Rehoboth Baptist in Wilkes County was organized in 1806 near Fishing Creek in what was known as Jackson’s Cross Roads, about two miles northwest of the present site. The congregation moved to the present location in 1824, according to church records and in 1890 four members of the church deeded an additional eight acres of land for the present church property. Around 1900 the community name changed to the present day Metasville, named for a daughter of a Postmaster in Washington, Georgia. The current building was built in the early 1900’s and the first service was held there Sept 5, 1903. The old church building was left on the property and used as a school until 1925 when it was replaced with a brick structure that still stands on the church grounds.
The “new” building had the customary two entry doors, one for men and one for women. A center aisle separated the ladies and men’s sides. A wood burning heater was located on either side of the church with “the older people sitting nearer the heaters”. Many upgrades were made over the years including the installation of an indoor Baptismal pool to replace the concrete pool at the foot of the hill. The cemetery was started in 1889 with the first interment of C. H. Latimer, however there are numerous interments on Findagrave prior to 1889, with the earliest interments in the 1830’s. This would be consistent with the church relocation in 1824. Over the years the cemetery has been enlarged several times.
Nothing reflects the temper of the times better than the original church minutes and we are fortunate that the Rehoboth minutes have been preserved from the beginning. A quick glance will show that the congregation of Rehoboth took church conduct most seriously.
“04/18/1818 – Sister Hughley charges Sister Walker with talking disrespectfully of her.”
“06/20/1818 – Sister Hughley and Sister Walker reconciled.”
“05/09/1829 – Excommunicated Bro. John Hopkins for the sin of leaving his wife and going off with her sister.”
“02-01-1897 – Brother Thomas J. Danna reported to the church that he had committed the sin of getting drunk, and showed deep penitence in his statement and asked the forgiveness of the church, same was granted.”
“March 1888 – The church preferred a charge against Bro. Enoch Butler for the sin of non-attendance. On a motion and a second, he was unanimously excluded.”
The congregation of Rehoboth Baptist has been going strong for over 200 years, celebrating its Centennial in 1906 and its Bi-Centennial in 2006. The history of this little rural church has been well preserved and we hope she will continue to serve the Metasville community for another two centuries.
Rehobeth’s 1806 organization date places it in an august group made up of the earliest rural Georgia churches founded at the beginning of the 19th century. Undoubtedly, its original sanctuary was quite primitive and spare. This sanctuary replaced an earlier one and is typical of the architecture and style popular in the late 19th century. The congregation had come a long way since its beginnings and wanted to enter a new century in an imposing church home reflecting its stature. Since that time, the sanctuary has undergone a number of renovations to keep up with the times and needs of what was becoming a modern and more cosmopolitan congregation. The high ceilings, lovely pews with scrolled arms, bright white interior and handsome, large Palladian, stained glass windows which provide ample ambient light within the sanctuary gives its 21st century church members a house of worship of which they are deservedly proud.
This charming vignette provides us a close up view of one of the lovely windows. It also give us a chance to examine the vertical wainscoting upon which rests a chair rail and the horizontal wallboards which rise to the ceiling. This wall treatment is found throughout the church. The period oak chairs and table adds an appropriate decorative flair.
Though having been modified several times, this photo from the pulpit presents us unmistakable architectural and decorative elements that identify the Rehoboth sanctuary as having been designed and constructed over a century ago…. Teddy Roosevelt was President. The coffered ceiling, curved merging of the wall with the ceiling, the narrow, horizontal heart pine boards used above the wainscoting to create the sanctuary wall while also the joining of wall and ceiling and…because of the suspended truss architecture… no supporting columns. Without columns, this airy, high-ceilinged interior with its unobstructed sight lines creates an airy, cathedral-like, very inviting interior. If more evidence of the sanctuary’s authenticity is needed, just look up to the ceiling and locate/look at the square patch with a decorative border. That is where the original, wood or coal burning stove flu was located.
Here we are looking from about half way up the center aisle across 6 rows of pews. A portion of the chancel and apse are to the left and the original pews with their scrolled arms sit before two of the large windows. The lovely coved ceiling curves above the white walls to the ceiling. The fine workmanship, fit and finish present throughout Rehobeth is on display in this photo.
Here is a memorial to the life of John L. Frazer, who enlisted with the 61st Georgia Infantry. We are not sure of the details of John’s service but history is fortunate that someone added the information of his capture and subsequent death in a prison camp in Point Lookout, Md. We do know he enlisted as a private and was a Lieutenant at the time of capture. We also know that the losses of the 61st were horrendous, and probably accounted for his rise from Private to Lieutenant. Of the 1,000 men that reported for duty at Petersburg, Va at the beginning the war, the 61st surrendered at Appomattox with 80 men and no officers. It is difficult to read this kind of commentary and begin to imagine the effect the Civil War had on this country. Given that John’s age was 34 at the beginning of the conflict, it is reasonable to assume he left a widow and several children behind. For more information about the 61st Georgia.
Time takes its toll on cemetery interments but fortunately, we can still read the headstone that once stood over the grave of Earnest Butler, who died at the age of eleven in 1907. Findagrave states that he was one of ten siblings by two mothers. Three of the ten died in infancy……..a common occurrence in rural Georgia.
There are fourteen Prather interments in the cemetery ranging from 1894 to 1986. Bettie (1854 – 1922) was the wife of Sim Prather. Almost all old rural Georgia cemeteries have unmarked graves and some have little field stone markers with no inscriptions. As society changed and became more affluent, larger and more elaborate markers were used…..most of them purchased and delivered to the site. This one reflects both the economic circumstances of this family at the time but it is also a loving tribute from this rural farmer to his wife…”a faithful wife and a loving mother”. The real beauty to us is in the hand writing of the tribute.
Old Rehoboth has served this little rural community since 1806 and from this location since 1824. She is a tribute to another time and the many generations of farmers who lived and died here. Long may she reign.
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