The Baptist Church at Gillisonville

We headed the long way around to get home. That’s generally the path you take in these parts – the long way – because there are enormous tracts of land that impede your progress along the roadways. There are hunting plantations (hunt clubs, if you will), agricultural establishments, swamps, rivers, marshes, and private lands. 

Sugar and I are headed over to Gillisonville to take a photo of the entrance of Davant Plantation. His cousin Elisabeth had an ancestor who was Evalina Loyer Davant and most probably grew up here, since her father owned it before she was born and during her life until she married Edward Payson Lawton. 

But first we swing into the lot at Gillisonville Baptist. It survived the war when many places did not. 


I met a woman a few weeks ago who moved to a little town in Colleton County. She said she couldn’t figure out why people here were still fighting the war, and that they needed to “get over it”. I told her that I grew up in East Tennessee and the war was not in my conscious thought until I moved to an area where Sherman went through. Firsthand accounts tell if the destruction and fear that swept through with the approach of the troops. The winds carried the smell of sulphur and smoke, the rotting flesh of the animal carcasses, the cries of the people. It was wintertime, almost exactly 151 years ago. I’m cold, but I have access to reliable heat. I’m hungry, but I have access to food at a moment’s notice. I’m alone, but I have Sugar and my children and the animals and the Internet. 

Get over it? Actually, I get it now. 

Let me carve that in your church’s silver and see how you feel now. 

4 Responses to “The Baptist Church at Gillisonville”

  1. Jan Wilberg Says:

    I love your pieces. They always make me want to get on the road and go see.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon Says:

    I don’t get it- the hatred, the prejudice, towards people that were not here for that war, that were born in the ‘north’ because that is where their relatives landed after escaping religious persecution for not being a Catholic. I do not get being called a ‘Yankee Bitch’ simply because I moved into an historic home, trying to save THEIR history, and being met with death threats and animosity and violence. I do not get people embracing a culture of hatred and ignorance, then saying they are Americans. But I am not? Because I was born above the Mason-Dixon line? No, I strongly disagree with your opinion here, Ruth,having first hand experienced the Southern mentality that war never ends, that means violence and anger never ends, hatred is justified towards ME because of SHERMAN! I had nothing to do with it, neither did my people, but I am moving back north. Wallowing in heritage that embraces hatred is not for me, y’all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ruth Rawls Says:

      I meant no disrespect.
      What I was trying to share was that I had a better understanding of what people in this area experienced. Clearly I didn’t do a good job. I grew up in the South and have lived here all my life, but I never saw the physicals scars left on the land until I came here.
      I had no idea you were experiencing an evil, hateful side in your new home. I’m so sorry. That shouldn’t happen to anyone. I feel sick that this happened to you. I can’t even imagine.
      I can delete the post.


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