Sunday, January 6, 2008
Campbellton Baptist Church
Located on State Highway 2 in the Jackson County town of Campbellton, the Campbellton Baptist Church houses the oldest Baptist congregation in Florida and was an important landmark during the Civil War raid on Marianna.
Originally called the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, the church was founded in 1825 and its history might surprise many who are interested in the antebellum and Civil War history of the South. Church records indicate that fellowship in the congregation was not limited to whites or certain social classes. Rich, poor, black, white, slave and free all participated in the fellowship.
The current wooden building was constructed in 1858 and the name of the church was changed from Bethlehem to Campbellton Baptist in 1859.
A centerpiece of the town of Campbellton, the church was an important meeting location during the Civil War years. The town square and muster ground of Captain A.R. Godwin's Campbellton Cavalry was only a few blocks from the church. During the 1864 raid on Marianna by Federal troops, legend holds that minor skirmishing took place on the grounds around the church as Godwin's men exchanged shots with the lead elements of the Union column commanded by Brig. Gen. Alexander Asboth.
Asboth's men camped on the grounds of the church on the night of September 26, 1864, before moving on to the Battle of Marianna the next day.