Aiken County Histories

The Black Church

Taken from the Inventory of Church Archives of Churches 1935


Please excuse the blanks and ?question marks. The researcher for Aiken County had terrible hand writing and many of his remarks were unreadable.

Bell Grove Bapt.

On Hwy # 19, 3 mi. S. Eureka, SC
Organized August 5, 1933

No previous building-Services were held in a school house for 4 years before present building was erected. Built June 1937, dedicated August 8, 1937. rectangular frame with belfry and bell on gable, wooden building painted white, plain glass windows, seats about 200 people. First settled clergy Charley Mosley. Tenure 1933 - 1935. Present pastor Rev. B. H. Butler of Aiken, SC. A dew members withdrew from Springfield colored church near Suny Brook ( a flag staff on Columbia and Augusta RR (or Saw Tr.)? and built a church on highway No. 19. They organized in 1933 had services in school house near the present church until they raised the money to build.

Springfield Baptist
3 mi. W. of Eureka
?Sussy Brook Station
Organized 1868

No previous building. Services were held under a brush arbor each time the church was destroyed. Church was dedicated 1870 and rebuilt in 1901. Bell & tower, short steeple, rectangular frame wooden building, plain glass windows, __?, cleacel? Approx. value $800.00, large cemetery on grounds. First settled clergy Rev. Elex Davis, tenure 1868 - 1882. Historical sketch in the regular minutes written by Paul Walker in 1901. The church was organized by a few members cloistered from the Friendship Baptist church in Aiken, SC., under the leadership of Rev. Davis. It led the misfortune to be burned down three times, once in 1870, again in 1874 and again in 1901. Was destroyed by a storm in 1875. It was rebuilt twice during Rev. Davis’ leadership. In 1901 it was rebuilt the last time. Seats 500 people. During the time the church was destroyed, services were held under a brush arbor. Rev. J. M. Stevenson of Williston, SC is the present pastor.

Mt. Sinia Bapt.
Hwy. No. 191, 2 mi. N. of Eureka
Organized 1882

Old house used for 2 years , 1884. Then a small church was built. It was destroyed by fire in 1903. Built in 1906 and dedicated in 1906. Rectangular frame church, no bell or belfry, plain glass windows, Chancel, seats 350 people and painted white on outside. First settled clergy Rev. Hammond, tenure 1882 - 1884, Rev. Tom Gregory 1885 - 1890. The land for the church was given by Mrs. L. E. Seigler in 1884 also a large space for burying ground, still used. Public school building and Society Hall are built and the same tract of land still used for cemetery. In 1903 the church was destroyed by fire , the original unknown. The members scattered out to other churches, only 7 members remained and built the present church. They gave $12.00 each to buy lumber, a total of $ 84.00, and with the aid of a carpenter they rebuilt. Some repairs and improvements were made last year. No change in the name of the church. Rev. J. C. Middleton of Merraweather, SC.

Friendship Bapt.
Corner of Richmond & Kershaw St.
Organized 1866

Old wooden building was destroyed by fire in 1893. Built in 1893 and dedicated in December 1893. Large brick church with steeple and bell, stained glass windows are memorial windows, "In memory of Rev. J. T. Phillips, Pioneer Pastor" no date. Slab in front of church inscription, "Friendship African Baptist Church. Organized 1866, burned August 1893, rebuilt 1893, Rev. T. J. Phillips, Pastor." Seats 750 people, value $30,000.00. Has a large pipe organ......? First settled clergy Rev. J. T. Phillips, tenure 1893 - 1910. Rev. Alexander Davis assisted Rev. J. T. Phillips in building the church. Rev. R. Carroll served 4 years after Rev. Phillips resigned on account of ill health in fall. Then Rev. G. W. Raiford served as pastor till 1914. Dr. J. J. Durham was pastor six years. Rev. P. A. Callahan ___? served from 1930 to 1936. Rev. T. P. Hammond present pastor.

from an article undated:

The Friendship Baptist church was established the year 1866. From a small beginning, it has steadily advanced to one of the foremost Baptist Churches in the South, having had as its pastors some of the strongest ministers of the denomination, Namely; Revs. Alexander Davis, John Phillips, (Builder) Richard Carroll, G. W. Raiford, J. J. Durham, J. D. Brooks, J. W. Miles, A. W. Hill, T. P. Hammond, P. A. Callahan.

Friendship maintains the following departments: Deacon Board, Woman’s Home Mission and Educational Society, Usher’s Association, Choir and Music Department, Week Prayer Meetings and Sunday School.

Friendship’s Motto

Our Creed--The New Testament
Our Platform--The Sermon on the Mount
Our Motto--The Golden Rule
Services--Begin on Time
Sermons--To the Point
Bible School--Interesting
Young People’s Meeting--Instructive
Missionary Meetings--Informing
Prayer Meetings--Helpful
Doors--Never Close
Strangers--But Once

Cumberland AME
821 Kershaw St.
Organized 1867

Previous wooden building on Coleton Street. Built 1914 and dedicated 1914. Large square shaped brick church with bell, gallery inside, memorial windows; "In memory of M. B. Salter (no date). stained glass windows, inscription slab in front of church "Cumberland AME Church organized on Coleton Street 1867. Removed to Kershaw St. 1914. Rev. C. J. Bynum DD, pastor." First settled clergy Rev. C. J. Bynum, tenure 1867. No change in name, no official record why church was moved from Coleton St to present place. Rev. Murtle present pastor-Aiken.

Union Bapt.
3 mi. North of Aiken, on SC Hwy. No 19
Organized August 1917

Young people’s Union Hall was used from 1917 - 1918, and again in 1936 when a storm hit the church in early spring. Present church dedicate in 1936, built 1936. Rectangular frame church, no bell or belfry, plain glass windows, painted inside and outside, no cemetery on grounds. First settled clergy Rev. Arthur Sprauls, tenure 1917 - 1921. The oldest Deacon, Green Hylon takes a very active part in keeping the church up. He raises money by giving cotton picking and corn shucking to meet the needs of the church. A few members cloistered from Friendship Baptist Church in Aiken. to build Union Baptist. No previous name. Rev. B. H. Butler present pastor.

Randol Branch Bapt.
w mi. W. of Hwy No. 1 (US 1) near Croft Station and Saw RR
About 7 mi. N. of Aiken
Organized 1899

A small hut was used til the church was built in 1901. Present building was built 1901 and dedicated in 1902. Small rectangular frame church, no steeple, bell on outside on stand, plain glass windows, painted white inside and outside, seats about 300 people. First settled clergy Mark Adams, tenure 1899 - 1908. The Rev. Henry Ryans was pastor, served three years and helped the church pull through the trying times. A small number of members withdrew from Springfield Baptist church and were chartered by the Negro Baptist Association to build Randall Branch.

Zion Hill Bapt.
Kennedy’s Crossing, 3 mi. W. of Aiken
Organized Jan 22, 1909

A small building that was the society hall used until the present building was built. Built in 1911 and dedicated in 1911. Rectangular frame wooden building, no belfry, plain glass windows, seats about 350. First settled clergy Rev. Henry Rhines, tenure 1909 - 1911. 23 members withdrew from Mt. Canaan Church, Edgefield County. They were led by the Rev. Henry Rhines who served two years. Rev. E. ?. Hay-pastor til 1913. Rev. Abraham Stevens pastor 18 months.....................? No cemetery or enclosure. No inscription or slab on church building, no change in name of church. Present pastor Rev. B. H. Butler, Aiken, SC Rt. 3.

Union Bapt.
3 mi. E. Aiken, Hwy No. 19 east side of road Community of Tool Town
Organized 1917

Young folks Union Hall was used til church was built. Dedicated in 1918 and built 1936? Rectangular frame wooden building, plain glass windows, without belfry, seats about 300. No cemetery on grounds. First settled clergy Arthur Shawls, tenure 1917 - 1921.Deacon Green Hylon was first deacon and made strenuous efforts to keep the church going. He gave public corn shucking and cotton picking 5 days to raise money for the church benefit.

Antioch Bapt. (Vaucluse)
In City Limits
Organized Feb. 29, 1879

Defunct since 1932, Small church building unused til 1900. Built in 1900 and dedicated in 1900. Rectangular frame, wooden building, no steeple or belfry, plain glass windows, no cemetery on grounds. Seats approximately 150 people. Inscription slab inside church reads: Antioch Baptist Church organized Feb. 29, 1879, old founders-Deacon W. M. Boney?, Deacon P. Palmore, Rev. Isearel Williams. First settled clergy Rev. Isearel Williams, tenure many years. Rev. M. J. Mason, Trenton, Rt. 2 SC, is trying to revive the church and with the few remaining members has organized a prayer service on Sundays. In 1932 under the leadership of Rev. J. E. Palmore the church came to a close. Most of the members went North.

Jerusalem Bapt.
6 mi. South of Monetts, Hwy. No. 1
Organized 1877

A small church was built and used twenty years about three miles from where the present church now stands. Built in 1897 and dedicate in 1900. Gothic style, two short steeples, no bell, no inscription slab, large cemetery on grounds, large public school building and society hall on grounds. First settled clergy Richmond Kenner, tenure 1877 to 1892. Educational background: Atlanta Seminary, Atlanta Georgia. Sketches in the History of American Negro, South Carolina edition, by W. T. Kenner date 1919. Mrs. Henry Coto gave the land for the church which was used 20 years, 1897, the members bought six acres of land on the highway where the present church now stands. Mrs. Coto was given the privilege to name the church after moving, the old church lot was given back to Mrs. Coto’s estate. Mrs. Henry Coto named the church Jerusalem. No change made in the name since. Rev. W. T. Kenner of Aiken, SC has been pastor for 35 years.

Beaver Dam Baptist
7 mi E. of Aiken, 3 mi. off Hwy No. 1 on Country rd leading to Wagner
Organized 1868

Brush arbor used for many years. The church was torn down and enlarged three time as the membership grew. Present building was dedicated in 1915, built 1915. Rectangular frame wooden building, painted white, plain glass windows, bell and belfry tower, short steeple, no inscription slab, no memorials, large cemetery on grounds. First settled clergy Rev. Jerry Thorton, tenure for many years. The church was once a white man’s church organized by Rev. J. L. Tolbert, Augusta Georgia. Rev. Jack Mims, preached there also. No dates given when church transferred to the colored people. Old minutes lost, History given by older members who remember the pioneer days.

St. Luke Methodist (AME) Vaucluse
City Limits
Organized 1882

Small hut used til 1900. A larger building built onto old one. Built 1920 and dedicated 1920. Rectangular frame wooden building, no bell or belfry, plain glass windows, alpse Chancel, no cemetery on grounds. Unable to obtain the name of the first settled clergy. All older members moved North, old records lost or destroyed. No one seems to know much of the origin.




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