Coopers Creek Baptist

Fannin County
Org 1847
Photography by Tom Reed

We found some history of the Coopers Creek Baptist Church that was written in 1999 to celebrate the 152nd anniversary of the church, including some direct quotes from the old church minutes from the Tarver Library at Mercer University. It tells us the church was actually constituted in 1847 as Coopers Creek Meeting House and was a member of the Chestatee Baptist Association. Original minutes of the church that have survived give us a chance to go back in time and form a closer bond with these early pioneers. They also reveal the fact that these were ordinary mountain people without a high level of education.  Spelling was certainly not a strong suit. Original minutes state that “our Meeting House should be nown and distinguiest by the name of Coopers Creeke Meeting House”.

The minutes also state that, in 1847, “Isaac Burlison and Harmon Brown were appointed as trustees for the purpose of recording a deede to a bit of land for Cooper Creak Church yard and buring ground”.  By 1903 the spelling had not improved much. A motion was passed to “to petition the office of the judge to grant a qater of a mile around the church for the protection of the church and scoole”.  In addition to the school, the first Sunday School was organized in 1909. The old photograph below shows a vibrant congregation standing in front of the church in 1910.

The history points out that, in addition to the traditional communion service, the church observed the ritual of foot washing. The ceremony begins as a minister delivers a message about Jesus washing his disciples feet.  “The preacher begins by girding his waist with a long line towel which is looped over in front and tied in a long and short length. Water is poured into a basin and a member is selected to have their feet washed.  Male members wash the feet of another male one foot at a time and the female members cleanse the feet of other females. This service demonstrates humbleness and love for one another and some Christians base this belief on the scriptures relating to the events of the Last Supper.”

The cemetery at Cooper’s Creek is located on a hill above the church and has several Confederate veterans among its interments.  But the thing that makes the cemetery image so haunting is the number of small fieldstone grave markers on the hill.  Many of them have now been cross referenced to the actual interments, which is highly unusual. Fieldstone markers are common all across Georgia and they indicate the lack of wealth and resources at that place and that time. They almost always are just there as a reminder of the difficult lives many of these early settlers had. To be able to tie the stones to actual interments is a real treat and we should all be grateful for the effort.

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