Tag Archives: Hardshell Churches of Georgia

Corinth Primitive Baptist Church, Charlton County

historic corinth primitive baptist church charlton county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2014

Though some sources give dates for the Alabaha/Crawfordite churches, there is really no way to determine this as  they do not keep the type records which would validate these dates. Since this congregation dates to 1882, it is assumed that the church was constructed around that time.

historic corinth primitive baptist church charlton county ga plaque photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2014

The memorial pictured above is unique, so far, among these meeting houses. It states that the church was chartered in 1882 and first members were: Henry & Jane Prescott; James J. & Nancy Hendrix; David R. & Millie Wasdin; James & Ester Johns; and Sarah O’Berry. LeAnne Oliveira writes, in part: “The memorial sign was made by my daddy, John Prescott. After his retirement he returned to Charlton County and became very active in the upkeep of Corinth. The Prescotts on the sign were his paternal great-grandparents and the Wasdins were maternal great-grandparents. A board was formed to oversee the upkeep of the cemetery. Because the land was deeded by my great great grandfather to “the members” of Corinth Church the last two surviving members had to sign a quit claim deed in order to legally deed the land and church to the board. My father was buried here in November 2011 at the feet of his father. In order to be buried here today a person must have ancestors or blood relations buried there already. I have a plot marked off for myself and my husband, at the feet of my father. No meetings are held in the church any longer, but the Prescott family holds our reunion on the grounds every April. This church has always been a large part of my life and it sure makes my family tree easier to trace as I can cover half of it back four generations right in that cemetery.

historic corinth primitive baptist church interior charlton county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2014

The interior is plain as are those of all the Alabaha/Crawfordite churches. Since this one has glass windows under the wooden shutters, I presume it is still an active congregation. There’s a privy on the grounds, as is emblematic of these churchyards, but there’s also a nice pump house.

historic corinth primitive baptist church charlton county ga pump shelter photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2014

The meeting house and a rather large historic cemetery can be found at the end of a dirt driveway. This is the view when you’re leaving or arriving.

historic corinth primitive baptist church photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2014

Crawfordite Meeting Houses of Southeast Georgia

Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church Hardshell Alabaha Association Crawfordite Architecture Plain Interior Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church (Interior), Raybon, Brantley County

In his fascinating thesis, The “Gold Standard” of the Wiregrass Primitive Baptists of Georgia: A History of the Crawford Faction of the Alabaha River Primitive Baptist Association, 1842-2007, (Valdosta State University, 2009), Michael Holt makes special note of the architectural distinctions of the Crawfordites: “[An] aspect of the Crawfordite tradition that remains today is the construction style of the meeting houses. While other Primitive Baptist Churches, including those in the Bennettite faction of the Alabaha Association, have begun to use brick, mortar, carpet, and other modern construction techniques, Crawfordite churches remain exactly as they would have appeared over a century ago. They are still fashioned from unfinished pine, with no electricity, carpet, or running water…this austere architecture helps keep the connection with the past strong. It should be noted that in recent years, 0ne part of the church grounds has adopted more modern conveniences. The outhouses that adorned the grounds of all the churches in the association have now been replaced with outdoor restroom facilities with running water, though this change was made primarily to bring the restroom facilities in line with public health regulations. However, this addition has not encroached on the overall intended affect of the architecture…

bethlehem-primitive-baptist-church-bachlott-ga-brantley-county-hardshell-vernacular-architectural-landmark-board-and-batten-walls-unpainted-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brian-brown1Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church, Bachlott, Brantley County

emmaus-baptist-church-saint-st-george-charlton-county-ga-primitive-vernacular-board-and-batten-architecture-near-st-marys-river-picture-image-photograph-©-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-201Emmaus Primtive Baptist Church, St. George, Charlton County

high-bluff-primitive-baptist-church-schlatterville-hoboken-ga-brantley-county-landmark-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2013High Bluff Primitive Baptist Church, Schlatterville, Brantley County

oak-grove-primitive-baptist-church-raybon-ga-brantley-county-historic-hardshell-congregation-vernacular-architecture-landmark-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brian-brown-vanishing-souOak Grove Primitive Baptist Church, Raybon, Brantley County

pilgrims-rest-primitive-baptist-church-waynesville-ga-brantely-county-hardshell-vernacular-architecture-landmark-board-and-batten-walls-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brian-brown-vaPilgrim’s Rest Primitive Baptist Church, Waynesville, Brantley County

sardis-primitive-baptist-church-folkston-ga-charlton-county-crawfordite-faction-alabaha-architecture-old-time-religion-picture-image-photograph-copyright-© brian-brown-vanishing-south-georSardis Primitive Baptist Church, Folkston, Charlton County

shiloh-primitive-baptist-church-blackshear-ga-pierce-county-hardshell-religion-landmark-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2013Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church, Blackshear, Pierce County

smyrna-baptist-church-lulaton-ga-brantley-county-primitive-hardshell-baptist-church-board-and-batten-pine-walls-vernacular-architecture-landmark-picture-image-photograph-copyright-©-brianSmyrna Primitive Baptist Church, Lulaton, Brantley County

vsg-wayfair-primitive-baptist-church-hardshell-cox-ga-mcintosh-county-unpainted-boards-vernacular-architecture-picture-image-photo-©-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2012Wayfair Primitive Baptist Church, Cox, McIntosh County

The Crawfordites are named for Elder Reuben Crawford. Dr. John G. Crowley, the leading authority on the history of Primitive Baptists notes in his article “The Sacred Harp Controversy in the Original Alabaha Primitive Baptist Association,” Baptist Studies Bulletin July 2004 “[they] emerged as a subset of the Primitive Baptists in the 1860s and 1870s. During the Twentieth Century the “Crawfordites” became the most austere and conservative Primitive Baptists in Georgia, eschewing radio, television, neckties, painted and heated meetinghouses.”  Michael Holt further notes in his thesis: “Whereas every other Primitive Baptist association has altered somewhat from the original tenets of the denomination, the Crawford Faction of the Alabaha has remained unchanged since the time of its founding in 1842…

 

Dr. Crowley’s article can be accessed here. Just scroll down to Primitive Baptists.

PHOTOGRAPHER’S NOTE: This is not a complete photographic record, as there are more Crawfordite churches in the area I’ve not yet visited. They will be added as they are documented.

Pilgrim’s Rest Primitive Baptist Church, Waynesville

historic pilgrims rest primitive baptist brantley county ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

I will post information on the history of this church when I can locate it.

historic pilgrims rest primitive baptist waynesville ga photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013

Like other “Hardshell” churches in the region, the interior is as plain as the exterior.

Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church Waynesville GA Brantely County Hardshell Vernacular Architecture Board and Batten Interior Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church Waynesville GA Brantely County Hardshell Vernacular Architecture Board and Batten Interior Pews Pulpit Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

The entrance gate (unique among these churches) is dedicated to the memory of James O., Sr., and N. Gertrude Jacobs Smith.

Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church Waynesville GA Brantely County Hardshell Vernacular Architecture Cemetery Gate James O & Gertrude Smith Picture Image Photograph Copyright © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

The cemetery is relatively small with burials dating to the early 20th century.

historic pilgrims rest primitive baptist church cemetery waynesville ga pews photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2013