THE BAPTIST CHURCH. -- This denomination is more numerous than any other in Georgia. There are 114 Associations, over 2,300 Churches, and 193,662 members - nearly 1 to every 6 persons in the State. About 81,000 of the members are Negroes.
Of the Associations, 34 are organized into what is known as the "Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia;" and all have the privilege of uniting with it at any time.
The first Baptist in Georgia of which there is any history was Nicholas Begewood, in 1757. He was employed as an agent of Whitefield's Orphan House, near Savannah. Entertaining Baptist sentiments, he went to Charleston to unite with the Church and receive baptism. In 1759, he became a minister, and in 1763 baptized several persons about the Orphan House, to whom he administered the first Baptist Communion in the Province.
The first Baptist Church organized in Georgia was in 1772, at Kiokee Meeting-House - the spot on which Appling in Columbia County now stands - under the ministry of Rev. Daniel Marshall, who was then the only ordained Baptist minister in Georgia.
The second was in 1773, at a place then called New Savannah, afterward Botsford's Old Church, 25 miles below Augusta, under the ministry of Rev. Edmund Botsford.
The Baptist Convention of the State was organized in 1822 at Powelton, Hancock County. Its objects, among others, are:To aid in giving effect to useful plans of the several Associations;Rev. Jesse Mercer was Moderator of the first meeting of
To raise funds for the education of pious young men for the Christian Ministry; and
To promote pious useful education in the Baptist denomination.
the Convention, and was successively chosen to that position every year, up to the last year of his life - his period of service being from 1822 to 1840 inclusive.
Rev. D. E. Butler, of Madison, is the present Moderator, and Rev. G. R. McCall, of Hawkinsville, is Secretary. The Convention has charge of all the educational and charitable institutions belonging to the denomination in the State. It has a permanent fund of its own, of nearly $34,000, the interest only of which is used annually in its appropriate work. This Convention is a highly respected and influential body. The educational institutions which are the property of the denomination in Georgia, and under the control of the Baptist State Convention, are: Mercer University, Macon; Mercer High School, Penfield; Crawford High School, Dalton; Hearn School, Cave Springs.
This denomination has 702 Sunday-schools, 4,138 officers and teachers, and 31,389 scholars in the State, of which 105 schools and 6,700 scholars are composed of Negroes.
[From Thomas P. Janes, Hand-book of the State of Georgia, 1876, p. 197-198. The document is from Google Books On-line. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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