“Strike from mankind the principle of faith, and men would have no more history than a flock of sheep.” Mark Beltaire
Richland Baptist Church A Landmark of Christianity
Richland Baptist Church is located six miles west of Jeffersonville on a country road commonly known as “Old Richland Road.” A few hundred yards from the church is the “Old Stage Road” trail that led from Savannah, north through Georgia. The northern soldiers traveled this road on their return home after the War Between the States, and camped within the vicinity.
In regard to the constitution of Richland Baptist Church, following is a quotation from an Ocmulgee Association Minute Book: “The Ocmulgee Association met at Sugar Creek Church in Morgan County the 31st day of August, 1811. John Denson and Jacob Ricks were messengers, coming’ from Richland Creek, asking to be constituted as a church into their Association with twelve members.” “Monday, Sept. 2nd, 1811, the association was informed that the Church at Richland Creek, Twiggs County was not regularly constituted, because the Presbytery called to do the same were not sufficiently authorized, for this reason to-wit, that brother Elijiah Hammock, one of the Presbytery was ordained by brother, William Lord. whose ordination was invalid, and there being but one other, to-wit. Brother Isiah Shire. the Association unanimously decided that the constitution of said Church and the ordination of Brother Hammock were invalid and the letter was again returned to the messengers.” “Immediately the proper Presbytery was secured by the members and then the Oemulgee Association accepted the 12 charter members of Richland Creek as a constituted Baptist Church.”
According to information obtained from records and minute books at Mercer University Library, the most dependable data fixes the date of constitution as October 5, 1811, with twelve charter members. An old church record book that has been preserved dates back to October 5. 1811, on the roster of members with twelve white names listed as charter members, namely: four males, John Denson, Jacob Ricks, the first clerk of the church; Edward Nix, William Coates; eight females, Sarah Denson, Susannah Ricks, Elizabeth Lipham. Elizabeth Truluck, Sally Parrott, Anna Hammock, Sara Glenn, Nancy Powell, and a colored woman, Cloe Hodges.
The first pastor of the church was Rev. Micajah Fulghum, serving from 1811 until October, 1820. Of the many pastors in the annuals of the church, two seem to be most outstanding. Rev. Jesse H. Campbell. of Clinton, Georgia, serving; the church fourteen years. He was called as pastor January 12, 1836. The church expressed their esteem for Brother Campbell at a church conference November 6, 1841. A preamble and resolution of tribute for his untiring devotion and influence was recorded in the church minutes. Today one often hears the name of the beloved Rev. George Robert McCall, an outstanding minister in the Baptist work. He graduated from Mercer University and was ordained to the ministry September, 1854. Soon after this, he was called to serve Richland Church. He accepted the call and here he began his first pastorate. The spiritual growth of the church continued during his twenty-eight consecutive years as pastor.
The limitation of space and lack of material make it impossible to trace the labors of all the pastors who served the church.
The beacon light of the church shone brightly until 1911. On August 9, 1911, a deacon and an active member, George W. Faulk, Jr., passed away, then in October, 1911, the pastor, Rev. F. Bartow Asbell, resigned. No other pastor was called. The center of population for church membership shifted to other Baptist churches including Jeffersonville and Evergreen. Therefore, no regular services, then the church doors were closed.
Authors note: Information extracted from the publication. “Historical Collections of Richland Baptist Church” compiled by Lanette O’Neal Faulk (Mrs. Hugh L.)
Source: History of Twiggs County by J. Lanette O’Neal Faulk (Mrs Hugh Lawson) and Billy Walker Jones; Published by Major General John Twiggs Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Jeffersonville, GA
View (YouTube) video presenting a historical collection from about 1949, the time the Richland Restoration League was formed. This video was prepared by Buddy Faulk to commemorate the 200th anniversary celebration in October 2012.