Tag Archives: Georgia Pioneers

New Hope A. M. E. Church, 1885, Guyton

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

 

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Filed under --EFFINGHAM COUNTY GA--, Guyton GA

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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Filed under --SCREVEN COUNTY GA--

Gravesite of John Abbot, Bulloch County

John Abbot was one of the most important naturalists and artists working in early America, but because he generally eschewed publication and most of his work was only available to wealthy patrons and collectors, he has not been as appreciated as other notables of his era, including Alexander Wilson and John James Audubon. Credit is due the Georgia Historical Society for commissioning a delightful memorial marking Abbot’s burial place*, installed at the old McElveen Family Cemetery in Bulloch County. Publication of a collection of his ornithological paintings, John Abbot’s Birds of Georgia, by the Beehive Press in 1997, has done much to advance his reputation.

*-[detail, above]. Mary Stuart. Bronze Relief, after the circa 1804 self-portrait “John Abbot of Savannah, Georgia, America”. 1956. It is the only known image of the naturalist.

Born in London in 1751 to James and Ann Abbot, John was influenced from an early age by the impressive art collection of his lawyer father. Though the elder Abbot expected his son to read law, he also encouraged his interest in art and natural history, hiring the noted engraver Jacob Bonneau to instruct him. In his late teens, John Abbot clerked for his father’s law office but was far too distracted by his passion for natural history and art to give it serious consideration as a career.

He set out for Virginia aboard the Royal Exchange in 1773 and upon arrival resided briefly with Parke & Mary Goodall. By 1775 rising unrest in the colony prompted Abbot to leave, settling with Parke Goodall’s cousin William and his family in St. George Parish, Georgia (present-day Burke County). Sometime during the Revolutionary period he married a young woman named Sarah (maiden name unknown) and their son John, Jr., was born around 1779. During this time Abbot was actively collecting and illustrating Georgia’s insects and a large number were acquired by Sir James Edward Smith, founder of London’s Linnaean Society. Smith commissioned hand-colored engravings of the original Georgia watercolors and published them in 1797 as the  Natural History of the Rarer Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia Collected from Observations by John Abbot. It is considered the first major publication devoted to American entomology.

Spicebush Swallowtail on Sassafras, John Abbot, from the Natural History…, 1797. Public Domain Image.

The Abbots remained in Burke County, where John likely taught at Waynesboro’s Burke County Academy, until moving to Savannah in 1806. He was often in transit throughout the central Savannah River area in pursuit of specimens and new material. Sarah’s death in 1817 sent Abbot into a deep state of grief and poor health consumed him for at least two years, during which he was inactive. He finally settled in Bulloch County in 1818 and resumed collecting and drawing for patrons. He lived out his last years on the property of his friend William E. McElveen. His exact date of death is unknown, but thought to be 1839 or 1840.

In what has to be some of the most inspring language on any memorial in the state, the Georgia Historical Society notes of John Abbot: Talented artist and searching naturalist of birds and insects. – As a tribute to him and his work may you who stand here find pleasure in protecting the natural beauty of Georgia. – John Abbot lies buried in this woodland cemetery because of his love of nature and his long friendship with the McElveen family.

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Filed under --BULLOCH COUNTY GA--

Jared Irwin House, Circa 1830, Lumpkin

Thought to be the oldest house in Lumpkin, this was originally a log dogtrot to which siding was later applied.  It was the home of Jared Irwin, namesake nephew of the early Georgia governor. Upon the death of the younger Irwin’s parents, Alexander and Penelope Irwin, he was adopted by his uncle. He was in the first graduating class of Franklin College (now the University of Georgia), was an original settler of Lumpkin and served as clerk of the inferior court of Stewart County. During the Creek War of 1836, he was killed in the Battle of Shepherd’s Plantation and was tied to his horse, which returned his body to Lumpkin.

The house has been modified over time but the interior remains in largely original condition. The shed room along the rear and the front porch are later additions. It is also known as the Irwin-Partain House.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --STEWART COUNTY GA--, Lumpkin GA

Nevils Creek Old Line Primitive Baptist Church, Bulloch County

Nevils Creek is the oldest church in Bulloch County and one of the oldest Primitive Baptist churches in Georgia. It was constituted in 1790. A single headstone is located beside the church: John Neville served in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment during the Revolutionary War. He may have been the founder of the congregation.

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Filed under --BULLOCH COUNTY GA--

Union United Methodist Church, 1884, Bulloch County

In 1790, a Methodist society that became Union church was organized in the home of Joshua Hodges, Sr. Hodges was a Revolutionary War veteran who had recently moved his family, including four sons, to the area. Members of the Methodist society set aside a tract of land west of the Hodges house, known on early land records as “Meeting House Reserve” and a log meeting house was constructed by 1792. The trustees were Joshua Hodges, Sr., Joseph Jackson, Jarvis Jackson, Catherine Hodges, Griffin Mizell, and Samuel Williams.

In 1834, the second church was built to replace the log structure. It was built of planks and sat on log pillars. It was replaced by the present structure in 1884, incorporating materials from its predecessor in the altar rails and some of the pews. The altar rail was crafted by Robert W. Stringer.

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Filed under --BULLOCH COUNTY GA--

Campground United Methodist Church, 1942, Bacon County

Historic Campground Methodist Church Bacon County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Situated in a grove of old Georgia pines, Campground is the oldest congregation in Bacon County and one of the earliest Methodist churches in the interior of South Georgia. Legend maintains that Bishop Asbury, “Prophet of the Long Road”, hitched his horse here around 1800. A granite marker placed in 1942 is the source of this information. That’s likely the date the present church was constructed. L. E. Pierce was the pastor at the time.

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Filed under --BACON COUNTY GA--