For most of the last two centuries, the praying folk of The Sister’s Church east of Sandersville  in Washington County have gathered together to worship the Lord Jesus Christ.  Although their ardent faith has remained strong, their belief in the Holy word and the benevolence of Christ has been severely challenged over the last twenty decades with devastating storms and fires while the demons of Hades laughed in gratitude of the devastation.

It all began about they year 1820 when three sisters embarked on a ten-mile walk of faith.  The Rev. Benjamin Manning of Bethlehem Baptist Church called upon the sisters to build a church on Fenn’s Bridge Road, some two miles from the fledgling town of Sandersville.    The first meeting house was used until the 1840s, when a newer and larger church was built on the Davisboro Road.

Over the centuries, the members of Sister’s Church have had more than their share of disastrous calamaties.   The Church was first a member of the Hephzibah Association for a few years and since then a member of  the Washington Association. The first church building was replaced in 1848 and again in 1874.

The second building suffered a disastrous fire in 1878 and a destructive storm in 1882.  And yet it survived until 1914 through the faithful efforts of the membership.  According the church’s web page, “In 1878, resolutions were drawn up expressing the  gratitude of the church to the Heavenly Father for having spared their "much loved and cherished church house" from destruction by fire when it seemed that it was doomed. And in 1882, resolutions were passed thanking God "for sparing our church and the lives of it's members from the destructive cyclone which uprooted the trees on the church yard.”

A 1954 tornado destroyed a newly constructed wall of the education building.   Some two decades later in 1975, the main sanctuary of the church and part of the education building were destroyed by a cataclysmic fire.  Within four months, construction began on a new church building.  On the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1976, the members of Sister’s Church assembled to perform the first service in the yet again, resurrected church.

After the tumults of at least two fires and two cyclonic storms, the members of Sister’s Church persevered through their undaunted faith as they approach the end of two hundred years of service to God and their community.

In the latter decades of the 19th Century, the greater Sister’s Church neighborhood underwent a series of mysterious and inexplicable events which were outlined in a September 15, 1890 edition of The Atlanta Constitution.

In the dog days of August, 1890, Bryant Watkins, a wealthy farmer, died at the age of 76.  Just before his death, Watkins presented his most faithful daughter with a pair of new and pretty embroidered underskirts, which he intended to be passed down through his female descendants.

Following Watkins’ death, a large group of his friends and kinfolks came to escort his remains to their final resting place in the cemetery at Sister’s Church.   As the bereaved family gathered around the departed patriarch, the most mysterious happenings began to unfold.

Bryant’s uncontrollably sobbing daughter, wearing one of the pair of underskirts, collapsed in agony.  At that sorrowful moment, the undergarment broke and fell silently  down to her ankles.   To everyone’s dismay the heirloom lay on the ground, shreaded into  fragments.  A detail of ladies present quickly moved into action to tend to the embarrassed daughter’s interrupted privacy.

With the mystifying event still on their mind, the Bryant family returned home and decided to see what had happened to the remaining underskirt.  When they opened the closet door where the remainder of the pair was carefully stored and packed away, the family was once again astonished to find that it too had been torn into shreds.

A Constitution reporter verified the baffling event by stating, “We had the pleasure of carefully examining this garment and found some parts of it perfectly sound, while other parts at the slightest move or pinch would readily crumble to pieces.”

After further investigations, the reporter learned of many more mysterious events which happened in and around the Bryant home.  Many of the cryptic occurrences had gone unpublished in order not to diminish the value of Bryant’s property to superstitious buyers. But, with the hoopla of skirt mystery, the reporter decided to delve into more haunting happenings.

Occasionally and only for short periods of time, mysterious small fires would appear and quickly disappear eerily illuminating the environs of the farm.

One resident reported that just when the inhabitants of the house began to think the creepy fires were gone, reports of gunfire randomly pierced the darkness as they reverberated throughout the neighborhood.

And then there was the story of doors which became unlocked during the night.  Residents reported that they locked their doors prior to retiring only to find them unlocked during the night.

The mostly ghostly phenomena was verified by many of the community’s most reputable residents.  The spectacle of hearing voices of invisible humans  were so scary that at least two families moved away leaving their nearly mature crops in the field.  One of Bryant’s surviving relatives was so horrified that she too decided to leave her family’s land for a more restful environment stating that what the reporter took down in his notes was not the half of frightening sensations taking place around the Bryant house.

The naturally curious reporter along with a squad of curiosity seekers continued to stake out the premises to see for themselves the ghostly goings on in the Sister’s Church community.  The hauntings seem to cease after that with no further reports of supernatural activities.

Credit photos to the Find A Grave project.