Old Friendship Baptist Church

Old Friendship Baptist Church

The Church was organized in 1853 by slaves with the help of Rev. John Jennings. Their first place of worship was a Brush Arbor built on one half acre of land donated by Mr. Jim Hardage, a plantation owner. The slaves worshipped in the Brush Arbor from 1854 to 1865. Rev. Jennings was given the land by his former master. They built a one room log church with a dirt floor and wooden shutters for windows. *

A white clapboard building was built later to replace the original log structure and served its membership for over 100 years.

Around 1910 – 1913 a windstorm destroyed the roof. Faced with rebuilding the church, some of the members thought the church should have a less isolated location and a new frame church which is still standing, was built on Villa Rica Road (corner of Friendship Church Road), less than two miles from the original church. The church split its membership over the issue with half of its members staying at the old site and the other half moving to the new one. **

Many of the members would not move because they saw their church as being built on sacred ground with historical roots that should not be forgotten. The church had its beginnings in the 1850s when a slave named Jennings held worship services in a brush arbor on the planation where he lived. When he was freed, he was given three acres which he used to build a church for his people and which he said should always be used as church grounds. **

The members led a three-year campaign in 1967 to replace this old clapboard church building. The church building was rebuilt in 1970 with Rev.R. E. Henley as Pastor.


Then in 1975 tragedy struck when the new church building was gutted by fire. The fire was thought to have been started by a faulty stove in the basement, gutted the basement. For the next eight years, services were held at the Lemon Street School in Marietta. **

Through hard work and many donations by the members, friends, churches and businesses in the community, a new building was realized, rebuilt and dedicated in July of 1983. This would be the second time many of its members were to celebrate moving into a new church building. Even though the church was now ready for worship services, there was still expensive brickwork remains to be completed and the basement still needed to be finished. **

In December of 1999, the members of the church burned its $30,000 mortgage, symbolizing freedom from debt and a chance for new beginnings at a service on Friendship Church Road off Casteel Road and Dallas Highway. ***

Old Friendship Baptist church is the oldest black (African-American) church in Cobb County.


* Information found on a picture of the Old Friendship Baptist Church located in the Black History Room at the Seven Springs Museum

** Old newspaper article from The Marietta Daily Journal dated Friday, July 1, 1983. Information from article of interviews of members of the church. “Old Friendship Baptist to Celebrate Church Building”, by Tucker McQueen, staff writer. The full article on file at Seven Springs Museum.

*** Old newspaper article from The Marietta Daily Journal dated Monday, December 20, 1999. Information from article of interviews of members of the church. “Burning away an old debt” by Lisa Borello, staff writer. The full article on file at Seven Springs Museum.

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery About 1889

The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery is located on Brownsville Road in Powder Springs and adjacent to the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1867 after the Civil War when the blacks were led by the spirit of Christ to look for new hope in their religious life separated from the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church which was a white membership church. They worshiped under a brush arbor for three years before a church site was obtained. Once a site was obtained and the donation of a barn was made to them by Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, a plank church was built. It is the oldest black membership church in Powder Springs.

Part of the property was set aside to be used as a cemetery for the families of their church.

The earliest marked burial is dated June 10, 1889 and is that of Tom Middlebrooks who was born June 18, 1885. He was three years old.

The next burial is dated November 12, 1891 and is that of ReverendC. B. Rucker who was born on January 17, 1834. Reverend Rucker was the Founder of the Friendship Baptist Sunday School Convention.

On September 15, 1894 Sterling Penn was laid to rest. Mr. Penn was born on February 8, 1876.

In the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery are buried some of the faithful members of their church and the community in which they lived.

They came to help settle the area, farm, open and operate businesses, work and live in Powder Springs. Some are Veterans who served in the Military during war and peace times. Many were also Pastors, Deacons, Deacon’s wives who served their church and community well through the years. Others worked for or labored on the Railroad.

A few of the family names buried here are Austin’s, Florence’s, Hunt’s, Middlebrooks’, Penn’s, Radford’s, Waldon’s, Ware’s, Watts’, Weddington’s, Young’s and more.

Pastors: Rev. Christine Penn Brooks (1926–2009) daughter of Luke Penn (1889-1969) and Charity Young Penn (1896-1962). Rev. J. H. Glaze (? – 1971). Rev. Samuel Hembree (1920-1993). Rev. Grover McKey (1909- 1972) Veteran of World War II serving as a GA PVT. Rev. Alexander A. Penn (1843-1931) father of Luke Penn (1889-1969) and husband of Bunch Penn (1853-1937).

Rev. Alexander A. Penn (1893-1960) a moderator of the Friendship Association.

Deacons: H.W. Waldon (1903-1990). C. J. (or G. J) Weddington (1900-1993). John Holcomb (? – 1975). Grover C. Watts, Sr. (? – 1961). Samuel C. Young (1888-1939). Grady Arnold (1906-1971). Dud Florence (1875-1953). Will Waldon (1875-1950). C. W. Weddington (1876-1971).

Trustees: M. (Melvin) Bostic (1929-2003). R. (Rufus) Ware, Jr. (1943-2013). William Watts (1936-1998) coached baseball for both girls and boys with his brother Lionel. O.L. (Ottis Lamar) Watts (1929-1978) was a Veteran of Korea serving as a SP3 – USA.

Harvey Young (1929-1986) at one time owned ‘The Cafe’ in the flats during the late 1940’s to 1986. Mr. Young was also a sponsor of the Clarkdale Eagles Baseball Team for many years.

Archie Watson Young (1917-2001) was active in the church serving as a Deacon and working in the children’s educational programs and activities. Mr. Young was a former Atlanta Black Crackers baseball player. His first job (at 14) was at the Coats and Clark Thread Mill Factory. He later worked as a Porter at Southern Railway, retiring after 37 years of service. Mr. Young would take time off to continue to play with the baseball league. However, in 1937, after the Atlanta Black Crackers joined the Negro American League and won the second-half title of the split season that year, Young chose to quit the team following an ultimatum from his superiors at Southern Railway. He continued to play baseball for semi-professional teams in Powder Springs into his 30’s. He umpired high school games and taught baseball to children at his church. Young once served as a vice president of the Cobb County branch of the NAACP in the 1980’s. The NAACP honored Mr. Young as at the winner of the Elder Youth Achievement Award in 2001 not long before he passed away.

Luke Penn (1889-1969) was a longtime custodian at the Powder Springs Elementary School. A meeting room at the Powder Springs Library is named in his honor for his service to the school and community.

Sisters Rena (1906-2001) and Ethel Clark (1913-1993) started a popular local baking business producing fried pies, regular pies and cakes. Rena’s daughter (and Ethel’s niece), Willie G. Watts, learned to make fried pies to carry on the tradition.

Ethel Clark also helped establish and build the Church of God in Christ which was located on Long Street in Powder Springs.

Melvin Austin (1922-1966) played baseball with the Clarkdale Eagles. He went on to play semi-professional baseball with the Atlanta Black Crackers. Mr. Austin was also a Veteran of World War II in the US Army.

Agnes Mae Walden Austin (1883-1960) and Pocious Armour White (1876-1953) were both midwifes to the black and white communities.

Bartow Edward “Edd” Griggs (1870-1954) a grave digger.

Christopher B. Evans (1878-1963) was a longtime principal of one of the early black schools located across the Seaboard Railroad on Old Lost Mountain Road during the 1890’s and early 1900’s. His wife, Rosebud H. Evans (1887-1949), was his assistant teacher.

Lionel Watts (1929-1986) played professional baseball for the Georgia Cracker League. He was recognized by the National Baseball Congress of America as an all-star player for several years. In 1969 they selected him for the All-League Baseball Team for the Georgia Cracker League honoring him with a Certificate of Merit. Mr. Watts also coached baseball for both girls and boys with his brother William. He was a Deacon in his church.

Hattie White (1900-1993) was a beloved member of the community best known for her Easter Egg Hunts. It was a community event each Easter that brought family and friends in the neighborhood together. She hid the eggs.

When Long Street was divided into lots in the early 1950’s, the deed book recorded it as the Minnie Holcomb Subdivision, who was a longtime resident there. Minnie Holcomb passed away in 1950.

There are also numerous Veterans from various wars buried here. These are only a few of those Veterans. A “Thank You” always to all our Veterans no matter when or how they served their country whether it be in war time or peace time.

World War I – Archie Tate (1898-1966) GA PVT USA; Matthew Florence (1892-1976) CPL USA; Watson Young (?-1934) GA PVT 5-14 Engrs.;
Bud McCoy (?-1944) GA PVT 54-9 Sev BN Engrs Corps; Frank Hallman (1886-1947) NYMA 1C USNR1; Eliza Wall (1894-1981) PVT USA; Lucius Ellington (1894-1917) GA PFC 826 Co TC; Early Holcomb (1896- 1947) PFC 53-9 Engrs and Alexander Penn (1893-1960) GA CPL CoC 441 Res Labor BN OMC.

World War II – William C. Moss (1919-2006) STMI US Coast Guard; Edward Stiles (1907-1976) USA; George Florence (1912-1960) GA TEC 4 USA; Carlee Alexander (1915-1979) TEC 5 USA; brothers Comer L. Austin (1923-1977) PVT USA and Leroy Austin (1917-1968) USA; Willie F. Brackins (1913-1993) USA; Samuel T. McClarin (1903-1992) USA; Charles Augustine Meeks (1927-1998) US Army; James Slack (1919- 1992) 1st LT US Army and Forrest Holcomb (1914-1979) CPL USA.

Korea – Andrew Jackson Austin (1930-2005) USA; Emerson Phillips (1927-1980) PFC USA; Willie Clarence Clark (1927-1979) SP3 USA; Andrew Jackson Penn (1929-1972) Sgt GA 23 AAA BN; Amos C. Barnes (1929-1984) USA; Benjamin F. Penn (1935-1980) CSI USN; Cornelius Walts (1930 1997) PVT US Army and Archie Watson Young, Jr. (1934- 1983) US Air Force.

Vietnam – Clifford J. Robinson (1954-1981) USA; William Dewey Clark (1948-2000) USA and Fred E. Reed (1945-1983) PFC US Army.

Other Veterans – Henry Waldon, Jr. (1932-2016) SGT US Army; Otis Waldon, Sr. (1933-2013) SGT US Army; Willie James Wiley, Jr. (1987- 2008) PFC US Army and Perry Harold Clonts (1951-1993) CPL USA.

All those buried here have, in some way, all through their lives and their families, helped make their communities a better place to live for all generations.

The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery currently has approximately 480 to 500 graves. The Cemetery is still in use today in 2019.

Note: Information on the history of the church, community and its people were taken from “The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 1867 – 1976, 1st Annual Souvenir Book” published by the church in 1976 and “Powder Springs Has Some Deep Roots In It” an Oral History……” published in 2009 by the University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA. Some information came from interviews and research done through the years by Sarah Frances Miller, Virginia Tapp and Patti Briel. All this information and copies of these books are on file with the Seven Springs Historical Society at the Seven Springs Museum.

Church of God of Prophecy Cemetery

Powder Springs, Georgia

The Church of God of Prophecy Cemetery was established in 1960 and is located behind the Powder Springs Christian Fellowship Center at 4050 Austell-Powder Springs Road. This was the original Church of God Prophecy built in 1960. The cemetery backs up to the Methodist Cemetery.

The first burial was in December of 1960 of Eric Glenn Gilmer, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Lamar Gilmer.

The Church of God of Prophecy was organized in 1937. Their first church was built below Clarkdale in 1939-40. They sold that property and built a new church building in Powder Springs at 4050 Austell-Powder Springs Road in 1959-60. Ralph E. Bryant was pastor.

The church later built a new home just down the street at 4263 Austell-Powder Springs Road. Their original building is now used as Powder Springs Christian Fellowship Center.

In the Church of God Cemetery are buries church members and their families.

There are two graves at the edge of the woods on the right as you enter the cemetery. Alfonso D. Thompkins (1874-1949) and Fanny G. Thompkins (1895-1970). These graves are part of the Methodist Cemetery and not the Church of God Cemetery.

Charter Members of the Church: Elsie Ingram Hembree (1900-1980) and James Homer Hembree (1895-1972).

Members of the Building Committee 1959-1960: T. W. “Dutch” Ballew (1896-1970), Chairman; C. M. (Clyde Miron) Elsberry (1920-1984) also a WWII Veteran and Ernest J. Gordon (1989-1975).

Pastor of Church of God: Reverend Clifton L. Summerall, Sr. (1922-2011) beloved Minister who served twice. His wife, Ida Belle Spear Summerall(1923-2003) is buried by his side.

Annie Jane Summerall Herrin (1942-2015) who served as church Clerk/Treasurer, Sunday School Teacher and Praise and Worship Leader. She retired from Bank of America in Austell after thirty-five years of service.

Annie Mary Gordon (1914-2006) retired spinner from Coats and Clark in Clarkdale.

Marcie Hembree Hooks (1941-2013) retired from Richs-Macys after twenty-three years as secretary.

Marilyn Minter Ingram Stephens (1937-2013) served in the Music Ministry of the church for over sixty years.

There are also several Veterans from various wars buried here. These listed here are some of those Veterans. A “Thank You” always to all our Veterans no matter when or how they served their country.

World War II – C. B. Cleveland (1903-2000); James Wilson Griffin, Sr. (1925-1978); Jackson Edward Barnett (1926-2007); Howard Grady Bell (1918-1973); Ides William Gramling (1920-1993); Howard P. Pharr (1920-1981); Earl Neil White (1920-1999) and Rufus Lowell White (1917-2005). Earl Neil White and Rufus Lowell White were brothers.

Korea – Doyle F. Minter (1933-1975).

Vietname – Ken Murray (1933-1995).

There are memorial markers honoring the lives and families that are buried here in their final resting place.

The Church of God Cemetery has between 90-100 graves.

The cemetery is sometimes referred to as the Powder Springs Christian Fellowship Cemetery.

Al those buried here have left our community a better place to live, touching many lives along the way.

Note: The history of the church was taken from the information compiled by Annie Mary Gordon and Doris Hembree Gramling in the 1980s and 90s at the request of Sarah Frances Miller and Virginia Tapp. The information these two ladies provided are part of the archives of the Seven Springs Historical Society and housed at the Seven Springs Museum at the Bodiford House. We are indebted to these two gracious ladies for sharing this with us.

Historic Baptist Cemetery, Powder Springs, 1840

The Baptist Cemetery was established in 1840 and is the oldest cemetery in Powder Springs. It is located downtown on the corner of Jackson Way and Pineview Drive.

The earliest marked burial is dated 1840 and is that of the infant daughter of W. Jaud Kiser, one month and 26 days. Her mother was Nancy Kiser.

According to “The History of the First Baptist Church of Powder Springs, GA” by Virginia Tapp, the Springville Baptist Church building “stood on the edge of the Baptist Cemetery on a hill just off the Old Lost Mountain Road. The lot was donated by Mr. D. R. Turner”. The First Baptist Church was originally named the Springville Baptist Church which was originally part of the Primitive Baptist Church in Powder Springs.

In the Baptist Cemetery are buried a number of the pioneer families of Powder Springs. There are Butner’s, Baggett’s, Compton’s, Goodwin’s, Hardy’s, Kiser’s, Landrum’s, Lindley’s, Ragsdale’s, Rice’s and more. Some were merchants of various trades, others were farmers, pastors, doctors and just regular town folks.

Elijah Ragsdale (1798-1858) was one of six charter members of the Springville Baptist Church. Reverend Parker M. Rice (1801-1853) was the first pastor of the Springville Baptist Church. Della Boswell Kuykendall (1875-1963) was the first telephone exchange night operator in Powder Springs for nine years.

There are several Veterans from various wars buried here, also. War of 1812 – Elijah Ragsdale (1778-1858) and James F. Blackstock, Jr. (1789-1852). War Between the States (American Civil War) – Joseph K. Moon, CSA, (1820-1870). Spanish American War – David B. Lindholm (1872-1914).World War II – Florence W. Neese (1917-1989) and Arthur Parks (1918-1953). Vietnam – Kenneth Lamar Newton (1945-2016).

The last burial was in 1979 until 2002, 2015, 2016 with one each.

There is a large open area in the Cemetery that does not have any markers that would identify graves in the area. However, the indentions in the earth appeared to indicate that there were burials here. In 2017 The Seven Springs Historical Society took on a project to have this area studied to help determine if there were actually unmarked graves in this area of the Baptist Cemetery.

The Historical Society contracted with Omega Mapping Services in December of 2017 to have this area surveyed by using ground penetrating radar. In January 2018, Len Strozier of Omega Mapping Services came out and did this survey. Several members of the Historical Society met Len at the Cemetery.

In the process he identified 135 unmarked graves, marking them with orange flags. Some of the graves were buried deeper than usual indicating much earlier burials than 1840 and could possibly be Indian Burials. Powder Springs has a history of Cherokee and Creek tribes living in the area. Numerous artifacts have also be found verifying their presence.

Len has provided the Historical Society and the Seven Springs Museum with maps and a CD with his findings. These maps mark the spots where burials are located. Once the Historical Society received these maps, Holland Supply was then contacted about ordering these markers.

The Historical Society then purchased 135 lot markers from Holland Supply. These markers are 3½ inch stainless steel discs and 10 inch zinc coated carriage bolts or pins.

In late March of 2018, several members of the Historical Society met at the Cemetery and installed these markers. The markers lie flat on the ground and will not interfere with the normal maintenance off the Cemetery. They can later be located by metal detectors.

The Seven Springs Historical Society plan to place a marker recognizing that these 135 burial sites are now identified and marked for future generations. The Society also plans to erect a sign identifying the Cemetery as the Baptist Cemetery.

Photos by Stan Kaady