This former church is a bit of a mystery, as is the community of Barnett in general. Barnett is located on the Georgia Railroad line that runs from Augusta to Atlanta, the most vital East/West rail line in the state. Barnett is located just east of Crawfordville and came into being when the line was constructed in the late 1830s. It achieved further prominence when the 17 mile spur line to Washington was built in 1853. At the time, Barnett supported several stores, a major depot (since torn down), various houses and both a Methodist and Baptist Church. Little is left now except the Barnett Methodist Church and the remnants of what we now call the Lost Church of Barnett. Were it not for a beautiful cemetery on the premises, it would even be identified as a church.
It is located in the general vicinity of the Barnett Methodist church and is now on private land that has been converted to the headquarters for a local deer hunting club. This is an unusual but fitting end use for a structure that would be otherwise endangered. The most interesting feature of the old church is the construction of it, particularly the fieldstone footings and the hand hewn support timbers. We have seen references to a Barnett Baptist church here and there but could find little or no confirmation of it. We have since located some land deeds that were documented in 1909 that show the church as Salem Baptist. For now, this seems to be the most accurate reference we can find. We will keep looking for some more documentation.
We have also been able to locate cemetery records for the old church and have now updated them with Findagrave. The cemetery and the old church were apparently abandoned some time ago and now have been cleaned up and reclaimed by the local deer hunters. The oldest recorded interment is 1886 and the latest is 1976. However, there were 24 unmarked graves according to the cemetery records. It would appear to be older than the cemetery records would indicate but we will keep searching for the story of the Lost Church of Barnett. If anyone has any further information, please let us know.
We are impressed with the cemetery and some of the headstones. This one is particularly impressive.
What a quaint little church in the woods. Not far from the village center and very close to the railroad depot at junction of the Washington line completed in 1853.
The earliest interments are three graves from the Howard family all occuring in 1886. It always makes you wonder what really happened when families were struck down so rapidly. The stories speak to you from the grave. There are also 24 visible unmarked graves that were recorded, which only adds to the mystery of the Lost Church of Barnett.
We are in awe of some of the early construction techniques. Dry fieldstone footings that were placed on a sloped piece of ground over 150 years ago. You just had to make do with what you had. There wasn’t much prosperity in the early days and you had to use what was available locally. This church was pretty primitive but dead level . Impressive.
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