Tag Archives: Churches of Ben Hill County GA

Unidentified Church, Queensland

This church doesn’t appear to be in use. I hope someone can identify it.

Evergreen Primitive Baptist Church, Queensland

This is one of three congregations located within a few hundred yards of each other in the Queensland community. I hope to share more history soon.

Mountaintop Missionary Baptist Church, Queensland

As I’ve noted before, the Queensland community in northern Ben Hill County was settled before the county seat of Fitzgerald.

The church dates to the early 1880s at the latest, a typical foundational time for churches in Freedmen’s communities.

The church is one of the most historic and perhaps the most significant surviving African-American religious structure in Ben Hill County. It is well maintained.

The stained glass windows and the steeple are distinguishing architectural features of the church.

Mountaintop Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery

The earliest known burials at Mountaintop date to the early 1880s, which is typical of churches established in the first generation after Emancipation. These are representational and not meant to be complete.

Artee Williams (16 August 1900-11 May 1902)
Deacon M. B. Coffee (12 October 1857-24 August 1915)

Deacon Coffee was the Treasurer of the Ocmulgee Baptist Association, with which Mountaintop was affiliated at the time.

Lonnie Brown (7 April 1879-11 June 1963)

Lonnie Brown was one of the leaders of the Queensland community throughout his life and one of the main roads in the neighborhood bears his name today.

Stewart Family
James Charlton & Eva Charlton
Avary Tarlova
Amy Staley (d. 3 March 1953)
Rosa Hughes (15 February 1891-19 July 1977)

Salem Baptist Church, 1922, Fitzgerald

Salem Baptist was established in 1907 and the present structured erected in 1922. Reverend M. J. Morris was pastor. The board of deacons included J. E. Varnado, G. T. Cason, J. G. Crumley, H. Buchanon, E. L. Smith, R. D. Dixson, and M. T. Taylor. Reverend J. H. Johnson was pastor in charge of the construction.

Sturgeon Creek Primitive Baptist Church, Ben Hill County

Sturgeon Creek is among the oldest congregations in Ben Hill County, organized in 1885. It was formally constituted in 1888 on land donated by area pioneer Jacob Dorminey (25 October 1837-20 November 1910) and his wife Susan Hunter Dorminey. It remains one of the most beautiful churches and churchyards in the county.

Mount Cavalry Baptist Church & Cemetery, Ben Hill County

Mount Cavalry Baptist Church is an historic African-American congregation in Ben Hill County and has an equally historic cemetery. Many members of this venerable church served our nation in the armed services, with veterans of both world wars, Korea, and Vietnam among them.

The following photographs from the cemetery are presented in no particular order.

Henry William Fair (13 February 1861-16 July 1958) Headstone. Mr. Fair, a Mason, was memorialized with a headstone, and a footstone in the shape of a cross. There are several other vernacular monuments in the cemetery, as well.
H. W. Fair (13 February 1861-16 July 1958)
Cornetta Fair (11 April 1894-1 April 1970)
A. Mardella Dixon (12 January 1881-15 February 1926)
Melcena Hill (10 October 1897-8 July 1922)
Mandy Andrews (1832/1833-20 April 1918)
Mrs. Jimmie Lee Hunter Matthews (24 August 1926-4 April 1991)

Zion Rest Primitive Baptist Church, Circa 1910, Fitzgerald

This is thought to be the oldest surviving wood frame church building in the city of Fitzgerald. After many years of neglect, it is very endangered.

West Side Church of God, Westwood

This is one of two abandoned churches in Westwood.

West Point Missionary Baptist Church, Westwood

West Point Baptist Church is an historic African-American congregation in the Westwood community of Fitzgerald. Westwood was populated by skilled African-American machinists, most of whom worked in the nearby Atlantic Coast Line Railroad shops. It’s interesting that the establishment of the church predates the settlement of Fitzgerald and the location of the railroad by nearly 20 years. The present structure was built in 1972.

The church, which is the center of the Westwood community today, recently lost its well-loved and long serving pastor, Reverend Willie B. Pride (1938-2020).

Vernacular African-American Church, Fitzgerald

I will update with an identification as soon as I can track down some history of this structure, which is among the oldest wooden churches in Fitzgerald.