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Church stood against Sunday school

Liberty lore

POSTED: January 6, 2014 11:00 p.m.

The following biography is taken from “A Record of Prominent Baptists” by the Rev. John Craig. It was written in the 1800s.
“Rev. Lewis Price Jr., son of Lewis and Mary Hope Price, was born in Liberty County, Ga., on Dec. 25, 1828. (Lewis Sr. married Sarah Broadax the second time. He was the father of 15 children.) For a period reaching from his birth to his eighth year, Lewis Jr.’s father resided near the Okefenokee Swamp, but was compelled, because of the Indians, to abandon the new home and return to the old. With this exception, his boyhood and youth were passed in a section of his native county that was almost destitute of school advantages and of the ‘public means of grace.’
“When about 21 years of age, Lewis Price Jr. united with Gum Branch Primitive Church in that section of the county where he lived. The church was anti-mission. (In 1933, Gum Branch Primitive Baptist Church was organized out of Beards Creek Primitive Baptist Church and was the first church organized in the community. In 1838, the first church building was erected.) Two years later, Lewis scarcely was able to read. Realizing his ignorance and thirsting for education, he left his father’s house in 1851 and entered an academy in another portion of the county, conducted by Dr. John W. Farmer, where he remained until forced by failing health and want of means to leave. This school was the Tranquil Academy at the Flemington Presbyterian Church. The tuition charged was $5 for two quarters and later was raised to $7.50. During the year he spent at this institution, Lewis enjoyed the privileges of Sunday school instruction for the first time in his life. It was one that was maintained in the vicinity by a pious Presbyterian gentleman. On returning home, he was disciplined by the church for attending Sunday school, though the church later allowed one to be formed in its house of worship. It was expelled from its association for that offense but eventually was received by a Missionary Baptist Association.”
(In the “Gum Branch Baptist Church History,” as compiled by Mrs. Lois Hodges, there is a different account of Lewis’ schooling. It reads, “During the Civil War, Primitive Baptist Churches in Liberty Churches were particularly harsh with their members. Lewis became a member of this church at the age of 21. Then he left and attended Jones Creek Academy and while there attended Jones Creek Baptist Church, which was established in 1810. When he returned home, he was expelled from Gum Branch Church because they did not condone Sunday school.”)
Now we’ll go back to “A Record of Prominent Baptists.”
“In 1854, Lewis Price Jr. became a pupil in a good school in Effingham County taught by a Mr. Brewer, where he prosecuted his studies, including the languages, for two years with the intention of preparing himself for a course in Mercer University. But these hopes were not to be realized. In 1856, he received from the Marion Board of the Southern Baptist Convention an appointment as missionary to the Florida coast and was ordained to the ministry. He remained on the coast. While in Florida, he married Miss Sarah Frances Geiger on Dec. 27, 1858. Their union was crowned with eight children who appreciated the training of their Christian parents. (After Sarah’s death in April of 1890, Lewis married Ellen Eugenia Canvet in December of the same year and they had two daughters.)
“When hostilities broke out, Lewis returned to Georgia and served his old church in Gum Branch for two years as pastor from 1860-61. There was no music in the worship service in 1858 and the congregation had an ongoing debate over whether to adopt the Primitive Baptist religious custom of ‘foot washing.’ After leaving Gum Branch, Lewis settled in Bryan County and for many years acted as pastor of South Salem Church. At present (in 1880), he is teaching school though not abandoning the ministry. As a preacher, he is fervent in exhorting the churches to every good work and is earnest in his appeals to sinners to flee from the wrath to come.”
Lewis died March 1, 1894, at the age of 65, and was buried in Baggs Cemetery in Long County. He was a member of the Altamaha Lodge 227, F & A.M. It has been said that he was a good husband and a good neighbor. Really, he was a good and noble man. He was twice married and lived happily with each wife. Brother Price was 65 years of age, and we do not think any man spent more of his life doing more good than the subject of this sketch. The Masonic Lodge mourned the death of its beloved brother but feels that he joined that lodge above, where he rests from his labors and is forever in peace and happiness. The usual tribute of respect was paid to Lewis by the fraternity on May 20, 1894, at his grave near Johnston Station in Ludowici.
Lewis Price Jr. was the uncle of Judge Mel Price of Long County. Mel’s daughter, Sadie, married Sheriff Brown Jones of Long County. Mel’s stepson was Frank McClelland Sr., who was Ludowici Police Chief for many years and died on Christmas Day in 2010.

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