Oglethorpe Baptist

Macon County
Org 1847
Photography by Tony Cantrell

The roots of Oglethorpe Baptist go back to 1847 when sixteen pioneers, four men and twelve women, organized a Baptist church in the little village of Hamburg.  Then in 1850, the church extended an arm to the village of Oglethorpe.  This action was triggered by the fact that the railroad was coming to Oglethorpe in 1851.  For several years afterward, Oglethorpe was a teeming township of several thousand.  The local history stated that the first record of an established church in Oglethorpe is found in the minutes that refer to the Baptist Church of Cuyler at Oglethorpe. The present building, built in 1895 is the second location of the church. 

The history tells us the first service in the new church took place in January of 1896, and that the tower was completed in 1898 at a cost of $18.60.  It also tells us the Baptistry was built in 1904 and three young women were the first to be “buried in this liquid grave”.  The same year the church agreed to send to the Association “one dollar for minutes, one dollar for associational purposes, three dollars for domestic missions and three dollars for furrin missions”.

Prior to the Civil War, the church had an active African American membership.  Even after the war, the history records that “negroes were received in 1866 when two colored sisters came forward and related their experience and were received”.  During the turbulent times of reconstruction, many of the African American church members stayed with the white churches for a few years, before deciding to form their own churches.

The history further states that “the negroes began to change their attitude toward the church, and in 1870 it was granted that some action should be taken by the church in relation to the colored members, they having apparently abandoned the church.  Whereupon we appointed a committee to notify them to appear at our next meeting that we might confer with them and ascertain if it was their desire io remain with us, or to withdraw from us………when several of our colored members made application for letters of dismission……it was agreed that the clerk grant letters to any or all of them”. 

Oglethorpe Baptist has a long tradition of service to the community and has a vibrant congregation today.  In the 1950s it was decided to build a new brick church and the present church was sold to the Seventh Day Adventist congregation, who moved it to its present location in 1955.  We even found an old photo of the church being moved and in transit to its current location.  As you can see, today it is standing proud and well maintained.

+ Read More