Church History
Service Time: Sunday 10:00 am
2451 Edgefield Road Trenton, SC 29847

Church History

The History Of Mount Canaan Baptist Church


bettisIn the year 1868, one hundred fifty-five years ago, an historic event occurred in the Aiken and Edgefield communities. For it was under the spiritual leadership of Rev. Alexander Bettis that the first church for Blacks in this vicinity was established. It was the first of forty churches established by Rev. Alexander Bettis. It was Rev. Bettis along with several White ministers (Rev. Josiah Matthias, Rev. Samuel Murphy, Rev. John  Mealing) and a Black minister from Augusta, GA (Rev. Joseph Tolbert) along with 17 Negroes (who had withdrawn their membership from the First Baptist Church of Edgefield) who organized Mount Canaan Baptist Church under a brush arbor.

     Sixteen of the original  members were Brothers Griffin Palmore (deacon), Peter Palmore, Alex Harris, Alfred Hughes, Jack Lloyd, Griffin Clark (deacon), Alfred Miller, Solomon Jones, Joe Tillman, and Sisters Sarah Miller, Mary A. Tillman,  Ann Jones,  Eliza  Palmore,  Susan Anderson, Jane Clark, and Ann Hughes. The name of the seventeenth member is uncertain.

     Rev. Alexander Bettis, an ex-slave, who founded Mount Canaan was its pastor for 27 years (until his death). Under his pastoral leadership, the original membership of 17 increased to two thousand within a three-year period.              

     Mount Canaan, when  first organized in 1868, was  located  across  Highway #25 (west of the  present site) on  approximately 3 acres of land donated/loaned to the church by the Turner family.   The church never had a deed and title to this site and could only use it for a church. There was no adjacent cemetery. In 1961, while Rev. Isaac Eugene Smith was Pastor, the Mount Canaan congregation built a new church (east of the 1st church) on land donated to the church by the Mt. Canaan B&E Society. In the same year, the church was incorporated as Mt. Canaan Baptist  Church;  and  in 2006 was reincorporated as Mount Canaan Baptist Church. The mortgage for that church was burned on Sunday, May 12, 1968. On July 30, 2017, we moved into and dedicated the new and  larger sanctuary that we now occupy. Mount Canaan Baptist Church now owns approximately 34 acres of land in 2 separate tracts, both fronting US Highway #25.

   marker  In 2004 Mount Canaan was designated an “Outstanding Historical Site” by the South Carolina State Department of Archives and History. Therefore, a Historical Marker was installed on Highway #25 and was dedicated on Sunday, September 12, 2004.

     Increased membership and activities and expansion of our mission and ministries necessitated a revision of our physical facilities. Therefore, in the early 1970’s the Educational Annex was constructed and was dedicated on August 3, 1975. This facility has a fellowship hall; 5 classrooms; library; copy/computer room; two rest rooms and kitchen. In 2009 a paved 100 spaces parking lot with green spaces was constructed; followed by the completion of the G.L. Brightharp Youth Center (with a gymnasium and game rooms).  The G.L. Brightharp Youth Center was dedicated on May 29, 2010.  The mortgage for the Center was burned on December 4, 2011. The present sanctuary was dedicated and occupied July 30, 2017.  

     Mount Canaan has been led by 11 pastors during its one hundred fifty-five years. 
These are  (in chronological order):


Rev. Alexander Bettis... 27    years
Rev. Allen Washington...  2    years
Rev. Washington Oliphant... 9    years
Rev. Henry L. Ryans... 13    years
Rev. George W. Blocker... 23    years
Rev. Willar Hightower, Sr.... 7    years
Rev. Wade H. Vaughns... 5    years
Rev. John P. Reeder... 1    year
Rev. Isaac Eugene Smith... 5    years
Rev. Augustus T. Stephens... 18    years


The 11th and present pastor is Rev. George L. Brightharp who is serving in his 45th year at Mount Canaan.  Rev. Brightharp is truly a leader, a friend, and a child of God. We praise God for directing him in our path.

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