ExploreSouthernHistory.com - St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Georgia
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Built in 1843, the beautiful old Georgia church was
heavily damaged by Union soldiers during
Sherman's March to the Sea.
St. Stephens in Milledgeville
A landmark of 19th century
architecture, the church has
served Milledgeville families
for more than 160 years.
Reminder of Sherman
The roof of the church was
severely damaged when
Union soldiers blew up a
nearby armory.
Statehouse Square
St. Stephen's is one of the
structures that stand on
Milledgeville's Statehouse
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church - Milledgeville, Georgia
Damaged in the March to the Sea
A Legacy of Christian Service
From its original membership
of six, St. Stephen's has
grown to become home to
over 420 members.
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church faces South
Wayne Street in the beautiful old city of
Milledgeville, Georgia. Built in 1843, the
church is rich in Southern history and has
served the community for more than 160

St. Stephens was organized in 1841 as a
parish of the Georgia Diocese. Despite the
fact that Milledgeville had been home to the
state capitol since 1807, the Episcopal
Church was not represented there until the
parish was formed.

The beautiful new church was constructed in
the Carpenter Gothic style. This was a nice
architectural touch as the design matched
nicely with the nearby State Capitol Building
that had been built in the Gothic revival style.

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church was
consecrated on December 10, 1843. From a
start with only six members, attendance
slowly grew during the years leading up to
the Civil War. As Union troops invaded
coastal areas, refugee families fled to safer
inland cities like Milledgeville and by 1864
some 60 worshippers were taking Holy
Communion at the church.

Unfortunately for St. Stephen's and other
parishes across the South, Episcopal
Churches were viciously targeted by Union
troops. Episcopal leaders from the highest
level down to the parish level had been
strong supporters of secession and had
delivered pro-secession messages all over
the South. Union officers and troops were
aware of this and as they moved through the
Southern states with fire and sword, they
targeted Episcopal churches.

The members of St. Stephen's learned this
first hand on November 11, 1864, when
Milledgeville fell to the advancing forces of
General William Tecumseh Sherman. Even
though the Federals only remained in the city
for one night before continuing their March to
the Sea, they inflicted heavy damage on the
beautiful Carpenter Gothic structure.

The pews were burned for firewood, horses it
is said were stabled in the structure, the
building was ransacked and the soldiers
even poured molasses down the pipes of the
organ. The final indignity came when the
ammunition and gunpowder in the nearby
arsenal and armory were ignited. The
explosion did heavy damage to the church,
demolishing its roof.

Despite the vandalism and damage, St.
Stephen's Episcopal Church survived. The
original flat roof destroyed in the explosion
was replaced with the Georgian style roof
and narthex (the main entrance), but the
building itself was saved and repaired.
The church has steadily grown over the
years and today is a thriving part of the
Milledgeville community. It is now home to
more than 420 members representing more
than 200 local households.

The beautiful old church is located at 220
South Wayne Street in Milledgeville. The site
is part of historic Statehouse Square,
named because it is also home to Georgia's
Old Capitol Building. A historical marker in
front of the church details its history.

Just up the street at the intersection of South
Wayne and East Greene is a marker for
Statehouse Square. The famed 19th century
leader Henry Clay once spoke from a
balcony at this intersection.

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church holds Celtic
Eucharist on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m.; Holy
Eucharist, Rite 1 on Sundays at 8 a.m.; Holy
Eucharist, Rite 2 on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.,
and Prayer Service on Wednesdays at 11

Please click here to visit the church's
outstanding website for more information.
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