This well-loved landmark near Phillips Mill Baptist Church is a favorite in the community. And they still pump your gas for you!
In 1785, 16 people met at Joel Phillips’s Mill on this site with the purpose of organizing a Baptist church. The original millstones remain on the property. Silas Mercer was the first pastor, and served for 11 years. His son Jesse, who went on to establish what would become Mercer University, became pastor upon his father’s death in 1796.
Due to its association with the Mercers, and because of its early establishment, Phillips Mill is one of the most historically significant Baptist churches in Georgia. The present sanctuary, located about four miles from the original church site, was completed in 1907.
One of the great landmarks of Federal architecture in Georgia, this highly stylized brick I-house may be unique in the state. This house type is much more common in Virginia and, to a lesser extent, North Carolina but this is the only one I’ve encountered in my travels in rural Georgia. The dedication of family members and later guardians to preserve the house has been central to its continued survival.
James Allen Daniel, Jr., (1740-1821) was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia. With brothers John, William, and David, James migrated through the Carolinas and served as a dragoon in the American Revolution during this time. James was one of three Daniel brothers who married three Cunningham sisters of Amelia County, Virginia [James married Elizabeth Cunningham (1749-1819) in 1767]. In 1791 he was among the early settlers of Wilkes County and one of the fathers of the Presbyterian church in the eastern Piedmont region. Family records indicate that James built the home for his son Cunningham (1768-1839) but may have occupied the property until his death. From Cunningham the home passed to his son James Ewing Daniel; from James Ewing Daniel to his daughter Frances Daniel Dillard; and finally to Frances Dillard’s son, Roy Dillard, who was the last Daniel descendant to occupy the house (1954). The house was unoccupied until 1967 when Roy Dillard’s heirs sold it to the David and Diana Blackburn, who subsequently named it “Kettle Creek Manor” for the three branches of Kettle Creek which run through the property and the nearby Revolutionary War battle site of the same name.
National Register of Historic Places
One may notice a trend when in Rayle. The historic storefronts and warehouses are all sided with tin. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why this is the most interesting and significant of the bunch. There’s the wonderful Jefferson Island Salt mural, the tin brick, and the fact that it’s a rare two-story false front store (a shed roof has been removed). But most importantly, the owners have allowed it to stand intact all these years. I hope to learn more about it and hope it’s around for a long time.