|WAYCROSS JOURNAL-HERALD, Waycross, Georgia|
Monday, April 22, 1974
HISTORIC KETTLE CREEK IS OLDEST IN COUNTY
The oldest church in Ware County, historic old Kettle
Creek New Congregational Methodist Church, was founded by
Scotch settlers in 1828.
The first building was designed of logs, erected by early
Scotch settlers, but it was later replaced by a frame
building, which was blown down in a storm.
Immediately after the Wilkes massacre by the Indians, a
squad of soldiers were camped on the banks of the creek
near the site of the present church yard grounds. While
there, they found an iron kettle imbedded in the sands of
Through the desire on the part of the soldiers to
memoralized the kettle found in the stream, they named it
"Kettle Creek" hence the name of "Kettle Creek Church"
In the oldest cemetery in Ware County, many of the early
settlers are buried. The first burial took place in
1833, when a Mr. Jones was buried. In this place also
rests the remains of William August McDonald [founder in
1881 of the present Kettle Creek Church] and many of his
Names of many pioneer Ware families are associated with
Kettle Creek. Among these are McDonald, Robinson,
Blackburn, Thomson, Miller, Sweat, Hilliard, Thigpen,
Roland, Barber and McQuaig.
This place was a show place of the early settlers, the
moss covered trees were magnificent, and the aisles
between were wide and green. Here among the graves are a
generation that had laughed, talked and played among the
Another history of Kettle Creek Church state, "Camping on
the banks of Kettle Creek, Ware County men, led by Capt.
David Miller, left to purge the Indians on an order from
the Secretary of War in the early 1780's. Unoticed an
iron kettle was left behind by Miller's quartermaster.
The community is said to have been settled as early as
The first marble tomb was placed over the grave of Capt.
William Miller, a soldier of the Revolutionary War,
Daniel J. Blackburn, teacher of the first school
organized in 1830 on this spot, is buried in Kettle Creek
Other historic graves in the old cemetery are the graves
of General Thomas Hilliard, his young wife, Barbara, and
her Negro servant girl, Delia, who was so devoted to her
mistress that she begged to be buried at her feet.
Kettle Creek has many landmarks. One spiral stone is
erected in memory of the last graves of the Negroes of
the Old South who served their masters who now lie buried
nearby in Kettle Creek Cemetery.
Obediah Barber, along with his three wives and some of
his 18 children, is buried in the cemetery, where an old
stage coach once ran and where the Indians ambushed the
stages and killed the passengers. Barber is a legendary
swamp ioneer and is credited with helping send the
Seminoles out ot the swamp and into Florida.
It was Capt. Cuyler Hilliard, along with Dr. Daniel Lott,
Dr. Benjamin Williams, and William Bailey, all pioneers
of Ware County, who secured land grants on which the
present city of Waycross is now located.
In 1871, Capt. Hilliard, son of a General Hilliard, and
these other men, are said to have laid plans for Waycross
in the South Georgia swampland.
The church has sent out five ministers of the Gospel, M.
N. Sumner, W. P. Leggett, W. A. Sedgwick, Oscar McDonald,
and B. F. Corley.
Pastors of the church who can be remembered include the
following: the Rev. Asa Thompson, Jack Thompson, David
J. Miller, Randal Cason, Joe Taylor, A. L. Green, B. F.
Bryant, M. A. Thigpen, W. L. Sweat, M. N. Sumner, J. S.
Taylor, W. A. Sedgwick, Ward Ray, Oscar McDonald, Wallace
Jernigan, and Julian Walker, the present pastor who has
served the church 13 years.
The Church school was reorganized in 1938 with a
membership of 17, and several months later, with 75
members, four new church school rooms were added.
Presently under construction is a concrete block portion
of the church, which will replace the church school rooms
and this area will be almost as large as the main