Mount Pleasant was organized in 1820 and is among the oldest congregations in Jeff Davis County. This structure, built on land given by the Byrd family circa 1878, was used until a newer structure was built next door in 1989. It is sometimes referred to as Byrd Church.
Tag Archives: South Georgia Churches
The South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church notes: The story is told that a circuit rider came to hold services at the site of this church and no one came, so he called it “Lone Hill”. The first building was erected on this site, in Coffee County, between 1848 and 1854…The adjacent cemetery contains the graves of the early settlers to the community. The earliest marked grave is of the infant son of Dan and Winafred Newbern born and died January 4, 1848.
The cemetery is also home to the National Champion Eastern Red Cedar.
Union Church was organized as non-denominational house of worship in 1837, about a mile from the present location. A second structure was built across the road from the present location and used until 1867 when this church was built. The exact date the church became affiliated with the Methodists is unknown.
Lena Baker (8 June 1900-5 March 1945), the only woman ever executed in Georgia’s electric chair, sang in the choir at Mt. Vernon.
Ms. Baker, a mother of three, was forced into a sexual relationship with her elderly white employer, Ernest B. Knight. It was well-known and frowned upon throughout the county. When Knight realized that Ms. Baker was determined to end the relationship he locked her in his gristmill, as he had done many times before. When she tried to escape, they “tussled” over his pistol which fired and killed him. She immediately turned herself in and claimed the shooting was in self-defense. Not surprisingly, the all-male, all-white jury in the ensuing sham trial found Ms. Baker guilty of capital murder and sentenced her to death. She was executed at Reidsville on 5 March 1945 and buried at Mt. Vernon. That this was a tragic, if typical, miscarriage of justice was confirmed when she was granted a full and unconditional pardon by the state in 2005.
Church members placed a headstone on her unmarked grave in 1998 and family members pay tribute every year on Mother’s Day.
As to the history of the congregation, I’m unable to locate anything at this time.
Springvale Baptist Church was constituted in 1843 and originally known as Bethel. Its first home was a log structure near Pataula Creek. Two more churches, built in 1849 and 1870, would follow and both were gifted to the African-American congregation that grew out of Bethel after the Civil War. In 1893 the name was changed from Bethel to Springvale and the present church constructed about 1910.
The first church in this area, known as Lannahassee, was established before 1840 and met in a wood frame building with dirt floors. It was served by a circuit rider and met monthly. Around 1840, a wave of settlers came from South Carolina and the church became interdenominational. Theological disagreement soon arose and the Methodists began meeting in the courthouse until they moved into another frame structure, where they met until the present church was constructed in 1895.