Category Archives: Stellaville GA

Ways Baptist Church, 1851, Jefferson County

Ways Baptist Church was organized in 1817 by Revolutionary War veterans near the present-day community of Stellaville, about three miles east of Wrens. It was named for John Way, who donated the land on which it was sited and was known originally as Darcy’s Meeting House. The members were originally part of Brushy Creek Baptist Church but were dismissed for some reason, perhaps because they had slaves or had disagreements over other controversial issues. Enslaved persons were among the first members of the new congregation. A log cabin was built first, then a more formal structure. William Donovan oversaw construction of the present structure in 1851. It features what appears to be a slave gallery (common in churches with slave members) and the labor was likely accomplished by the slaves themselves. After emancipation, they founded their own congregation nearby, known as Ways Grove Baptist Church.

It is a beautiful church and churchyard, and there is an historic cemetery across the highway.

Ways Grove Baptist Church, Stellaville

Old Ways Grove Baptist Church Stellaville GA Jefferson County Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

A modern brick church stands adjacent to this structure. I’m glad the congregation has done their best to save this structure.

I recently revisited this wonderful old church and was able to photograph the interior.

Not only was the pot-bellied stove still intact, but a stack of firewood remained at the back of the sanctuary, awaiting the next congregants.

The church is true landmark of vernacular architecture and its survival is extraordinary.

Abandoned Stores, Stellaville

Jefferson County GA Abandoned Country Stores Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014