Carmel Baptist

Newton County
|
Org 1835
|
Photography by Scott Farrar

In November 1835, a regular Baptist church was constituted in Newton County with 16 founding members from Jefferson Academy. It was called Carmel Baptist. In March 1836, the young church was admitted into the Baptist association, and for a short time, they gathered for worship in the homes of church members. In September of that year, a building committee was formed to build a permanent house of worship. A sanctuary was erected near Brick Store, just below the Forks of the Road leading from Brick Store to Mansfield. In the subsequent years, Carmel Baptist played a pivotal role in the community. The church history reports that by the early 1840s, the church had found much success, with a tri-weekly prayer meeting, Sabbath School, and Bible class.

In 1851, Carmel Baptist united with nearby Liberty Baptist Church (founded c. 1815) and a more centrally located site was selected for a new church building. Four acres were donated by John F. Jackson for the new church. At the time the two churches united, Carmel Baptist had 28 members and Liberty Baptist had 23. The new church kept the name Carmel Baptist. In the years before the Civil War, several enslaved people attended church here alongside white members, until Emancipation when it is believed that the formerly enslaved people formed another church nearby.

In 1901, several members were dismissed in order to form a new church at Hayston, and in 1911, the same thing happened when members left to form a new church at Mansfield. Subsequently, Carmel’s membership was reduced to 124 from its height of 460 members in its heyday. By the 1950s, membership had dwindled even more- causing the church to offer fewer services. By 1970, there were only 10 permanent members left at Carmel Baptist. 

The known burials in the graveyard date back to 1854 and nearby in the woods is the old baptismal font. You can learn more about the cemetery and the baptismal pool in the photo gallery below.