The following is a partial history of the Flat Shoals church found on Findagrave.
“Shortly after the organization of Troup County, a stalwart band of religious and God-fearing people, desiring to promote and build in this community, a church devoted to the true worship of God, congregated themselves together, twelve in number, and organized on the 11th day of February 1829, this church, known as “Smith’s Meeting House”. The name was changed to “Flat Shoals Meeting House” on February 2, 1830. The land on which to build the first house of worship was purchased and the deed secured in the month of August, 1833. Although the power was invested in the Deacons to build, or arrange to build, a house of worship in the year 1832, the house was erected sometime between the years 1832 and 1836 and was located about seven or eight hundred feet west of the present building………. The original building was only one half the size of the present building. The rear portion of the church was at one time a meeting house at Old Troup Factory. It was moved, intact, and attached to the original building. The ceiling was hauled, by wagon, from the mountains of North Georgia and the sills which support the church are hand-hewn from heart timber.”
The graveyard at Flat Shoals is across a road on top of a prominent rise. Many of Troup County’s early settlers are interred here as well as veterans of the Civil War that managed to survive and some who didn’t. The number of deaths and casualties in the war was a demographic disaster that devastated families all across America but particularly so in the south. It is worthwhile to read a short paragraph of some of these veterans represented in the photos below. Almost all of these served in Co. B of the 60th Georgia Infantry and they suffered terrific casualties in the war. The 60th Georgia Infantry Regiment was a part of the Lawton-Gordon-Evans Georgia Brigade (so named for its three principal commanders). It was one of the premier brigades of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, serving with distinction from the Seven Days battles around Richmond (May-June 1862) until its surrender at Appomattox Court House (April 9, 1865). At Appomattox, approximately 750 officers and men of the Georgia brigade were surrendered to Federal authorities, all that was left of a brigade that mustered nearly 7,000 men three years before, and that had been reinforced during the course of the war by another 800 men from the9th, 12th, and 18th Georgia Battalions.
The church is still active after serving the community for almost 200 years. We are grateful that this significant part of Georgia history has has been preserved for future generations.
This photo was taken from the back of the church toward the chancel and altar. There is some confusion as to the construction date of this sanctuary, but we have been told that it dates from the late 19th century. Given its architecture, materials and design… (a single gabled, rectangular sanctuary with stone foundation supports, a suspended ceiling, all surfaces, floors, walls, doors, ceiling, door/window frames, exterior sheathing being made of heart pine …), its construction completion date could easily be much earlier. We know of very few other period churches whose interior is more striking and authentic.
Here we see that the interior has been modified to provide modern creature comforts such as electricity, manufactured pews, bathroom facilities and fans for cooling. But, the sanctuary proper remains totally authentic and true to its 19th century roots. And, we see that with the interior being totally made of heart pine, the sanctuary is always bathed in a warm glow creating a welcoming atmosphere throughout the meeting house.
The congregation is proud of Flat Shoal’s long and significant history. Though there have been interior “improvements” as mentioned in an earlier caption, here we see some of the original pews that remain and still provide a necessary, functional element. These are hand hewn and probably constructed by members of the congregation in the 19th century. These relics remain in the sanctuary and constantly remind the congregation of Flat Shoals deep roots in Troup County.
Here we can see the entryway mentioned in the previous caption along with several more of the original pews that are still in use at Flat Shoals. It is rewarding to be able to shine the light on a successful historic rural church like this one. So many are endangered, but there are now also so many others that are being recognized as monuments to the past that should be revered. We wish that movement well and are pleased to be a catalyst of and part of that trend.
Noah W. Duke entered service July 17, 1861 as a private in the 60th Georgia Regiment, Company B. He died in Belmont Hospital, Richmond, Virginia in 1861. Many of the men in his company did not survive the war and of those that did survive many of them were permanently disabled. Men from his company were killed at Petersburg, Sharpsburg, Mount Jackson, Spotsylvania, Cedar Creek, 2d Manassas, Monocacy, Fredericksburg, Savannah, Cold Harbor, Winchester, Wilderness, Gettysburg and other places.
Thomas Penuel Floyd was born December 23, 1835. He enlisted as a private 60th Regiment, Company B on April 10, 1862. He died in a Savannah, Georgia hospital May 7, 1862. He had two brothers who served in the same company. James Dolphin Floyd was wounded during the war and died in 1905 in Alabama. His brother Henry Drew Floyd was captured and sent as a prisoner to Point Lookout, Maryland. A colonel he had befriended intervened and he was released from prison. Barefoot and hungry he began the long trip back home. Henry Drew Floyd and their father, Thomas Beckwith Floyd, (a deacon at Flat Shoals Primitive Baptist Church) are both buried at Flat Shoals.
John Neville “Jack” Smith was born September 17, 1824 and died August 16, 1909. He was married to Elizabeth Jane Hunter and they had ten children. He joined Company B, 60th Georgia Infantry as a private April 10, 1862. Almost every man in Company B was killed in the war, suffered permanent disabilities or was captured and held in a prison camp. Jack Smith was wounded at the Battle of Wilderness on May 5, 1864 resulting in the amputation of his left arm below the elbow.
Elihu Watts was a private in the 60th Georgia Regiment, Company B. He died June 10, 1862 in Virginia. His brother, Robert Watts, also did not survive the war. His brother Levy E. Watts was in the same company. His brother, John Thomas Watts, sergeant, also served in Company B, 60th Georgia Regiment. He died in Arkansas in 1904.
James Thomas Willingham was born July 1, 1848 in Chambers County, Alabama. He enlisted in the Alabama Home Guards, Guess Battalion, Robinson’s Company on 13 August 1864. He enlisted at Blufton, Alabama and surrendered at Fort Tyler, West Point, Georgia. In his Confederate pension application he stated he worked as a carpenter and did shop work. He was married June 12, 1879 and his widow Mrs. Samantha Willingham received a Confederate pension after his death on February 25, 1933.
Stephen Henry Satterwhite 1836-1910 was the son of Elijah Satterwhite. He enlisted on July 14, 1861 in Company B, 60th Georgia Infantry. He was made 2nd Corporal in the Regiment, then had his rank reduced in 1862 when the Battalion was reorganized. At the end of the war Stephen returned home to his wife Mary Ann Zachary and small son and they had 5 more children. He served as Clerk of Flat Shoals Primitive Baptist Church from 1875 to 1907. He lived in the house that his father, Elijah, had built. Stephen died in 1910 at the age of 74 and was buried at Flat Shoals Baptist Church Cemetery in Troup County, Georgia. His brothers who served in the war were Pvt. Yancey Manning Satterwhite 1824-1864, Co. H, Ala. 7th Cav. Reg. and Pvt. William J. Satterwhite, 1825-1863 Co. B, 22nd Ala Inf., died of pneumonia, buried Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery. The stone wall you see in the background contain the remains of his father and mother located in the next photo.
Elijah Satterwhite, 1799 – 1885, was the son of David Satterwhite and Rebecca Satterwhite, who were born in Virginia and moved to Troup County. Elijah was a prominent man in the community and served as a deacon in the Flat Shoals Primitive Baptist Church in 1850. Elijah Satterwhite appears on a partial roster of Captain Robert H. Sledge's Company of J. C. Alfords Battalion of cavalry in the Creek Indian war of 1836.
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The church is presently in the Troup County Baptist Association and Southern Baptist Convention. We welcome any and all visitors who would enjoy seeing our historic old church building and cemetery.Church services start at 11:00 AM every Sunday. If you would like any information or have any additional information about our church, feel free to contact me at ([email protected]).May god bless you.Rev.Randy Warren.
Does this church maintain a list of members from its earlier days? It would be a great help to those of us doing genealogy studies in this area.
You are absolutely correct in what you have written. I founded TRoup County Historical Society & Archives… I looked up much of the Flat Shoals/Troup Factory History. The Smith Family remains in LaGrange. Also, founders of Troup Factory. Many graves ( I use to visit that cemetery often) in the old cemetery are those of wonderful pioneers whose families have stayed in the area. The famous Sledge/Cox family is only one of them along with the Smiths. The old Smith house was at the turn-off from the HY leading over to the cemetery (“I’ve forgotten ” road names) that was made of logs. Smith’s store was of rock. I believe we got the house on the National Register, I’m unsure, but the family loved that we brought recognition to the place. That community remains very lovely! Keep up your wonderful work!
Thank you Miss Biddy. Your support is important in that it validates what we are trying to do and how we are going about it. We appreciate it. And we also appreciate this additional history regarding Flat Shoals. Living history.
Thank you for featuring these beautiful old churches and for remembering those brave men who fought for our Southland so long ago.
Here is a ling with info on Elijah Satterwhite. He performed many marriages, so he was either an elder in the PB church or did so as part of his duties as a Justice of the Peace. A photo of the home he built is on the site. It’s abandoned, sure with someone would save it. http://normansatterwhite.com/Satterwhite/Elijah%20Satterwhite2.pdf
Thanks for the link Kenny. The Satterwhites were a very important part of early Troup County history. This is a great link.
Hello, I’ve been doing some research in my family tree. I’m a great-great-great granddaughter of Elijah Satterwhite. Virgil Wilborn Satterwhite was my grandfather. I would like to visit the cemetery and would absolutely love to his Elijah’s family home. Also, did I see where there is a booklet on the church and the founders? Please let me know. Looking forward to hearing back from you! Thanks!