Big Buckhead Baptist Church, 1845, Jenkins County

Named for nearby Buckhead Creek, this congregation dates to before the Revolutionary War. Matthew Moore, the Baptist minister who organized the church, was a Loyalist who returned to England near the onset of the war.

The church was reconstituted on 11 September 1787. James Matthews was the pastor and Sanders Walker & Josiah Taylor were the presbytery. The present church building is the fourth on this site. Significantly in the history of the Georgia Baptists, the Hephzibah Association was organized here and the first plans for Mercer University were proposed.

An historic marker headlined Cavalry Action at Buckhead Church reads: On November 28, 1864, the 3rd Cavalry Division [USA], Brigadier General J. L. Kilpatrick, USA, was driven south from Waynesboro by the Cavalry Corps, Army of Tennessee [CSA], Major General Joseph Wheeler, CSA. Retreating under constant harassment by Wheeler’s men, Kilpatrick’s command commenced crossing Buckhead Creek east of the church. The rear guard ( Second and Third Kentucky cavalry regiments) was attacked before crossing but, supported by the Fifth Kentucky, the Ninth Pennsylvania and the Tenth Wisconsin Battery, it beat off the attack and crossed, burning the bridge behind it. With the bridge gone and the crossing defended by the Fifth Ohio Cavalry, Wheeler moved upstream, effected his crossing, and again attack Kilpatrick’s command which, in the meantime, had entrenched about three miles west of the church near Reynolds’ plantation.

Reaching the enemy position, Wheeler sent Dibrell’s brigade to attack the right, Ashby’s brigade to turn the left, and launched a frontal charge with the Third Arkansas and Eighth and Eleventh Texas cavalry regiments; but Kilpatrick managed to extricate his command as darkness set in and retreated six miles toward Louisville where Sherman’s Left Wing was encamped. Wheeler then resumed his mission of attacking Union foraging parties which were attempting to strip the countryside of animals and provisions.

The church and cemetery are located west of Perkins off U. S. Highway 25.

10 thoughts on “Big Buckhead Baptist Church, 1845, Jenkins County

  1. Dr. Fay Stapleton Burnett

    For anyone interested in this church, as well as the history of the Baptists in East Central Georgia, there is a book, “The Hephzibah Baptist Association Centennial, 1794-1894” written in 1894 by Rev. W. L. Kilpatrick, D. D. There was a reprint in 2003, but is not currently available online for purchase. But, hopefully, in the coming months, another reprint will be available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle E-version. Keep checking to see when this is available!

    Reply
  2. Melodye Williams

    Beautiful, historical landmark in our County. I enjoy all of your photos. Please take some pictures of Magnolia Baptist Church in Perkins, too!

    Reply
  3. HistoryInTheMaking

    Live right down the road from this church. It is beautiful! There are hoof prints imprinted in the back pews left behind by Gen. William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea.

    Reply
  4. John P. Rabun, Jr.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Ben Dooley’s two comments and with Brian Brown’s reply. Was Sanders Walker the same man as Saunders Walker, the first Baptist minister to be ordained in Georgia?

    Reply
  5. Lew Oliver

    This is a rare dignified gem of a building. It exemplifies the best of stoic classicism completely missing in new church architecture.

    Reply
  6. Ben Dooley

    A true classic. Beautifully proportioned and wonderfully detailed. A telling comparison with what most rural churches are building today.

    Reply

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