Moses Chapel

Decatur County
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Org 1836
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Photography by Kathy Gerber

Almost Gone But Not Forgotten

The sweet little church you see above is located on a dirt road in far south Georgia close to the Florida line, where the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers converge to form the Apalachicola. The location of the church is close to what is left of Recovery Georgia near the historic site of Camp Recovery. This extreme location in the SW corner of Georgia has a lot of history that goes back to the very early 19th century.  This early history is filled with Indian conflicts, death and disease. From a 2017 newspaper article in the Post Searchlight, we are told that Moses Chapel was organized in 1836 when three small churches in the same area came together to form Moses Chapel. Beyond that, we can find no more history and we are hopeful that some will emerge as a result of this work. The structure is very old and we are afraid that she won’t be with us much longer.  Although simple, you can feel the love and respect that these early Georgia settlers had for their churches and schools which were always the very heart of the community. These images are a powerful reminder of life in the Georgia backcountry in the 19th century.

This small and humble church has had very little of its history recorded and until recently, we weren’t certain of the story here. But Terry Green, a descendant of the church’s founders graciously shared part of the story with us. “Moses Chapel was a Black Methodist and Baptist Church. It was a refuge for some former slaves to worship God. I remember having a conversation with my 2x great uncle, Alfred Green, who was born in Decatur Georgia in 1906 and died in 1999 at the age of 93 years old. I recall visiting my very active uncle Alfred one time, I was sitting at the foot of his bed one morning asking him questions about our family history. I was shocked by what he remembered- dates, years, names…he even remembered the age of 3 or 4 years old sitting on his grandfather’s knee, Issac Hall, who was a slave around 1859. Later in life, my uncle purchased 26 acres of land to grow big black juicy grapes and he donated 1 acre of land to Moses Chapel where he was a deacon of the church.

Moses Chapel building started getting old so the members of the church decided to build another Moses Chapel right next door they’re two church buildings on that lot. My family still owns both sides of the dirt road that runs in front of the new and old church. I haven’t been there in years and now I’m sure the snakes and grape orchards have turned back to woods. While I was there for my uncle’s funeral, someone said to go take a look inside the old church, as I looked inside Moses Chapel seeing the old dusty bench rows and furniture I could still feel a spirit in that church. “

 

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