ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Satilla River Saints Project (SRS) is an ongoing, collaborative effort to research, record, and preserve the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the southeastern Wiregrass Region, spanning South Georgia, North Florida, and Southeast Alabama, with particular focus on the congregations along the upper Satilla River, in what are now Atkinson, Coffee, and Ware Counties, Georgia.
On the eve of the twentieth century, a series of events and circumstances brought about a small, religious revolution along the Upper Forks of the Satilla River, in South Georgia. There, in the Summer of 1899, two young men clad in black dress suits and derby hats came strolling across the Coffee County line, moving with a purpose, like men on a mission. The searing white sands of the Wiregrass South were too dry to grow much, but would nonetheless prove to be a fruitful field, wherein would grow several branches of their rapidly growing church.
From the seeds of their efforts, despite parched conditions, poverty, and persecution, grew one of the most unique and peculiar features of the Wiregrass cultural landscape: a cluster of large and thriving Mormon communities, with several organized congregations at the turn of the century in rural, rugged, remote South Georgia. At a time when no organization of Latter-day Saints existed anywhere in the cosmopolitan expanse of greater Atlanta, two sizeable Mormon congregations were flourishing in the faraway wilderness of Coffee County. They were called Cumorah and Utah, honoring the faith's birthplace in the east, and it's heartland in the west. They are among the oldest established congregations of Latter-day Saints in the State of Georgia.
R. Ethan Craigue | Valdosta State University, 2016 | Revised 2019
An early history of the 'Upper Satilla' LDS congregations – Cumorah Church (Douglas Branch) in Coffee County, and Utah Church (Satilla/Axson Branch) in Atkinson County. The research, interviews, data collection, and collaborations involved in preparing this work was the genesis of the Satilla River Saints Project in 2016.