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Washington Presbyterian Church

Submitted by Christina Palmer


Washington Presbyterian Church

July 2007

Historical Marker

Washington Presbyterian Church Marker

in Memory of John O. Haney


Historical Highlights of the Washington Presbyterian Church

  • The Washington Presbyterian Church of Washington, Georgia, date prior to 1790, when John Springer was ordained under a poplar tree on July 22 of that year. One local historian thinks that the Presbyterian congregation dates back to 1785. Written records have been lost. It should be noted that the Reverend John Springer was ordained in Georgia.

  • The sanctuary was built in 1825 as a single room with no chancel, no vestibule, no front porch and no steeple. The two doors leading into the sanctuary were outside doors, one being for the women to enter and one for the men, because they sat on opposite side of the church.

  • The pulpit area (chancel), vestibule, and steeple were added in the 1840's. Many of the original window panes still remain. They can be identified by the distortions in the glass.

  • The Reverend Alexander Hamilton Webster a Presbyterian minister, was the head master of a local academy and supply preacher for the Washington Presbyterian Church when he died in October 1827, due to an epidemic which swept the area. He was buried between the front steps of the church and when the vestibule was added the marble tomb marker was elevated to its present position.

  • The origin and date of the baptismal font is not known, but it is believed to have been placed in the church before 1880.

  • The lamps to either side of the pulpit were oil lamps and date back to the time when the chancel was added. They were converted to electricity and the globes were added early in the 20th century.

  • The sofa and two chairs in the pulpit, the chair in the nave to the left of the pulpit, and the two chairs in the vestibule were given to the church by Adam Leopold Alexander (1803-1882) during his lifetime.

  • The cross hanging in the chancel and the two offering plates on the communion table are recent treasure additions. They are made  of wood from the historic "Presbyterian Poplar," under which the Reverend John Springer was ordained. The plates were given in 1963 by Carl Hopkins and the cross in 1970 by John and Lou Singleton.

  • The "Presbyterian Poplar," under which the Reverend John Springer was ordained in1790 no longer survives. Its location is marked by a granite memorial on Poplar Drive on which an account is given of what occurred under its boughs. Next to it is a bronze marker paced there by the Georgia Historical Commission. These markers are less the 1/2 mile east of the church.

  • The clock on the east wall of the sanctuary is powered b leaf springs rather than the customary coil spring, and dates about 1880.

  • The Hook & Hastings organ is a manual tracker with two tracks and when installed in 1888 was manually pumped by someone sitting in a chair on the east side. It is now powered by air driven by an electric motor. The chair is still sitting in the same corner. The organ was given to the church by Dr. Robert Simpson, its first organist.

  • The fellowship hall and Sunday school rooms were added in 1940.

  • The wooden pegs in the lower parts of the walls were once used to attach the pews to the walls. The pews have since been detached from the walls.

  • The bronze historical marker in front of the church gives a capsule history and lists some prominent Georgians who were members. One was Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy and a life long member of the Washington Presbyterian Church. The Reverend Alexander Hamilton Webster made a profound impression upon Stephens who had no middle name, so he took Webster's middle name for his own and became known as Alexander Hamilton Stephens.

  • The sanctuary is the oldest non-residential building in Washington.

***Courtesy of the Washington Presbyterian Church.


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