History of Beulah House

Beulah was originally built in 1884 as the home of the Blackshear family. While we know very little about the Blackshear family, we do have a good history of the home from 1912 to present. In 1912 Reverend R.G. Cartin bought the home at 407 Church Street. This purchase and move were made so that his grandchildren, Willie and T.C. would be closer to the Guyton schools.

The Original “Beulah” was a 400-acre plantation located between Tusculum and Egypt owned by Reverend Ransom Govan Cartin and his wife Annis Penelope Horne in the late 1800’s. Rev. Cartin served as pastor of Elam-Egypt Baptist Church in 1872-1878 and then again in 1923-1928. Rev. Cartin was also the first pastor to serve Pineora Baptist Church which was formed in 1909 as well as other churches in the area. The daughter of R.G. and Annis, Annis Bertha married Thomas Cicero (Tom) Grier in 1903. Tom died in early 1912 when his daughter Bertha Willie Grier was three years old and his son Thomas Cartin (T.C.) Grier was one year old. Tom and Bertha lived east of Egypt close to Turkey Branch Baptist Church. Upon Tom’s sudden death at age 39, Bertha and the two children moved back to “Beulah” with her parents.

Realizing the need of the children having a good education, Rev. Cartin purchased the Blackshear home in 1912 and moved in just prior to Christmas of that year. This being his new family home, he referred to it as his “New Beulah”. The name Beulah has stayed with the home since that time and has remained with the same family until January 2006.

Dr. Willie Grier Todd and Beulah

The most prominent resident of the home was Dr. Willie Grier Todd. She was affectionately known as the Matriarch of Guyton for her many civic contributions to the community. She was the founder of the Effingham and Guyton Historical Societies as well as the Annual Guyton Tour of Homes. She is attributed with being responsible for Guyton being designated as a National Historic District. Dr. Todd taught at various schools within Effingham County as well as several colleges ending her teaching career at Georgia Southern University in 1976.

She carried on the rich religious faith of her grandfather by being very active in the Southern Baptist Denomination. She held positions within several churches as Director of Christian Education. True to her religious heritage, Dr. Todd was passionate about her faith and church workings. She was a Charter member of Pine Street Baptist which was formed in the parlor of Beulah. Dr. Todd owned an extensive library much of which centered on History and the Baptist Church Theology.

Beulah and Guyton United Methodist Church

As one can easily recognize, Beulah has a rich heritage much of it centered on Godly principles and the strong religious faith of the Cartin/Grier family. Being situated next to Guyton UMC and the parsonage, Dr. Todd and her family kept close ties with the pastors and their families who were appointed to the church. Dr. Todd who held strongly to her Baptist roots, continually supported the ministries of the pastors and her neighboring Methodist Church. It seems only befitting that the home is now owned by Guyton United Methodist Church. At the time of purchase, Guyton UMC had been looking for property for expansion.

With desires to hold strong to the Church’s historical heritage, a group of leaders was seeking a plan that would allow for the growing church to expand but not desert the historic chapel. In the fall of 2005, the church stepped out in faith and started the process of purchasing the Beulah property enabling the church to remain in its present location and still expand its growing ministries. This vision quickly became known as “The Beulah Project”. While part of “The Beulah Project” includes expansion of the church fellowship hall and renovation of the back rooms of the church, the majority of the project centers on Beulah.