Smyrna Baptist Church – Allendale, South Carolina

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Smyrna Baptist Church in Allendale was once known as Kirkland Church. The structure likely was built when the congregation formed in 1827. It was called Kirkland Church for Reverend Kirkland and evolved from Kirkland’s Chapel, founded in 1815. The name changed to Smyrna Baptist in 1836.

Smyrna Baptist Church Allendale

Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Smyrna Baptist Church is listed in the National Register. It is known for excommunicating three of its members in 1827 for their views on communion, which differed from the orthodoxy of Smyrna Baptist Church. Those members included Dr. W.R. Erwin, who went on to form nearby Antioch Christian Church.

The National Register has this to say about the church’s architecture:

Smyrna Baptist Church is an antebellum frame structure of meeting house design set upon a low brick foundation. The exact dates of construction are not known, but local tradition maintains that the present structure was erected in 1827, the year the church was organized. A central Palladian window flanked by balancing nine-paneled entrance doors with transoms characterizes the front entrance. Both side facades feature five 9/9 windows with louvered shutters with eyebrow type windows located above each window. A cemetery surrounds the church. The original roof was covered by metal in the 1970s.

The church exemplifies the meetinghouse design, which gained prominence in the early nineteenth century. Smyrna Baptist was organized in 1827 and was called Kirkland Church, a member of the Savannah River Baptist Association. Associated with the early history of the church is the heresy trial on charges of heterodoxy against Dr. W. R. Erwin, his wife Julia Robert and her sister-in-law Rachel Robert. The trial was held when the parties asked for an official ruling on their views about communion. In July 1833 the three were excommunicated from Kirkland Church and later formed Antioch Christian Church.

Many thanks to Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors for sharing this shot. Bill enjoys the singular distinction of being the only person ever to have visited all 1,400 of South Carolina’s National Historic Landmarks. He has published several helpful e-books which serve as invaluable travel guides to the Palmetto State.

Smyrna Baptist Church Info

Address: Bluff Road, Allendale, SC 29810

Smyrna Baptist Church Map

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