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Greenwood Baptist Church

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Name: Greenwood Baptist Church [uncertain]
Date: 1784
Location: Wilkes County, Georgiamap
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From Allan L. Bentley

GREENWOOD CHURCH was established 1784 in East Wilkes County under the name "Upton Creek Church" reputedly as an arm of old Keokee, first Baptist church in Georgia. After a few years it was moved eastward a few miles, though still in Wilkes County, and its name changed to Greenwood. That was about 1791 and in 1820 it was moved again to its present location in Lincoln County. Old records do not name any heads of the Church other than its pastors.
Letter of J. Luke Burdett, Washington, Georgia, March 22, 1935.
"If you remember, Upton Creek, the first name of Greenwood church, has more real historic connections than any place in Georgia. It was on this creek that the first water power, or any kind of power, was started in 1790. In 1791 Eli WHITNEY bought the old mill dam and wheel, built his shop and invented the cotton gin, and ginned the first bale of cotton in the United States."
"In 1810, the first cotton factory south of Massachusetts was built there and the old rock pile is still there, where the old house fell down. On this creek the rich Jew, Abram SIMONS, whose money founded Mercer University, lived." [ His widow married Jesse MERCER. ]
NOTE: This is not where the cotton gin was first invented, but Eli Whitney did use this place to develop a patentable improvement.

From Jesse Mercer

"History of the Georgia Baptist Association," Jesse Mercer, p.19.
In the following year, 1784, Upton's Creek Chuch was constituted. It was situated in the lower part of Wilkes, and went by the name of Upton's Creek for some time, but upon building a new and convenient Meeting-house some miles below, in a pine wood, thus surrounded by evergreens, it received the style of GREENWOOD, by which it is still known. By whom this Church was founded we know not, but doubtless it was constituted of members from the Kiokee Church, and formed under her auspices. Here the Rev. PETER SMITH was settled soon after the war closed, and it is altogether probable that he was instrumental in the formation of the Church. -- He was the first Pastor. In a short time, however, Mr. Smith removed to the State of Ohio, where he ended his career.

From Clinton J. Perryman

History of Lincoln County, Georgia, Clinton J. Perryman, pp. 32,146-148.
  • GREENWOOD. In 1784 this church, the sixth Baptist Church in the state, and then known as Upton's Creek, was constituted in the southern part of Wilkes County. A few years later, it was moved several miles eastward and its name changed to "Greenwood."
  • About 1820 it was moved two miles further east into Lincoln County, its present location . . .

Bicentennial Celebration

1784-1984 Bicentennial Celebration Greenwood Baptist Church, Amity Community, Lincolnton, Georgia.
  • Historical notes compiled by Hazel Bentley Eubanks.
1784 - Church instituted with Peter SMITH Pastor. Originally named Upton's Creek Baptist Church.
1785 - Deacons: John BENTLEY and Benedict HAMMOCK
1791 - John HOLMES ordained a Minister
1807 - Captain Isaac WELBORN and Esquire William QUINN chosen as trustees to act in building a meetinghouse.
1810 - John HAMMOCK ordained a Minister
1811 - Trustees elected:
  • John H. WALKER
  • William MONCRIEF
  • John HAMMOCK.
1833 - Messengers from the Church voted with the Association on the founding of Mercer Institute at Penfield.
  • Trustees: John BENTLEY, Richard T. Holiday, Dennis PASCHAL, Samuel WRIGHT and Benjamin BENTLEY
  • Authorized a parcel of Church land to be sold to Allen HOLIDAY
Note from Allan Bentley: John and Benjamin Bentley were both sons of Balaam.

More Notes from Allan L. Bentley

  • Captain Isaac WELBORN was the brother of Abner WELBORN who married Martha RENDER. Their parents were William WELLBORN born in 1733 in Roway (Rowan Co. ?), North Carolina and Hepsibeth STEARNS born about 1737 in Roway, North Carolina.
  • Rachel GARTRELL, daughter of Francis GARTRELL and sister to Elizabeth GARTRELL, married John WELLBORN in Wilkes County, Georgia. Elizabeth GARTRELL married Lewis BENTLEY, brother of John BENTLEY.
  • George ZELLNER's son, Andrew ZELLNER, married Rebecca HOLMES daughter of Benjamin HOLMES and his 2nd. wife Mary HUGHES. His son Arnold ZELLNER married Elizabeth "Betsey" Holmes daughter of Benjamin Holmes and his 1st wife Elizabeth GARRETT. Benjamin HOLMES is the brother of John Josiah HOLMES, Jr. who was ordained a Minister of the Greenwood Baptist Church in 1791. John J. HOLMES, Jr. was the husband of Chloe BENTLEY. His [ <George|Andrew|Arnold>'s ] daughter Barbary ZELLNER married William W. T. BENTLEY.
  • In 1807 Captain Isaac WELBORN, along with Esquire William QUINN, were chosen as trustees to build the new Greenwood Church "meetinghouse". Isaac Wellborn is thought to have been a Lt. during the Revolutionary War from Orange County, North Carolina; born 30 JAN 1758 and died 22 JAN 1839 in Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama. His wife was Mary "Molly" BURTON born 1758 in Faquier County, Virginia. The parents of Isaac were William WELBORN, born 1733 in WIlkes County, North Carolina and his wife, Hepzibah STERNS, born 1733 in North Carolina. They had children: (1) Shelton, (2) Isaac Sterns, (3) Mary, (4) William, (5) Elias, (6) Nancy, and (7) Levicy.
  • He moved to Georgia then to Madison Co., Alabama where he died. He was the oldest son of William Wellborn and Hepzibah and the executor of their wills. The 1850 Census of Madison Co., Ala. shows a Mary Wellborn, born in Virginia, age 93 (widow of Isaac), Elias Wellborn, age 54, born in Georgia, Fanny Wellborn, age 46 born in Georgia, Isaac age 17, Elias age 13, Robert age 11, and Samuel age 7, all born in Alabama, also Sally M. Wilbern age 59 born in Virginia with Fred, Martha, Rebecca, and Nathaniel all born in Alabama, as well as William Wellborn, age 30, and Daniel Wellborn, age 22, both born in Alabama.
"Wilkes County, Georgia Deed Books A-VV" by Mikal Martin Farmer
Deed Book A, p.42
  • 24 September 1785 -- Gideon ANDERSON of Wilkes County, to Deacons of the Baptist Society of the Uptons Creek meeting house, John BENTLEY and Benedict HAMMOCK or their successors, for the good will which ANDERSON bears to the Christian religion and to mankind in general, for 5 shillings, where the Uptons Creek meeting house now stands and 2 acres, with liberty and priviledges of the water and spring.
  • (signed) Gideon ANDERSON.
  • Witnesses: Peter SMITH, Mark SAUNDERS, Benjamin CATCHING, J. P.
  • If the meeting house should later not be used by the Society, then ANDERSON or his heirs would retain the 2 acres.
  • Recorded 27 September 1785
  • Benjamin Catching, C.W.C.
"Wilkes County, Georgia Deed Books A-VV" by Mikal Martin Farmer
Deed Book MM, 1794-1795, p.471
  • 25 April 1795 -- Peter SMITH to the Deacons of the Baptist Church at Greenwood, for 5 shillings paid by Deacons John BENTLEY and Thomas LEVERITT, for love and good will he has to the church and worship of God, part of 420 acres patented to said SMITH on Lloyds Creek waters, North of Spring Branch, 200 acres including present Greenwood Meeting House and Spring.
  • (signed) Peter SMITH.
  • Plat: adjacent North by HAMBRICK, East by Vacant, North West by GREEN, West and South by old tract.
  • Witness: B. CATCHING, J.P
  • Registered 26 April 1795.


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