Blackshear Presbyterian Church
Blackshear PC History submitted by Mary Lott Walker, May 21, 2006
As we celebrate the 134th year of our church and our first Kirkin’ of the Tartans, we are gratefully and reverently aware of the many Christian men and women who, all through the history of the church, worked to extend the ministry of Jesus Christ and left a Godly heritage for us to follow.
At a meeting of the Savannah Presbytery on April 11, 1872, a petition was presented by John C. Nicholls, attorney-at-law, for the stated purpose of organizing a Presbyterian Church in Blackshear “if the way be clear.”
A petition was approved by the Savannah Presbytery and on May 18, 1872, the Blackshear Presbyterian Church was organized as the tenth church in the Presbytery.
Ten charter members: Dr. Andrew M. Moore, Sarah “Sallie” Stone Moore (Mrs. Andrew M.), Namie Nicholls (Mrs. John C.), Mrs. Georgia Day, Mrs. Harry Reppard, Dr. Henry J. Smith, Sophie Hall Smith (Mrs. Henry J.), Mrs. D. H. Campbell, Janet (Mrs. Benjamin Daniel) Brantley, and Margaret Brantley; The Rev. Richard Quarterman Way was first pastor (1873-1875 and 1883-1886, retired missionary from China). (Rev. Way gave bell in church steeple.); Sanctuary was completed in October 1874 (oldest sanctuary in city). architect: George Gaines, contractor: William Armitage; land given by John C. Nicholls; first two elders Dr. Andrew M. Moore and Dr. Henry J. Smith; first deacon Jeptha L. Milton; Cedar trees planted by Sophie Hall Smith. Sunday School was organized in 1874. Dr. Andrew M. Moore was first Sunday School superintendent and first clerk of session. In 1888, John Calhoun Nicholls became the third elder and Benjamin Duncan Brantley became the second deacon.
In 1930, 1931, 1950, 1951, 1982, new additions were built on the church.
In 1901, under the leadership of The Rev. William Hunter, and brothers, Archie, Benny, and Johnny Brantley, the church persuaded the Savannah Presbytery to establish a boarding school, the Presbyterial Institute, in Blackshear. PI was one of five accredited high schools in the state and was operated by the Presbytery until 1913. (This building faces Main Street and College Avenue.)
The church is like a river forever flowing and changing, constantly being renewed by God’s Grace. With His continued blessings, the Blackshear Presbyterian Church will continue to serve this community and Jesus Christ’s kingdom.