Jehovah Baptist

Harris County
Org 1870s-1890s
Photography by Gail des Jardin

There is not much history available on Jehovah Baptist, but according to a local history “The white people gave the colored people this church around the year of 1867. At that time the church was located across the road (where the cemetery is now). Around the year of 1877 the colored people bought a spot of land across the road”. The history further tells us that the church was organized under the leadership of the late Rev. James Grayer from 1867 to 1878 and from 1878 – 1880 was led by Reverend J. D. Walker. The church then prospered under the leadership of Reverend G. W. Gore, who led them for 62 years from 1881-1943. The church then had another long serving pastor in the person of G. A. Black who served from 1948 – 2001, a total of 53 years.

We do not know exactly when the present structure was built but it is likely the second sanctuary built on the site. The land was acquired in 1877, and we would guess the present structure would have replaced the original sometime after the turn of the century. A rural, African American congregation organized prior to 1870 would make Jehovah one of the oldest in Georgia. The congregation would likely have consisted totally of emancipated slaves who came together right after the Civil War to seek a new life in a world full of tension and uncertainty that had been devastated by conflict. The Jehovah Baptist congregation has now prospered in this rural Harris County location for almost 150 years, and for 115 of those years they were under the leadership of just two pastors. The church continues to thrive in this upper Chatahoochee Valley location, and we salute old Jehovah for maintaining the tradition and the premises for a century and a half.

This part of Georgia was Creek Indian land until it was acquired as part of the Indian Springs Treaty in 1825 (for more information on the Treaty of Indian Springs click here). The former Indian lands were then settled by conducting a series of land lotteries and organizing them by counties, Harris County being formed in 1827. It is worth noting that the church is located just outside of what was once the bustling community of Whitesville. Many of these old rural villages have virtually disappeared over the years, leaving the churches behind as the only physical remnant of days gone by. From the historical marker located close to the church – “Incorporated in 1837 and named for the pioneer “White” family. Whitesville was the site of a stagecoach stop, inn, and stores on a branch of the Oakfuskee Indian Trail. This early road continued across the Chattahoochee River at Dobb’s Ferry, at the lower end of Miller’s Bend Shoals near the mouth of Mountain Creek. The post office at the older settlement, Mountain Creek, established in 1830 with Joseph I. Whitaker, postmaster, was moved to Whitesville in 1835. The Whitesville Methodist Church was organized in 1837 in the home of Reuben Rabb Mobley, first class leader. Jeremiah Rush was an early pastor”.

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