Shiloh PBC, Pierce Co, Ga

Photography courtesy of Randall Davis

 

Shiloh Primitive Baptist   Circa 1833

We love the old Wiregrass Primitive churches and this is a very historic one.  Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church was organized in 1833 in what was then Ware County, Georgia but is now Pierce County.  At the time, the Baptist Church was struggling with the question of support for missions.  This issue ultimately caused a split in the church, with those supporting missions as an arm of the church retaining the Baptist name and those who disagreed taking the Primitive Baptist name.

The Piedmont Baptist Association was the first Baptist association established in the deep south and counted as its members many of the remotely situated Baptist churches in south Georgia.  For a while, it was able to maintain a somewhat neutral stance regarding missions. But, eventually, tensions within the Association caused many of the churches to fade from Piedmont as they were drawn to associations that mirrored their anti-missionary beliefs.  Shiloh, though closer to Piedmont, initially petitioned to join the Ochlochnee Association but was rejected because of a constitutional defect.  In 1837, after some reorganization, Shiloh joined the Suwannee River Association.

Shiloh is the oldest church is Pierce County. Established in the early 1830s, the structure has been rebuilt three times.  The present building was built in 1927 but its construction personifies the old style primitive form of worship.  Little has changed in the way of architectural style or construction techniques over the years.  The strength of its building is testament to the determination of its builders to honor the tenets of their predecessors and the original church.  It is still an active church and looks today, thanks to excellent care, much as it must have looked in the later part of the nineteenth century.

The cemetery is also the oldest in the county, dating to the 1830s.  Many of the graves of the earliest settlers are there but now unmarked and lost to time.  The earliest identified grave belongs to Samuel Sweat who was buried in 1849 and was the son of a Revolutionary soldier.  The cemetery is also the final resting place of two Revolutionary soldiers as well as veterans of all American conflicts……including ten identified Confederate graves.  James Thomas served in the South Carolina state militia. His grave is now marked by a monument placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The other Revolutionary soldier is Isham Peacock ( b. 1741 d. 1852), who served in the North Carolina state militia.  However, his importance in Georgia history goes much farther.  He was the most beloved and influential Primitive Baptist preacher in Georgia for his time.  Known as “Father Peacock”, he was instrumental in the formation of the Piedmont Association as well as the establishment of numerous Primitive Baptist Churches in south Georgia and north Florida.  His grave was commemorated by the Sons of the American Revolution – click here for more information on Isham Peacock.  His tenure was followed by Reuben Crawford, who led the faction that bears his name – the Crawfordites.   During the twentieth century, “Crawfordite” churches became the most austere and conservative Primitive Baptists in Georgia.  Elder Crawford was pastor at Shiloh Church for almost 50 years and is buried in the church cemetery.

For church location and directions click here.

17 Thoughts

  1. Ann Seward · June 16, 2017 Reply

    Looking for the person who placed the marker on Kesiah Davis Allen’s grave some time after 2012. We are related and would to make contact.

  2. Joyia Barker Marshall · July 9, 2016 Reply

    Is the Shiloh Primitive Baptist church still an active church?

  3. Meredeth Drummond Cox · June 6, 2016 Reply

    And, just fyi………I am the 6th generation of confirmed Primitive Baptists in my family! I am sure there were more, since PB’s were largely generational the farther back you go. I currently live in Fort Worth, TX.

    Thanks again,
    Meredeth

  4. Meredeth Drummond Cox · June 6, 2016 Reply

    Hello, I am just now seeing this information! I believe one of my relatives helped to found this church in the 1820’s, prior to the split; George Washington Drummond, and I have info from one source about the split you mentioned; unfortunately I don’t have it with me right now and will have to confirm. I will get back with you later!

    Thanks so much for the picture and the information.

    Meredeth

    • churchadmin · June 9, 2016 Reply

      Thanks Meredith. We are always interested in the early history of these old jewels.

  5. Brandy Crawford · April 24, 2016 Reply

    I was wondering who I could contact for information and location of family member? Im out of state and plan on visiting and need some info before I come.

  6. Amy Hall · March 18, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for featuring this church. My family is buried there. We just went on Monday to lay flowers.

  7. Nola Carter · March 18, 2015 Reply

    These comments are all in good faith for the church and cemetery. However, what we have now is a cemetery that is visited with noone helping with the upkeep. Such a shame that time is so important to look and no time for the upkeep. More interest in the labor that it requires would be appreiciated.

  8. Jene Welch · March 17, 2015 Reply

    Disappointed that there is no list of burials in the church cemetery.

    • churchadmin · March 17, 2015 Reply

      This was an oversight. Thanks for pointing it out. We always include a link to Findagrave on one of the cemetery photos. It is there now.

  9. Jennifer Dixon · March 16, 2015 Reply

    Thank you so much for featuring this church – I’ve been meaning to tell you about it. My husband, Patrick Dixon, has multiple family members buried there – most recent being his grandparents, and the oldest being his Great-great-great-grandfather (and many more in between). The Dixon’s were one of the prominent families in Blackshear – the running joke is if you don’t know who you’re talking to, say “Hello Mr/Mrs Dixon” and you’d be right! As a school project (Master’s in Historic Preservation), I did a cultural landscape project on this cemetery. Documented it, discussed the people, the iconography, the church, etc. Even was able to talk to the Trustees of the church to gather some info. Love this place – except for those prickly cactus-type weeds that grow during the summer time – OUCH! Thanks again!

  10. John Crowley · March 16, 2015 Reply

    That striking house also houses a vibrant, dedicated congregation of spiritually minded people firmly committed to the highest standards of the Original Baptist Faith. They are the Georgia Baptist “Gold Standard.” I have attended worship at Shiloh and each time found it a blessed experience.

    • churchadmin · March 17, 2015 Reply

      Thanks John. Historical continuity like this is rare and refreshing. Thanks for your input.

      Just so our followers will know, Dr. Crowley is the subject matter expert on the Georgia Wiregrass Primitives and his book “Primitive Baptists of the Wiregrass South” is a great resource.

  11. Ken Zeliff · March 4, 2015 Reply

    George: great project. My interest, as I told you, is my great grand parents, the Brown, family along with my great great grand Mother are all buried there. I am sure other various family connections too.
    It has interested me that a walk through the Blackshear phone book still shows the names of a large number of the descendants still to be found in the county of those buried at Shiloh. Ain’t much diversity to be found. K

Thoughts