Lower Three Runs Baptist Church in the Allendale County community of Martin was founded in 1789. Its first house of worship was built on the north side of its namesake, Lower Three Runs Creek, near the Patterson’s Mill gristmill. In 1804 the church changed its name to the Columbian Baptist Church of Christ on the Lower Three Runs; it was casually referred to as “Old Columbia.” In 1840 the church founded another congregation on Tom’s Branch, which was called Lower Three Runs Church at Tom’s Branch. The name of the daughter church was later shortened to simply Tom’s Branch.
The original Lower Three Runs Baptist Church (“Old Columbia”) was destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War; the soldiers disassembled the church to create a bridge to cross Lower Three Runs Creek. An earlier bridge had been previously torn down by Confederate soldiers in an effort to thwart the Union Soldiers. The Union troops burned the scraps of the church that went unused after the replacement bridge was built.
After the war, the congregation met outdoors for several years. In 1868 the congregation merged with Tom’s Branch, and the combined church officially changed its name to Lower Three Runs Baptist Church. It then purchased land and built a new edifice – the present church – in 1885. Today the historic church still thrives.
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