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Walter H. Brooks (Walter Henderson), b. 1851
The Silver Bluff Church. A History of Negro Baptist Churches in America.
Washington, D. C.: Press of R. L. Pendleton, 1910.


Walter Brooks' The Silver Bluff Church details the history of the Silver Bluff Church of Aiken County, South Carolina. Brooks claims that the Silver Bluff Church, which was established on the land of Mr. George Galphin, a planter and merchant, was the first African American Baptist Church in America. The Silver Bluff Church was established in 1774 or 1775. The advent of the Revolutionary War affected the church when Mr. Galphin (the slave owner) deserted the plantation, leaving Rev. David George and 50 slaves to flee to Savannah and the protection of the British. Brooks' history recounts Rev. George's emigration to Nova Scotia in 1782, where he established a successful Negro Baptist Church, and his subsequent move to Sierra Leone where he established another Baptist church.

After the Revolutionary War, the Silver Bluff Church continued to flourish under the pastorate of Jesse Peter until 1793, when the Silver Bluff congregation was absorbed into the First African Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia. Brooks explains that the slaves who fled to Savannah from the Galphin plantation during the Revolutionary War established a church there. The power and influence of the Savannah church grew over time, eventually leading to the disintegration of the Silver Bluff Church. The book ends with Brooks' assertion that the Silver Bluff Church was founded by the Rev. Wait Palmer of Stonington, CT.

This history was reprinted, with extensive footnotes, as "The priority of the Silver Bluff Church and its Promoters." Journal of Negro History 7, no. 2 (April 1922), 172-196.

Karen Ruffle

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