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From Allendale On The Savannah
History of Concord Baptist Church
Written by: W. M. JONES, Historian

On August 10th, 1855, Concord Church was organized by the following presbytery of ministers: Rev. Joseph A. LAWTON from the Barnwell and Mt. Arnon churches, Rev. Hansford A DUNCAN from Smyrna Church, Rev. W A LAWTON from the Pipe Creek (now Lawtonville) Church. The following were enrolled as constituting members:

From Pipe Creek: R J WILLINGHAM;

From Smyrna: B L WILLINGHAM, Mrs. E M WILLINGHAM, Mr E A ESTES, Mrs H S BROOKS, W I BROOKS and their servants. (names of servants not published).

Membership in a Baptist Church in those days meant far more than a public confession of faith followed by baptism. The covenant adopted by the church set forth the cardinal principles of that church as conforming to the New Testament and those held by other churches of like faith and order. Each member signed this covenant as a condition of church membership. In addition each member signed the Rules of Decorum which set forth the relation each member bore to all other members and to the church. The membership of the Concord Church was never large, but what it lacked in quantity it made up in quality, which was unsurpassed by any other church in the Association. Among them we find the LAWTONS, WILLINGHAMS, OSWALDS, MIDDLETONS, PEEPLES, BROOKS, CHAVOUS and many others whose Christian training in their mother church made them towers of strength in other churches which they later joined.

The minutes are missing from 1855 to 1880. This period covers the strenuous days leading to the Civil War, and during a later period. this section suffered severely from the complete destruction wrought by Sherman's Army. The years immediately following the war were marked by the struggle to keep body and soul together. The farms lacked the labor to cultivate them. Under carpet bag rule the freed slaves made the ten years of Reconstruction very bitter. We of today can have no real conception of the struggle for existence endured by local Baptist Churches during those days. Concord Church never recovered from it. The growth of the town of Allendale and transfer of membership there from local churches was a deep loss to Concord and Old Allendale. Many of its members of high business capacity moved to other states to replenish their personal fortunes. these causes left the mother church so depleted in numbers and resources that it never recovered. No other association in this state has furnished as many prominent ministers to the denomination as large as ours. Not the least of these was Dr. R. J. WILLINGHAM, that far-seeing secretary of our Foreign Mission Board, who laid the broad foundations for its later world wide activities. the evidence is clear that during his childhood he was a member of Concord Church.

The existing minutes show the life of the weakened church, which in 1880, two years before the organization of the Allendale Church, was reduced to twenty-five (25) votes, was largely given to a watch care over its members and to securing pastoral leadership. the church believed strongly in the practice of an annual call to its pastor, although they knew he would receive the unanimous vote of the members. An interesting sidelight is seen that when the Rev. C. A. BAYNARD was, in 1882, called to succeed the Rev. A. B. ESTES, he was called for full time preaching at an annual salary of $400. Yet their financial losses were so limited they had great difficulty in raising the amount they had pledged. Either from choice or necessity, when a protracted meeting was scheduled the church invited a number of ministers to come and preach for them rather than invite a single minister and compensate him for his services. Another sidelight on its reduced financial state is that the church had a standing committee to inquire into the condition of its sick and needy and report the same to the church for such financial assistance as the church was able to give. The first pastor of the church was the Rev. Andrew Broadus ESTES. Its last pastor was the Rev. R. J. CULLOM who closed his work in 1927. Between these two ministers are a number of godly and able men. The record of this church, now extinct, is that in the face of all its difficulties it served well its day and generation.

---W.M. JONES, Historian.

Marker reads: Site of Concord Baptist Church, 1855-1948.

Photograph courtesy of, and copyright 1998, Jim Bryan.

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Concord Baptist Church Cemetery

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