First Baptist Church
Louisville, Georgia
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Founding Years


1. The First Baptist Church of Louisville was constituted on June 8, 1844. According to the minutes for the Hephzibah Baptist Association in 1844, it "was noted that a letter was received from the newly constituted church at Louisville, Jefferson County, and upon examination of her faith, she being found orthodox, was admitted into our union."


2. According to A History of Saint George Parish, Colony of Georgia, Jefferson County, State of Georgia (1983), written by Marion Little Durden, a native of Louisville, the founding members of First Baptist were Sherrod Arrington, Frederick Kicklighter, Nathaniel Harriett Lowery, Mrs. Mary A. Kicklighter, Mrs. Henry Battey, Mrs. Dr. Thomas Battey, Mrs. Holt, Mrs. Lumpkin and Mrs. Sikes (first names of the last three were unavailable). Most of these members came from Providence Church or Ozias Church in the Grange community.


3. First Baptist Church began its ministry with 36 members. As of historical interest, of the church membership, 13 were white, and the remaining were slaves. Following the Civil War and prior to many blacks having their own congregations, there were 31 white members and 145 black members within the First Baptist Church membership.


Ministry & Growth


1. First Baptist dedicated its second church building, on Seventh and Walnut Street on Sunday, April, 1893. "That was the day set apart for the dedication of the new and beautiful church, and all looked forward to it with fond anticipations. By ten O'clock the people began to enter the church, and in a short time every seat was occupied. Chairs were secured and every foot of space was occupied." (News and Farmer)  Rev. J. G. Gibson, Rev. G. R. McCall (pastor), and Rev. G. S. Johnston occupied the platform that morning. Seating capacity was approximately 300.


2. In 1924, revival swept the Eastern Central portion of Georgia, as Dr. George W. Truett (1867-1944) came to Louisville. The Georgia Baptist publication, The Christian Index, and the local Louisville newspaper, the News and Farmer, tracked the comings and goings of this great event. Headlines, such as "Outstanding Baptist Preacher of World to Preach Here" caught the eye of the local readers. (News and Farmer)  In a letter from W. R. Sinquefield, Sect.; A. P. Little, Sect.; and W. W. Abbot, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Dr. Truett received the message that "two trains and two bus lines operate on convenient schedules from Wadley to Louisville," thereby assuring that adequate transportation was available for the incoming crowds.


3. In the 1960's, Rev. Grady Summer led the members of First Baptist Church to erect the current building located on 9th and Mulberry.  In the May 1967 edition of the News and Farmer, it was said, "The key to the new First Baptist Church (was) delivered to the chairman of the Building Committee on Sunday, May 21, by the contractor, J. P. Morgan…  The last meeting in the old First Baptist Church (building), which was built in 1893, was an exciting and emotional experience for the members of the congregation on last Sunday. There was a feeling of happiness, joy, a sense of going forward and accomplishment." (News and Farmer)


4. On the fifth Sunday, May 1967, the congregation proceeded from the old church building to the new building, located on 9th and Mulberry. Police chief, Paul Hattaway escorted the congregation. Miss Imogene Achorn cut the ribbon for entry into the new building.  The congregation has continued to serve the Lord and the community of Louisville from there ever since.



Legacy of Leadership

Pastors of First Baptist Church, Louisville, Georgia:

1. J. Huff (1844)
2. C. M. Irwin (1845-1846)
3. J. H. T. Kilpatrick
4. J. Huff (1847-1848)
5. Lawrence Roberts (1848-1849)
6. W. M. Verdery (1849-1854)
7. Joseph Polhill (1855-1856)
8. J. P. Leverett (1857)
9. Joseph Polhill (1858)
10. E. J. Pannel (1859-1860)
11. O. C. Pope (1861)
12. M. P. Cain (1862-1865)
13. T. D. Key (1866)
14. S. L. Roney (1867)
15. M. P. Cain (1868)
16. W. M. Davis (1869)
17. E. R. Carswell (1870)
18. T. J. Cumming (1870-1875)
19. W. T. Holmes (1876)
20. W. L. Kilpatrick (1877-1881)
21. J. H. Carswell (1882)
22. W. M. Verdery (1883-1891)
23. G. R. McCall (1892-1895)
24. W. E. Perryclear (1896-1898)
25. E. Z. F. Golden (1900-1907)
26. J. B. Holley (1908-1909)
27. L. B. Johnson (1910)
28. J. P. Craft (1912-1915)
29. J. Gordon Gunter (1916-1925)
30. W. M. Marshall (1926-1933)
31. Henry J. Stokes (1934-1938)
32. H. E. Gaddy (1938-1941)
33. Thad Persons (1942-1943)
34. B. C. McWhorter (1944-1951)
35. Henry J. Gambrell (1952-1958)
36. Grady H. Summer (1958-1986)
37. Harry Armstrong, PhD (1987-1991)
38. J. C. Farrington, Ed.D. (1991-1996)
39. Freddie W. Williford (1997-2000)
40. Larry Montgomery (2001-2008)
41. Hardy G. Owens (2009-2012)
42. Jonathan L. Witt (2013-2018)
43. Jonathan M. Melchior (2019-Present)

Ministers of Music

Spencer Beckum (1973-1974)

Bobby J. Carson (1974-1977)

William T. Smith (1978-2016)

John J. Russell (2018-Present)