Concord Primitive Baptist was formed in 1809, according to a History of Primitive Baptists published in 1955. To put this into historical perspective, this was the second term of Thomas Jefferson, who was succeeded by James Madison shortly thereafter. Jasper County had been created in 1807 on land ceded by the Creek Indians as part of the Treaty of Washington in 1805. The county was originally named Randolph County, in honor of John Randolph of Virginia. But his opposition to the War of 1812 made him so unpopular with Georgians that the legislature renamed it Jasper County, after a Revolutionary War hero.
The 1805 treaty ceded the land between the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers, making Concord one of the first churches on what was now the western frontier of Georgia. Life in the Georgia backwoods was a hard one and these were tough people. In addition to offering spiritual comfort, the church provided everything a community had to have in order to function as a civilized society, including maintaining law and order. Unacceptable social behavior resulted in a formal hearing before senior peers in the church. Redemption was possible but continued bad behavior resulted in ex-communication – the ultimate punishment in these small rural communities.
We are fortunate that the original minutes of Concord have been preserved on microfilm in the Tarver Library at Mercer University. They give us great insight into the unmistakable role of the church in these early times on the frontier. The minutes tell us the present church was built in 1821, and though inactive for some time, she has been structurally sound for 200 years. The first entry for the minutes begin in October of 1812. Our Research Director, Virginia Bolton, has transcribed some of these early minutes, complete with some genealogy of the participants. These minutes from 1812 to 1829, complete with lots of misspelled words, reveal much about life on the western frontier of Georgia. You can access them HERE.
A small sampling of the early minutes is below:
April 3, 1813
A Charg Layed agains Brother Micajah Sansum, by Brother Lacey for a Cusin him with Liing & etc. The Church has appointed a Committee, wit Solomon Groce, August 6, 1814: “A Charge Brought In By Brother Luke Williams from a report against Brother Bartlet Eaves for getting Drunk and misbehaving”John Brown, Luke Williams, James Reaves, & Zacheriah Falkner and fore they to Report to the next Conference. February 1, 1817: Excommunicated Brother John Carter. July 23, 1819: “Received by Experience Sister Charlotty Faulkner.””The charge by Brother Raid against Brother Williams settled between them selves.” “Excommunicated Nathan Williams For Raising an accoumpt and swaring to the same against William Ferril which we believe to be Rong”
October 5th 1817
Met according to appointment and after prayer by brother Luke Williams proceeded to business in conference Chose brother Williams moderator, excommunicated W. Woodruff’s Boson for gitting drunk and fighting – excommunicated W. Jackson’s Jack for commiting adultry and refusing to hear the Church, excommunicated W. Woodruff’s Smart for the charge laid in against him.
July 21st 1821
Met in conference agreeable to appointment and after a sermon delivered by Brother White proceeded to business. Brother Read came forward with an acknowledgment for Taking eight dollars for a bee hive When he had the hives in him self that was robed and the honey taken out by some of his neighbours sons and on his promising to restore the money back the church feel to forgive him Brother Hearn came forward with an acknowledgment for drinking too much Spirits the church feel to forgive him Brother Daniel Tucker came forward with an acknowledgment for getting angry with a man that come to his own house and abused him and his family and using unsavory language and getting his gun and making the attempt to shoot him, the church feel to forgive him The church appoint Brother John Reaves Brother John Homes & Brother Wiley McClendon to go and see Mrs Brown and get what information they can about a report that is now in circulation about Brother James McLeroy in offering improper conduct to her and report to the church The church Excommunicated Brother Frances S Martins Negro woman Anaca for living in adultery Excommunicated Brother Robert Beckerstaffs Ben for living in adultery Sister Nancy Jacksons Cesar came forward and give the church satisfaction about the report against him the report was that he lived in adultery but appears to be groundless The church appoint Brother John Faulkner to site Brother James McLeroys Dolly to our next conference to answer to a report against her for living in adultery
The cemetery beside the church contains the remains of some of these early settlers. You can click HERE for some of the genealogy in the cemetery. We are grateful to the Bennett family, the current owners, who have taken such good care of this wonderful tribute to early Georgia history. Be sure to click and scroll the gallery photos below for more information about Concord Primitive Baptist.
Read the Church Minutes HERE.
Additional Graveyard Research HERE.
This photo shows us the remarkable construction techniques and building materials used by the early 18th century Primitive Baptist church builders. We see that the foundation beam supports/pillars at Concord are simple “piles of field stone rocks” stacked horizontally. There was no quarried stone available. We find it intriguing that these hand-laid stone/supports were placed and stacked “dry” with no concrete or mortar and have held up the church building for about 200 years while the church remains dead level. An equally remarkable construction feat is that the foundation beams are all hand hewn and shaped with axes and adzes, you can still see the blade marks.
This is another close-up of the underside of the church. Here we see the floor joists, some of which were debarked. We see another tree that was simply felled and laid out bark on. It is remarkable that all these wood elements were harvested on site and most remain totally sound until today. This is possible because the settlers were building in a forest of old growth longleaf pines that were already hundreds of years old. As you can see in this photo, this wood was rot, insect and water resistant.
Of course, though the church was built 200 hundred years ago, it has undergone a great deal of change, inside and out, during its existence. Remarkably, because of the stewardship of countless congregation members, what you see in this photo would be quickly recognized as Concord by any former members. We see a simple, single gabled, rectangular structure with a diamond gable vent, horizontal wood sheathing and two, entryway doors… one each for men and the other for women and children. In keeping with Primitive Baptist beliefs, no decorative architectural or other “ostentatious” elements(think stained glass windows, undecorated doors and in some cases, hand rails).
We have entered through one of the entry doors and can now view the interior. We see a confusion of pews, none original to the 1812 or 1815 era. We believe that these pews were purchased in the 19th century. All are placed in front of the simplest chancel and pulpit possible, we do not know why. The simplicity of this sanctuary, All white horizontal walls and vertical ceiling, is evident throughout. As we have learned, for most Primitive Baptists, “less is more”.
The congregational abandonment of Concord is painfully obvious in this photo. We are facing the east wall and the north wall. The roof is now leaking as the stained ceiling tells us. Thankfully, the damage is not catastrophic at this point.
Here we are looking from the chancel toward the west wall. We can now see that the leaking roof is clearly causing damage at Concord. It will not be long before the rain damage becomes unstoppable. The stark aloneness of this photo is discouraging. We would hate to see such an historic landmark melt away as have so many.
Here we are looking at one of the two doors in the east wall of the Concord Sanctuary. The walls and door could be probably elements of the original church. The wide wall boards are rarely found in a venerable landmark like this one. We are pleased to have been able to uncover and document this historic church. Lets hope it will be here for years to come and be enjoyed as a tangible relic of our past.
William A Standifer was born about 1845. He enlisted in Company G, 4th Georgia Regiment, CSA on April 25, 1861. He was wounded at Sharpsburg, Maryland September 17, 1862 and died of his wounds at Shepherdstown, West Virginia September 21, 1862.
The middle name on this marker is Daniel McDowell who was born October 22, 1789 and died January 25, 1860. He was married four times and had 16 children. His wife, Martha King Welborne (January 9, 1808-April 4, 1854) is buried on one side of him and his wife Mary Elizabeth Preston (April 16, 1824 – December 3, 1915) is buried on the other side. The Southern Recorder Newspaper, April 21, 1835 reported a new Post Office had been established near Concord Meeting House under the name of Planters P. O. and Daniel McDowell, Esq. was appointed Postmaster. The 1860 Jasper County, Georgia slave schedule shows Daniel McDowell owned 40 slaves. His will names his slaves.
The only visible name on this marker is Lane but ancestry.com shows this as one of the markers for James Obadiah Lane who was born December 3, 1836 and died February 21, 1902. He was married to Mary Venetia Kimball (1845-1921) on October 19, 1863. He served as a Second Lieutenant, Company C, 14th Regiment, CSA. In 1860 he and his brother Leonidas were living in the household of Augustus Washington Lane where he was working as an overseer. A. W. Lane owned 37 slaves in 1860 and is believed to be an uncle of James Obadiah Lane.
Myrtis King Williams was born March 2, 1886 and died November 1, 1905. She was the daughter of George Pierce Williams and Ellen F. Pope Williams. The 1900 Jasper County census shows Myrtis K. Williams, age 14, in the household with her parents and siblings. Also in the household was Roger W. Cash, age 27, a boarder. Myrtis and Roger were married February 7, 1905. On October 18, 1905 Myrtis gave birth to twins, Clarence Miller Cash and Roger Pierce Cash. Myrtis died November 1, 1905. The twins lived less than a year. Clarence died June 3, 1906 and Roger died June 20, 1906. The twins along with their mother are buried at Concord.
There are many early Georgia settlers buried in the cemetery. Some of the headstones are difficult to read but they are a tribute to the tough people who settled here, started this church and began building the Georgia we know today.,
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I would like to thank Virginia Bolton for doing the transcription of the church’s 1812-1829 meeting minutes.
I discovered that my 3rd great-grandfather, Meshack Lowery, was the pastor of Concord Primitive Baptist Church from 1812-1827!!
And that is exciting to know!
Where are the minutes of this church kept? I have some info that may be of interest.
My g-g-g grandfather William Brannen is mentioned here. He was born in Ireland around 1754 and died by 1840 in Bulloch County. His wife was Elizabeth Gross who had a brother and a father named Solomon Gross. I think the son is the Solomon Groce which appears frequently in the minutes. William and Solomon were brothers-in-law. The minutes spell his name ‘Groce’ early on, but I think they change it back to Gross in later years.
William and Elizabeth had 12 children; the first six were mostly boys who stayed in Bulloch. The latter six were mostly girls who went to Jasper County with their parents. They found husbands there – I wonder if that was their purpose in locating there? I can’t find any history books on Jasper County in the 1820’s. Apparently it became prosperous then because of the cotton gins that were set up there. The river nearby was navigable all the way back to the Savannah port. So, that must have been a big reason for the growth seen there. William Brannen had bought 100 acres in Jasper. He deeded the land to one of his daughters and then returned to Bulloch County where he lived out his remaining years with one of his sons. It is believed that he and his wife are buried in unmarked graves in Lower Lotts Creek Primitive Baptist Church cemetery. His married daughters moved to Columbus area and then to Alabama in the following decades.
I believe this church still meets in a newer building behind the old church. I think theres a welcome sign near the main road with the pastors name. Would be interesting to know why they abandoned the old church and built a cinderblock building, seeing as the old church was sound and needed little upkeep once a tin roof was on. Convenience I suppose.
Two separate churches I think. One black one white. I think the black one is still active.
Thank you for this! The photos and history are wonderful. Can someone tell me if a woman named Amy (Pace) Strickland is buried in the cemetery here? There is some confusion where she and her husband, Solomon Strickland, are buried. I believe their son Solomon, Jr. is buried here and that his father’s stone was mistakenly placed on top of the son’s grave. But I would love to know if there is something in the record that states when they became members of this church & whether they are actually buried here. Thank you for any assistance you can give. Jean
You might check with Findagrave for that information.
Hello, I am looking for same ancestors their story is confusing. was father Solomon also married to sisters or was that the son. myself and husband looked every where in see able cemetery today. also found numerous grave into woods beyond see able cemetery. even found a beautiful gated portion that has actually has grown into a huge tree. could NOT locate any Stricklands ?. There are a lot of just stones that have No names. The cemetary is listed on records of Solomon (?) as Concord Primative church but found non with Strickland.
My Maternal great grandmother was a member of Concord Primative Baptist Church. My Maternal Grndmoter Betha Lane (Polk) was a member of Bethel Baptist Church. Both in Jasper County.