Churches of Greene County
Greene County was Georgia’s eleventh county and was created by the state legislature in February of 1786. It was named after General Nathanael Green, the Revolutionary War hero. The land was originally controlled by the Creek Indians and the first years were marked by Indian raids and brutality on both sides. The Creek Indians ruled over their domain for 300 years. This domain consisted of nearly all of modern day Georgia, east Alabama and North Florida. They were feared warriors and battled with the European invaders as well as the Cherokees, their traditional enemies to the north. Greene County was the northeastern border of the Creek Lands.
To learn more about the Creek Indians in Georga click here.
Greensboro became the county seat in 1802. It was originally spelled “Greensborough” and is located in the heart of Greene County, the center of Georgia’s former cotton culture. Despite many problems with the original inhabitants, Greensboro and Greene County grew rapidly. By 1810 the county claimed 12,ooo residents, half of whom were slaves. Ten years later, blacks would outnumber whites as the invention of the Cotton Gin made slave labor imperative in the eyes of these early planters. Although cotton make a few men extremely wealthy and was responsible for the rapid growth of commerce, it also created an underclass in the form of slaves and poor whites. A legacy which still exits today. Greene County paid a dear price in the Civil War. Fully one third of the young men who were called did not return and another third that did return were wounded or maimed.
To learn more about Greensboro history click here.
In addition to Greensboro, the county’s largest communities are Siloam, Union Point, White Plains and Woodville. Another notable community was Penfield, named after Josiah Penfield of Savannah who bequeathed $2,500 to the Georgia Baptist Convention in 1829 to help fund education. The church used these funds to purchase 450 acres of land north of Greensboro and founded a literary and theological school. The university they founded was Mercer University located in Pennfield, which rivaled Greensboro for social prominence and was the cultural center of the county. Mercer University moved from Penfield to Macon in 1871 and Penfield gradually lost its population and was absorbed by Union Point. A few of the old universtiy buildings and a residence remain on the town’s original site.
To learn more about Penfield click here.
Union Point was first settled in the 1770′s as Thornton Crossroads and takes its current name from the site at which the Georgia Railroad branch line from Union Point to Athens converges with the main line from Augusta to Atlanta. Much of the town was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Siloam, settled in the 1840′s was first call Smyrna. White Plains refers to the surrounding sandy soil was incorporated in 1856 and was originally called Fort Nell.
To learn more about Greene County history click here.
We encourage you to visit these hallowed sites in order to feel the real power of early Georgia history and the roots that we all share. However, please remember that these sites are on private property and they are quite fragile. Therefore please be respectful in every way. Some of these churches are inactive and in a very delicate state, while others may be somewhat active but in a very limited fashion. Fortunately, some of the churches are still quite vibrant and offer a full range of services to their members. Visitors are welcome and we would encourage you to attend a service if possible.
White Plains Baptist
St. Paul AME