Habersham County Churches

Habersham County Churches  -

Bethlehem Baptist Church


Bethlehem Baptist Church was organized in 1819 or 1820 in Watt Adair's School House about five miles north of Clarkesville. The original minutes have been lost, but in 1838 the church agreed to copy the Articles of Faith from the Providence Church and these minutes have been preserved. A list of the charter members was preserved and are listed as follows:


Dozier Sutton Died in 1867
Joseph Prince  
Benjamin James Dismissed by letter August 29, 1868
Demiel Williams Dismissed by letter August 29, 1868
A. J. McAllister Excluded June 20, 1868
James White  
Thomas R. Harkins  
K. H. Watson Died September 12, 1871
Lacy Vaughn  
Thomas J. Stonecypher, Deacon       Dismissed by letter July 18, 1868
Jacob Balew  
John F. Love Dismissed by letter August 20, 1868


Sussana A. Harkins  
Hizziah Smith Dismissed by letter May 23, 1874
Sally Jones  
Martha Miles  
Fleet Jinkins  
Sarah English  
Salina English  
Eleana Shirley Dismissed by letter August 17, 1867
Nancy C. White Excluded June 20, 1868
Drucilla Smith Excluded June 20, 1868
Elizabeth Williams Dismissed
Sarah Gastley  
Mirenda Hames  
Charlota Black Died 1873
Elizabeth Bellew  
Marinna Eirod  
Eliza McEntire  
Hanah M. Shirley Dismissed by letter August 17, 1867
Talitha C. Stonecypher      Dismissed by letter
Caroline Love  

In 1850 the church voted unanimously to become a "Constituent Member of the Georgia Baptist State Convention."  They withdrew from the Mountain Association and formed a new association. It was at first known as the Union Meeting.

In 1851 two deacons were chosen: Brother Henry L, Meeks and Gilliam Wilbanks.

As early as 1852 a Sunday School was discussed but there is no record that it was carried out at this time.

On July 5, 1856, the church agreed to hold prayer meeting the second Monday night in each month for the "Spread of the Gospel."

On December 20, 1862, the church agreed for an academy to be built on the Bethlehem lot.

As early as 1853 the Reverend Singleton Sisk preached a missionary sermon and a collection was taken for home and foreign missions; $4.06 was given for foreign missions; $1.18 for home missions; $1.55 for Bible Cause, and $0.94 for African Missions (contributed by the Negro members), making a total of $7.73.

In a Union Meeting (later known as Habersham Association on October 29, 1853, letters were received from the following churches: Providence, Antioch, Nacoochee, Bethlehem.

On February 6, 1892, the church granted leave for a "Public School" to be taught in the church.

The church agreed to meet on the first Sabbath in April of 1894, to organize a Sunday school. Mr. Thomas J. Gastley was the first Sunday School Superintendent.

Nineteen Negroes belonged to the early church. These Negroes were slaves who belonged to the members, both male and female. Mention is made in the minutes of these members joining by "experience."

Following is a list of the early pastors and the approximate terms of service:

1839-1844      John Suggs
1844-1845 J. C. Jarrard
1845-1846 James West
1846-1866 Singleton Sisk
1867-1868 E. L. Sisk
1868-1869 David W. Porter
1869-1870 Thomas Carter
1870-1874 D. S. McCurry
1874-1875 Samuel Byers and Louis L. Waldrop
1875-1882 L. L. Waldrop
1882-1888 John Kytle
1889-1890 John J. Kimsey
1890-1893 L. J. Dunkin
1893-1894 L. J. Dunkin
1894-1895 John J. S. Dickson
1895-1898 William R. Powers
1898 F. L. Prater
1898 J. S. Dickson

Saturday 1, 1893

1891 Paid Pastor on Subscription $20.50
Unpaid 11.00

1892 Paid 8.50
Unpaid 2.00

1893 Paid 1.50
Unpaid 2.50
For Cemetery Paid Treasurer $15.95
By Nails 2.00

Balance 13.95
T. J. Gastley by Lumber 26.53
A. J. Crane by Hauling 1.00

Balance 25.53
In 1893 $0.75 for Minutes.

Contributed by Kim Gordon

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