The settlers in this section of southwest Georgia came from North Carolina, South Carolina, and north and middle Georgia. Beginning in 1826, several Scotch families – among whom were the Mclntoshes, McLeods, McKinnons, and McMillans – moved into what they named the Glasgow district. From here they settled Old Boston, seven miles from Thomasville, in 1831. The village was named for Major Thomas M. Boston. This is another example of Scots migration into Georgia. There were several of them, in addition to this group who moved into Thomas County. The very first migration was into Darien in 1735 from the west coast of Scotland, followed by another group who migrated into the Wiregrass region of SE Georgia from the Cape Fear area of North Carolina. In the 1830?s there was another migration of Highlanders from the hills of North and South Carolina into the north Georgia mountains who settled into the Cherokee Indian country. A robust Scottish population generally resulted in an association with the Presbyterian church..
In 1836 J. A. Murdock and Daniel Mcintosh were instrumental in founding this church which was called Mcintosh Church. There were eleven charter members of which five were Maclntoshs, three McKinnons, two McLeods and one Patterson. Malcolm McKinnon and John McAuley were the first elders, and the Reverend Eli Graves – a Princeton graduate – was the first pastor. On February 30, 1861, James L Seward sold to the church trustees a fraction over one acre of land in Boston for one dollar for use of the Presbyterian Church. The original church was moved to this acre lot and a graveyard was established behind the church. This graveyard later became, and remains, the town cemetery.
In 1861, the Reverend A. Warner Clisby began his long pastorate. The church name was changed in 1862 from Mcintosh to Bethany and then in 1910 to the First Presbyterian Church of Boston. Just after the Civil War, there were no churches of other denominations nearby, so the people of other church memberships attended the Presbyterian Church. When the Methodist and Baptist churches were built, all of the churches could call ministers for only one Sunday a month. They alternated their meetings so that members of all churches could worship together three Sundays a month. We are not sure of the date of the current church construction but it would appear to be somewhere around the turn of the century.
We are not sure when the present church was erected. It is clear from the exterior design seen in the first photo and the scene depicted above of its interior that this building was not erected in 1861 but at a later time. Boston Presbyterian presents as a late 19th century to first decade of the 20th century meeting house. We hope to establish the exact year in a later posting. Whatever the date, this striking sanctuary possesses a unique, heart pine ceiling design and an inviting sanctuary with lovely, stained glass windows.
These lovely, stained glass memorial windows are found throughout Boston Presbyterian. They are of exceptional quality as is the fit and finish of the wooden window frames. Also worthy of note are the wainscot and pews. All are made of the heart pine lumber that was the source of the wealth in this community in the late 1800’s.
It is these spectacular windows, we so admire, that caught our eye and alerted us to a problem of confirming the actual date of construction of the building. Aside from their beauty, you can see that they bear the banner, “Bethany Presbyterian Church” in the arch. The name change came from Bethany to Boston in 1910. When was this apparently late 19th century church, renamed Boston Presbyterian in 1910, erected?
Here we see the way Boston Presbyterian’s lovely, high and large windows enhance the amount of light that can stream into the sanctuary.
This meeting house remains lovingly well maintained by the congregation. The view above of live, decorative foliage within the clean and welcoming sanctuary attests to the fact that this church remains in the hands of local, dedicated folks. Their stewardship insures Boston Presbyterian will remain standing as a memorial to its founders and to our rural heritage. Without local participation, historic, rural Georgia churches like these are sure to disappear.
These infant gravestones are so sad. Here you see little Eddie McDonald who lived for 21 days in November of 1878. High infant mortality was a common occurrence in the 19th century Georgia backcountry.
Here lies Little Susie – last name unknown – only the dates of birth, death and the epitaph Darling we miss thee. There are sixteen McDonald interments in the cemetery along with many other families with familiar Scottish names beginning with Mc i.e. McCrae, McIntosh, McCregor. No doubt where these folks originated.
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I think my paternal Grandfather was the Minister there in 1910. Reverend Barnwell Rhette Anderson. My father ( Egbert Vernon Anderson) was born in 1910 in Boston, Ga and the youngest of 5 children. My Grandfather was a small town Presbyterian minister serving Vidalia, Lawrensville, Milton, Florida, etc
Just interesting to think about.
Yes it is. Thanks for sharing.