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Taylors Creek campground has rich history
Liberty lore
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The replica of an old covered wagon is parked in front of Pleasant Grove AME church in Hinesville off Highway 84 to remind people that it’s time for the annual camp meeting. I found an article that was written by Otis Stafford and published in the Liberty County Herald on May 17, 1934. I think it is a good description of the old camp meeting days on the Taylor’s Creek Camp Ground that were such a prominent part of Liberty County before Camp Stewart came into being.
“One of the most unique spots in Liberty County is the old Taylor’s Creek Camp Ground. The tile-covered Tabernacle stands in the center of the grounds just on the edge of a grove of hickory trees, surrounded on three sides by rows of unpainted houses called ‘tents.’ The meetings are held annually in October, beginning Friday before the third Sunday and closing the following Tuesday night.
The grounds are lighted by four lanterns also in addition to these stands are erected out in front of some of the tents and fires lighted on them. While under the tent itself, light comes form gasoline torches suspended from the beams and hung about on the various posts supporting the roof. The dim lanterns, the glowing fires and the flickering gasoline torches, together with the gathering twilight, all blend together in perfect harmony with the falling brown leaves, the rustic simplicity of the old Tabernacle and calm peaceful atmosphere that abides in that hallowed spot.”
The Camp Ground originally was settled by the old slave-holders who had their plantations down on the coast but because of the climate were forced to spend their summers in the upper part of the county. Some of these planters built summer homes where the camp ground is now and the place became kind of a resort.
Later, they decided to convert it into a camp ground and Robertson Bird gave part of the land and Newman Bradley gave the other part to the Methodist Conference. The Methodists and Presbyterians held their first camp meeting there in 1812. This cooperation between denominations showed the type of spirit that was prevalent in this section as this was a period in church history when denominations were flying at each others throats.
The Camp Meeting thus begun and has continued unbroken with the exception of the period during the Civil War until this day.
The old time religion was preached and souls were fed and souls converted. The camp still used the old cow horn to call people to worship and the owls hoot there now just the same as long ago. Every one that has been to this camp remembers hearing the concert each morning just before day of the owls and the barking of the many dogs that came along to camp with the tenters.
The camp ground’s general expenses are taken care of through free-will offerings made at the 11 a.m. service Sunday in recognition of the important part the Presbyterians have played in the life of the camp meeting. It is customary for the Presbyterian minister to deliver the 3 p.m. sermon on Sunday.
Naturally, through the years the camp ground has undergone some changes both in appearance and in customs. The old spring has filled up, most of the tents have been replaced and the Tabernacle has been rebuilt. But the spirit and purpose remains unchanged and the camp ground stands today after having weathered the storms of 125 years, a living monument to the religious devotion of generations that have passed.
In 1941, the community of Taylor’s Creek came to an end when it was included in the land bought by the federal government for the installation of Camp Stewart.
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