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
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