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Early History of Sarepta Association - (GA)
By J. H. Campbell, 1874
     In May, 1799, the brethren met at Shoal creek, Franklin county, to confer about forming a new Association, having already obtained letters of dismission for several churches from the Georgia Association. In the fall, they met again at Vans' creek, Elbert county, and formed the Sarepta Association, by adopting the constitution and decorum of the Georgia, to whose next session they sent as messengers William Davis and G. Smith. The minutes of the first session are not preserved.
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     The churches which were dismissed from the Georgia and joined in the Sarepta, are Shoal creek, Vans' creek, Dove's creek, Hollow Spring, Cabin creek, Nail's creek, Millstone and Trail creek. On 12th October, 1800, the body met at Millstone, Oglethorpe county -- Thomas Gilbert, moderator, and William Davis, clerk. Five churches joined--fourteen churches in the Union -- one hundred and seventy baptized. Total, seven hundred and ninety-seven. In 1801, at Shoal creek. In 1802, at Cabin creek -- sermon by Dozier Thornton -- eight new churches joined. In 1803, at Cloud's creek -- introductory by William Denman -- eight new churches joined this year also. The body now had in union thirty-three churches--baptized three hundred and seventy-five. Total, two thousand eight hundred and seventy-three -- a great increase this in three years!

     In 1804, Falling creek church, in Elbert, entertains the body. D. Thornton and William Davis, officers. Received a communication from General Committee of Correspondence, in Pennsylvania, requesting religious statistics--appointed a committee to furnish them. For several years the progress and increase of the body was about the same as above. Nothing material occurs until 1812, when a great revival was experienced, and twelve hundred and sixty-five were baptized. Total, three thousand one hundred and fifty-seven. "So mightily grew the word of the Lord and prevailed."

     In 1815 the Hopewell Presbytery requests its co-operation in attempting to arrest prevailing vices. A committee is appointed to meet one from the Presbytery. It is understood they did not agree touching the sanctity of the Sabbath, and so nothing definite was settled as a plan to suppress vice.

     Falling creek was the seat of the session in 1816. Appointed the Sarepta Mission Society to meet at Double Branches. This society was in active operation some dozen years; missionaries went among the Cherokee Indians and preached the gospel; some schools were sustained by it. Thomas Johnson, Littleton Meeks and John Sandidge were among the preachers. Several churches were dismissed to form the Tugalo Association.

     Several sessions pass off as usual, when, in 1820, a powerful excitement is felt in the meeting at Vans' creek, under the ministry of M. Reeves, J. M. Gray and J. Mercer; several had

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what is called "the jerks." Resolution passed: " Resolved, That we suggest for our own consideration, and respectfully that of sister associations in the State, the propriety of organizing a general meeting of correspondence." This was drawn by Rev. A. Sherwood and handed in by C. J. Jenkins. Here is the commencement of the State Convention, which has been an instrument of so much good. The circular for this year was on "the religious education of children," of which the Charleston Association expresses its cordial approbation at its ensuing session.

     No material change occurs in the affairs of the union until about 1830, when the importance of domestic missions begins to be felt by the body. Several itinerants are henceforth engaged in spreading abroad the good tidings, and many poor ministers have libraries purchased for them.

     In 1835, the session is at Falling creek, Elbert county. The body votes to join the State Convention, after fifteen years' consideration. About $420 00 in hand for benevolent objects. An executive committee manages the fiscal concerns. In 1836, opens correspondence with the Central Association. Five or six churches (with George Lumpkin and John Lacy, ministers,) enter their protest against uniting with the Convention and corresponding with the Central Association. These withdraw, and form what is called "The Oconee Association."

     For several years past, up to 1845, the affairs of the body have progressed without any material variation. Domestic and foreign missions, Sabbath-schools, temperance societies, all receive the hearty encouragement of the churches. Her ministers appear to take pleasure in every good word and work.


[J. H. Campbell, Georgia Baptists: Historical and Biographical , 1874, pp. 71-73. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

1816 Circular Letter, Sarepta Association

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