By Amy Young

Presented to the Etowah Valley Historical Society in Completion of an Internship Program under the Direction of Joe F. Head as EVHS Intern Field Supervisor and Dr. Jennifer Dickey and Dr. David Parker at Kennesaw State University

December 3, 2018

For anyone who has traveled in the southernmost parts of the Appalachian Mountains, there is one fact that is entirely clear: it is impossible to go more than five miles without passing a church building off the side of the road, to see the standard “old country church on a hill.” These religious centers are everywhere, existing in a variety of denominations: Baptists, Methodists, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopal. There are dozens of church buildings dotting the countryside, cities, and towns in this region of the United States. Each has their own history, their own unique congregations made up from people of all walks of life. To the passerby, there is nothing significant in these buildings, sprawling campuses, hills covered in grave markers, or words on the sign that tell the rest of the world what type of congregation meets in the building. However, a deeper examination shows there is much to be learned from these blurs on the landscape.

The most prominent Protestant denomination in America is Baptist, the faith that makes up the largest percentage of these meeting houses in the southern Appalachians.[1] According to a study completed by the Public Religion Research Institute in 2017, they found “one-third of Protestants, or 32 percent, identify with some Baptist denomination…”[2] However, as many researchers have pointed out, signs on the outside reading “Baptist Church” does not mean they are all the same on the inside. This idea has been around for quite some time. In 1886, John H. Spencer published A History of Kentucky Baptists: From 1769 to 1885. In it, he approaches the idea of there being more than one “sect” of Baptists.[3] Deborah Vansau McCauley used this in her own argument against blurring all types of Baptists into one in the introduction to her work Appalachian Mountain Religion: A History. For her argument, Baptists are lenses through which to examine mountain religion in the Appalachia region; however, it is too narrow of a vision to use it to generalize about churches that exist in the region.[4]

In the most basic of terms, there are a few common threads that are true of all Baptist churches. Three of them, in particular, are critical to understanding the Baptists and what sets them apart from other Protestant denominations. One, the Baptist denomination believes in the Bible “as the sole written authority for faith and practice.”[5] Second, people will choose to believe in salvation of their own accord at any given age. It is then, when they have made this choice in free will through faith believing they will be fully immersed in baptism. The last is the belief that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are both symbolic practices that are not necessary for salvation.[6] Beyond these minimal fundamental truths, there is significant variation between the beliefs and practices between Baptist congregations.

Apart from the theological differences, it is also important to understand the organizational structure of a Baptist Church is not only quite different from other denominations but can vary tremendously. For example, compare Baptists to Methodists. For Methodist churches, particularly those a part of the United Methodist Church, governance falls in the hands of a select few. According to the United Methodist Church website, the responsibility is divided among three ruling bodies: The General Conference, the Council of Bishops, and the Judicial Council.[7] Baptists are entirely different. There is no top-down governance of the Baptist churches. In the same way each congregation of Baptists is different, each is governed differently, typically in a more “democratic” fashion.[8] It is the members of the church that have a voice and a vote for when it comes to governing the church, which typically happens in conference meetings, held at appointed times. While women in one Baptist church may not be allowed to speak in a conference meeting, at another they might have the ability to elect a female minister.[9] Even with such organizations as the Southern Baptist Convention and the American Baptist Association in existence, they are not meant to govern the churches; instead, they are “fellowships of Baptist churches who have elected to associate with each other for the furtherance of the cause of Christ on Earth.”[10] It is for this reason there is such a variation among the denomination.

Despite the many variations and differences, the Baptist faith is a critical cornerstone of communities in areas of Appalachian culture. Baptist churches and their physical presence on the landscape have evolved over time to meet the needs of their communities as they have progressed, to be places of refugee for religious thought, and to continue to exert their influence on the population. Bartow County, Georgia is the perfect place to examine how community influences the characteristics and developments in a Baptist church. Of the 100 or more Baptist churches in Bartow County, no two are exactly alike. The individuality of each congregation has created a variety of Baptist cultures in less than 500 square miles, each important in their own way to understanding the role it plays as a cornerstone in its respective community.

Churches are unique in their capability of serving as ways to capture change in society over time. This stems from their foundational roles in their communities, making it easy for them to reflect their changing nature. Among Baptist churches, it is even possible to see change between different communities because of the minimal similarity between the churches. Each congregation is able to maintain its individuality. However, in 1966, Samuel Hill, Jr. pitched the idea that there was a similarity across even denominations in southern religion connected to a distinct culture in the South. In Chapter Two of his book, Southern Churches in Crisis, he addresses his belief in there being a “regional church,” meaning all churches across denominational lines are very similar to each other, as if they were part of one large body.[11] Though this theory works to support his argument for the social crises affecting religious life in the South. Thirty years later, his argument found further support in Mark R. Bell, who wrote an article entitled, “Continued Captivity: Religion in Bartow County, Georgia” to examine the changes in southern religion since the publishing of Hill’s book. Bell uses such common threads as salvation and bible-centeredness between Protestant denominations in Bartow County to further the idea of hegemony.[12]

In the same year Bell released his article, the Southern Anthropological Society published Religion in the Contemporary South: Diversity, Community, and Identity, edited by O. Hendall White, Jr. and Daryl White. This work refutes the claims of Hill and Bell about an overarching similarity between all southern churches of all denominations. In the introduction alone, they acknowledge the religious identity of different churches has split up and further individualized over time. They also make the statement, “… Religion in [the] South is more diverse… than when the analysis of… Hill first appeared.”[13] Upon further study of the Baptist denomination in Bartow County, it is sensible to conclude White and White were correct. There is a clear pattern of individuality amongst the churches over time than Hill or Bell acknowledged in their works. Such diversity would not exist without the unique position of each church in its community.

Historical Background

Oakland Heights Baptist Church, taken by Amy Young

Prior to 1832, what is now Bartow County had been Native American territory for thousands of years. Hernando de Soto had been the first European to encounter the Indians in the area, noting the mound-builder culture in modern day northwest Georgia.[14] These were the Etowah Valley Indians, Mississippian culture natives that were residing in what is now Bartow County. Though these natives would abandon the area, others would come to replace them, the Creek and Cherokee Indians.[15] It was these native groups that were living in this part of Georgia when the Europeans came and established a royal colony on the coast. Up from the coast of Savannah and down from the Carolinas, settlers spread all over the interior of the state, looking for farmable land and natural resources to exploit. Missions were also being spread, particularly into areas where Native Americans lived. One of the first American establishments near Bartow County in modern day Gordon County was the Moravian mission, located near the community of Adairsville.[16] Overtime, more settlers flooded in to the area as a result of the Georgia Land Lottery. Gold had also been discovered in north Georgia in 1828, flooding the mountains for those in search of wealth. Despite coming with varying purposes, the people in the area came together on December 3, 1832 and established Cass County, Georgia.[17]

Cass County grew and developed for less than thirty years before the breakout of the Civil War. Initially, it had little impact on the county or the rest of the region, only seeing minor instances like the famed Great Locomotive Chase.[18] Later in the conflict, the war hit Georgia head on. Sherman marched through Cass County, camping in the area, tearing buildings down for shelter and heat, and burning large parts of it to the ground. During the course of the war, the county was renamed Bartow County, after Francis Bartow, the first Confederate Civil War officer killed at the first Battle of Manassas (Bull Run).[19] Since the conclusion of the war, the communities of Bartow have been ever on the rise. Industries have come and population has risen; however, parts of the county have remained rural, despite massive growth around the bigger centers, like the county seat of Cartersville. Today, Bartow County has a population of 105,054, the 24th largest in the state out of 159 counties.[20] It’s also the 38th largest county in the state at 470.6 square miles.[21] The county seat, Cartersville, is located an hour from both Atlanta, Georgia to the south and Chattanooga, Tennessee to the north.

The history of the Baptist Church in Bartow County flows with the history of the rest of the county. Two of the oldest recorded Baptist churches, Adairsville Baptist Church and Oothcalooga Baptist Church, were both born out of the Moravian mission located north of the modern Bartow County border.[22] More were established throughout out the 19th century as the population grew and small communities began to develop. Some of these communities would grow into the main six cities that still exist today: Cartersville, Adairsville, White, Emerson, Kingston, and Euharlee.[23] Additionally, there are dozens of other, smaller communities: ATCO, Cassville, Stilesboro, Taylorsville, Grassdale, Rydal, Mechanicsville, Allatoona, and Crossroads, to name a few.

The churches have not been immune to the afflictions that have affected the county since its start. Several faced destruction during the Civil War. Most notable was the destruction at Cartersville First Baptist Church. The church building served as a temporary base for General Sherman and his troops as they passed through the county. They tore down much of the building for firewood, to build quarters for themselves, and to add chimneys to their tents.[24] They also used the building as a temporary barn for their horses. War is not the only disasters these churches have had to face. Natural disasters, such as tornadoes, have frequently impacted the county, causing massive amounts of damage. One of the most famous instances of tornado damage happened at Euharlee Baptist Church. The building was ripped right down the middle by a tornado. It remained that way for many years, with only “a wide piece of metal anchored on each side” that made the wood floor uneven.[25] Another disaster that has impacted these churches is hate crime. Two Baptist churches in the county have been victims of vandalization in the past three decades. Despite the struggles, the Baptist faith is stronger in Bartow County today than ever before. According to the most recent findings, there are an estimated 112 individual Baptist churches that have existed in the county since it was founded. An estimated 85-90% of these churches are still in operation today, doors open to the population of Bartow. The denomination has been present for nearly 200 years and continues to grow; 5-10% of the current Baptist churches in the county have been established in the last 25 years. With such a long history in the area, it is important to understand how the physical presence of these churches and their individuality based off their unique congregations come together to meet community needs, encourage religious thought, and spread their influence in the many communities of Bartow County.

Churches and Cemeteries on the Landscape

Heritage Baptist Church, taken by Amy Young

For the Baptist churches in Bartow County, their primary foothold is planted with the acquisition of land. As individual farms become neighborhoods and small communities, there comes a point where people need a place to come and congregate together. For many of the small, rural communities in Bartow County, the best place for this was the community church. People in the early 1800s tended to be deeply religious compared to modern society and desired a place to come together and worship. They could build community with their neighbors instead of continuing to worship in their homes alone, a practice many had been exercising for generations. However, the meeting houses dotting the county landscape would not exist without the property they sit on. Most of the early Baptist churches were built on land that was donated to founding members to be used for religious purposes. This donation of land is evidence of how the establishment of churches was a way of creating community centers as people moved into the area.

Oothcalooga, one of the oldest Baptist congregations in Bartow County, was also one of the first to receive their land donated to them for the purpose of establishing a church. The land for this church came from the Whiteside family, one of the first families to move near modern-day Adairsville. Jonathan and Susannah King Whiteside came to the area from North Carolina in 1830.[26] They were known to be “earnest and content members of the Baptist Church” and contributed to establishing a place of worship in their new-found home.[27] Though the date is unknown, the Whitesides donated six acres to the trustees for a church and a cemetery. The original deed recording this transaction was destroyed in the Civil War, so a replacement deed was recorded in October 1868.[28] In this record, it is stated the Whitesides donated the land “for and in consideration of heretofore conveying the said for the use of the said church as aforesaid, and being still desirous of promoting the interest of said church and for the advancement of the cause of Christianity…”[29] The Whitesides may have been the first, but they were not the only family to donate land for churches to promote the Christian cause in Bartow County. This is a practice that carried on well into the 20th century.

It is unique for the land to have been 100% donated to the trustees of the church, as in the case of Oothcalooga Baptist. Many churches transfer the land for the meager cost of $1.00. It was, however, a consistent pattern for the deeds to include the stipulation if the land were to stop being used for church purposes, the land would revert back to the grantor and they would have the right to reclaim ownership. It is also notable that such a majority of deeds made in this way were from women. The deed to the land for Clear Creek Baptist Church hits each of these three markers: the land was donated by Mrs. Elsie Lou Farmer in 1953 for $1.00 with the stipulation the land would go back to the grantor if no longer used for church purposes.[30] Etowah Valley Baptist Church was also donated its land in October 1941 by Mrs. E. W. Earwood.[31] Another example is Fairview Baptist Church near ATCO, land donated for $1.00 by Mrs. Annie Laurie Jones Cunyus in December 1937.[32] All these churches were established on donated land. The Baptist faith in Bartow County would not have had such a long history of being a root in the development of these communities without having land to build places to congregate. The presence of these churches on the landscape of Bartow today is a testament to the sacrifice and donations these individuals and their families made to make Baptist churches the center of community life.

Despite freely giving the land to be used for religious purposes, not all donors gave the land without a cost. They were spawning community development, but with their own provisions written into the deed records. The first deed for the establishment of Oakland Heights Baptist Church is an extreme case of what a stipulation could look like. The land for the church, donated in February of 1954, was donated by C.C. Carroll, one of the trustees of the future church. He donated the land as a testament to his love of the gospel, concern for his fellow man, and “to support and aid in the moral and religious advancement in his community.”[33] Carroll did donate the land for the betterment of his community; however, he had his requirements or the land would revert back to him. The following are his terms and conditions as recorded in the deed:

That said property shall be used only for a place of worship and religious education by the Methodist church, the Baptist church, and any other Protestant religious organization which may be approved by the unanimous vote and agreement of said trustees. That said church shall always maintain an Holy Altar for prayer and repentance. That no disparing, vicious, malicious or unkind statement of allegation shall be made by any preacher, speaker, or teacher about the faith and belief of any other Protestant religion. That this church shall never be affiliated with any organization and shall always remain free, independent and unconnected with an organization. That in the event said church shall cease to operate and fail to hold religious service for a period of one year then said property shall revert to said Grantor his heirs and assigns, and be his property in fee simple, and all interests of the Oakland Heights Community Church in said property shall cease and be at an end forever.[34]

The land for the establishment of Oakland Heights was donated very differently than the land for Oothcalooga. This land was donated with more emphasis put on advancing the cause of Christianity and less on creating a place of worship in a community without one. According to an interview with Ann Nix Dussault and Betty Nix Cowart, contemporary church members that have been there since the foundation of the church, the people that became members of Oakland Heights had previously been attending church elsewhere.[35] The establishment of Oakland helped the community on distance traveled to church, and it created the first Baptist church in the community; however, there was not an overwhelming need for the creation of a new church. The lengthy list of stipulations in the above deed also confirm this fact. A community in need of a church to take root would not be quite as picky about its alter placement or affiliation with an organization.

Over time, the acquisition of land evolved from needing land to build churches to instead needing land for cemeteries. As communities around the churches grew, the practice of private, family cemeteries faded and the dead were buried in church cemeteries, right beside their neighbors. This need for land for cemeteries was also driven by the population growth of the county. As more people moved into the area, there was a greater need for places to bury the deceased. Today, less than two-thirds of the Baptist churches in Bartow County have cemeteries associated with them. However, these cemeteries are critical to understanding the people who lived in these communities and their relations to one another.

The cemetery for Bethany Baptist Church is one of the most diverse in the county. The exact establishment date is believed to have been in the 1870s, but there are graves in the cemetery dating back as early as the 1820s. There are three different sections of this cemetery: the white and members of the church section, the African-American slave section, and the Native American section. The two latter sections of the cemetery are separated on the west side together. Church tradition is they took care of and cleaned the white section of the cemetery, while blacks who had ancestors in the African-American cemetery came to clean the other. No one comes to care for the Native American section; in fact, most of this section was grave-robbed prior to 1945 and it is uncertain there is anything left in the section. To stand in this cemetery, however, you can feel the racial tensions that once existed in the area.[36]

After World War II, more land is needed for the building of new and larger church buildings than needed to increase sizes of cemeteries. Population and community involvement are booming, forcing new churches to be established and old churches to build bigger facilities. A similar wave of development happened again in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In these phases of church land growth, there is a noticeable reversal of the relationship between the church and the community. In land gains prior to World War II, it was the community making efforts, such as donating land or helping raise the funds, to support the church. After this transition back, however, records make it clear it was the church working within itself to attempt to increase its influence in the community.

The best example of this reversal of the relationship between the church and the community in the 1990s is at Heritage Baptist Church, one of the youngest Baptist churches in Bartow County. The unique story behind this church is key to understanding how the relationship has changed. Over time, churches have strayed from their traditions so they may meet a wider audience of patrons. In 1987, a group of about one hundred people in the First Baptist Church of Cartersville congregation formed a new church to accommodate Bartow County’s growing population, as the congregation at the First Baptist Church of Cartersville had outgrown their current building.[37] The new congregation began to meet on the second floor of the C&S Bank of Cartersville in 1987.  They remained in this location for two years while building a church at its current location. Work on this facility was completed by September of 1993. This church was born with a drive to be a progressive, inclusive church.[38] One of the first things they did to ensure their foundation in this ideology was to draft their own, personalized Church Covenant. This living document preserved the vision the founders had of creating an inclusive church. The first draft was introduced in 1989; however, in keeping in tone with the church ideology, it is occasionally reviewed and updated. The changes in the covenant are as constant as the changes in the congregation, so it continuously reflects the calling of the church.[39] Another way in which the church has been progressive is through supporting equality for men and women in the church. From the beginning, “women and men have shared equally in leadership at Heritage, including the role of ministers and deacons”.[40] One of the first examples of this is when Ms. Rachel Lackey was called to be full time Minister of Music and Youth in 1988. She was later ordained by the congregation in 1991.[41]

To a modern church-goer, what happened at Heritage Baptist Church does not sound radical. The church it is today is no different from other non-denominational megachurches in the area. The things Heritage did, however, where a first for the Baptist faith in Bartow County. It radically changed the game. This church was established for the sole purpose of appealing to a wider congregation; to lower their barriers and be more inclusive of those with all sorts of ideas about religious doctrine. At Heritage, the doctrine can change with the congregation as it changes over time. Since this instance with Heritage, other churches have followed in its footsteps. The most recent example is Vision Baptist Church, which was founded in 2012. The minister who founded this church was driven by his desire to create a more biblical, New Testament church.[42] This is a perfect example of how Baptist churches use their freedom and individuality in their congregation to accomplish their purpose. To a passerby, each building blurs together, the churches inseparable from the rest. However, the property and the physical building of these churches can tell the world a lot about how the people came to live in the area and why their Baptist faith was important to them.

Different Types of Structures and Their Purposes

Cartersville First Baptist Church, taken by Amy Young

Apart from the actual changes of land ownership of the Baptist churches of Bartow County throughout the years that led to these churches being at the center of community life, what these churches developed on these tracts of land remain as a testament to the ebb and flow of religious dedication that sprouted out of the foundational roots in the area. They also give contemporaries a sense of the importance of these church sites as education centers, organizational centers, and overall periods of increase in church attendance. Some see such an increase they become career centers, hiring full-time employees and even providing housing for “career pastors” and their families. However, each Baptist church has had the freedom to choose their own pace of expansion, leading some to have progressed more than others.

After the turn of the century, there was an increased desire in these small rural communities to provide children with an education, not only a religious education but a secular one as well. From the 1900s through the 1920s, many churches are established with this purpose in mind. The buildings provide religious education on Sunday, then reading, writing, and arithmetic on the weekdays. In some cases, the school was established before a congregation laid claim to the building. A similar increase in educational interest is seen again in the 1950s. Previously established congregations expand and build larger educational facilities. However, these tended to only meet the needs of religious education. Standard schooling was now managed at the county level. Deed records show despite this church-and-state separation, they were still very much interconnected with each other, as the Bartow County Board of Education often sold land to churches yet maintained the right to reclaim it if it was needed once more for educational purposes.[43] In the past twenty-five years, the churches have reemerged on the scene of combined religious and state education by opening private schools. Several of the larger Baptist congregations in the county operate private schools at the church site. In the educational marks on the land alone, it is easy to see how dedication to religious education has waned to only a select few in the course of a little over 100 years.

It is a widely accepted fact for centuries, churches have not only been places of worship, but served a dual purpose of also being places to receive an education. For many of the small, rural churches spread across the county, their roots are in both secular education and religious purposes. One of the earliest examples of this is at Euharlee Baptist Church, known in the 1800s as Mount Paran Baptist Church. The exact date Mount Paran was established is unknown; however, Coosa Association records indicate church activity in the 1840s[44]. By 1853, the church had established Mount Paran School in the community by an act of legislature. It was two private schools, one for girls and one for boys, operated for roughly forty years before the buildings burned.[45] Though providing education to the community, it is unusual that the school was private. It was much more common for churches to be expanding their roots in the community through offering the first public schools in the area.

Mount Pisgah Baptist Church is an example of one such church. The church itself was formerly established in 1913.[46] Prior to this, people in the small area of Cave, Georgia, were having revival meetings and regular worship services in a brush harbor, since the nearest Baptist churches were several miles away in Kingston and Cassville.[47] It was in 1913 when they got together to build a meeting house. Due to the issue of distance, Mount Pisgah also became home to the local school in the area. However, this was only very brief before all the schools in Bartow County were consolidated in the 1920s.[48] A similar situation was happening north of Mount Pisgah decades earlier at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church. In the 1830s, couple John and Winnie Reagan moved into the rural area and saw a need for a church and a schoolhouse in the community. They built a log cabin on the family land that was used for both purposes for many years.[49] Another example is Pine Log Baptist Church of Christ, located on the east side of the county. The deed that donated the original land to the church specifically states that is was donated with the purpose of being a place to hold public worship and fulfill school purposes.[50] These examples just show the roots of Baptist churches and schools were very much intertwined in the early days of Bartow County.

On some occasions, the school actually came before the establishment of the church. These were communities that turned to educational priorities prior to religiously dedicating themselves. The schools that came after churches were collectively established later than the schools that came before churches. The earliest example is outside the Rydal community at Oak Hill Baptist Church. This church was formerly established in 1875. However, prior to this formal establishment, the congregation had been meeting at the local school, and continued to meet there until in 1898, when a local physician named Dr. Baker donated land for a cemetery and a new church to be built, which was finished in 1902.[51] A similar case happened at Snow Springs Baptist Church in the rural area west of Adairsville. Founding members meet in the local Davis School House on August 15, 1886 when they officially organized the church.[52] ATCO Baptist Church was organized in the exact same way, meeting in the auditorium of ATCO School on November 27, 1909, to organize a Baptist church.[53] Floyd Creek Baptist Church is another in the county that came out of a schoolhouse. It was meeting at the Snatch Pone one room schoolhouse prior to receiving its own land to build a church in the 1880s.[54]

The best example of the relationship between the school and church developing their roots together at the start of a community was in the Crossroads community, which was in the far-out rural areas of the southwest corner of the county. Bethel Crossroads Baptist Church was established in 1900 by residents of the Crossroads School community.[55] They met for services in a brush arbor until they secured property near the Crossroads School House in 1902 and constructed a building there. Confusion about the proper name of the church also comes from its proximity to the school. The official name of the church has always been Bethel Baptist Church. For many years, however, it was referred to as Crossroads Baptist Church because of its location at the intersection of two roads and its location near the school.[56]

The consolidation of Bartow County schools separated the roots of the churches and schools in small communities as they had been for decades. However, they still remain intertwined. Deed records in Bartow County show the Bartow County School system, when consolidating the schools, gained the land these schoolhouses and church buildings sat upon. There are several churches that received their land from the Bartow County school system once the county schools that served a larger area were established. Dewey Baptist Church was one of these churches. It is unknown whether the church existed prior to this land arrangement, but in July of 1923, the Bartow County Board of Education released one acre of land to Dewey Baptist Church.[57] Stoner Chapel Baptist Church was another that received their land from the board of education. On October 26, 1944, Stoner Chapel received roughly one acre of land for and in consideration of $1 to build their church.[58] However, there is a stipulation in the deed: “when the property herein conveyed ceases to be used for church purposes, it reverts back to the grantor herein.”[59] It is interesting the county school system kept their claim to the land, showing for the first-time secular education priorities instead of an intertwined relationship between the church and the state. 

For some, the public-school system cannot provide the desired type of education they want their children to have. Because of this, there has been an increase in private schools run by churches cropping up among the biggest churches in the area. This is not a new idea in Bartow County: there have been three separate religious colleges operated in the region at one time or another, the Cherokee Baptist College, the Sam Jones Female College, and the Antioch Bible Baptist College. The Cherokee Baptist College, in fact, was established by Adairsville Baptist Church and later became a part of the Bartow County School System, transformed into Adairsville Elementary, Middle, and High Schools.[60] Recent trends, however, have been to religious education for younger children. Most of the churches operating schools today are running private preschool programs. This exemplifies a rededication to the Baptist faith in the last few decades happening across Bartow County at the bigger churches who can afford to operate a school.

Tabernacle Baptist Church, located in downtown Cartersville, operates the oldest known church-run schools by a Baptist church in the county. They operate a weekday preschool program and kindergarten program at the church established in 1964. According to the church’s website, “the purpose of the preschool is to offer families in our community a program that combines the highest standards in early childhood education within a Christian environment where children can grow spiritually, physically intellectually, emotionally, and socially.”[61] This purpose behind the creation of the school would not have come about without people looking to provide a more religious foundation for their children in their education. This is reinforced further in the descriptions of the four classes the church offers. In each class description, the religious element of the class content is emphasized and detailed. The Bible is taught through various methods in each of the classes, the main thread in each of the classes.[62]

There are two other prominent Baptist churches in Bartow County that offer private schools for the youth. Grace Baptist Church, a church that branched out of Tabernacle Baptist Church, operates a pre-K through 12th grade at their location on Old Cassville White Road. The second was developed more recently at Oakland Heights Baptist Church. Since its establishment in 2012, it has grown slowly, with only 35 students enrolled in the past year. The creation of the facilities was part of a 2.3 million expansion of the church completed in 2010. Its set up is fairly similar to that of Tabernacle Baptist Church. Despite the school currently being on the small side, it is easy to see that the church would not feel it necessary to operate such a school if there was not a demand for it in the community. Hence, religious dedication through education lives on in Bartow County.[63]

Though few have turned to operating their own preschools as a method of furthering the Christian message in the county, a simpler alternative has been for many to expand their youth ministries. They are using these institutions instead to support growing religious education. One prime example is Cartersville First Baptist Church. Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night, they operate their preschool ministry entitled “The Nest.” Through it, they reach their birth through pre-school audience, helping them to develop a foundation in religious education. However, to accommodate for being only a twice-weekly service, The Nest ministry at Cartersville First Baptist issues a monthly newsletter entitled “Parent Cue.”[64] It is a supplemental at-home guide to furthering religious education beyond the twice-weekly in person lessons at the church. The October 2018 issue includes the scripture covered in each week’s classes, major themes for the month, and strategies to engage with the lessons at home.[65] These items encourage a continuous conversation about Christian lessons, demonstrating the push for dedicated, religious lives in these church communities today.

There is a lengthy and close relationship between schools and churches. From being established in the same building to be conceived by the same people, it was not until the consolidation of schools their pillars in the community were separated. Despite the emphasis put on secular education, many of the Baptist churches put more emphasis on religious education for their congregations. This dedication to religiously educate the masses has been recorded in the dozens of church renovations and expansions include additions of educational spaces, such as Sunday school classrooms and annexes. Sunday school has been one of the biggest pushes from within the church to deepen their roots and community holdings.

The biggest wave in expansion for educational purposes came after the 1940s, in response to the secular schools pulling out of association with the churches. These facilities may not have been needed for reading, writing, and arithmetic students, but they certainly needed to be bigger to accommodate more Sunday school students. This spawned the need for churches to build bigger and better educational facilities. Taylorsville Baptist Church has made three such changes to its church site in less than 60 years. First, in 1951-1954, a nursery and annex building were added to the church. More education space was included in the expansions of 1978. Lastly, in 2012, a building project was started to add even more classrooms and educational resource spaces. This example proves how much of a common practice it was for churches centered in the larger communities to make such expansions for educational purposes.[66] Most Baptist churches did not go to such extreme efforts. They did small renovations, yet they still contributed to the cause of expanding educational facilities. At Oak Grove Baptist Church, the first Sunday rooms were added in 1959, only three short years after the new church building was finished.[67] Many churches have grown to include educational facilities throughout the years to further the cause of religious education. None of this would be possible without the dedication of the community members to providing their children with ample opportunity to both secular and religious education. Other expansions have been made within these Baptist church sites for purposes other than education that follow similar patterns.

Educational spaces have not been the only way in which Baptist church sites have expanded. As the sizes of congregations grew in the 1970s, it becomes necessary for the Baptist churches of Bartow County to build bigger sanctuaries to accommodate the growing populations. There are three peaks in this trend: one, with the first wave of people migrating into the area in the 1830s, 40s, and 50s; second, in the 1910s-1920s right before the Great Depression; and third, in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. These peaks are consistent with the population growth of the county. When more people arrived, there was a greater need for space in the church houses around the county. It is a testament to the religious dedication that exists in this area of the country to how church attendance- among the Baptist faith alone- has continued to increase with population.

The biggest congregations of Baptist churches have reached new levels of religious dedication by converting from volunteer leadership to career institutions. Smaller, rural churches are led by volunteers, people who dedicate time and effort into leadership positions of the church without being paid. They work regular jobs, live regular lives Monday-Saturday, fulfilling their roles in the church on Sunday. Growing congregations, however, have led bigger churches to make a change in how they fulfill their leadership positions. Today, there are individuals who dedicate their entire lives to the church, fulfilling roles such as pastor for a career instead of a voluntary job. This was not only the decision of individuals; churches encouraged this movement. One reflection of this is in the building of pastoriums. Large Baptist churches in Bartow County have been doing this for decades- they acquire houses for their pastors and their families to live in while they are at a particular church. This is the ultimate example of continuous dedication to religion within the community. Not only are congregation members paying for the pastor’s salary, they are also providing him a free place to live in exchange for his seven-days-a-week service to the congregation.

The practice of providing pastoriums for pastors and their families started much earlier than one would imagine in Bartow County. At the 1846 meeting of the Coosa Association, one of the topics discussed was “urging of the churches to support the pastor so he would not have to work,” an early example of the thinking that led to pastoriums.[68] Cartersville First Baptist Church was mostly likely the earliest to have a pastorium, acquiring their first one in 1890. It cost $1000 to build and was located across from the church’s location at the time.[69] Since the building of this initial pastorium, many more of the Baptist churches have adapted this practice as part of their property possessions. Friendship Baptist Church also had a pastorium.[70] Snow Springs Baptist Church had to build their own; however, the land was donated by Carl Smith for this purpose in 1969.[71] In 1972, Cassville Baptist Church purchased what was known as the Headden home to be used as a pastorium.[72] The acquisition of a pastorium is a way to support the congregation’s decision to go in the direction towards a career staff instead of volunteers, an indication of community’s devotion to their church and faith.

Spread of Influence in the Community

First Baptist Church of Emerson, taken by Amy Young

Baptist churches have repeatedly been a rudimentary factor in the development of communities all across the Appalachians, like current trends that are present in Bartow County, Georgia. Their properties reflect how they are continuously supported by community members as the area grows and develops. The land and the people around these churches are tightly wound together, and the buildings that go on to these properties are physical representations of the community’s dedication to have a church as a worship center, an educational facility, and a home for organizational activity. Decades of support from the communities surrounding these churches have led them to become one of the leading influential institutions in their respective communities. Over time, this has led churches to assert their positions and take a more active role in spreading their influence. Churches have moved locations and even changed their names to emphasize their position in society. Many Baptist congregations have also become heavily involved in the local missionary field to spread their influence. In these ways, the Baptists of Bartow County have embraced their leadership in community development and have planted new roots on the landscape.

A Baptist church moving locations does not exactly seem like it would be about spreading their influence in Bartow County. However, the struggle between Adairsville Baptist Church and Oothcalooga Baptist Church to become the “it” church of the Adairsville community in the 1880s proves otherwise. The location of a church within a community says a lot about the influence it strives to have on the population. Adairsville Baptist Church and Oothcalooga Baptist Church initially started as one church that grew out of the Moravian mission located near the current settlement of Adairsville.[73] The original church, Oothcalooga Church, was started on land donated by the Whitesides family in 1837; however, it is speculated that this was the date that the church at the mission site moved from the village further into Adairsville.[74] This first change of location coincides with Natives being forced from the area. Once the Natives were removed, the church was no longer needed at the Moravian mission but instead needed by the community of white settlers that had driven the Natives out of the area.

In 1864, Oothcalooga Church was burned to the ground by Sherman’s army passing through the area.[75] As a result of this, the church moved again to an old school house in the heart of town. The congregation met here until 1871. Interestingly, in this year, the Oothcalooga Baptist Church entered into a deed with three other churches in the area: the Presbyterian church, Cumberland Presbyterian church, and the Southern Methodist church. From 1871-1882, four denominations met in the same meeting house, each on a different Sunday of the month. For example, Oothcalooga met on the second Sunday of each month. By 1880, not all of the church members were happy with this arrangement. Historians do not know exactly why fifteen members were dismissed by letter that year, but there is speculation that these members were not satisfied that the Oothcalooga meeting house had not yet been rebuilt. However, it was felt that the old location was now too inconvenient and too muddy to consider rebuilding there. A second theory is that “a town as prosperous as Adairsville needed its own church.”[76] Whatever the cause, Adairsville Missionary Baptist Church was formed on February 29, 1880 in the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. D. Combs. They met in a building on Gilmer Street in downtown Adairsville owned by Mr. Combs.

The churches met separately for five years, until 1885. There is no record of what the relationship was like between these two churches during those five years, but it is recorded that the churches had the same pastor between 1882-1884. There were enough people that the two congregations could afford to meet separately, but not enough ministers. Things escalated in the fall of 1884 when the Adairsville Baptist Church started plans to build on the other side of the railroad tracks. The planning even went so far that Mrs. Cordelia Frances Gaines deeded a lot to the church that was never used. For some unknown reason, this donation of land caused a “flurry of action.”[77] Not even a month had passed before both Adairsville Missionary and Oothcalooga drafted a proposition and approached each other about reuniting the congregations. An agreement was reached and both churches set up committees to find a location to build a new, unified church. Adairsville Baptist Church was already looking for a new site to build a church and even had land deeded to them for that purpose. Oothcalooga, however, had recently finished building a brand-new church at the old Oothcalooga church site, where it had been prior to the Civil War. Researchers have wrestled with why Oothcalooga would agree to be looking to build another church in town. According to One Vine, Two Branches, “oral tradition has it that as the talk of building a Baptist church in Adairsville increased, the more the leaders at Oothcalooga wanted their church to be “The Church” in Adairsville.”[78]

Though the churches still completed the merge, many Oothcalooga members where alienated by the building of a second new church. It is believed that the new site building committees at both churches would not have been set up if there had not been dissatisfaction with the Gaines lot. It was thought to be inconvenient and even on the wrong side of the tracks. Mrs. G. B. Elrod was vocal about her unhappiness with the Gaines lot and donated a lot next to her house on the other side of town as an alternative.[79] Mrs. Elrod’s lot was quickly chosen, and the church was completed on the land by September. The churches were nearly $1,000.00 in debt after building this church. On September 19, 1885, the two churches reunited at the new location as Oothcalooga Baptist Church of Christ at Adairsville. A few months later, it was decided that the new abandoned Oothcalooga church would be sold. A resolution about this in January 1886 reads as follows:

Whereas: in the covenant or contract between Oothcalooga Baptist Church and the Adairsville Baptist Church and they did unite and form one church in Adairsville, Ga, retaining the name of Oothcalooga; the property of both churches becoming the property of the newly constituted church. And whereas in the building of the new house of worship the disaffected members refusing to bear any part in the expense thereof. This church has become involved and is now due on said building about $450 for the payment of which said church is being pressed.[80]

By March, these disaffected members that had not contributed to the payments towards the building and were the same ones who had been alienated by the merge withdrew their membership from Oothcalooga Baptist Church of Christ at Adairsville. In April 1886, they were granted permission to have meetings in the old Oothcalooga building, while remaining members at the Baptist Church of Christ had the church debt individually appointed to them.[81] The feud finally came to an end in 1892 when the churches split once more. Then as it is today and has been for over 100 years, the original Oothcalooga church site became the home of Oothcalooga Baptist Church and the church in the town of Adairsville became Adairsville Baptist Church.

A map of the town today shows that there is irony in the fight between these churches for location within the town of Adairsville. When the churches split in 1880, Oothcalooga remained at the Presbyterian church, which is today Grey’s Chapel AME Church, and the Adairsville Missionary Baptist Church ended up in a building on Gilmer Street, just 0.3 miles away. After the second split of the churches, Adairsville Baptist Church came to rest today on the old school house site from after the Civil War, the same land that was donated by Mrs. Gaines. From here to the once unified church that met at Gray’s Chapel AME, there are three houses and one-tenth of a mile that separate the two buildings. From this present site of Adairsville Baptist Church to the current location of Oothcalooga Baptist Church, there are two left turns and 1.6 miles of highway. It is comical that a congregation split up for less than two miles of distance from each other. This situation, however, shows how important the sphere of influence a congregation can have in a community within the Baptist faith. These churches thrive in conditions where they are the heart of the community and can spread their roots among as many people as possible.

The churches that cannot afford to physically move their church, or possibly to reflect their movement into another community, change their name to tie themselves closer to their place in the area. There are several churches that moved from rural areas into towns and changed their name to reflect their move. One such example is Cartersville First Baptist Church. When the church started in 1839, it was called Pettit’s Creek Baptist Church. In 1856, it “moved to new building on Market Street, now Cherokee Avenue, and changed name to Cartersville Baptist Church.”[82] The church moved several times around the town before becoming Cartersville First Baptist Church in 1906. Another example is Taylorsville Baptist Church. Originally called Salem, the church became Taylorsville Baptist Church twenty-three years after it had relocated into town.[83] Cassville Baptist Church is similar, starting out as Beulah Baptist Church and changing its name after it moved into the Cassville community in 1848.[84] Though the name on the sign outside the church may seem like it does not mean much, it is indeed quite the contrary. The name of the church says a lot about who the congregation thinks they are and their role in the community. Churches named after the towns they preside in seem to foster more respect and position. It is important to the community and its members because it bears the same name. There is a sense of connection that cannot be separated, roots intertwined with one another.

Missionary work is one of the biggest ways in which the Baptist churches of Bartow County spread their influence and faith around the area. Charlotte Diggs “Lottie” Moon, one of the most iconic Baptist international missionaries, was inspired to go overseas. She was living in Cartersville and it was there, at Cartersville First Baptist Church, where she heard the sermon that thrust her into the missionary field.[85] With leaders such as Lottie Moon active in missionary work, others in the county followed suit. Over the years, many of the Baptist churches have established organizations within their churches that are the leaders in missionary work. Standard organizations of this type were often run by the women of the church. At Cassville Baptist Church, the first missionary society was organized, on June 17, 1903, by the women of the church. At their monthly meetings, they took up an offering for foreign missions. In September and October of their first year they collected $1.68, which is nearly $50.00 by today’s standards.[86] Small organizations like this one have kept the missionary spirit spreading throughout the county.

Apart from the churches themselves, there is another organization in the county that has been active in spreading the missionary cause of the Baptists: the Bartow Baptist Association. Associations are quite common in the Baptist world. They are churches who unite under this one umbrella “for the purposes of: fellowship, strengthening the local churches, and cooperative in the joint mission…”[87] The Bartow Baptist Association started in 1846 as the Salaquoy United Baptist Association, changed to Middle Cherokee Baptist Association in 1848, and finally to Bartow Baptist Association in 1999.[88] Like Oothcalooga Baptist Church and Adairsville Baptist Church, this association traces its roots back to the Moravian mission. That is also where they claim their philosophy of “prayer, unity, and missions” comes from.[89] This alliance helps the Baptist churches of the county to come together and work alongside each other to spread their mission and influence locally, domestically, and internationally. The head of the association, David Franklin, speaks of one occasion where the churches truly came together to help each and every community in Bartow after a crisis. There have been two devastating tornadoes that hurt large parts of the northwest section of the county in the past decade, one in 2011 and another in 2013.[90] Volunteers from the churches in this association came together to lead the relief efforts. They had all the debris cleaned up in just four short weeks. The way in which these churches came together and provided quick relief changed and improved the county’s emergency relief plan. Today, other areas in the state are starting to mimic this design to incorporate churches. The Bartow Baptist Association proved that churches have the people and ability to mobilize very quickly. This is just one way in which the sphere of influence in missionary work in the Baptist churches of Bartow County is now reaching other areas. The association is active in Bartow in other ways, particularly in their youth programs. According to David Franklin, this faith-based recovery model has been recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is recommended for other similar faith-based organizations to follow. Each summer, the alliance puts on SPLASH Bartow, which reaches over 400 teens and kids. Additionally, BBA recently kickstarted their Read to Grow program, which is putting over 100 volunteers in the local schools to help improve 3rd grade reading proficiency.[91] This is another example of how the churches come together to spread their missions and goals through the tradition of missionary work in the county.

Baptist churches are all unique and individual from each other. They function independently and as a reflection of their congregations and the communities they are a part of. Two churches next door to each other could be as different as night and day. Despite the many variations amongst Baptist churches, it is a part of their legacy that they have been fundamental to the establishment of communities. The Baptist churches of Bartow County capture the way in which these churches are cornerstones in their societies. They have evolved over time to reflect change. These churches have established their roots by gaining property, building structures, and establishing cemeteries all across the county. They have become intertwined in the history of Bartow through their role in community development via education. Additionally, the Baptist have perpetuated their influence by situating themselves front and center in these communities and by continuing to make a difference with missionary work. The landscape of Baptist churches in Bartow County encapsulates their role in the religious dedication, role in society, and spread of influence in the makeup of community life in regions of the southern Appalachian.

Appendix

List of Baptist Churches in Bartow County, Georgia: Sorted Alphabetically

  1. Adairsville Baptist Church- 107 Summer Street, Adairsville, GA 30103
  2. Antioch Baptist Bible Church- 5871 Glade Road SE, Acworth, GA 30102
  3. ATCO Baptist Church- 20 Parmenter Street, Cartersville, GA 30120
  4. Bethany Baptist Church- 42 Old Alabama Road SE, Emerson, GA 30137  
  5. Bethel Baptist Church- 121 College Street, Adairsville, GA 30103
  6. Bethel Crossroads Baptist Church- 450 Iron Hill Road, Taylorsville, GA 30178
  7. Bible Way Baptist Church- 29 Marr Road SW, Cartersville, GA 30120
  8. Brandon’s Chapel Baptist Church- 136 Old Stilesboro Road SW, Cartersville, GA 30120
  9. Calvary Heights Baptist Church- 4002 Joe Frank Harris Pkwy NW, Cartersville, GA 30120
  10. Cartersville First Baptist Church- 241 Douthit Ferry Road, Cartersville, GA 30120
  11. Cassville Baptist Church- 1663 Cassville Road NW, Cartersville, GA 30121
  12. Cedar Creek Baptist Church- 54 Folsom Road NW, Adairsville, GA 30103
  13. Center Baptist Church- 80 McKaskey Creek Road SE, Cartersville, GA 30121
  14. Central Baptist Church- 324 Cassville Road, Cartersville, GA 30120
  15. Clear Creek Baptist Church- 142 Clear Creek Road, Cartersville, GA 30121
  16. Cloverleaf Missionary Baptist Church- 1117 Grassdale Rd. NW, Cartersville, GA 30121
  17. Connesena Baptist Church- 71 Connesena Road, Kingston, GA 30145
  18. Corinth Baptist Church- 16 Corinth Road, Cartersville, GA 30121
  19. Cornerstone Baptist Church- 2238 Hills Creek Road, Taylorsville, GA 30178
  20. Crowe Springs Baptist Church- 290 Crowe Springs Road NW, Cartersville, GA 30121
  21. Damascus Baptist Church- 174 Gaston Westbrook Ave, Emerson, GA 30137
  22. Dewey Baptist Church- 895 Spring Place Road NE, White, GA 30184
  23. Dry Creek Baptist Church- 150 Dry Creek Road NW, Kingston, GA 30145
  24. Etowah Valley Baptist Church- 1052 Old Alabama Road SW, Cartersville, GA 30120
  25. Euharlee Baptist Church- 1103 Euharlee Road SW, Euharlee, GA 30145
  26. Euharlee Primitive Baptist Church at Buncombe- Location unknown
  27. Fairview Baptist Church- 26 Fairview Drive SE, Cartersville, GA 30120
  28. Faith Baptist Church- 1024 Mission Road SW, Cartersville, GA 30120
  29. Faith Baptist Church of Kingston- 15 Carroll Slough Road, Kingston, GA 30145
  30. Fellowship Baptist Church of Cartersville- Location unknown
  31. Fellowship Baptist Church of White- 79 East Rocky Street NE, White, GA 30184
  32. First Baptist Church of Emerson- 11 Franklin Loop SE, Cartersville, GA 30120
  33. Five Forks Baptist Church- 266 Cass Pine Log Road NE, White, GA 30184
  34. Floyd Creek Baptist Church- 2171 Hills Creek Road, Taylorsville, GA 30178
  35. Friendship Baptist Church- 606 Cassville Road, Cartersville, GA 30120
  36. Friendship Missionary Baptist Church- 128 Martin Luther King Dr., Adairsville, GA 30103
  37. Glade Baptist Church- 401 Folsom Glade Road, Rydal, GA 30171
  38. Glade Baptist Church- Location unknown
  39. Glade Missionary Baptist Church- Location unknown
  40. Glade Road Baptist Church- 6570 Glade Road SE, Acworth, GA 30102
  41. Grace Baptist Church- 477 Old Cassville White Road NW, Cartersville, GA 30121
  42. Greater Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church- 65 Mount Olive St., Cartersville, GA 30120
  43. Greater New Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church- 69 Cassville Rd., Cartersville, GA 30120
  44. Heritage Baptist Church- 1070 Douthit Ferry Road, Cartersville, GA 30120
  45. Iron Hill Baptist Church- 5172 Groovers Landing Road SE, Acworth, GA 30101
  46. Kingston Baptist Church- 40 Main Street, Kingston, GA 30145
  47. Kingston Colored Baptist Church- Location unknown
  48. Lakeside Baptist Church- Location unknown
  49. Liberty Hill Baptist Church- 1120 Sugar Valley Road SW, Cartersville, GA 30120
  50. Macedonia Baptist Church- 1810 Euharlee Road, Kingston, GA 30145
  51. Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church- 521 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr., Cartersville, GA 30120
  52. Macedonia Primitive Baptist Church- 180 Mansfield Road NE, White, GA 30184
  53. Manassas Baptist Church- Location unknown
  54. Millers Chapel Baptist Church- 285 Stamp Creek Road NE, White, GA 30184
  55. Mount Cary Baptist Church- Location unknown
  56. Mount Paron Baptist Church- Location unknown
  57. Mount Pisgah Baptist Church- 465 GA-293, Cartersville, GA 30121
  58. Mount Pleasant Baptist Church- 550 Mount Pleasant Road, Rydal, GA 30171
  59. Mount Tabor Baptist Church- 3071 Old Alabama Road, Aragon, GA 30104
  60. Mount Zion Baptist Church- 147 Jones Street, Cartersville, GA 30120
  61. Mount Zion Grassdale Missionary Baptist Church- 207 N. Bartow St., Cartersville, GA 30120
  62. Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church- 147 Jones Street, Cartersville, GA 30120
  63. New Beginning Baptist Church- 205 Colonel Way, White, GA 30184
  64. New Canaan Baptist Church- 1883 Joe Frank Harris Pkwy SE, Cartersville, GA 30120
  65. New Corinth Missionary Baptist Church- 210 Cliff Nelson Road, Euharlee, GA 30145
  66. New Hope Baptist Church- 106 Fire Tower Road NW, Cartersville, GA 30120
  67. New Hope Baptist Church- 3800 New Hope Church Road SE, Acworth, GA 30102
  68. New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church- 85 Shaw Street, Kingston, GA 30145
  69. New Stamp Creek Baptist Church- Location unknown
  70. New Zion Baptist Church- 5670 Tasha Trail, Cartersville, GA 30120
  71. Oak Grove Baptist Church- 312 Burnt Hickory Road, Cartersville, GA 30120
  72. Oak Hill Baptist Church- GA- 140, Rydal, GA 30171
  73. Oakland Heights Baptist Church- 16 Highland Way NE, Cartersville, GA 30121
  74. Olive Vine Baptist Church- 132 Olive Vine Church Road, Rydal, GA 30171
  75. Oothcalooga Baptist Church- 10 Woody Road, Adairsville, GA 30103
  76. Peeples Valley Baptist Church- 68 Ledford Lane NW, Cartersville, GA 30121
  77. Pine Grove Baptist Church- 93 Pine Grove Road, Cartersville, GA 30120
  78. Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church- 668 Burnt Hickory Rd., Cartersville, GA 30120
  79. Pleasant Hill Baptist Church- 1370 Kingston Highway, Kingston, GA 30145
  80. Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church- 1020 Mission Road SW, Cartersville, GA 30120
  81. Pleasant Olive Baptist Church- 240 Falling Springs Road, Rydal, GA 30171
  82. Pleasant Valley Baptist Church- 174 Mostellers Mill Road, Adairsville, GA 30103
  83. Raccoon Creek Baptist Church- 1808 GA-113, Cartersville, GA 30120
  84. Reynolds Chapel Baptist Church- 2401 Euharlee Road SE, Taylorsville, GA 30178
  85. Rowland Springs Baptist Church- 79 Rowland Springs Road SE, Cartersville, GA 30121
  86. Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church- 26 Shiloh Church Road, Taylorsville, GA 30178
  87. Snow Springs Baptist Church- 221 Old Highway 140, Adairsville, GA 30103
  88. St. Paul Baptist Church- Location unknown
  89. Stamp Creek Baptist Church- 451 Stamp Creek Road NE, White, GA 30184
  90. Stoner Chapel Baptist Church- 26 Stoners Chapel Road NW, Adairsville, GA 30103
  91. Tabernacle Baptist Church of Cartersville- 112 East Church St., Cartersville, GA 30120
  92. Taylorsville Baptist Church- 19 Church Street, Taylorsville, GA 30178
  93. Trinity Baptist Church- 1511 Joe Frank Harris Parkway SE, Cartersville, GA 30121
  94. Vision Baptist Church- 10 Legacy Way, Adairsville, GA 30103
  95. White First Baptist Church- 3347 US-411, White, GA 30184
  96. Woffords Crossroads Baptist Church- 222 Old Tennessee Highway, White, GA 30184
  97. Young Street Baptist Church- 6 Rogers Street, Cartersville, GA 30120
  98. Zion Hill Baptist Church- 1105 Mission Road SW, Cartersville, GA 30120

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“Our Covenant.” Heritage Baptist Church. Accessed July 16, 2018. http://www.hbccartersville.org/church-covenant/.

“Our Story.” Bartow Baptist. Accessed June 2018, https://www.bartowbaptist.org/history-1.

Parent Cue, October 2018: Preschool. PDF. The Rethink Group, 2018. Accessed October 30, 2018. https://cartersvillefirst.com/thenest/.   

Parker, Chantal. “Bartow County.” New Georgia Encyclopedia. Last modified on July 9, 2018. Accessed on November 25, 2018, https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/counties-cities-neighborhoods/bartow-county.   

Schrock, David. Lottie Moon: A Brief History. PDF. Accessed October 30, 2018.   

Spencer, J. H. History of Kentucky Baptist from 1769 to 1885. Published in 1886.

“Ten Facts You Should Know About American Baptists.” American Baptist Churches USA. Accessed November 25, 2018, http://www.abc-usa.org/10facts/.

The Euharlee History Committee. The History of Euharlee. Cullman, AL: Gregath Publishing Company, 1994.

The Euharlee History Committee. The History of Euharlee. Cullman, AL: Gregath Publishing Company, 1994.

“The Nest.” Cartersville First Baptist Church. Accessed October 30, 2018, https://cartersvillefirst.com/thenest/.

 “Three States More Baptist Than Alabama.” AL. Last modified on September 19, 2017. Accessed on November 25, 2018. https://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/09/3_states_more_baptist_than_ala.html.

“Who We Are… (Our Story).” Vision Baptist Church. Accessed September 13, 2018. https://www.visionbaptistc.org/about-us-1.

White, Jr., O. Hendall and Daryl White. Religion in the Contemporary South: Diversity, Community, and Identity. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1995.

Worth, John E. “Spanish Exploration.” New Georgia Encyclopedia. Last modified on September 17, 2018. Accessed on November 25, 2018, http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/spanish-exploration


[1] “Three States More Baptist Than Alabama,” AL, last modified on September 19, 2017, accessed on November 25, 2018, https://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/09/3_states_more_baptist_than_ala.html.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Deborah Vansau McCauley, Appalachian Mountain Religion: A History (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995), 23.

[4] McCauley, Appalachian Mountain Religion, 19.

[5] “Baptists: What Makes a Baptist a Baptist,” Baptist Distinctives, accessed on November 25, 2018, https://www.baptistdistinctives.org/resources/articles/what-makes-a-baptist-a-baptist/.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Constitutional Structure,” The People of the United Methodist Church, accessed on November 25, 2018, http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/constitutional-structure.

[8] “Congregational Church Governance,” Baptist Distinctives, accessed on November 25, 2018, https://www.baptistdistinctives.org/resources/articles/congregational-church-governance/.

[9] Joe Head, personal interview, November 2018.

[10] “Churches Preaching the Word and Reaching the World,” American Baptist Association, accessed on November 25, 2018, http://www.abaptist.org.

[11] Samuel S. Hill, Jr., Southern Churches in Crisis (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1966), 21.

[12] Mark Bell, “Continued Captivity: Religion in Bartow County, Georgia,” The Journal of Southern Religion (December 1999): accessed August 2018, http://jsr.fsu.edu/mbell2.htm.

[13] O. Hendall White, Jr., and Daryl White, Religion in the Contemporary South: Diversity, Community, and Identity (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1995), 3.

[14] John E. Worth, “Spanish Exploration,” New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified on September 17, 2018, accessed on November 25, 2018, http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/spanish-exploration.  

[15] Chantal Parker, “Bartow County,” New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified on July 9, 2018, accessed on November 25, 2018, https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/counties-cities-neighborhoods/bartow-county.   

[16] Rowena McClinton, “Indian Missions,” New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified on August 29, 2018, accessed on November 25, 2018, https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/indian-missions.   

[17] Parker, “Bartow County,” accessed on November 25, 2018.   

[18] Joe F. Head, The General: The Great Locomotive Dispute (Cartersville, GA: Etowah Historical Foundation, 1990).

[19] Parker, “Bartow County,” accessed on November 25, 2018.  

[20] “Georgia Counties by Population,” Georgia Demographics by Cubit, July 2017, accessed October 2018, https://www.georgia-demographics.com/counties_by_population.  

[21] “Georgia Counties Ranked by Area,” County Maps of Georgia, accessed October 2018, http://www.countymapsofgeorgia.com/countiesbyarea.shtml. 

[22] Wilma Jo Gazaway Moore, One Vine, Two Branches, (Adairsville, GA: Adairsville Baptist Church, 1979).

[23] “Cities,” Bartow County Georgia, accessed November 25, 2018, http://www.bartowga.org/community_links/cities.php.

[24] Cartersville First Baptist Church History of Growth, PDF (Cartersville: Cartersville First Baptist Church, 2014).

[25] The Euharlee History Committee, The History of Euharlee (Cullman, AL: Gregath Publishing Company, 1994).

[26] Bartow County Genealogical Society, Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book Volume I (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 32.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Deed of Sale from Jonathan H. Whitesides to W. M. Clore et al, 19 October 1868 (filed 9 May 1904), Bartow County, Georgia, Deed Book LL, page 163. County Recorder’s Office, Cartersville, Georgia.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Deed of Sale from Mrs. Elsie Lou Farmer to Clear Creek Baptist Church, 17 July 1953 (filed 3 August 1953), Bartow County, Georgia, Deed Book 100, page 320. County Recorder’s Office, Cartersville, Georgia.

[31] Deed of Sale from Mrs. E. W. Earwood to Etowah Valley Baptist Church, 20 October 1941 (filed 25 October 1941), Bartow County, Georgia, Deed Book 79, page 172. County Recorder’s Office, Cartersville, Georgia.

[32] Deed of Sale from Mrs. Annie Laurie Jones Cunyus to the Trustees of Fair View Baptist Church, 8 December 1937, Bartow County, Georgia, Deed Book 74, page 179. County Recorder’s Office, Cartersville, Georgia.

[33] Deed of Sale from C. C. Carroll to Oakland Heights Community Church, 16 January 1954 (filed 20 December 1955), Bartow County, Georgia, Deed Book 102, page 51. County Recorder’s Office, Cartersville, Georgia.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ann Nix Dussault and Betty Nix Cowart, personal interview, June 2018.

[36] C. S. Butler, United States, US Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Cultural Resources Survey of Historic Cemeteries, Allatoona Lake, Georgia (Atlanta: Brockington and Associates, 1996), 85-99.

[37] Joe Head, personal interview, November 2018.

[38] Ibid.

[39] “Our Covenant,” Heritage Baptist Church, accessed July 16, 2018, http://www.hbccartersville.org/church-covenant/.

[40] “History,” Heritage Baptist Church, accessed July 16, 2018, http://www.hbccartersville.org/history/.

[41] Joe Head, personal interview, November 2018.

[42] “Who We Are… (Our Story),” Vision Baptist Church, accessed September 13, 2018, https://www.visionbaptistc.org/about-us-1.

[43] Deed of Sale from Board of Education of Bartow County to Board of Deacons of Pleasant Olive Baptist Church, 12 April 1940 (filed 27 April 1940), Bartow County, Georgia, Deed Book 76, page 422. County Recorder’s Office, Cartersville, Georgia.

[44] The Euharlee History Committee, The History of Euharlee (Cullman, AL: Gregath Publishing Company, 1994).

[45] Ibid.

[46] David J. Baker, “Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book, Vol. 1 (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 41.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Messer, Brenda Edwards. “Pleasant Valley Baptist Church.” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book, Vol. 1 (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 44-45.

[50] Deed of Sale from Andrew P. Moor to Andrew H. Rice, Pastor, 28 December 1889 (filed 10 February 1890), Bartow County, Georgia, Deed Book BB, page 396. County Recorder’s Office, Cartersville, Georgia.

[51] Bartow County Genealogical Society, “Oak Hill Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book. Vol. 2 (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1998), 48.

[52] “Snow Springs Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book Vol. 1 (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 48.

[53] Article entitled “A Brief History of ATCO Baptist Church,” located at the Bartow History Museum Archives.

[54] “Floyd Creek Baptist Church,” The Heritage of Euharlee, Stilesboro, and Taylorsville, Georgia, Acworth: Euharlee Historical Committee, 2010. 70-71.

[55] Bartow County Genealogical Society, “Bethel Crossroads Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book. Vol. 2 (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1998), 38-39.

[56] “Bethel Crossroads Baptist Church,” 38-39.

[57] Deed of Sale from Board of Education of Bartow County to Dewey Baptist Church, 3 July 1923 (filed 2 March 1954), Bartow County, Georgia, Deed Book 102, page 165. County Recorder’s Office, Cartersville, Georgia.

[58] Deed of Sale from Board of Education of Bartow County to Board of Deacons of Stoner Baptist Church, 26 October 1944 (filed 27 November 1944), Bartow County, Georgia, Deed Book 82, page 527. County Recorder’s Office, Cartersville, Georgia.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Moore, One Vine, Two Branches, 45.

[61] “Preschool Ministry,” Tabernacle Baptist Church, accessed October 30, 2018, http://tabernaclebaptist.org/preschool-2/.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Joe McKaig, letter, ‘Oakland Heights Interview,’ email, July 2018.

[64] “The Nest,” Cartersville First Baptist Church, accessed October 30, 2018, https://cartersvillefirst.com/thenest/.

[65] Parent Cue, October 2018: Preschool, PDF, the Rethink Group, 2018, accessed October 30, 2018, https://cartersvillefirst.com/thenest/.     

[66] Janice Morgan, “Taylorsville Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book Vol. 1, (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 48-49.

[67] Martha J. Hale, “Oak Grove Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book Vol. 1, (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 43.

[68] The Euharlee History Committee, The History of Euharlee (Cullman, AL: Gregath Publishing Company, 1994).

[69] Cartersville First Baptist Church History of Growth, PDF, (Cartersville: Cartersville First Baptist Church, 2014).

[70] “Friendship Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book Vol. 1 (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 37.

[71] “Snow Springs Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book Vol. 1 (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 48.

[72] Hermon Bearden, “Cassville Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book Vol. 1 (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 34-35.

[73] Wilma Jo Gazaway Moore, One Vine, Two Branches, (Adairsville, GA: Adairsville Baptist Church, 1979).

[74] Moore, One Vine, Two Branches.

[75] Ibid.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Moore, One Vine, Two Branches.

[78] Ibid.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Moore, One Vine, Two Branches.

[81] Ibid.

[82] Cartersville First Baptist, PDF, (Cartersville: Cartersville First Baptist Church).

[83] Janice Morgan, “Taylorsville Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book Vol. 1, (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 48-49.

[84] Hermon Bearden, “Cassville Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book Vol. 1 (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 34-35.

[85] David Schrock, Lottie Moon: A Brief History, PDF, accessed October 30, 2018.   

[86] Hermon Bearden, “Cassville Baptist Church,” Bartow County Georgia Heritage Book Vol. 1 (Acworth, Georgia: Star Printing, 1995), 34-35.

[87] “Our Story,” Bartow Baptist, accessed June 2018, https://www.bartowbaptist.org/history-1.   

[88] Ibid.

[89] Interview with David Franklin, personal interview, November 2018.

[90] Interview with David Franklin, personal interview, November 2018.

[91] Ibid.

Community Cornerstones: The Baptist Landscape in Bartow County, Georgia