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New Hope for '1825 Hopeful Primitive Church' as restoration begins

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Fayette, a county in Georgia, was created on May 15, 1821. It was named for the Marquis de Lafayette who was considered a hero during the American Revolution.

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He was born in France on September 6, 1757 and died May 20, 1834. He played an important role in the “War for Independence.” He supported the principles of those who wanted freedom from England and their constitutional principles. He called on other nations to follow the American example.

Nine years before his death there was a little Baptist church built in Fayette County, Georgia. This year, 2014 marked the 189th anniversary of this little church which is still standing as it was when it was built in 1825.

But sadly, it is barely standing. The county was only four years old when it was built. Needless to say, time has taken its toll on the little wooden structure where many ancestors in the county worshiped.

But like they say, “They don’t build ‘em like they used to.” The building is sitting on hand hewn beams. It was built to last.

The citizens of Fayette County treasure their history and landmarks. It is the home of the well known Starr’s Mill which was built on land received in the 1821 land lottery. According to Jeff Bishop of the Times-Herald, the original mill was built during the time that the Creek and Cherokee Indians still lived in that part of what would become Georgia.

Hopeful Primitive Baptist Church was built during this historic time in history, and even though it no longer has services, it is still a treasure to the county.

Since there are no longer any members living, the property was recently deeded to the community center across the street, and restoration has begun on the church.

The Citizen Newspaper quoted Dean Breest as saying,

“Saturday, Jan. 4, was the start of efforts for 2014 to see this amazing icon of Fayette County saved, restored and preserved for future generations,” said Dean Breest, a member of the 1825 Committee to Preserve Hopeful. “Work was started at 9:30 a.m. and continued throughout the day until 3:30 p.m. Fayette citizens from across the county showed up individually and in small groups to work raking, cutting, burning, clearing and hauling off large truckloads of undergrowth and small trees from the church graveyard.“

It is an impressive architectural, single room, 1,100 square foot structure that the committee believes should to be saved, said Mrs. Judy Chastain, Committee Chairwoman.

As one of their fundraisers, they are selling small cubes of cedar cut from a huge century old tree. The cemetery out back is the final resting place of pioneers who settled the county and served in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, and WWII. The historic wood is limited if you are interested in getting an actual piece of Fayette County History. As the overgrowth and debris were removed more graves appeared. A Ground Penetrating Radar System was used to identify other graves.

For more photos of the restoration, you may wish to follow them on their Facebook Page.Hopeful 1825 – 2014.

The photos in the slideshow are courtesy of Breest Photography.

Anecdote:

While living only a few miles from this church, Patricia Walston, was unaware of the existence of the church and the history for which it stands.

Patricia will have a book coming out before the end of the year called, “Sunday Meetin’ Time.” and is based on a series written in this column five years ago.

Oddly, enough the opening chapter is called, “The Worn Out Church.”

In looking for photos to include in this book about a country farmer/preacher, his church, his family, and his community, she received a weekly e-mail from The Citizen Newspaper about the efforts of volunteers to save Hopeful Primitive Baptist Church.

And there it was; the perfect church and story for her book. The committee to save the church gave permission for photos with this article and for several of the church to be included the upcoming book. The wonders of God never cease.

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