This was the home of Jesse Mercer, pioneer Baptist preacher and largest contributor to the founding of Mercer Institute at Penfield, now Mercer University of Macon.
Jesse Mercer, born in North Carolina Dec. 16, 1769, was the son of Rev. Silas Mercer, a Baptist preacher who moved to Wilkes County in the early 1770s and founded several pioneer churches. He baptized Jesse Mercer at the age of 18, and the youth at once started holding prayer meetings in the log home of his grandmother. He married Miss Sabrina Chivers of the Phillips' Mill Community when 19, and was ordained for the ministry at 20. Sardis Church, originally called Hutton's Fork, was Mr. Mercer's first charge. In 1796 he succeeded his father as pastor of the Phillips' Mill Church, which he served for 39 years, baptizing 230 persons. He also served as Pastor of Bethesda Church (1796-1827); Powell's Creek Church in Hancock County (1797-1825); and the Baptist Church at Eatonton (1820-26).
Mr. Mercer's first wife died Sept. 23, 1826 and in his loneliness he moved to Washington. In December, 1827, he married Mrs. Nancy Simons, a wealthy widow, who joined him in large gifts to Mercer Institute.
Early in life Mr. Mercer had published a popular song book under the title "Mercer's Cluster." In later years he published the Christian Index and a Temperance paper in Washington. In 1828 he became pastor of the Washington Baptist Church, which he served until his death in 1841.