Congregational Church

Congregational Church

Congregational Church

A Congregational church was organized in Georgia in 1793 by Rev. Mr. Smith, a missionary.  It is recorded that the first sermon preached in Georgia was by Rev. Mr. Murdock, of Saybrook, Ct. supposed to be the same who afterward became professor of languages in the University of Vermont.  The provision in the grant or charter of the town that one of the equal or seventy shares into which the town was to be divided should be set apart for the “first settled minister of the gospel” in the town was to cause some controversy.  While the majority of the people were unalterably opposed to the support of preaching by a tax, there were very many of them willing to do so for a short time, “on probation with a view to settlement,” in hope to drive a sharp bargain and induce the minister to accept one lot of land and deed the remainder back to the town.  The church, if it chose to do so, could have settled a minister who would have held the land, and the town would have had no legal control of the matter whatever; in the town.  A considerable number  of probationers were hired between 1793 and 1803, six of whom received calls to settle, and either of whom, so far as appears, might have been settled but for the exaction in regard to the land.  In one case the town voted to permit the minister, Rev. Josiah Prentiss, to retain 200 acres and deed to the town the remainder of the right, but being absent, before he had time to act upon the proposal, the vote was rescinded and the amount of land which he might retain again fixed at 100 acres.  But after ten years of most bitter strife over this question a minister was found who accepted the terms of the town, as appears by the following extract from the record of a town meeting held on the first Monday of April, 1803, the thirty-fifth in which it had been considered.  “Voted, to give Mr. Publius Virgilius Booge a call to settle in the gospel ministry, in and over the Congregational Church and people of the of Georgia–83 voting in the affirmative and 35 neuters who should not oppose, but who wished for longer and more particular acquaintance with Mr. Booge. “voted, 5thly, to give mr. Publius V. Booge 75 pounds the first year of his settlement as a salary, and that his salary rise yearly, as the grand list shall rise, to the sum of 100 pounds, which shall ever be his yearly salary. Voted, also that the said Mr. Booge shall have as a settlement one lot or one hundred acres of land.