County Line Baptist

Stewart County
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Org 1839
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Photography by Wolfgang Enneker

The Drone shot you see above tells us a lot about the history of Stewart County and the rural churches that were domiciled there.  This view would have been quite different when the church was formed in 1839.  Stewart County was one of Georgia’s top three cotton producers in 1850 and was ranked number ten in population.  The above view in 1850 would have shown clusters of cotton fields, plantation houses, slave houses, small villages and the churches that served them.  Today, Stewart County is ranked in the bottom ten in population and pine trees now dominate the landscape. 

According to a History of Stewart County, County Line Baptist was formed in 1839.  The early minutes tell us the first sanctuary for the church came about when the church purchased an existing building in 1844 from the Scienceville Academy,  located not far away from the present structure.  We are not sure why it was named Scienceville, but perhaps some of our viewers can tell us.  We think the present church was built in the early 1850s, and the cemetery across the road seems to validate that.  There are several graves from the 1850s with the earliest being that of William Wright Crumbly, who died in March of 1852.  The cemetery is well groomed and still active, although the church is not.

Stewart County has a storied history.  When County Line Baptist was formed in 1839, Stewart County was very much on the western frontier of Georgia.  In 1836, there were still clashes with the remaining Creek Indians, who resented being forced off of their traditional hunting lands.  On May 15 of that year, the nearby river settlement of Roanoke was attacked and burned by a war party of 300.  State militia volunteers were called in and, on June 9 of 1836, the Battle of nearby Shepherd’s Plantation effectively ended skirmishes in the county and, essentially, in the state.

As always, the little rural churches were at the center of the 19th century communities who pioneered the settlements and worked the land.  As we said, the drone shot above reflects so much of the Stewart County history and its post-Civil War decline.  While the exterior of the church is quite plain, the interior has been well preserved and presents as a classic pre-civil war rural sanctuary..