Philadelphia Free Will Baptist Church - Charlton County, GA

Early in 1887 in Charlton County, Georgia, Rev. Welch, a Free Will Baptist preacher, and Newton Roddenberry discussed creating Philadelphia Free Will Baptist Church.  The church accepted the articles of faith, covenant and the constitution of the Southern Baptist Association on October 4, 1890.  The first meetings were held in a small twelve by eighteen foot school house located where the present church now stands.  Sometimes the church could not hold all the people who came for services, so they met at an old mill-pond near the school building and held services on the bank of the creek. Newton Roddenberry donated a half acre of land to the church; in 1896 Lee Chancey, Solie Chancey, and W.W. Davis cut logs, then J.J. Mattox sawed lumber to build the first church. Later, in 1947, Mrs. Susie Roddenberry gave the property adjoining the church. The total amount owned by the congregation in 1.3 acres. The picture of the church building was taken around 1917.  On the far left side is Newton Roddenberry.


In 1956, the church decided to build a new church, made of blocks. The old church was rolled on logs to the back of the lot so that the new building could be erected on the site of the old one. In the 1960s, James Roddenberry purchased the old church building; he and his sons dismantled it and used part of the materials in the construction of the subflooring and the porches of the James and Bernice Roddenberry home which is located on the Newton Roddenberry homeplace near the church.  The members voted the build a social hall on the back of the church in 1986; the total cost for this long room was $2,283.49.  A steeple was added in 1973.