Patmos was first settled by John Frizzell Griffin of Dobbs County, North Carolina, who came to Georgia after buying a land lot in Baker County. He soon married Mary Elizabeth Griffin and they built their home in what is now Patmos. In 1882 a church was built to serve a handful of families who had moved to the area. They named the church ‘Patmos’ after the Isle of Patmos from the bible; the name stuck and the town was known by that name from that day forward. The Patmos school was built in 1870, but later moved to Milford to serve that town. Two more schools were built in Patmos to serve the area, they were Midway School and Vilulah School, both schools served the Whites in town. Midway and Vilulah schools were combined and a new three-room school house was built in 1922, this school was eventually demolished to make way for the brick Patmos School, which opened in 1934 and closed in 1964. West Baker School, another White school, aslo closed at this time. White families were quick to establish a private school in order to keep a school in Patmos and used the former West Baker school as the location. Baker Academy was only open for about three years and then closed as families moved to Southwest Georgia Academy in nearby Damascus, Early County. The Pamos Free Will Baptist Church was established on July 30, 1882 by nine Free Will Baptist faithful in the town, it still thrives today. Patmos has always been a farming town, but at one time had four mills, a grarage, and three general stores. Patmos is still a tiny, but thriving community, which still supports one store.
This sign sits on Patmos Road as you are coming into town.
I am unsure when Patmos School first began, but it started its life as a three room wooden school house for White families. Eventually this structure was demolished to make room for a new brick building. The school originally provided for grades one through nine, but eventually only grades one through six when it was consolidated with Elmodel School. Patmos School closed with the wave of integration that hit the area in the 60s. The last school year was 1963-1964 and the school has sat empty since then. The building was salvageable in the 1990s, but now sits in rubble. (Private Property)
If you struggle past the thorn bushes to the front door this is what you’ll see.
Patmos School when it was still well kept. (Photo Credit: Baker County Historical Society)
This sign sits a the intersection of Patmos Road, Ivys Mill Road, and Georgia Route 216. (All paved two-lane roads) In the background is one of Patmos’s abandoned stores.
It is unknown when the Patmos Free Will Baptist Church began, but early records show that it was located near what was then the Stamper Farm, now land owned by the Tennille family. The church disbanded and moved and in 1882 a new congregation was formed from White families in the area. Services were held in the Patmos School until a building was built in 1905. The original structure burned down in 1931 due to some children cleaning and buring leaves behind the log church. It was nearly a year before a new church was built, which was completed in 1932 at a cost of $400.00. Sunday School began in 1910 with the purchase of a petal organ. The Patmos Free Will Baptist Cemetery began in 1934 with the passing of Mr. R. R. Lanier. The church had a youth program in the 40s and 50s, but disbanded when other larger churches started having youth meets. A new church building was built in the early 1960s by the congregation.
Patmos Free Will Baptist Cemetery