The Crabapple community from which this church takes its name is located north of Atlanta in the town of Milton. The community derived its name from the unusually beautiful and large crabapple tree that grew in the yard around the first school house.
The first settlers came to the community of Crabapple in 1833. Crabapple, in those early days, was said to be the “night stopping” place for travelers coming from the mountains and needing to rest for the night. Descendants of those first settlers helped form Crabapple First Baptist, and many later descendants still live in the community and are members of Crabapple.
On November 26, 1892 a meeting was held at the Crabapple School House for the purpose of organizing a Baptist Church. M. Persell, J.K. Harris, E. Cochran, and William West were present as ministers of the Gospel. J.D. Gentry and A.W. DeVore were deacons. Persell was elected as president, J.D. Harris was elected spokesman and D.W. DeVore was elected secretary. After prayer by William West, those present were given an invitation to come forward to present letters and enroll as charter members. The following twenty-one people united that day to become charter members:
Needham Broadwell, Virginia O. Daniel, Jasper N. Dorris, Rilla A. Dorris, John H. Bates, Martha L. H. Crisler, Wm. F. Gillespie, Nancy M. Gillespie, James H. Cowart, Savilla C. Broadwell, James W. Broadwell, Mary M. Broadwell, N.H. Broadwell Sr., Mary L. Bates, Russell J. Rucker, Frances A. Dorris, Nancy A.P. Jameson, Nancy J. Broadwell, Frances N. Cowart, Samantha Broadwell, and Mary E. Rucker.
E.E. (Ebb) Broadwell donated land for the first “meeting house” and J.W. Broadwell gave a portion of surrounding grounds. This fellowship was to be known as Crabapple Baptist Church. The first building, built by J.B. Broadwell cost $675.00 with bricks made in the area.
In 1893, under the church’s first pastor Elias Cochran, who was noted for his waist length white beard, thirty members joined the church. In 1896 the first Sunday School was organized with James Tatum serving as the first superintendent.
Over the years, Crabapple has undergone several construction projects, with two major ones occurring in 1964 and 1998. In 1998, the meeting site was moved from the church’s original location on the corner of Crabapple Road and Broadwell Road to the new facilities located on Birmingham Highway.
Throughout her storied history, Crabapple has been served by many faithful pastors and has seen her share of ups and downs. One thing has remained constant, however. She has always been characterized by a heart committed to evangelism and missions. From local evangelism and benevolence ministries, to the literally dozens of international missions partnerships Crabapple has supported over the years, the church has sought to be a beacon for the Gospel from the surrounding community to the ends of the earth.
Since coming to Crabapple in 2003, our present pastor, Jerry Dockery, has sought to help the church build on that legacy. Now as much as ever, Crabapple is striving, by God’s grace, to be a church of people who are committed to living daily to matter forever. As we move forward, we are seeking to build the church’s ministry on the solid rock of God’s Word, to make disciples that are passionately committed to the glory of God, and to gear all that we do in such a way that it will bear significance in eternity.