This outstanding Greek Revival I-House [Plantation Plain] is located on the outskirts of Eatonton. Other than a name, information about the house is scarce. There are 9 /9 and 9/6 windows, an indicator of a much earlier date than 1875-1885, which is cited in real estate and survey listings. That date range may be when the rear addition was completed. I believe it to be 1830s at the latest, with a distinct possibility it may date as far back as the 1810s. Whatever the story, it’s one of the most important surviving houses in Putnam County, in my opinion.
For now, I’m calling this house “eclectic” because it’s a really hard one to pin down. It’s generally listed as a Queen Anne, with a build date circa 1885. I think it’s much earlier, and was built as something very different. It may just be wishful thinking.
Viewed from a perspective, there are elements of Federal architecture with a bit of Italianate influence. I believe the hip roof and the porches were a later decorative addition. I hope a friend in Eatonton can help me out. It’s a great house, but remains a mystery.
Eatonton Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
I’ve only been able to determine that the congregation at Friendship Baptist was established in the 1890s and the church was built in 1904. Apparently, it has been abandoned, but well-maintained, for quite some time. The surrounding area, just south of Eatonton proper, was once known as Warfield.
This church has a long and varied history, best detailed on the marker placed by the church and the Eatonton-Putnam Historical Society in 2001: August 29, 1807, marks the constitution date of the church, originally named Salem Baptist Church, and located on the west bank of the Oconee River on land now in Morgan Co., across the river from the Salem Community in Greene Co. Shortly before July 14, 1821, the church officers were ordered to sell the original building site and the church constitution moved to Kingston District in Morgan Co. and renamed Concord at Kingston. On Oct. 25, 1828, the church moved again, renamed Harmony, to a site offered by T. J. Davis located across the road from the present Jefferson Baptist Church. After Davis’ death clear title could not be obtained and the fourth and present site was bought April 30, 1844 from William S. Scott for $25.00. The fourth building, dedicated in April 1855, after construction costs were turned in by William Rowell Paschal in Nov. 1854, served the congregation until destroyed by fire in March 1926. The fifth building was completed in 1927. No minutes exist before Saturday, June 5, 1819, but are complete fro that date on. They tell a poignant story of dedicated and faithful members who have kept the church alive while surviving pioneer hardships, schisms over missions, the loss of members to newer lands opening to the west, the Civil War and segregation and reconstruction, economic uncertainties, national depression and migration to the cities. Many outstanding ministers including the first, John Dingler (1807), Richard Pace (1824-1837), and Asa Monroe Marshall (1860-1912) who served Harmony, Eatonton, and Ramoth for over 50 years, have stood in the pulpit here. Pioneer families associated with this church include Alford, Alliston, Batchelor, Boatright, Bryant, Cogburn, Davis, Denham, Ingram, Kilpatrick, Kimbrough, Little, Marshall, Mason, Nelson, Newman, Pace, Paschal, Reese, Scott, Tuggle, Wallace, Walton, Weaver, Wynn, Zachary and many others who lie buried in its historic cemetery.
This historic Black congregation was originally known as Bethel, but at some point became New Bethel.
As with many rural churches, a good estimation of the age of the congregation can be connected to early burials in the cemetery. The earliest I could find, members of the Bailey family, date to 1909.
The Bailey family are well represented here and were probably among the earliest members of the congregation.
The two Bailey headstones pictured are excellent examples of early vernacular memorials.
This headstone is the work of the prolific self-taught artist Eldren Bailey. His headstones can be found from the mountains to the coast and he worked extensively with the Haugabrooks Funeral Home in Atlanta. [I don’t believe Eldren Bailey is related to the Bailey family of New Bethel; the names connection is simply coincidental].
This burial was marked by a large piece of clay pipe. Durable objects are often used to mark graves when a headstone is not an option and this practice was once common in rural cemeteries.