Climax Presbyterian Church, the church with many names

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Through the years as the Climax correspondent, we have had several articles about the history of the Churches in Climax, some were: the Climax Baptist, the Climax U. Methodist, and the oldest African American Church St. John A.M.E.

However, there was another church located in Climax on the corner of Drane and Church Street Streets, the Climax Presbyterian Church. So through this holiday weekend let’s go exploring, even if we don’t leave town!

This Church was organized in 1852 just North of Climax near Mineral Springs and named Curry’s Presbyterian Church. The reason for the Curry name began with Duncan Curry II.

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According to information gathered from “Decatur County, Past and Present,” Duncan Curry II was born in Robeson County, North Carolina of Scottish decent. He immigrated to Telfair County, Georgia and then to Decatur County Georgia, and finally to Climax as one of the first settlers in the area and founding Fathers of Climax along with his wife Sarah Jane smith Curry who passed away March 21, 1834.

After settling down in Decatur County just north of Climax, in 1824, they reared their family of four girls and six boys at the location this is now known as the Earl Hester plantation home near Climax. Duncan became a member of the Ashepole Presbyterian Church and records show he was ordained as an Elder of the Church of Quincy, Florida after moving to Decatur County. Duncan II passed away February 27, 1849.

According to Duncan’s love for the Presbyterian Church was so strong, two of his sons, Duncan III, and Calvin, built the Church at Mineral Springs North of Climax near the Hester home in 1851 as a memorial to their Father, thus the name Curry Presbyterian Church.

The Church was organized by the Presbytery of Florida with the first Church service February, 15, 1852. The Rev. W.H. Crane presided over this service. During that service two Curry sons were ordained as Elders, and Calvin Curry was elected clerk of sessions. Five children were also baptized that day.

In 1859 the Church was renamed Mineral Springs Church. Then in 1884 the building was moved to Climax, and in 1891 was once again renamed the Climax Presbyterian Church.

A story told by Gene Trulock’s Father, Jack Trulock who in turn related what his Father said about the Church being moved to Climax. is recorded as follows: “He says his Father told him 1000 times (an exaggeration of course) that they split the church down the middle (long ways) loaded half of it on carts and pulled it with oxen about three and a half miles uphill to the new town of Climax, which was growing up on the Atlantic and Gulf railroad recently finished from Savannah to Bainbridge.

They went back and got the other half and put them back together. When the building was moved, they left the portico behind.

In 1914 the roof caught fire and burned badly destroying the belfry.”

In 1970, the Climax Presbyterians joined the Bainbridge Presbyterians, leaving the Climax Church vacant.

In 1973, the Climax Church was donated to Westville, the 1850’s recreated village near Lumpkin, Ga. When professional house movers begin to move the Church, they found signs of the earlier split and did it the same way minus the cart and oxen.

After being installed at Westville, the Portico and the belfry were rebuilt. The pews are original to the Church, but the pulpit was recreated based on a Church in Hinesville, Georgia.

The Climax Presbyterian Church, originally known as the Curry Presbyterian Church, then the Mineral Springs Presbyterian Church was rededicated at Westville, on June 17, 1973.

It sits peacefully on a knoll and faces the dirt road awaiting visitors just as it did many years ago.