Bath Presbyterian

Richmond County
Org 1784
Photography by John Kirkland

The roots of Bath Presbyterian began with the wealthy planter class from Burke County who began coming to Bath to escape the deadly heat and malaria filled summers at home. They found comfort in the pure mineral springs of Bath. According to church history, the visits became longer and longer until a permanent community emerged in the late 18th century. The residents were predominantly Scots-English Presbyterians and they went through the usual progression of meeting in homes to a log structure and finally to the fine sanctuary you see here built in 1836.

As Bath began to grow as a community, the preferred builder of the fine colonial style homes was John Trowbridge, who had migrated into the area from Massachusetts. He was a skilled builder and very pleased with the southern lifestyle and business opportunities that were emerging. Soon, two of his brothers joined him in the trade. Thus began a long relationship between Bath Presbyterian and The Trowbridge family.

As the community of Bath grew, so did the need for a suitable Presbyterian sanctuary and in 1836 John Trowbridge built the first Presbyterian church in Richmond County outside of the town of Augusta. Bath Presbyterian was off to a grand start and prospered well but suffered along with the rest of the south as the Civil War spread over the south. There always seem to be some unverified stories of Yankee transgressions when Sherman descended upon the land and Bath is no exception. According to church history the Yankees ‘tried to remove the pulpit from the church but to no avail for their effort‘ since the pulpit extended through the floor and into the ground underneath. Thus ‘instead of the pulpit, they carried off the silver communion and baptismal wares’.

The church history we have is dated August 1987, and it goes to great lengths to applaud the many contributions of the Trowbridge family. Keep in mind that John Trowbridge had built the church and most of the village in the early 1800’s. ‘Harper Trowbridge will soon be 97 years old. He is present almost every Sunday in church. Only extreme illness keeps him at home’. What a great example of roots and the connection of earliest Georgia families and the churches they founded to the present time. Thank you Trowbridge family and rest of the Bath Presbyterian community for your loving stewardship of this historical treasure.

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