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 that were always the very heart of the community. These images are a powerful reminder of life in the Georgia backcountry in the 19th century.
The first white people into this part of Georgia came in 1814 as a result of the Creek Indian treaty of 1814. By the terms of the treaty, the Lower Creeks were forced to cede 23 million acres of their territory in South Georgia and Alabama. Andrew Jackson had just defeated the Creeks in a decisive victory and the south Georgia cessations were the result. The first military occupation began with the establishment of Camp Crawford on a high bluff overlooking the Flint River in June of 1816. Camp Crawford was then replaced by Fort Scott, a more permanent installation where troops from the fort would play a major role in the first Seminole war. In November of 1817 the first shots were fired at a village called Fowltown, located not far from where the church is now. Andrew Jackson, fresh from his victory over the British at New Orleans, was sent to Fort Scott as a result and he soon invaded Spanish Florida to end the conflict. Fort Scott continued to became a major military buffer due to its proximity to Spanish Florida. However, the biggest enemy turned out to be the mosquitoes that swarmed around the swamps and infected the soldiers with malaria. Many of them died. As a result, Camp Recovery was established across the River in a location very near to where the church is now. Camp Recovery was thought to be a more healthy environment, but many soldiers continued to die, even in this new location, You can easily get more history on Fort Scott and Camp Recovery on the internet.
Decatur County was created by an act of the state legislature on December 8, 1823. The early pioneers who settled this part of Georgia and their children were the founders of many of of these simple, wooden houses of education and worship in the rural backcountry. Moses Chapel is one of the few to survive but without an intervention, she will not be with us much longer. We think these decaying monuments to the struggles and triumphs of our ancestors are important. As we often say, this is where we came from. This is how we got here. This is who we are.
Be sure to click and scroll the photos below for more commentary on Moses Chapel.