1Antioch Baptist Church 2

Photography courtesy of Scott Farrar

 

Antioch Baptist 

Org 1886

Can this church be saved?

 

As you drive along GA-22 between Crawfordville and Powelton, it is hard to miss Antioch Baptist. The building that you see was constructed in 1899 according to historical surveys performed by UGA. The church is both beautiful and somewhat intimidating; it doesn’t seem to necessarily fit in a totally rural area, and is significantly different from other local Baptist churches from similar time periods. Two large towers flank the main gabled structure, which gives it an almost intimidating presence. The towers are an element of the Gothic Revival style, which was in vogue from the 1820’s through the beginning of the 20th century. This style of architecture was based on the colossal structures built mostly in France during the middle ages.

The sons and daughters of ex-slaves in south Taliaferro County and North Hancock County had a vision of expanding their freedom and to shape their own lives as they saw fit. So a group of courageous pioneers from the Powelton New Hope Baptist Church, led by Deacon Willie Peak, Deacon Abe Frazier and Deacon Philic Jones came together and founded the Antioch Baptist Church in Taliaferro County, outside of Crawfordville, on November of 1886. The deacon board purchased two acres of land from the Veazey estate and two acres were deeded to them for a cemetery. The oldest documented grave in the cemetery is 1898, which indicates the church building presently on site is probably the original church building.

The building has suffered from neglect and lack of maintenance for a long time, resulting in some serious structural issues and a proud sanctuary like this, built by freed and first generation freed slaves deserves a better fate. The church was built by local master craftsmen who somehow acquired a strong sense of architectural design. A lot of love went into Antioch. Let’s hope someone comes to the rescue.

For church location and directions click here.

33 Thoughts

  1. Donna G. · July 31, 2016 Reply

    Hello, can someone contact me regarding the restoration of this property? I want to write a story about it and perhaps help make some contacts regarding the restoration. It is beautiful and it needs to be saved. Thank you. DG

  2. Salahuddin F. Smart · May 26, 2016 Reply

    Do you have any information on the Meadows family?

  3. Julie · April 5, 2016 Reply

    Yesterday I visited this church and while there, I met the family that lives next door. The woman told me that this whole area has belonged to her family since the 18th century! She said they are the ones who originally sold the acreage for the church. She also told me that the person who currently owns it lives in Atlanta, and he wants to restore the building but is unsure how to proceed. Apparently the foundation is unstable, and it could be very costly to repair

    Also, she let me know that the area historical society (I think) decided last week to have tours of HRCGA churches, and that this will be one of the ones on the tour! How exciting is that? Let us know when those start!

    • Matt · May 30, 2016 Reply

      Antioch is one of the most beautiful church buildings in GA. But, it’s borderline unsafe structurally, so be careful. If it were restored, who would attend ? It’s in an almost empty county that already has lots of churches. Could the building be used for some other purpose ? Maybe.

      No amount of wishful thinking will make it happen. Someone who is a true leader, someone with passion would have to make it his or her life’s work to pull it off. The building will fall in soon if nothing is done.

  4. Matt · February 18, 2016 Reply

    This church is absolutely stunning.

    Tough Questions :

    1. If restored, who would attend ? Taliaferro County GA had population of 1700 people total in 2010, in the entire county ! There are lots of churches in Crawfordville, the county seat. Taliaferro Co. is the smallest county in Georgia and second smallest county east of the MS River.

    2. Who would lead the restoration and who would lead the congregation ? Who would rally the community ?

    3. What church would it be ? Antioch Baptist ? Antioch Baptist has been defunct for many years.

    4. Who would pay for the restoration ?

    5. Who would fund the ongoing operations after it’s restored ?

  5. Emily Bankston · November 28, 2015 Reply

    Thank you for sharing this important history! Do you know from which Veazey family this land was purchased? There was a James Veazey (died 1789 in Powelton) who owned land in the area which was passed down for several generations. The land first went to his son, John Veazey (1769-1847), and then to John Veazey, Jr. (1797-1883) It then went to John Veazey Jr.’s son, Prior Veazey (1832-1908). Is this the same family? Thank you.

  6. Janet · November 28, 2015 Reply

    I find it fascinating to see the old churches still standing, some, although barely, in their magnificent splendor. They are jewels that were built by people who had to have loved God and had a vision for their community. Have you begun a ‘GOfundme’ page to raise funds for these churches that stand in need of repairs? I don’t know if the page can be used for such an such an undertaking, but it’s worth looking into. Also there are philanthropists who, if contacted about such endeavors, would generously donate to such a cause. I have seen many historical churches abandoned and in need of repair. It’s a sad sight and history of this nature will be lost for generations to come. I love this sight……the churches are just beautiful and I can almost feel the spirit of the people that once occupied them. To know that many were built by the poor, by slaves, by those who wanted a place to worship and fellowship together is awesome. I pray that funds are found to restore all the churches in need of repair and that they be fmanitained by continuous funds. God bless.

    • churchadmin · November 29, 2015 Reply

      Thanks for your comment Janet. We agree that we have to find a way somehow to at least save some of these treasures. Stay tuned.

  7. Lisa McClure · November 28, 2015 Reply

    In the next photo there are 2 pews at the rear that are slightly staggered and face each other. Do you know why and have you seen this in other churches? Thank you so much for letting us see all the wonderful photos of these beautiful historical and the history that is often with them. Also, have you ever seen the Old Stone Church in Catoosa County? Thanks so much…have a great day.

  8. Gary L. Veazey · September 10, 2015 Reply

    I am a descendant of the Veasey family of Veazey, Georgia. As a kid, we used to go into the woods and see the remaining chimney of the old Veazey plantation which is no longer there. My 93 year old Father, Eli Lincoln Veazey, Jr., is the oldest living Veazey and lives in Snellville, GA, over by Stone Mountain. When the time comes, he will be buried in Greensboro next to my mother. I will be sure to check out this church next time I come to town.

    • John · May 5, 2016 Reply

      Mr Veazey,

      I am descended from James and Elizabeth Hollingsworth Veazey of Powelton Ga. I saw in a posting you mentioned you used to play in the woods near the chimney of the old Veazey home. Can you tell me where this is located…And which Veazey lived in the home.

      Thank you
      John

  9. Lamar Wadsworth · May 29, 2015 Reply

    There were many skilled tradesmen among the ranks of former slaves, including expert carpenters, brick masons, blacksmiths, etc. More than half of the old covered bridges that once stood in Georgia were built by a former slave, Horace King, and his sons and grandsons.

    • churchadmin · May 29, 2015 Reply

      Yes. Wonderful skills. See the story of Jacob Hutchings (http://hrcga.org/clinton-umc-jones-7/) to make your point. He was arguably the best stone mason in the state.

    • John Keith · August 19, 2015 Reply

      I have some free time this fall, and some construction skills, and would like to start the restoration process, but would obviously need permission. Does anyone have any idea to whom I should talk? Any leads would be helpful. Thanks. It too nice a building to let rot away.

      • churchadmin · August 20, 2015 Reply

        John, thanks for your concern. Antioch is a very important and historic church that is indeed, rotting away. Please send me an email at info@hrcga.org and we can discuss how we might be able to help you. Thanks again for you willingness to help.

  10. Lamar Wadsworth · May 29, 2015 Reply

    Are services still being held at this church?

  11. Debbie · May 24, 2015 Reply

    I just wanted to say thank you to everyone involved with these beautiful photos and sharing them on the web. I look forward to finding the churches and stories win my in-box every week. Some of the comments especially from people that are from the area or know the church are enjoyable to read. thanks again, Debbie

  12. Tonya Thornton · November 6, 2014 Reply

    I have family buried at this church. My great-great-great-grandmother, my great-great-grandfather, my great-great-grandmother and several of their children. My great-grandparents and my grandmother are right up the road at New Hope Powelton.

    • churchadmin · November 7, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Tonya. We hope that this church can somehow be saved but the lack of maintenance over the years is taking its toll.

  13. Julie · May 31, 2014 Reply

    Hi! It’s “Reims”, actually. And I am going to find this church this weekend!

  14. jennie horne · January 17, 2014 Reply

    My husband and i have always found old rural churches to be some of the most intriguing buildings. There are many stories and a tremendous amount of history in such places. Once a year we spend about a week in one of the cabins at Stephens State Park. We have done a lot of exploring the area. Two years ago we were driving past Antioch Baptist and almost ran off the road when we saw it. We turned around and parked the car to get a better look at this beautiful structure. Our daughter, who is a photographer , started making pictures of everything. My husband walked around to the back and noticed the door was slightly open. We walked in. It was magnificent. The colors, the old piano, the pews. On the altar table was a basket with coins in it. I think there was some kind of note – not sure. It was almost as if someone left briefly and was coming back. We made a few pictures of the inside. When we went to leave we felt a compulsion to drop what little bit if change we had into the basket. We want to go back sometime and explore these other beautiful houses of worship. We have often thought it would be wonderful to go all over Georgia making pictures of old churches and have their stories put in book form.
    Glad to see others that are like minded.

    • churchadmin · January 18, 2014 Reply

      Hi Jennie, thanks for the Antioch story. It is a beautiful structure and it is on our endangered list. We must figure out how to save these treasures before it is too late. The church was built by 1st generation of freed slaves and the design of it is something. We would love to bring it back somehow. There is a note and a basket for offerings. We have been by several times and always leave a contribution.

    • churchadmin · January 18, 2014 Reply

      Also a reminder that just down the road on Hway 22 is Powelton Baptist and Powelton Methodist. Check these out on the website under Hancock County. And just up the road in the other direction in Taliaferro County are several more beauties. Check these out on the website under Taliaferro County.

  15. Lisa Y. Henderson · October 4, 2013 Reply

    I visited this church yesterday. I can’t find words to describe it. Here: http://scuffalong.tumblr.com/post/63093209687/antioch-baptist-church-near-crawfordsville-ga

    Thank you.

    • HRCGA · October 6, 2013 Reply

      So glad you could drop by Lisa. The church is hanging on but just barely. It desperately needs some basic maintenance. We have just got to figure out a way to preserve these treasures before it is too late.

  16. Michael M. Cass · July 8, 2013 Reply

    Incongruous and heroic–an imitation of Gothic in a church built by newly-freed slaves.

    • admin · July 8, 2013 Reply

      It is facinating to us to speculate on where the architectural design element came from. All handmade from local materials but the architecture is majestic in its own way. What a source of pride it must have been.

Thoughts