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Florida Baptist Convention
Board of Missions, Training and Evangelism
Rogers Building – 218 West Church Street
F.C. First Baptist Church (Mrs. G.L. West) Page 3
bought and donated to the Church a lot on Church Street between Hogan and Julia Streets. Here a house of worship was erected and dedicated February 21, 1861.
"The little brick Church on the property in LaVilla was partially wrecked during the War between the States, and has quite a history as it was the scene of nearly all the fighting that occurred near Jacksonville. Pickets and outposts were stationed there whenever Jacksonville was occupied by the Federal troops, and near it the first blood of the War in this vicinity was shed. Sentinel-like, it witnessed scenes that have never found a place in print,’ (Except from T.F. Davis, History of Early Jacksonville, P. 87)
"After the Mattle of Olustee on February 20, 1864, the sick and wounded were brought to the new Church on West Church Street by the Federal troops, and until the close of the War in 1865 it was used as a military hospital. The building was left in a deplorable condition, the window panes broken out, the plaster off the walls, and filth and dirt everywhere.
"From 1862 to 1867 there were no pastors.
"In 1866, the Negroes organized their own Church and took the name of the "Bethel Baptist Church." This was the first branch of the Baptist Church in Jacksonville, and is still in existence, with a large congregation of colored people.
"The white membership retained the old church, changing the name to the Tabernacle: corner of Hogan and Church Street, on which a building was erected and the name changed to the "First Baptist Church."
"In the fire of May 3, 1901, which practically wiped put the down town section of Jacksonville, this Chapel was burned with most of the records.