Paran Baptist

Monroe County
Org 1823
Photography by Tony Cantrell

The original Paran Baptist church was organized in 1823 and was located about 2 ½ miles away.  It is located in Monroe County, named for the fifth president of the United States.  Creek Indians held this land until 1821, when they were impelled to surrender it in a treaty signed at Indian Springs.  Portions of Monroe County later went to the formation of Bibb, Butts, Lamar, and Pike Counties.  The congregation of Paran is one of the oldest in the county.  The church you see above was built in 1907, and has been well maintained over the years.

A Flint River Baptist Association history from 1880 tells us that Paran Baptist was organized October 11, 1823 with 12 members in Monroe County.  Three years after constituting the church on November 29, 1826, Charles A. Heard sold 2 1/2 acres for $6 to John Morris and George Hobbs, Deacons and their successors, for the purpose of building a meeting house. It also included the right to the spring attached to the property.  Also on May of 1867, “G. W. Edwards to Leonard C. Tomlinson and John R. Jones trustees of the Baptist Church at Paran for $5, 2 1/2 acres on which the present house of said church now stands and bounds to be laid off in the form of a square 140 yards x 86 3/7 yards.”

The 1880 history further tells us that “We have one sister Hobs who has been a member 52 years, and another, Sister Westbrooks 43 years. This church has been blessed with many glorious revivals of religion, but has not been free from trouble, has had its days of adversity and prosperity…….Five years ago there was but 58 members , and most of them females….but the church has been blessed during the last 2 years with a number of young men.  The church now numbers 104 members and are at peace with each other.”

We find it interesting that the history states the members were mostly female at that point.  We have to remember that the Civil War, ending in 1865, resulted in a demographic disaster for the South. Total deaths were 618,000 according to an article in Harvard Magazine.  “This equates to 2% of the American population and is comparable to 5 million perishing today.  8% of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war……6% in the North and an unbelievable 18% in the South”.  This created a huge imbalance in the ratio of males and females. 

Paran is fortunate to have a loving and very active congregation and we are all indebted to them for such good stewardship.  There is a large cemetery attached with many 19th century interments.  Be sure to click and scan the gallery photos below for more Paran History and Tales From the Crypt.


+ Read More