Philips Mill Baptist
Phillips Mill Baptist Church is certainly one of the most historic, seminal and prominent Baptist Churches in Wilkes County. It was on this site in 1785 that the first 16 people met in Joel Phillips’ grist mill and agreed to organize a church. The principal organizer was Silas Mercer. Being raised in the Church of England, as a young man Silas had been vocally and violently opposed to Baptist doctrine. He later changed his mind. Though the very first Georgia Baptist Association had been organized at Kiokee Church in 1784, its first regular meeting was held at Phillips Mill on October 15, 1786. Thus began Phillips Mill’s long and storied affiliation with the Baptist hierarchy. It is fitting that Silas’ son, Jesse Mercer, was ordained to the ministry by the church in 1789 and, upon the death of his father in 1796, he assumed the duties as pastor. In the 19th century, Jesse Mercer became the architect and most significant voice of an ever-growing and powerful Baptist institution in Georgia. Mercer University, originally in Penfield, now Macon, was named in his honor.