Liberty Baptist is a stunning and majestic rural church located just north of the Florida line. To get to it you have to travel on a rural dirt road that is a mixture of red dirt and white sand, with large oaks loaded with Spanish moss on both sides. Nothing prepares you as you round a slight curve in the old road and suddenly there she is……nestled among the oaks and the moss. My goodness, what a sight.
The story of Liberty Baptist goes back to a time of conflict within the south Georgia Baptist community. During the years 1837-1841 the Baptist denomination in this part of the state was wrestling with the new questions of Missions, Sunday-school and ministerial support. In 1841 the Ocklochnee anti-Missionary Baptist Association added an article to their original Articles of Faith making the famous Thirteenth Article, in which they declared non-fellowship with any member who engaged or believed in Sunday-school work, missions, theological schools or any other new-fangled institutions of the day. This was the beginning of the beautiful Liberty Church. When the above was passed, Sister Nancy Hagan, a resident of Thomas now Brooks County, asked for her letter from Mount Moriah Church and, at her own request, was excommunicated. She and seven others of like mind constituted this church, and named it Liberty at the request of Sister Hagan. As the historical marker points out, Mt. Moriah ceased to exist long ago.
The church you see is the second location of Liberty Baptist. The original church building was evidently located on, or near the old King Plantation, as it was sold to them when a new Church was built. About 1857, the Trustees moved that a new church be built and it was decided to do so. The new structure, to be located at Grooverville, would be 40 by 50 feet. The new building was constructed of sturdy pine timbers with a steeple, high gothic windows and columns of heart pine at the entrance. It also contained a gallery with graduated pews and sawdust on the floor where the black members worshiped. In the main building, metal cuspidors were placed as ‘some of the brethren used tobacco freely.’ The first meeting in the new church was held on June 19, 1858 with preaching by Elder W.J. Bluett.
The original missionary heritage of the church was an important aspect of Liberty Baptist and continued to be so for many years. The church sent missions to several foreign countries and also served as the mother church for this part of Georgia, giving birth to several strong Missionary Baptist churches in the area. Thank you for supporting Historic Rural Churches of Georgia and helping us spread the word. Please be sure to sign up to receive new postings on featured churches.