Citizens of the town of Chattooga organized the Ebenezer church on August 12, 1836, as stated by the organizing meeting,
“We, the undersigned, being members of the Presbyterian church in good and regular standing, but having removed from our respective congregations and located in this village and its vicinity, feeling the importance of having this means of grace and the ordinances of the church regularly administered to us according to the constitution of our church, do agree to associate ourselves together to be organized into a church to be known by the name of Ebenezer.” John McWhorter and Johnathan Fielding were elected elders. The following were the charter members: John McWhorter, Johnathan Fielding, William Henry, Sara Henry, Andrew L. Barry, Margaret I. Barry, James McWhorter, Temperance McWhorter, Sarah McWhorter, Lidia Dickson, Elizabeth Fielding, Abner Mize, Mary Mize, Mary H. Smith, Elizabeth Beaty, Isaac N. Swan, Amanda Love, Filis ____ colored, (Henry’s) and Susan ____ colored (Fielding’s).
Chattooga was later rechristened LaFayette in honor of the Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette. In 1841, following suit, the Ebenezer church was renamed LaFayette Presbyterian Church. Previous to the erection of their own church building, the congregation worshipped in both the Baptist and Methodist churches. For several years, prayer meetings and Sunday school were held in the Chattooga Academy schoolhouse. In 1848, during the pastorate of the Reverend William H. Johnston, the sanctuary building was constructed. Mr. Billy Duke erected the building using the five thousand bricks made and donated by Mr. James Wellborn and his father, Amos Wellborn. For several years Reverend Johnston served without remuneration in order for the congregation to instead pay for the construction of the church.
On June 24, 1864, during the American Civil War, a battle was fought in LaFayette. LaFayette Presbyterian Church was used as a field hospital during and following the battle. Wounded soldiers of both armies were placed on long tables inside the wide double doors of the church and on wide planks positioned across the church pews so that surgeons and nurses could treat their wounds. The enclosed yard was utilized as a temporary cemetery. Dead soldiers were placed, their heads to the fence and later removed and reburied in the local cemetery. At least twenty-eight men were killed and sixty wounded in the LaFayette battle. Church records were destroyed during the war period. In 1865 the records were rewritten by the elders of the church who had survived the War. With the list of the church members numbering about fifty, the church again began its work. In 1883 the church building was repaired from the damage caused during the war years. The slave gallery was removed and a vestibule was added.
In 1922-23, the church was repaired and rebricked in cream-colored brick. Thus, the present sanctuary walls are three bricks thick. Requiring additional space, in 1942, the men of the church began to dig a basement. Three Sunday school rooms and a fellowship area were added. In 1972 a Fellowship Hall, additional classrooms, and office space were added to the rear of the old building.
The congregation of LaFayette Presbyterian has been active in the civic, economic, and religious life of Walker County and Northwest Georgia since the 1830s. Because the Presbyterian Church required educated clergy, from 1836 to 1865, the pastors of the church served as the teachers at the Chattooga Academy. Charter member, A. L. Barry, was the only physician in the LaFayette area in the 1830s, and many civic leaders of the nineteenth century were members of LaFayette Presbyterian. The LaFayette Presbyterian congregation has held witness through the great social and cultural upheavals of its one hundred and eighty year history. In 1861, southern Presbyterians, including LaFayette Presbyterian Church, split from PCUSA, forming the PCCSA, which later became the Presbyterian Church in the United States. In 1983, the Presbyterian Church in the United States and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. reunited forming the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). LaFayette Presbyterian Church has remained firmly a part of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. through controversies over reunification and the ordination of women, as well as deliberations of LGBTQ church marriage ceremonies and the leadership roles that LGBTQ people may hold. Social, racial, and economic justice endures as a primary application of the gospel of Christ in contemporary society. All of these issues are supported in the LaFayette Presbyterian Church congregational life and through the outreach ministries of the congregation.
Dennis, S.N. (2010). A Proud Little Town: LaFayette, Georgia 1835-1885. Walker County, Georgia: Walker County Government.
Duke, Lillian (1984). LaFayette Presbyterian Church. In Walker County, Georgia Heritage, 1883-1983 (pp. 56-57). Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing.
“History of the Church.” Presbyterian Historical Society The National Archives of the PC(USA), 18 January 2017,
Hobbs, Patrice (1996). A History of La Fayette Presbyterian Church, 1836-1996. La Fayette, GA: La Fayette Presbyterian Church.