This church is located adjacent to the Pineville Church, illustrated in the previous post.
Tag Archives: –MARION COUNTY GA–
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.
The lost community that came to be known as Church Hill was opened to white settlers by the Land Lottery of 1827. To accommodate new arrivals, Native American trading routes were improved or superseded by the creation of new roads. In 1832, Timothy Barnard’s Path, which ran from Columbus to St. Marys, became known as the St. Marys Road or the Old Salt Trail. At a point between Kinchafoonee Creek and Lanahassee Creek, where three roads crossed St. Marys Road, five churches were built in a relatively short time, including: Mt. Pisgah (Kinchafoonee) Free Will Baptist (date unknown); Shiloh Baptist (1835); Christian Union (1840); Smyrna Associate Reformed Presbyterian (1838); and Evan Chapel Methodist (1838). Records indicate a school known as Centerville Academy was formed by the Smyrna trustees in 1838, suggesting the original name for the community was Centerville. It is unclear when the moniker of Church Hill came into use, but it first appeared on maps in 1870. The Church Hill post office was operational from 1893-1903, so it is likely that the area suffered a significant population decline at the beginning of the 20th century.
Shiloh-Marion is the last remaining church of the five that gave Church Hill its name and is a great example of vernacular Greek Revival architecture, common in antebellum churches in Georgia. A sign at the church notes the founding date as 1812, the year of the first mission; further documentation gives the founding date as 1835, when eleven members joined the Bethel Baptist Association. The church structure is believed to be contemporary to the latter date.
Shiloh-Marion Baptist Church Cemetery, 1830s
The cemetery is a fascinating landmark in its own right, containing typical Victorian monuments and an unusual collection of stone markers. The stones are either stacked in elongated triangular forms or used as fencing. There has been some speculation that they are Native American in origin and to my knowledge there are no familial claims by church members. This still doesn’t get anywhere near evidence of Native American ties, but t’s worthy of investigation either way.
A sign and wooden cross mark the slave cemetery.
Unmarked concrete stones have been placed at approximate burial locations.
This location on Lanahassee Creek has been home to a grist mill since the mid-1800s, according to an oral history conducted by Mia Harris in 2016 [Columbus State University Archives: Marion County Heritage Tour, April 2016]. Located near two historic communities (Church Hill and Pineville), the mill has been operated by three generations of the Upton family.
It ceased regular operations in 1950 but was revived in for a few years beginning in 1980. The late Billy E. Powell, son of Myrtice Evelyn Upton Powell, rebuilt the mill in 1994 and the sluice gate was rebuilt more recently.
The pond is known as Powell’s Mill Pond. It is one of the most beautiful locations in all of Marion County.’
This is one of the most extraordinary tenant houses I’ve ever seen.
At first glance, it appears to be a typical example of the form.
But further inspection reveals an inscription on the local stone chimney, dating it to 29 March 1935. While I have seen a few dated chimneys in my travels, this is the first one I’ve encountered on such a utilitarian structure. It’s an amazing testament to the pride of the builder, who may have also been the tenant.
As this remnant wall suggests, this already tiny house was subdivided, suggesting it may have been home to two tenants.
It also includes a shed room at the rear of the house, which is relatively typical with this form.
I first identified this historic structure, south of Mauk, as a schoolhouse, largely due to the fact that it still has traces of red paint. But George Woodall, who grew up in Mauk, relates that it was Liberty Methodist Church. It’s definitely endangered and will likely not survive much longer without intervention.