The old Danburg School is standing, but not accessible as its on private property. The gymnasium is visible from the road. The school was built in 1926 and this structure is typical of gymnasiums built between circa 1920s-1940s. Football wasn’t nearly as dominant in the first half of the 20th century as it is today and basketball reigned supreme in smaller communities. This would have been a busy place in its day, though by 1944 the school was consolidated with Tignall.
Author Archives: Brian Brown
Hiram Lodge No. 51, F. & A. M., Danburg
This vernacular Greek Revival lodge of the Free & Accepted Masons is a nice rural landmark. There aren’t a lot of lodges of this style in Georgia. This one has been slightly modified, appearing to be “stripped” of some of its elements [perhaps a front porch; the entry has also been reduced in sized] but is still a great representation of the form.
Major’s Store, Danburg
This general store, identified by Doris Rhodes as the John Major’s Store, appears to be the older of two stores standing in Danburg. When viewed beside the Lindsey Store, it’s also a good example of differences, even with one style, that can be found in vernacular architecture. Both stores are of the shotgun variety, but this store is characterized by higher walls and windows, as well as a greater depth.
It originally featured a shed porch and had a gas pump out front. A 2008 Google Street View of the location confirms this architectural change.
Lindsey’s Store, Danburg
This store is one of two still standing in Danburg. Doris Rhodes identified it as Jim Lindsey’s store in the Vintage Wilkes County group on Facebook.
This monolith of Elberton Blue Granite is located near the crossroads in Danburg. It’s a fairly unusual monument considering its progressive views on African-Americans. I think it’s a great landmark.
TOP: The Village of Danburg was settled circa 1825 by Samuel Danforth of Vermont and Massachusetts at this intersection of two important trade routes, the Augusta Road into North Georgia and the Abbeville, S.C. Milledgeville GA Road. The original name of the village was Danforthtown. Amongst the families settling early in the village were the Andersons, Danforths, McLendons, Reabs, Shumates, Stathams, Suttons, Waltons and Wheatleys. They quickly created an atmosphere of education and cultural refinement, and the village was long a noted regional social center. This memorial to honor the village is erected to the Glory of God and in memory of Walter Lee Sutton 1863-1947 by his obedient grandsons WLC CDS JSS CES, Jr
FRONT: In Memory of the Loyalists of 1776– Loyal to the triple aegis of the British Crown, British Constitution and the Church of England, violence inevitably forced them to either take up defensive arms, faintheartedly join the Revolutionary cause or depart. The victorious have been recognized; let the worthy vanquished be equitably honored.-Omnia Ad Dei Gloriam
LEFT: In Memory of the Ante-Bellum & Confederate Leaders 1800-1865-The honesty and integrity of their leadership in civil life and the courage and endurance of their leadership in war represent a quality of leadership rarely since equaled. If their ideal of slavery was undoubtedly unjust, the quality of their public service was superb.-Omnia Ad Dei Gloriam
BACK: In Memory of the Veterans of the 1914-1918 War and the 1939-1945 War-Twice in this century men from the village went with American contingents to the assistance of Great Britain, our Motherland and her ally France, both engaged in a deadly struggle with Prussian militarism – Hitlerism. The sacrifices of these countries which gave us time to arm ourselves and of our men who served leave future generations yet deeply indebted.-In Memory of the Veterans of the 1950-1953 Korean War and the 1965-1973 Vietnam War-Our debts to these veterans are equally vast, for their sacrifices were too often undervalued by the public at the very time they were being made. Omnia Ad Del Gloriam
RIGHT: In Honor of the Black Citizens of the Village–Entrapped involuntarily in a system of servitude until 1865, they were thereafter entangled with the white citizens in a system of cotton-tenant-farming that exploited both through 1945 for the advantage of northern industrial capitalism. Both bondages were born by the black citizens with incredible fortitude, patience, and humor.-Omnia Ad Dei Gloriam
New Ford Baptist Church, 1832, Danburg
New Ford Baptist Church began as a white congregation circa 1795, and typical of the times, had African-American members until the Civil War. It should be pointed out that the these men and women were almost certainly enslaved and therefore had no input as to their religious choice but at least in the case of this congregation, they embraced their church. The structure seen here was built in 1832 and purchased by Black members, who retained the New Ford name, in 1879. The two front steeples were added much later, likely the late 19th century.
It is the most historic African-American congregation in Wilkes County and the landmark structure and well-manicured churchyard and cemetery are exceptional. It is a truly inspiring place.
Danburg Baptist Church, 1870s, Wilkes County
Danburg Baptist Church has its origins in one of the oldest congregations in the state. Established as Newford Baptist Church, a few miles from this location on the banks of Newford Creek, the church later changed its name to New Ford. In its early history, Black members attended, holding separate services. This was a common practice before the Civil War and by the late 1850s, Black members accounted for nearly 75% of the congregation.
In the late 1870s, white members of New Ford built this church near the Danburg crossroads and renamed their congregation Danburg Baptist. Black members purchased the New Ford church and retained the name of the original congregation.
15 Years-Thanks for Coming Along for the Ride
Today marks 15 years since I officially began publishing Vanishing Georgia. It was known as Vanishing South Georgia in those days, and for those of you who have followed and supported me since the beginning, I cannot thank you enough. It has been an amazing experience getting to know this diverse state I call home. I’ve learned so much just by documenting the built environment. In the process, I’ve found most of the formal architectural landmarks that have always interested me, but significantly, I’ve realized that the most important landmarks are the ones that most people take for granted, or worse, never even notice.
The crossroads villages that once anchored the scattered farming communities of Georgia are mostly gone now, but evidence of their better days often survives if you know how to find it. I haven’t been everywhere in the state, but I’ve visited all 159 counties. I have no clear statistics on how far I’ve traveled, but I’d put it somewhere north of half-a-million miles. For those who have actually gone out into the field with me, you have made this the trip of a lifetime. Your friendship means the world to me.
As historians and researchers, we all have access to more resources than ever before, but it can still be hard to extract the minutiae of local history. The fact that so many of you have reached out, identified places that were important to you, and shared so many locations with me for all these years, does my heart good. The technological challenges evolve and always need attention, but the human element, the people who live in all these places and care enough to help me do this work, is what inspires me the most. When asked how much longer I plan on doing this, I’m reminded of one of my grandmother’s favorite sayings: “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be there”.
St. Johns Church, 1909, Wilkes County
Identifying this very isolated rural church has generated more questions than answers. Though it has generally been referred to as Jones Chapel, due to the fact that the road on which it is located bears that name, Richard Millman of Evans, working with our friends at Historic Rural Churches of Georgia, has confirmed that it was St. Johns Church.
In an article in the Lincoln Journal, Millman wrote: I spoke with an 87-year-old local man who began attending St. John’s church in the 1940s. He was one of the last two members and they closed the church. He also attended the Jones Chapel school that sat adjacent to the church. The school building is no longer standing. The man did not know of a Jones Chapel in the area. There are graves in the overgrown cemetery, but no history can be found on the folks buried there. The fact that the gentleman Millman spoke with knew nothing of the location of Jones Chapel, but that the African-American school associated with St. Johns Church was named Jones Chapel School, is curious. However, knowing that rural neighborhoods often take on the name of local landmarks, it may indicate that the community around this rural road was loosely known as Jones Chapel. Nothing about the location or history of Jones Chapel has been found, thus far.
Dating the structure is also difficult. Various resources date it to 1889, 1909, and 1920. I’m more inclined to go with the circa 1909 date, as I’ve seen many African-American churches built circa 1900-1920 with similar steeples. The vernacular three-bay-deep form was typical for both white and black congregations well into the early 20th century.
Update: The 1909 construction date has been confirmed locally.
All the guesses researchers have made regarding this church are logical, and though the full story may never emerge, it’s safe to say the church is not going to be around too much longer in its present state.
Rehoboth Baptist Church, 1903, Metasville
This beautiful structure is at least the third home of Rehoboth Baptist Church, a congregation which can trace its beginnings to 1806 in the community of Jackson’s Cross Roads, a couple of miles from the present location. The move to this location came in 1824 and the church built at that time served until the construction of this building in 1903. A very large historic cemetery is located across the road.
Wilkes County truly has some of the nicest historic churches of any county I know of, and they are all so nicely maintained. If you like old churches, it’s worth a visit for that reason alone.