First Bryan Baptist Church

Savannah, United States

First Bryan Baptist Church


Historic First Bryan Baptist Church is an African-American church that was organized in Savannah, Georgia, by Andrew Bryan in 1788. Considered to be the Mother Church of Black Baptist, the site was purchased in 1793 by Bryan, a former slave who had also purchased his freedom. The first structure was erected there in 1794. By 1800 the congregation was large enough to split: those at Bryan Street took the name of First African Baptist Church, and Second and Third African Baptist churches were also established. The current sanctuary of First Bryan Baptist Church was constructed in 1873.

George Liele was a slave whose unusual talent and leadership ability was recognized by both black and white people. He converted about 1774, was baptized, and received into the membership of the Baptist church (white) in Burke County, of which Rev. Matthew Moore was pastor. His master, Mr. Henry Sharpe, who was a deacon in this church, permitted George Liele to visit the neighboring plantations along the Savannah River and preach to the slaves. On one of his visits to Brampton, a plantation owned by Mr. Jonathan Bryan, four slaves became converted, were baptized and became the nucleus of the first black missionary Baptist church. These slaves were Andrew Bryan, his wife Hannah, Kate Hogg and Hagar Simpson. This was George Liele's last recorded visit. Andrew Bryan was also talented, and with permission of Mr. Bryan, began to visit the plantations along the river as far as Yamacraw, preaching to black and white person who gathered to hear him. Mr. Edward Davis (white) permitted the worshipers to erect a rough wooden building on his land in Yamacraw.

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