Church, Sumter County

Hebron Baptist Church is located south of Americus. Steve Short writes: This church was founded in July 1894 by Rev. Augustus C. Wellons (1854-1932), who is buried at Lebanon Cemetery in Plains. Hebron celebrated its 125th anniversary in July 2019. Notably, dozens of descendants of Rev. Wellons’ niece Eugenia Wellons Short are members of Hebron today. Rev. Wellons and his sons built many houses and structures in nearby Plains, including Plains Baptist Church and the two-story Wellons House, formerly known as the Plains Bed & Breakfast Inn.

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Filed under --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, Americus GA

New Providence Primitive Baptist Church, Pineville

This church is located adjacent to the Pineville Church, illustrated in the previous post.

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Filed under --MARION COUNTY GA--, Pineville GA

Pineville Church, Marion County

The community that was home to this church has long been lost to history, but at one time, Pineville was a thriving place. Today, this church is all that remains, and it is quite a mystery.

The denomination of the church is not even confirmed, though it is presumed to have been Baptist. It is possible it was an African-American congregation, but that, too, is unclear. A nearby cemetery has added to the mystery, but was most likely associated with another church which no longer exists.

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Filed under --MARION COUNTY GA--, Pineville GA

Liberty Hill Church, Chattahoochee County

This beautiful isolated church stands just inside Chattahoochee County, near the boundaries of Webster and Marion County. I’ve not been able to locate much information on its history, but I believe the congregation is among the oldest in the area. There are two cemeteries at the site, one adjacent to the church and another in an adjacent field. The architecture of the present structure indicates it was likely built in the late 19th or early 20th century.

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Filed under --CHATTAHOOCHEE COUNTY GA--, Manta GA

Brooksville Methodist Church, 1874

My date for the church construction comes from a survey of local historic resources. I’m unsure when the congregation was established.

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Filed under --RANDOLPH COUNTY GA--, Brooksville GA

Brooksville Baptist Church & Sunday School, Randolph County

The Brooksville Baptist congregation was established in 1858.

I’m unsure when the present structure was built.

I believe this served as the Sunday School building.

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Filed under --RANDOLPH COUNTY GA--, Brooksville GA