Mt. Horeb Baptist Church will hold a special Fourth Sunday Service on August 23 to commemorate 100 years of the annual gathering in August. Those who are familiar with the old Worth County church may find it curious that Mt. Horeb is holding a centennial celebration in 2015 when the church was constituted back in 1848. However, this 100th gathering marks another unusual milestone in the church’s history. Mt. Horeb Church was built on the Flint River in the former Dooly County, and moved to its present location some 20 years later in 1868. According to information provided by Mrs. Nel Thompson, the original site of the church was a stagecoach community called Pindertown along a stretch of road connecting Milledgeville and Tallahassee. Across the river from the area’s only post office sat one of the largest Native American settlements in the country.
In the 1830s, a church was erected and named Rocky Mount, but in 1838, a division in the Georgia Baptist
Association caused members of this original church to go their separate ways. In 1848, eight members of the original church formed Mt. Horeb, and in 1853, Worth County was formed.
Though the church’s congregation had grown to over 160 by 1865, the original structure burned soon after. In 1868, Mrs. Celia Evelyn Sutton Ross Buckalew donated land near Abrams Creek for the church to be rebuilt as a memorial to her late husband James F. Buckalew. In October of that year, the Houston Baptist Association meeting was held in the newly constructed Mt. Horeb, and the church continued uninterrupted for the next 30 years.
However, information compiled by Mrs. Thompson indicates that an outbreak of Hemorrhagic Fever caused by mosquitoes and poor drinking water caused many to leave the area. Around 1902, church services ceased and the building and cemetery began to deteriorate for several years. In 1914, Mrs. Nettie Hall Woolard and Mr. Robert M. Deariso called the descendents of the original members together, and the group decided to meet annually on the fourth Sunday in August. Deariso, the grandson of Mrs. Buckalew re-recorded the deed on September 8, 1915 as a matter of public record. Thus, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the inaugural Fourth Sunday service.
According to Thompson, “Mt. Horeb Church looks much the same today as it did in its glory days. We sit in the same pews our ancestors used and hear the same words of faith preached from the same pulpit they did… People with family names that appear in the records of Rocky Mount, Old Mt. Horeb, and Mt. Horeb Churches –Buckalew, Tison, Ross, Vines, Forehand, Ridley, Cox, Hall, Joiner – join together with the ghosts of the past on every fourth Sunday in August in the fellowship of ‘love to the cause of Christ.’”