Haw Pond Baptist

Crisp County
Org 1925
Photography by Steve Robinson

Almost Gone But Not Forgotten

The Haw Pond School building is referenced briefly in the book, “Crisp County’s History in Pictures and Stories” second edition published by Cordele-Crisp County Historical Society, Inc. in 1978. On page 468 the book states “Haw Pond Baptist Church was constituted in the old school house which joins the church property today.” (This would appear to confirm that the building was indeed used as a school and the school had been there for some time.) The minutes of that meeting indicate the date to be May 10, 1925, during a period when there were many schools in the county to provide educational opportunities in communities before the construction of school buildings at Arabi, West Crisp, and East Crisp. The history states that “Prior to this day, going back several years, Brother George Hobby traveled from Rebecca by walking or horse and buggy to preach for the community.  At this time, these services were held in the original school house.  The land that the school house was on belonged to W.B. Pate, later the church was built.”

The history then tells us that “The Haw Pond church was named for the ponds on the property near the church which are surrounded by a bountiful growth of May Haw trees.  These trees produce millions and millions of haw berries which ripen in the month of  May, hence the name May Haw.  Because of their generosity and love of their neighbors, Mr. Bennett Pope and his wife, Maude, invited the people from miles around each year to come and gather May Haws for making jelly or jam.

“The largest of these ponds was named the Haw Pond … and there is a yearly phenomena concerning this pond which is known state-wide.  Each year an underground river claims the Haw Pond as its own.  Each year some member of the Pate family always kept a close watch on the Haw Pond so they would know exactly when it would “go out”.  Word spread in the neighborhood that the Haw Pond was about to “go out” and people along the bank, talked and waited.  When the Haw Pond water was low enough, the men would get in the water to catch the abundant supply of fish.  Mr. Bennett Pate always shared these fish with his neighbors, and there were always many fish to share.  The men would sometimes put a net over the hole where the water runs out to join the river so they could catch many more fish.  It was a dangerous operation, because the suction of the water was terrific as it was pulled into the underground river.”

The churches were always the center of the community.  What a beautiful commentary on rural life in days gone by.  We think our research and documentation of the old schoolhouse and church is an important part of what we do…….Almost gone but not forgotten.  Haw Pond Baptist church lives on.


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