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First Baptist Church Carrollton records

 Collection
Identifier: LH-0133

Scope and Contents

Blueprints, land surveys, membership directories, membership files, photographs, published materials, letters, church programs and directories, sheet music, church newsletters, photograph negatives, photograph slides, training manuals, scrapbooks, CDs, floppy discs, and other materials pertaining to the history and operations of the First Baptist Church Carrollton.

The bulk of the materials in this collection date later than the 1960s, but there are some published materials dating to 1902. While the church was founded in 1847, there are no materials dating to that time due to a fire that destroyed the Carroll County Courthouse in 1928 and with it the church records that were stored there. It is possible that the Church still retains meeting minutes for the early church, but those were not gifted to the University of West Georgia.

One of the strongest features of the First Baptist Church Carrollton records are those related to the church's membership as these include directories; member files containing newspaper clippings, photographs, and other public records; and an extensive number of photograph albums documenting church events and mission trips. These records document the Baptist presence in this region of Georgia.

Dates

  • 1902-2018; Bulk dates 1960s-2018

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all users; no restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Rights transferred to the University of West Georgia

Biographical / Historical

First Baptist Church Carrollton was founded in 1847 and continues today. Their location since 1876 has been at 102 Dixie Street. This church is part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a Baptist Christian denomination founded in 1991. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance.

According to "A History of First Baptist Church, 1847-2007" by James David Griffin et al, the church’s oral tradition claims that the first church meeting took place on August 9, 1847, at the home of William and Nancy Beall on Buck Creek four miles north of Carrollton. The church, then known as Upper Tallapoosa Baptist Church, was originally chartered by eight members, John Barrow, John T. Meador, William Beall, Nancy Beall, Malinda Chappel, Allen Eadea [Eady?], Elizabeth Eadea, and Sarah Benson. On the first day of service the church petitioned for admission to the Tallapoosa Baptist Association. In 1848, the Tallapoosa Association joined the Georgia Baptist Convention.

In early 1851 the church moved into a new home on the east side of Bradley Street near the intersection with Lee Street, close to where the train depot in Carrollton is located today. In 1871, the church’s land was sold to the Savannah, Griffin, and North Alabama Railroad. At some point during this era, the church was renamed the Carrollton Baptist Church.

After the land sale, the church membership met at another location along Bradley Street but closer to the town square. By 1876, the church moved one last time to the corner of Newnan and Dixie Streets where the it still stands today.

Carrollton Baptist Church was part of the Tallapoosa Association until 1852 when it withdrew from the association and joined the Arbacoochee Association, a member of the Cherokee Baptist Convention. The church also had ties with a third convention, the Alabama Baptist Convention.

In the early years of the church, enslaved people of African descent and white people were divided by service times. On Sundays, people who were white attended a morning service at 11:00 a.m. The service for black people began at 3:00 p.m. According to "A History of First Baptist Church, 1847-2007," even though the church was segregated, many African Americans attended the morning services and many white people attended the afternoon services. The only stipulation was that they had to sit in the back row. Later in the evening, a third service, called Early Candlelight, was reserved for white people only. African Americans could not attend because they were required to be home by sundown. The church was also separated by sex with men and women sitting on opposite pews until the 1880s. By the 1870s, African Americans were official members of the church. However, in September 1873, all but two members (Howard Wells and Lizzie Stilman) left the church and formed the black Baptist Church of Carrollton, which today is the First Baptist Church of Carrollton. This church would not be official chartered until 1894. The distinction between the two First Baptist Churches in Carrollton is the “of” within the name of the African American church.

After the Civil War, the church, along with others in the West Georgia region, left the Arbacoochee and Tallapoosa Associations. Together, they formed the Carrollton Baptist Association which placed an emphasis on missionary work, Sunday Schools, and education.

During the second-half of the 1890s, there was a split within Carrollton Baptist Church over the retention of Pastor J. C. Wingo, for an unidentified reason. The majority decided to keep Pastor Wingo which caused many to leave and form another church, Central Baptist Church, known later as the Tabernacle. Today that church is known as the Tabernacle Baptist Church. After the split, the Church at the corner of Newnan and Dixie streets came to be called First Baptist Church.

In 1928, a fire burned down the Carroll County courthouse, destroying church records which were stored there by the Clerk of the church.

There have been several additions to the church: in August 1928 an annex was added to the Sunday School section and in the late 1970s, the sanctuary was renovated (during which church services were held at the Carroll County Courthouse), sanctuary renovations in the late 1970s (during which church services were held at the Carroll County Courthouse), and the late 1990s.

First Baptist Church Carrollton had a focus on missionary work, women’s involvement, and Sunday School. It was the first church in Carroll County to implement a Sunday School educational program, which began in January 1878. By 1852, First Baptist Church Carrollton was the only church to hold more than one Sunday service a month. These were held on the first and fourth Sundays of the month. Today the church holds extensive services including general audience services, Sunday School, Wednesday night suppers, and Monday morning prayer breakfasts.

Extent

27.52 Linear Feet (32 boxes, 17 tubes, 2 oversized folder)

Language

English

Overview

This collection contains blueprints, land surveys, membership directories, membership files, photographs, published materials, letters, church programs and directories, sheet music, church newsletters, photograph negatives, photograph slides, training manuals, scrapbooks, CDs, floppy discs, and other materials pertaining to the history and operations of the First Baptist Church Carrollton for the years 1902-2018.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into five series:

Series I. Land Surveys and Building Blueprints. This series contains land surveys and building blueprints for First Baptist Church of Carrollton between the years 1953-2009.

Series II. Membership Files. This series contains member files for First Baptist Church of Carrollton for various years (undated). These files consist of newspaper clippings, flyers, pamphlets, newsletters and other paper public records pertaining to each family or individual.

Series III. Photograph Albums. This series contains photograph albums of First Baptist Church of Carrollton between the years 1960-2015.

Series IV. Photographs, Publications, and Miscellaneous Paper Items. This series contains photographs, published materials, letters, church programs and directories, sheet music, church newsletters, photograph negatives, photograph slides, training manuals, scrapbooks, CDs, floppy discs, etc., and additional paper items related to the church and its members between the years 1902-2018.

Series V. Video Home Systems (VHS Tapes). This series contains VHS tapes for First Baptist Church of Carrollton between the years 1989-2008.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the records came to the University in May 2021, through the efforts of Randy Brittain, FBC volunteer.
Title
Guide to the First Baptist Church Carrollton Records
Status
Completed
Author
William Drumm
Date
2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the University of West Georgia Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Special Collections, Ingram Library
University of West Georgia
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton GA 30118-2000 United States