Plains Baptist

Sumter County
Org 1848
Photography by Steve Robinson

Plains Baptist Church is located in Plains, a small farming village of approximately 800 people located in SW Georgia. Plains was founded in 1827 after federal authorities forced out Creek Indians under the Treaty of Washington, and was located one mile north of its present site. Originally three small settlements existed nearby…………..Plains of Dura, Magnolia Springs, and Lebanon. As railway access expanded into the region in 1884, these settlements converged to the new railway location as a single entity. As businesses rapidly developed, local businessmen successfully petitioned the State Legislature to shorten Plains of Dura to just plain Plains, and it was subsequently incorporated as such in 1896. The town is well known as the hometown of U.S. president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn.

Lebanon Baptist, known today as Plains Baptist Church was constituted on December 1, 1848. Twenty members initially entered into the Church Covenant on that day, and the following day they formally called on the reverend Jesse Stallings to be their first pastor. The first house of worship was built of wood in 1849 and was located one and a half miles west of the town of Plains, near the center of the present day Lebanon Cemetery. Services were held monthly for both Whites and Slaves. The congregation grew and thrived for the next two decades. After the Civil War, “…our colored brethren and sisters requested letters of dismissal“. The letters were granted on March 19, 1870 and the congregation of freed slaves formed their own church, The New Lebanon Baptist Church. The white congregation then determined that a new building should be erected on the original site to serve their growing needs. On December 7, 1870 this second church building was dedicated.

The church, as well as the nearby town of Plains, prospered and grew in the “good years” after the War. In the late 1880’s, it was felt that a physical move of the sanctuary to the center of the city was required to more conveniently serve the congregation. In 1889, the place of worship was moved into the town of Plains where a new, third church building was erected on a lot south of the railroad tracks on South Bond Street. Less than 20 years later, it was again determined that a new, larger building was needed to serve the burgeoning congregation. The handsome church pictured above was completed in 1906, and in 1909 the name was changed to Plains Baptist Church to correctly reflect its “final” location.

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