First Presbyterian Church of St. Mary's

First Presbyterian Church of St. MarysThe First Presbyterian Church of St. Mary's starts its history as a Union Church when, in 1808, many Camden residents such as the Floyds, Seagroves, Sadlers, Copps, and Atwaters came together to build a non-denomination house of worship.

In 1822, the Union Church became a Presbyterian Church.  The Presbyterian Church's first minister was Horace S. Pratt, who later built Orange Hall across the street.  In 1828, this church was incorporated by an act of Georgia Legislature.

During the Civil War, Union troops occupying St. Marys tried, and failed, to burn the old church.  Renovations were carried out in 1880.  In 1956, fire did destroy the bell tower.  Repairs were made at that time and the church remains today.Stairs of First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys

This Presbyterian Church remains the oldest in Georgia.  In addition, it remains the oldest church, of any denomination, still in continuous use, in all of Georgia.

Three people are buried beside the old church.  Jane T. Wood Pratt, first wife of Horace S. Pratt and daughter of John and Laleah WoodJohn and Laleah are also buried here.

"Incorportated under the name of the Independent Presbyterian Church of St. Marys Dec. 20, 1828.  On Dec. 5, 1832, the Independent Church was incorporated as the First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys in the Georgia Presbytery."

I do not know the date this tale was supposed to happen but.... Once upon a time, smugglers were trying to think of a diversion to get the townspeople away from where they had plans to sneak out of the port.  So they found the pastor's horse and led it up into the bell tower of the Presbyterian Church.  The horse caused such a fuss about being stuck a couple of stories up in a church that the townsfolk came out to see what was going on.  Seeing the horse in such a sorry state, the townspeople immediately came together to try to get the poor creature down.  Once it was down and people returned to their previous business, they were surprised to find that the ships had snuck out!

 

Inside of First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys Graves Behind First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys
Marker for First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys Inscription of marker reads:  "Built by public subscription in 1808 as a place of divine worship for the inhabitants of St. Marys and its vicinity, Reverend Horace Southworth Pratt was ordained and installed as the first pastor by the Presbytery of Georgia in June, 1822.

Christmas 1999 Photo Album:

First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys Nighttime at the First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys

Living Nativity at the First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys
 

Living Nativity at the First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys
 

 

 

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