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Hepzibah Primitive Baptist Church
 
by Pauline English
 
Pauline English wrote a story about her grandfathers association with the Hepzibah Primitive Baptist Church in Macon County. This story was written abt. 1933 and gives us her view of the church and it's progression up to that year. Pauline was born Mary Pauline English on 15 October 1911 to Matthew Hill English & Mary (Lizzie) Elizabeth Finch. She lived in Macon County and was a schoolteacher. The following is a re-wording of the story she submitted to the history of Macon County, Georgia.
 
Hepzibah Primitive Baptist Church
by Pauline English

 
Hepzibah Primitive Baptist Church is better known by the people of Macon County as "Red Hill Church". This church is thought to be the oldest in Macon County, if not, certainly one of the oldest. It is claimed to be to be over a hundred years old dating as far back as eighteen hundred. The old church records have been destroyed or misplaced and the constitution of the church cannot be given, nor the names of the earliest elders and members.

The house that now (1933) stands on the old meeting ground is the third one erected. The first stood farther back from the road than the present (1933) building. It was a large one-room building made of logs. The second building was made of logs too, which were hewed out on the inside and out. Part of this building was left standing until some years after the present one was erected. The Timber used for the framework of the present building was sawed by Hamp Sutton in Sumter County. All the building except for this framework has since been replaced by new material.

The earliest record found of the church or church activities is that of 1831. Elder Sampson English was pastor of the church at this time and the second log cabin was in use. Elder English came to this county in 1831 from North Carolina, and was immediately called to serve Hepzibah Church. (note: Sampson English earliest residence in Georgia has been determined to be Washington County since the writing of this story). Sampson ably filled his place as pastor of this church until August, 1863.

There has been an old deed found that was made 24 June 1853 between A. Black and Marion County on one part, and Allen E. Sutton and Macon County and the State of Georgia on the part of the Hepzibah Primitive Baptist Church. The land was purchased for five dollars and deeds made out to the church. The land was set aside for the church building and a community burying ground of three & a third acres.

The first list of members that composed the Church are found in 1853 records. Names of the white members then were: Sampson English, Fanny English, James Clark, Nancy Clark, James Burton, James Goan, Elizabeth Clark, Martha Cunningham, Sarah Tyler, Tamer Ann Burk, Melinda McKiney, Joseph McKiney, Anna Reaves, E. P. Partridge, Dorothy Williams, John A. Williams, and Allen Sutton. The members o f color were: Fanna Sutton, Sam Black and Charlot Black.

There were many pastors that served Old Red Hill Church (Hepzibah). Elder Sampson English served the church until October 1863, at which time Elder John R. Respess was called and he served for a year. Then Elder J. G. Murray was called as pastor to serve until October 1878. Elder J. R. Respess was once again called at this time and served until November 1881, and then Elder S. J. English served from then until 1884.

In August 1884, the Church of Hepzibah met in conference and all the members were dismissed, and it was decided to discontinue meetings at this place. The members went from Hepzibah to Bluff Springs Primitive Baptist Church.

Thirty-four years after this conference to discontinue meetings at Hepzibah Church, the members met and decided to hold services there again instead of at Bluff Springs. The members that came to start the church again were: Mary Lizzie English, Bethia English, Elizabeth Park, Irene Athon, Mittie English, Fannie Head, S. J. English, Emma Philips, Ruth Justice, N. W. Athon, G. C. Gilmore, Estella Athon, Pearl Gilmore, W. L. Head, Mr. & Mrs. T. J. Livingston, George Philips, J. A. Adams, C. J. Green & his wife and probably a few others. Elder W. M. Bullard from Phoenix City, Alabama was called to serve the church at this time.

In the thirty-four years that the old house was not used it nearly went to ruin and much repair had to be done before it was ready for services. This work was done and stands at the present (1933) time.

Elder Bullard served as pastor until July 1823 when Elder J. A. Bowen of Collins, Georgia was called to serve the Old Red Hill Church. He ably filled that place from then until the present (1933). The members at this time were: Mary Lizzie English, Bethia English, Elizabeth Park, Irene Athon, Fannie head, S. J. English, Ruth Justice, N. W. Athon, G. C. Gilmore, Estella Athon, Pearl Gilmore, Ruth Head, Jessie Webb, C. D. Athon, Janie Smith, Hilda Matthews, J. W. Aycock, Ella Aycock, Alice Johnson, Carrie Justice, Catherine Bell, Ophelia Ellis, Myrtle Patrick, Mary Edge, Emily English, Irene Slappey, Mrs. Strickland, Tressie Lashley, May Green, David Murray, Frank Head, Della Gibson, Ossie Bell Adams, Mrs. J. W. Green, and Emma Green.

Hepzibah Church belonged to Uptoia Association as far back as there is a record until it discontinued in 1884. Bluff Springs Church also belonged to the Uptoia Association. In 1899 Bluff Springs went to the Harmony Association and is a member of that association at the present time (1933).

 
 

For the exact text see: pages 143-145; "History of Macon County Georgia", by Louise Frederick Hays; 1935. Published by The County Commissioners as The Official History, April 1933; Stein Printing Company, Atlanta, GA


     
     
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