Rev. Timothy's Ministry


Rev. Timothy Carrington's Ministry

The following narrative of Rev. Timothy's career as a Baptist minister was researched and contributed by one of his 4th great granddaughters (through son, Osborne), Diane Carrington Bradford.

In addition to farming his land, Timothy Carrington became a Baptist minister after settling in Georgia. Nothing was ever found to indicate he was a minister or even a church member while living in Virginia or North Carolina. Georgia Baptist Association records in the Baptist Archives housed at Mercer University, Macon, Georgia, indicated that Rev. Timothy served several churches over a 31-year span:

Carrington, Timothy: Clarks Station 1788 Millstone 1790 Georgia
Assoc. 1788-- Ord. by 1790 Clouds Creek 1792
Asplund 1790 Ord. Millstone, Wilkes Co. [later Oglethorpe Co.]
Sarepta Assoc. had written circular letter
in 1803 Skull Shoals in Elbert Co. 1804 Sarepta
Assoc. 1804 Asked to write letter to Bethel Assoc.
S.C. 1804 Messenger to Georgia Assoc.

[verbatim excerpt from the "List of Baptist Ministers and the Churches They Served," a reference list compiled for use of the librarians in the Special Collections Room at the Tarver Library, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.]

In the minutes of the various association meetings of 1788, 1790, 1792 and 1793, the names of the ordained ministers always were printed in CAPITALS, the unordained preachers were in italics. and delegates to the meeting were in plain type. In 1788 Rev. Timothy's name was in plain type indicating he was simply a lay delegate to the Georgia Association meeting at Clark's Station. In 1790 his name was in all caps indicating he was the ordained minister representing his pastorate at Millstone Baptist, and in 1792 and 1793, his pastorate at Cloud's Creek.

Timothy worked as an an unordained licentiate preacher at Clark's Station Baptist Church in 1788 in Wilkes County, Georgia. According to the meeting minutes the church had 37 members. He was also a lay delegate to the Georgia Association Meeting that year along with Rev. Matthew Talbot, pastor of Clarks Station Baptist, Stephen Johnson, Thomas Gilbert and Godfrey Hartsfield.

Timothy was ordained a minister of the gospel at Millstone Baptist Church by 1790 in Wilkes County, Georgia. That part of Wilkes County became Oglethorpe County on December 19, 1793.

A History of the Georgia Baptist Association, by Jesse Mercer [Washington, GA, 1838, reprinted by the Georgia Baptist Association, Washington, GA, in 1980, p 21] stated that the minutes of the association meeting held in October 1788 at Clark's Station Baptist Church showed that 31 churches were represented and there were 20 ministers and 12 licentiates in attendance. The minutes of the association meeting held in October 1792 at Fishing Creek Baptist Church in Wilkes, County, GA, indicated that the number of associate churches had increased to 56 and the number of ordained ministers increased by 17, including Rev. Timothy Carrington [p 28].

In 1790 the State of Georgia had nine (9) counties and there were 35 Baptist churches serving 2,406 members. One of those churches was Millstone Creek (organized in 1786 in Wilkes County) with Pastor Timothy Carrington. According to the Minutes of the Georgia Association Meeting held at Reed's Creek on Oct 16, 1790, Millstone Baptist Church had 51 members that year, one member was baptized and 2 were "received by letter" [when they joined the church]. Delegates to the Association meeting were Rev. Timothy Carrington, pastor, James Dye and Jesse Willingham. [The Annual Register of the Baptist Denomination in North America by John Asplund. (Baptist Historical Society Library, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia)].

Click to view a larger imageTimothy served as pastor Of Cloud's Creek Baptist Church in 1792 and 1793 in Wilkes County, Georgia. In 1792 Rev. Timothy Carrington was the only delegate from Cloud's Creek to the Georgia Association Meeting. That year he reported that the church had 57 members, two of which were received by baptism and six were received by letter. In 1793 Rev. Timothy Carrington, pastor, and Isaiah Hales, a licensed preacher, were the Cloud's Creek delegates to the Georgia Association meeting. He reported a membership of 53, of which 3 were baptized, 7 were received by letter, and 3 were excommunicated.

In 1794 Timothy Carrington was listed as pastor of Cloud's Creek Baptist Church. Membership figures reported were 1790-35, 1791-43, 1792-51. [Ibid.]

Click to view a larger imageCloud's Creek Baptist Church was organized Sep 20, 1788 with charter members: Jos. Embrey, Robertson Hendon, Thos. Hendon, Jimmy Smith, William Hendon, Benjamin Staniford, William Lawrence, Ruben Johnson, Thos. Johnson, Abel Gower, Benjamin Tribble, Adam Simmons, Timothy Carrington, Isaiah Hales, Rachel Embry, Elizabeth Hendon, Casandra Hendon, Elizabeth Hendon (No. 2), Keronhappuch Olive, Mary Bridges, Lyda Johnson, Penelope Johnson, Rhoda Lawrence, Tabitha Simillion and Rachel Staniford.

Timothy Carrington and Isaiah Hales were both later ordained as Baptist ministers.

Today there is a bronze plaque on the front exterior wall of the church by the front door listing all the charter members. (See the Cloud's Creek Baptist Church Web site for more information on the church. Use "back" button to return to this page. )

Although the church records did not include the names of pastors prior to 1805, Rev. Timothy apparently remained as pastor at Cloud's Creek until January 1803 when he helped found and became the first pastor at Scull Shoals Baptist, later renamed Lystra Baptist. The "List of Baptist Ministers and the Churches They Served" from the Georgia Baptist Archives does not show him as pastor of any other church between 1792 and 1803.

From Georgia Genealogical Gems: A gathering of articles previously published in the NGSQ, (no author listed. Washington, DC: National Genealogical Society, 1981, p 55)—Rev. Timothy Carrington and 171 others pled for mercy to the governor on behalf of Elijah Pope of Oglethorpe County. No date was given, but from 1793 to 1800, Timothy and the others signed the following petition:

"To His Excellency George Mathew, Esq. Governor In & Over the State of Georgia
The petition of sundry inhabitants of the County of Oglethorpe Humbly sheweth
That whereas a Certain Elijah Pope at Leestown was by jury found guilty of horse burgary [sic] and recommended to mercy, we your petitioners Hope therefore that your Hounours brest (sic) will have the same Feeling & Extend mercy as fare [sic] as your Wisdom shall seem correct & your petitioners As in duty bound will ever pray etc."

At the association meeting held in October 1795 at Shoal Creek Meeting House, the minutes indicated that "a delegation consisting of the Brethren James Mathews, Benjamin Moseley, Guy Smith, John Milner, Abraham Marshall, Timothy Carrington, and James Spratlin, was appointed to examine into a difficulty between Powels Creek and Long Creek of Ogeechee, on the one part, and Little Ogeechee on the other, and to report at the next meeting." This source does not state whether or not such a report was made at the meeting in 1796. [A History of the Georgia Baptist Association, by Jesse Mercer (Washington, GA, 1838, reprinted by the Georgia Baptist Association, Washington, GA, in 1980, p 21)]

In 1798 eight churches withdrew from the Georgia Baptist Association—Shoal Creek, Doves Creek, Van's Creek, Holly Springs, Cabin Creek, Millstone, Trail Creek and Nail's Creek. In October 1799 delegates from those eight churches met at Van's Creek Church in Elbert County and formed the Sarepta Baptist Association.

The second session of the Sarepta Association was held at Millstone Baptist Church in 1800, and records show that "Cloud's Creek Church came in with her letter from the Georgia Association...," making nine churches in all. In 1803 the Sarepta Association met at Cloud's Creek Church and Rev. Timothy Carrington was a delegate and helped write a Circular Letter.

Click to view a larger imageTimothy was a cofounder and the first minister, and he and wife, Winney, were charter members of Scull Shoals Baptist Church, which was constituted January 15, 1803, at Scull Shoals in Elbert County, Georgia. At left is an image of the original Minutes listing the charter members.

In 1804 Rev. Timothy Carrington was again a delegate to the Sarepta Association meeting. He was asked to write a letter to the Bethel Association in South Carolina. He was also a messenger from the Sarepta Association to the Georgia Association meeting.

In 1807 the Sarepta Association met at Shoals Creek in Elbert County, and Rev. Timothy Carrington gave the introductory sermon [a very high honor].

According to the History of the Baptist Denomination in North America by David Benedict, Rev. Timothy was still pastor of Scull Shoals Baptist Church in 1813. The church minutes dated Sep. 12, 1819, recorded that Timothy was relieved of duty because of age, and he died in September 1822. The church minutes of May 6, 1826, still listed Winnifred Carrington as a member.


Click to view a larger imageAlthough Rev. Timothy Carrington was no longer pastor after 1819 and probably never actually preached in the new church building erected in Madison County, Georgia in 1820, he was closely identified with the Lystra Primitive Baptist Church since he was a charter member and the first pastor in the original Scull Shoals location. According to architects, "the [new] building, built in 1820, contains unique architectural features such as one-piece ax-hewn beams, dentil molding, L-shaped corners and wood pegs. In certain spots, original wood flooring is visible under more recent flooring."

Click to view a larger imageThe Primitive Baptists were "known as 'foot-washing Baptists' because of the annual practice of following biblical admonitions to 'wash one another's feet'. This denomination is characterized by a strong adherence to the doctrine of predestination. At one time two sets of benches were positioned on both sides of the church - one for women and one for men. The benches have long disappeared to vandals or to those who acquired them legitimately from the church. The church's cemetery contains many old graves, some dating back to the 1700s. 1973 marked the last use of the church. Howard Parham [the last surviving member] presented the deed to the building and attending 9 acres to Charlotte Bond, president of the Madison County Heritage Foundation.

Lystra Church was a topic in the Foxfire 7 book, and was featured in several newspaper articles over the years. The original church at Scull Shoals in Elbert County burned down in 1819 and the replacement church also had a tragic demise as detailed in the following newspaper articles.

The Madison County Journal, April 6, 1994

"THE HISTORY OF OLD LYSTRA," by Frank Gillispie

In 1803, the Skull Shoals Primitive Baptist Church was founded in an area that was formerly Elbert County near Bowman. In 1819 the church burned, forcing the members to meet in their homes until a new building could be constructed.

In 1820 a new building was constructed in the newly formed Madison County nearer the homes of the members. The name was changed to "Lystra," from the town in which St. Paul healed a cripple man and then had to stop people from worshipping him as a God. Paul stated that "We also are men of like passions with you and preach unto you that ye should turn from 'these vanities' unto the Living God..." (Acts, Ch. 14).

Lystra Church was built without adornments. It was a simple frame structure with hand hewn timbers set on field stones. The pulpit was simply ornamented with dentil work around the upper edge. It had sounding boards behind and above it. The rest of the interior building was left with beams and rafters exposed.

The framing was assembled using a mortise and tenon construction technique. In this system, the joints were placed together, a hole bored through the joint and a wooden peg driven through the hole, locking the joint together.

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Due to declining membership, the congregation was dissolved in 1973.

In 1988, Howard Parham, the last surviving member of the church deeded the property to the Madison County Heritage Foundation. The deed contained only one restriction: "No religious services are to be conducted that exposes a doctrine other that Primitive Baptist doctrine. Marriages and funerals are excepted from this restriction."

Due to the isolated location of the building, and persistent stories of ghosts, vandals had severely damaged the building. Doors and windows were ripped away and large holes knocked in the sides of the building. Graffiti including Satanic messages was spray painted inside and outside of the building. At times, motorcycles had been taken inside and used to do "wheelies" on the fragile floor.

>The final destruction of the building occurred Wednesday night, March 30, at app 6:30 when someone set the building afire, burning it to the ground.

The Madison County Journal, Wed., April 6, 1994, Front Page


Seven local teenagers are being charged by the Madison County Sheriff's Office for starting the fire that destroyed Old Lystra Church last week. Among those charged are three 13 year old girls, and boys ages 14, 15, 16 and 18 year old Cheyenne Berry Graham of Route 2 Carlton. They will be charged with First Degree Arson, and 34 counts of Damage to Property/Vandalism.
The teens, who were out of school for Spring Break, had spent the day riding around and drinking. They decided to burn the old church for kicks. They pushed over 34 tombstones before lighting the fire.

At press time, six of the teens had been taken into custody. One of the girls was visiting in Florida and will be back later in the week.

Sheriff Jack Fortson immediately offered a $500 reward from his own pocket for information on the fire. Other citizens called and offered to contribute to the reward fund, which grew to $10,600. Over the weekend, numerous leads were reported to the Sheriff's office, including calls from two of the people involved, according to Fortson. He pointed out that the suspects cannot be given a reward for turning themselves in. "We will evaluate all the information received to see if any of the reward money will be paid," Fortson said.

The church was constructed in 1820 by early settlers who had moved from Elbert County. The congregation was disbanded in 1973. In March of 1988, the building and land were given to the Madison County Heritage Foundation by the last surviving trustee, Mr. Howard Parham. The Foundation had planned to restore the building to be used by the community for family reunions and as a wedding chapel.

Because it was built using a mortise and tenon system of construction, a system of fastening the hand cut frame together with wooden pegs, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Over the years, the isolated structure developed a reputation as a haunted church. Young men took delight in bringing dates to the site to scare them. In recent years the building became a target for vandals. It was damaged repeatedly by having its doors, windows, and sides torn out. At one point, someone took a motorcycle inside to do "wheelies." In several instances, Satanic symbols were painted on the floor, walls and window shutters. Graffiti was spray painted on much of the outside.

As a result of the fire, the roof, floor and walls were destroyed. Most of the framing was heavily charred. However, many of the joints with the holes and pegs are still visible. Also visible are many hand-made nails used to put on siding and shingles. The pews and pulpit had been removed from the building and stored in a safe location.

The Madison County Journal, April 6, 1994, p. 4

"FRANKLY SPEAKING," by Frank Gillispie

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36

Last week, a group believed to be teenage vandals, burned Old Lystra, Madison County's oldest standing church building, and pushed over or broke forty or more tombstones in the old church cemetery. Vandals have been attacking and defacing the old building with satanic symbols for several years, and a number of people, including the writer, had issued repeated warnings that the building was in danger. Now it is totally destroyed.

The loss was a major one for Madison County. The building was highly significant, both historically and architecturally. But its loss is most important because it illustrates a major flaw that has developed in our society.

Lystra was built in 1820 to house a Primitive Baptist Congregation that had been meeting in private homes. Listed among its members were the ancestors of many of Madison County's most established families. Many of those ancestors are buried in the large cemetery that partly surrounds the building site.

It was built of hand hewn timber framing using the mortise and tenon system. It contained a pulpit with a sealed back and ceiling that served as a sounding board. The remainder of the framing was exposed. The building was listed on the National Register of Significant Buildings. Truly, Madison County has lost a valuable part of its heritage and history.

The loss of Old Lystra illustrates a major problem that has developed in our society. We have stopped being responsible for our children. Instead, we devote all our time to making more money, and grabbing more power for ourselves. People today feel they are deprived unless they have all the latest gadgets, a house bigger than the neighbors, and a prestige car. They spend so much time working on those goals that they neglect their most important duty, raising their children.

Others have as their goal, boosting their social and political power. They want to display their importance to the community by forcing their opinions on others. They are more concerned with pushing their political ideas than they are in protecting such valuable things as old church buildings. In both cases, they appear to be going all out to gain the whole world.

Those people who had the responsibility to protect Old Lystra didn't have the time or inclination to take the necessary actions. They were too busy at their jobs, or they couldn't agree on who was in charge, or they didn't want to allow new people to join their organizations. It might reduce their sense of power. The political leaders of the county felt other things were more important, because they increased their political power. The few people who tried simply didn't have the resources necessary to guard the building.

Because too many of our people are concerned with gaining the whole world, Madison County has lost a part of its soul.

NEXT: Descendants of Rev. Timothy Carrington (generation one)

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