First Presbyterian of Darien

Wayfair Primitive Baptist Church

Wayfair Primitive Baptist

sapelo

Sapelo First African Baptist /h4>

St Cyprian

St. Cyprian’s Episcopal

Photography courtesy of Wayne Moore

St. Andrews Episcopal

Churches of McIntosh County

Click thumbnail above to go to church page with additional photos and history

McIntosh County was created out of Liberty County in 1793.  It was named for the McIntosh family who came to Georgia three years after the founding of the colony in 1733.  The McIntosh family originated in the Highlands of Scotland and were among the earliest settlers of Georgia.  There were several important figures in Georgia history from this illustrious family but the most prominent was General Lachlan McIntosh, commander of Georgia forces in the Revolutionary War.  The earliest inhabitants were Guale Indians, followed by Spanish missionaries from about 1595 to 1686, both on the mainland and on nearby Sapelo Island.  The first permanent settlement was a group of Highland Scots from Inverness, who, under the auspices of James Edward Oglethorpe, founded the town Darien in January 1736.

Darien was incorporated and made the seat of McIntosh County in 1816.  The emergence of the rice and Sea Island cotton plantations made McIntosh County one of the wealthiest sections of the south Atlantic coast. Rice shipments from the local Altamaha delta exceeded 6 million pounds in 1859, the peak year for exports. The county’s most prominent citizen of the time, Thomas Spalding of Sapelo Island, established one of the leading plantations of the antebellum South.  McIntosh County was devastated by Union military and naval action during the Civil War.  Darien, deserted and undefended, was sacked and burned by Union colonel Robert Gould Shaw and his 54th Massachusetts regiment in June 1863, and most of the county’s river plantations were destroyed in a series of raids in 1862-64.

McIntosh County was an international timber market for four decades after the Civil War. The volume of rafts of virgin yellow-pine timber floating down the Altamaha River from the interior of Georgia established Darien as the primary outlet for lumber and timber on the Atlantic coast. Sawmills and loading docks in the county provided employment for hundreds of local black citizens displaced by the war.  Sailing vessels and steamships from Europe, South America, and the Far East loaded cargoes of lumber processed at mills in and around Darien.  Later, investments of northern capital further energized the county and led to the construction of a railroad into Darien in 1895.  In 1900 an all-time record of more than 112 million board feet of lumber was processed and shipped overseas from McIntosh County.