The Kiokee Baptist Church is the oldest Baptist church in the state to sustain its membership. Founded under pioneer preacher Daniel Marshall, this congregation became a constituent member of the first association of Georgia Baptists and conducted Baptist missionary work in the Augusta area.
In 1772 Daniel Marshall, one of the early pioneer preachers in Georgia, constituted a church near Kiokee Creek, some eighteen miles southwest of Augusta and the Savannah River. Upon Marshall’s death in 1784, his son Abraham assumed responsibility for the congregation. The following year Kiokee Church served as the location for the founding of the Georgia Baptist Association, the first association in Georgia Baptist history. Several other longstanding Baptist churches can trace their origins to Kiokee Baptist, including Abiline Baptist Church (Columbia County), which was founded in 1774; Phillips Mill Baptist Church (Wilkes County), founded circa 1785; and Clark’s Station Baptist Church (Wilkes County), founded circa 1788. When Abraham died in 1819, he left the church in the hands of his son Jabez Marshall. In 1832 Jabez passed away, marking the end of sixty continuous years of Marshall leadership.
The congregation assembled in six different buildings over the course of its history. From 1772 to 1792 the church met in the log cabin constructed by Daniel Marshall. This small building was similar to Quaker-style constructions of that era, probably twenty feet wide and twenty-four feet long. In 1792 a second building was constructed on the site, or near the site, of the original house of worship at Kiokee Creek. A more commodious brick building became the third church building at the same site in 1808, and it still stands to this day.
Twenty years later a chapel was built in the new town of Appling, in Columbia County. For many years the congregation met at both this and the Kiokee sanctuary. About 1875 a tornado demolished the Appling chapel, forcing the members to meet in various buildings in town, including the courthouse. A new building, the congregation’s fifth, was constructed in Appling in 1907. Finally, thirty years later, a new brick building in town became the sixth house of worship for the Kiokee Church.
The oldest Baptist church in Georgia still retains possession of its 1808 brick building some five miles southeast of Appling. At this location an outdoor camp-meeting arena and a spring-fed baptismal pool now lie behind the aged meetinghouse.