SACRED HARP IN SOUTHEAST GEORGIA
Since the 1800s, families in southeast Georgia have gathered to sing at organized
singing events, reunions, weddings, baptisms, funerals, or for the sheer joy and comfort
of singing in their home. The earliest record of the tradition comes from the Dowling
family history: “At one period in his long life Lazarus (Dowling, born 1829) taught
others the intricacies of Sacred Harp singing that he loved so much.” Over time Sacred
Harp singing permeated entire communities; one of the strongest traditions continues
in Hoboken. Cascade School and other rural one-room schools were once a favorite
singing place, but in the late 1940s they were consolidated into larger schools located in
town. In the early 1950s, Brantley County Superintendent Herschel Herrin and song
leader Silas Lee proposed holding Sacred Harp sings at the Hoboken School, where
monthly community sings continue to the present day.
Hoboken School, built in the 1920s, has been hosting monthly night sings and
annual all-day sings for the Hoboken community since the early 1950s.
by Laurie Kay Sommers, 2000.