Ramah Baptist Church possesses a rich history, starting in 1826 when Luther Rice preached to a group gathered in the home of Larkin Dunn near Palmetto. Rice traveled the country--mostly by horseback-- preaching about God, raising funds for missions and Christian education, and promoting the organization of American Baptists. In league with several other traveling evangelists such as Adiel Sherwood, he preached a message of revival, change, and hope to much of the United States, and especially in the southern states.
Rice often told stories of his journey as a missionary to India in 1812 as well as his adventurous travels in America. He had a relentless passion for sharing Christ and no doubt inspired the families who would become the charter members of Ramah.
Land had opened for settlers, homes had opened for worshippers, and next a great revival would open hearts. In September of 1827, Baptist minister Adiel Sherwood preached to 4,000 people filling the churchyard of Antioch Baptist Church in Morgan County, Georgia. A revival began that swept through Georgia converting 16,000 non-believers in two years. The number of Baptist churches in the state increased from 72 in 1800 to 1,182 by 1850. Ramah was numbered among these newly founded churches, built from many of those initially present in the home of Larkin Dunn.
It is unfortunate that we do not have many records of the first 38 years of Ramah. That record book was most likely destroyed when Union soldiers burned the business district of Palmetto in 1864 during the Civil War. However, the record of organization still exists along with six articles of faith and twenty rules of church government. Thus, “The Baptist Church of Christ at Ramah” was formally organized.
There are also property deeds showing that 2 ½ acres of land were donated to the church by Robert Jackson, one of the early church leaders. The first church building was established here in 1828. It was a one-room log house “near a bold spring and crossroads of two rails, one from Macon, the other running from LaGrange to Atlanta.” This log cabin stood from 1829-1851, at which point, Lord Pierce Sewell built a new church house which stood until 1906. In 1906, a third sanctuary was built from granite from the Stone Mountain quarry. This building is known as the Chapel now. In 1984, the Ramah congregation voted to build a new sanctuary to support their growing numbers, and the current worship center was built to stand next to the Chapel.
To put Ramah’s 1828 birth into perspective, the nation itself was only 52 years old. John Quincy Adams was president, and there were only 24 states in the Union at this time. The War of 1812 was barely 17 years past, the Civil War had yet to happen. The people who founded Ramah were in many ways the first and second generations of American citizens in a country of their own.
Ramah was also the site of the only public burial ground in the Old Campbell County area until 1872 when Floral Hill Cemetery, a mile south of Ramah, was organized. Because of this, Ramah’s cemetery contains the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers, Civil War Confederate soldiers, unmarked slaves, the charter members of the church, and many others.
Ramah Baptist Church has been blessed with a rich history, continued and maintained by the congregations who have lived and died as faithful servants of God in this body of believers.
*All information and most of the text was taken from the 175th Homecoming Reflections book. Some text and information has been altered or omitted for web browsing purposes.
From these humble but beautiful beginnings, Ramah Baptist Church has continued to uphold the initial traditions of the founding members, specifically in our goals and core beliefs. Find out more on Our Beliefs page.