Tag Archives: Burke County

First McCanaan Baptist Church-Sardis, Georgia

Burke County

The Old McCanaan Missionary Baptist Church, now the First McCanaan Baptist Church, was founded in 1875. Many of the founding members were sharecroppers from the nearby Millhaven Plantation. It served as a spiritual gathering place the Black men and women of the area. The first building for the church was lost due to fire. By 1912, the new building was erected, which the congregation still uses today.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 for as an excellent example of Gothic Revival in a rural Southern church.

Noah’s Ark Baptist Church-Keysville, Georgia

Burke County

Noah’s Ark Baptist Church was organized in 1864 in Burke County, Georgia. It was one of the founding churches for newly freedmen and women in Burke County. Starting under a brush arbor, the congregation moved into a tenant located near where their current church building stands.

Noah Smith donated land to build the first church. after the first two buildings were destroyed by wind and fire, They moved to their following location, where two more buildings were built. The building above was built in 1883 at a cost of $1900. It was in use until 2006. The congregation is now active at a new sanctuary.

This is a common headstone seen in Black church cemeteries throughout Burke and Jefferson counties.
An interesting marker in the cemetery.
An outside view of one of the windows
A view through a broken window shows the state of the church with more than a decade of being unused.

McCullough Covenant Baptist Church and Cemetery-Burke County, Georgia

McCullough Covenant Baptist Church was founded May 14, 1876 (the second Sunday in May) when Adam and Henrietta McCullough, a freed husband and wife, donated land to start the church on the spot they considered the most beautiful on their land. Many parishioners came from Pine Hill Baptist Church (still an active congregation).

Mr. McCullough owned at least 900 acres of land by the time he passed. From what I can pull together via Ancestry.com records, he and his first wife, Henrietta, were born in the 1820s. From later census records, the McCulloughs had at least four children (Delilah, Jonah, Mahala, and Cornelious).

Based on their ages, I believe that they were all born into slavery. I am unable to confirm, but I believe they were likely enslaved by Calvin McCullough, a planter from Burke County. According to the 1860 Slave Census, Calvin McCullough enslaved 36 people. There are no other McCulloughs in Burke County in the 1860 slave census. Ages and sex match up closely with the ages and sexes of the McCullough family.

According to information shared on findagrave, the family also has ties to Gray’s Grove Baptist Church.

Adam McCullough (1824-1909)
Adam’s first wife, Henrietta (1824-1896)
Henrietta and Adam’s son Cornelious (1850-1900)
Jessie Bell McCullough (1921-1970)
Square R. Heney (1872-1918)

New Springfield Baptist Church, Georgia

Alexander, Burke County

My friend and I had decided we wanted to drive around Burke County taking photos. When I realized that Ahmaud Arbery was buried in Burke, we put it at the top of our list to document. It was a surprise to see this church where a paved road transitions to a dirt road to have a sign honoring Betty White. It shows how she touched many people with her spirit of caring and sense of justice for all.

Some of Ahmaud’s descendants are from Burke County, so it’s not a surprise that this is his final resting place. It’s clear that people are tending to his grave regularly despite its relative remoteness.

Additionally, this cemetery also highlights two grave markers I’ve seen repeated in rural Black cemeteries. One is a marker with the applique cherubs, and the other is the boxy concrete headstone. I’ve seen both types in several cemeteries in Georgia.