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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.