Cloverdale Baptist Church located on Cloverdale Road near Rising Fawn, Georgia, was organized on September 28, 1883. The first organizational meeting was held in the Cloverdale School. The church was organized as a missionary Baptist church and a member of the Coosa Baptist Association. There were sixteen charter members present at this organizational meeting. They were L.N. Brock, John F. Amos, Henry M.C. Johnson, J.F. Lewis, Almira Harp, Dr. and Mrs. Lumpkin, Elizabeth Johnson, Sarah E. Johnson, W.A Taylor, Tynia Forester, Julia Amos, Betty, Amos, John Free, Julia O’Neal, and Elizabeth Moreland. J.H. Glazner was elected moderator and L.N. Brock was elected clerk. Three documents were adopted at this first meeting to guide the newly established church: the rules of decorum, order of business and the articles of faith and gospel order.

In November of 1883 the church’s first permanent leaders were elected. The first pastor was L.N. Brock; H.M.C. Johnson was the first deacon and Y.J. Moreland was elected church clerk.

Church services were held in the Cloverdale School building for three years. Then in 1886 a new building was constructed across the road from the school. The building was built on property given by Martha Ann Beckham Bolick with the stipulation that the property revert to the Beckham family if there should cease to be a church on the site. In 1946 four Sunday school rooms were added at the rear of the sanctuary, and then in 1955 two more at the front. In 1972 the white frame building was completely renovated inside and out and given a new brick veneer. This was done when Gurney Beard was pastor. Finally, under the pastorate of Rev. Bill Mason, a fellowship hall was added on to the back of the building. Regular worship was held in this church building until June 29, 1995 when the structure was destroyed by fire in the early hours of the morning.

From 1883 to 1905 the church met one weekend a month. Conference was held on Saturday and a worship service on Sunday morning. The present day church has two services a week, along with the monthly business meeting.

Missions have been an important part of Cloverdale’s church work from the beginning. As a member of the Coosa Baptist Association and later the Lookout Valley Association, Cloverdale has made regular contributions through the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Many leaders have emerged during Cloverdale’s 112-year history. H.M.C. Johnson was a charter member and the first deacon. He served on many committees and was elected as a delegate to the associational meeting many times. Y.J. Moreland was the first permanent clerk and also served as a deacon. G.A.R. Bible served as church clerk from 1887 to 1910. Mrs. Edith Bible and Mrs. Louellis Riddle revived Sunday school at Cloverdale. In more recent years, church members remember fondly, Bro. Pyron Lambert, chairman of the deacon board for many years, who died in 1976. Harold Forester, who died in 2003 was chairman of the deacon board and served as a deacon at Cloverdale Baptist Church for forty-eight years.

Music has a strong tradition at Cloverdale. The first organ was purchased in 1928. Serving as choir directors for many years at Cloverdale were Cicero Forester and Pat Baugh. Edna Baugh served as pianist for both. Currently the choir director is Steve Baugh; pianist, Linda Wilson, and organist, Patsy Cannon. An annual All-day Singing is a long-standing tradition at Cloverdale. For many years this singing was directed by John Warren.

Other annual events at Cloverdale Baptist Church are the Christmas program and Vacation Bible School.

The congregation at Cloverdale Baptist Church has been blessed with many fine pastors. They are as follows, in order from 1883 to the present: L.N. Brock, T.C. Tucker, W.D. Wilder, J.H. Glazner, J.B.F. Higgins, S.F. Aiken, J.A. Matthis, J.M.S. Higgins, F.A. Bell, A.P.Burgess, W.R. Hamic, T.R. Hulsy, S.N. Hamic, D.C. Forester, J.M. Gibbs, B.A. Gregory, S.N. Hamic, J.J. Smith, J.W. Abercrombie, Henry C. Smith, Fred Ellis, E.L. Mayfield, Charles Barton, F.M. Gregg, E.S. Greggs, William Steele, Von Crawford, T.C. Nelson (two times), William Slatton, Von Crawford, John Harris, Paul Howell (two times), A.E. Bell, Guy D. Elliott, Edd Kelly, James Tate, Ed Autry, Charles Webb, Claude Putnam ( two times), Ray Cosper, E.E. Kelly, Donald Moreland, Gurney Beard, Danny Pike, Bill Mason, Jerry Pope, Larry Forester, Rick Bailey, Dale Wallace, Steve Townson, and Charles Edmonds.

About 3:30 AM on the morning of June 29, 1995 a fire was reported at Cloverdale Baptist Church by a passing motorist. The South Dade Fire Department responded quickly, but the building was too far gone to save. It was a total loss. The following Sunday, the congregation met at the site of the burned building. After recounting many fond memories from the old church building, the members resolved to rebuild the church. In the months following, the new church has gone up quickly, with many generous donations of money and labor from sister churches, neighbors and friends. Church members along with other volunteers have done most of the work on the new church. The congregation was able to begin meeting in the new building in late February of 1996 and a dedication service was held April 21, 1996.

The records of Cloverdale Baptist Church from its organization in 1883 are still in existence and are kept in a safe deposit box. Recently, the early records were microfilmed (about the first 70 years) and a copy of that microfilm record can be found at the Dade County Public Library.

April 1996

  1. Danny Hartline

    J F Lewis was my great grand father. My other great grandfather, William Thomas (Tommy) Hartline was a circuit rider Missionary Baptist preacher from the area as well.

  2. verenicehawkins

    Are you related to Clark Lewis? If so his ancestor Henry Johnson was the first deacon at Cloverdale

  3. Danny Hartline

    Clark Lewis is my 1st cousin once removed. His father, Sidney, was my grandmother’s brother. My great grandfather was John Benjamin Franklin Lewis. Paralee Lewis Bible’s father.My other great grandfather was a missionary baptist circuit rider preacher, William Thomas (Tommy) Hartline I believe he is also buried in the Bible Cemetary unmarked.

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