Because the architecture looks more domestic than institutional, I’m not sure if this building was always a church. For many years it was home to the Keller Community Baptist Church and is located next door to the historic Bryan Neck Presbyterian Church.
Tag Archives: Churches of Bryan County GA
Ellabell United Methodist Church, 1904, Bryan County
Organized as Bethany in 1854, this congregation built their first church around 1860 about a mile from the present location. In 1900, during the pastorate of Reverend J. H. Frisbee, Bethany agreed to move into the town of Ellabell to increase membership. They built this church in 1904, using much of the material from the old location, and David Hess notes that this material was rolled on logs. The interior finishings of the church were done by Reverend Frisbee, who was also a contractor. I’m not exactly sure when the name was changed to Ellabell Methodist, but it was likely around this time.
Many of the early records of the church have been lost and if anyone has pertinent information, please share it here.
Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist Church, 1859, Bryan County
Constituted in 1839, Lower Black Creek Primitive Baptist is one of the most historic churches in Bryan County. The present church was rebuilt after a fire in 1859. As of 2011, the congregation had dwindled to just two members, Deacon Gene Bryant and Thelma Kangeter. Deacon Bryant, with the assistance of Chip Killingsworth of Brewton-Parker College, is attempting to have a historical marker placed at the church and organizes a reunion for member families each year.Mrs. Kangeter’s son, Benny, was leading an effort to ensure the church remain in use for reunions, weddings, and funerals and the inside is well-maintained and restored, as well. The exterior remains in relatively good shape.
It’s so nice to see a church with such a history be preserved in a meaningful way. The unpainted pine finishings of the interior add to the primitive appearance of Lower Black Creek.
Copies of the “songbook” Primitive Hymns and funeral home fans sit at the ready on every pew, awaiting congregants and reminding one of what a busy place this once was.
The cemetery, among the largest in the area, indicates that the membership here was once very large, and it’s my hope that efforts to have a historic marker placed will be successful. It would be a shame to see a place so important to so many simply be forgotten. [Note- The bulk of my photographs of the cemetery were recently lost to a digital glitch and I will be replacing them soon].
Ed Nolan writes: My GGG Grandmother and Grandfather are buried here. According to my Grandmother their house was the old one on the left, on the curve towards Hendrix Park up the road from the church/cemetery. Assuming that’s still there…..haven’t been around there in some years.Story was that when Sherman’s men came thru, Grandmother Lavinia Geiger welcomed them into her home (after stashing Grandfather and the children out in the woods somewhere.
Giving the soldiers food, etc…..they went on their way without burning their houses, etc.
Martha-Mary Chapel, 1937, Richmond Hill
Acquired by the Diocese of Savannah in 1955 and renamed St. Anne’s Catholic Church, this chapel was built by Henry & Clara Ford and named for their mothers [Mary was Henry’s mother and Martha was Clara’s mother]. Most of the church furnishings were built on Ford’s nearby plantation. Students from the Ways Station School [Richmond Hill was known as Ways Station until 1941] and their teachers regularly attended services here.
Bryan Neck Missionary Baptist Church, Keller
An historic marker placed by the Coastal Bryan Heritage Trail notes that Bryan Neck Missionary Baptist was: Organized in 1869, this is the oldest African-American church congregation in lower Bryan County. The first structure for the church, a Prayer House, was built in 1870 on this site near the white Presbyterian Church (Burnt Church). London Harris, a freedman and spiritual leader of the local black community, was one of the organizers and first pastors for this church. The church was renovated and enlarged with support from Henry Ford at the time the nearby Carver school was built in 1939.
Bryan Neck Presbyterian Church, 1885, Keller
This congregation was first organized circa 1830 by prominent Bryan Neck rice planters including Thomas Savage Clay, Richard James Arnold, and George Washington McCallister. The first church building was constructed three miles from this location in 1839. Its adjoining burial ground is now known as Burnt Church Cemetery.
The present church, built in 1885, is the oldest public building in Bryan County. It’s a rare small example of cruciform architecture.
National Register of Historic Places