Salem Baptist Church
Photo courtesy of J. W. Henson
Salem Baptist Church
Member of the Catoosa Baptist Association
Located in Northeastern Catoosa County, Georgia
Copyright by JWHenson 1997
The young Salem “Peace” Church’s History points back to 1840 when a group of believers were meeting in the home of Brittian Williams who owned the property where the present Church now stands in northeast Catoosa County. Official organization was recorded in 1847, and in 1852 two Shaw brothers started erecting a church, finishing it the next year. On March 11, 1854 Brittian Williams deeded the land to the Church. He pastored the Church until the Civil War started in 1861. During the war and reconstruction era it is unknown if the congregation was active, as there are no records for that period. Record keeping resumed in 1880. At this time the Church met every fourth Saturday afternoon for business meetings, and a regular monthly preaching every fourth Sunday. School was held in the Church until a two roomed schoolhouse was built to the north of and adjacent to the Church. The original building was torn down in 1905 and a larger church built.
Enlargements and renovations occurred regularly. In 1925 wings were added the either side of the building. Electricity was first used on August 9, 1936. In 1948 a basement was dug for a heating system. Three classrooms were added to the back lower level in 1951. Above this a choir loft with a classroom one either side was added. On the front an open vestibule was erected. The pulpit and mourner’s bench were made by Rev. Edward Wittler. Additional cemetery space was purchased in 1954. 1957 brought renovation to the interior of the Church along with stained glass windows. A Hammond organ was installed in 1963, and four years later a Hammond piano purchased. A pastorium was started in 1968, and dedicated at 2:30 pm May 4, 1969,siding, and in July of that year Mr. and Ms. George Watts donated the Ronald Watts Memorial Building in memory of their son. It was built adjacent to the south side of the Church.
A list of the pastors with the approximate year that they came to the Salem Church follows: Brittian Williams pre-Civil War; William Haddock 1882; Huffaker 1884; Martin Clonts 1885; Parrot 1887; Henry Neal 1889; Tom Hardin 1890; W.H. Boyd 1897;
William McNabb 1900; J.M. Cash 1903; J.H. Blaylock 1903; W.E. Davis 1904: W.C. Tallant 1905: Dan Quinn 1907: W.C. Tallant 1907: W.B. Watkms 1908: J.B Fuller 1911: A.M. Stancel 1914: W.J. Darnell 1915; H.A. Winstead 1917; J. Pruette 1920: E.C. Harris 1921; J.N. Padgett 1923: W.C. Howard 1925; S.W. Lord 1926; S.R. Stansbury 1928; W.C. Tallant 1929; A.F. Smith 1930: S.W. Lord 1931; Hiram Ward 1933; Cecil Clonts 1934; J.L. Marlow 1938; P.S. Woody 1939; A.M. Thomas 1941; Frank Harper 1943: F.A. Nelms 1947; Edward Wittier 1952; Carl Gilreath 1953; George Godfrey 1956; R.W. Nicholson 1957; Reece Knight 1959; L.A. Lowery 1961; Ramon Clark 1964; B.C. Bowman 1968; J.R. Kilgore 1969; Willie Kinsey 1971; John Smith 1973; Ray Warren 1974; Steve Tingle 1979: Ruel Fincher 1985; Michael Deems 1986; C.E. Blevins 1989; John Parker 1990; Herman Kapherr 1996. Dates are unknown for these pastors: John London, Charles London, Press Longley, and A.L. Stulce.
Submitted by John W. Henson III