Origins: Georgia Creel Hall

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Georgia Creel Hall

The first Georgia Creel Hall, named for Bob Jones’s mother, was built on the Cleveland (Tennessee) campus in 1944 to relieve crowding in the existing women’s residence hall. Additionally, its ground floor became the home of the Bowen Biblical Museum, now the Bowen Collection of Antiquities that is part of the Museum & Gallery at Bob Jones University.

When BJU moved to the Greenville campus in 1947, two women’s residence halls were built. By 1955 the students needed more rooms, so construction began that fall on another building between Nell Sunday Hall and Grace Haight Hall, a residence for women faculty. The new Georgia Creel Hall — part of an expansion program that included the nursery, the Fine Arts Building and the gymnasium — was completed in the spring of 1956.

Built identical to the first two residence halls on the Greenville campus, Creel has since undergone renovations involving furniture, air conditioning, restrooms and a study lounge. However, the hall stands out for its handicapped-accessible room renovations. In 1997, one restroom and one room were remodeled, and by 1999 three additional rooms were remodeled for students with disabilities.

Georgia Creel Jones

Georgia Ann Creel Jones was born in 1841 in Alabama to Thomas Creel, a farmer, and his wife Louisa Ennis Lovett. Growing up, she never received a formal education, but her family made sure to teach her the Bible. Their belief in God’s sovereignty and salvation by election was especially impressed upon her.

In 1859, two years before the Civil War began, Georgia married farmer William Alexander (Alex) Jones in Barbour, Alabama. They settled in the state and over the course of 25 years had eight girls and four boys: Jimmy, Lou, Dollie, Joda, Georgia, Amanda, Ella, Tom, Ossie, Exie, Bob and Richard. Despite the busyness that accompanied her large household, Georgia made time in the evenings to spend with her husband alone as he finished his work in the barn.

Practicing and Teaching Character

Together Alex and Georgia lived out and taught their children biblical principles. On Sundays, they demonstrated the importance of attending, supporting and participating in their local church. They also taught Bob and his younger brother the distinction between body and soul during Sunday afternoon visits to the graves of two of their daughters.

Alex and Georgia (Creel) Jones

They trained their children to be respectful, obedient and honest, as well. Former BJU business manager R.K. Johnson wrote of Georgia in particular, “She had unusual spiritual discernment and such a high sense of honor that she could not stand for anyone to tell a lie or in any way be dishonest.”

Georgia also taught by example through her work ethic. Johnson wrote, “Georgia was a woman of industry, with a unique way of squeezing into every day an enormous amount of living. From all I have read and heard of her, I would say that Chapter 31 of Proverbs aptly describes this godly woman.” Her continuous work made an impression on Bob Jones, who thought she never looked rested until her death.

Although Georgia was firmly committed to truth and character, she was approachable. Added Johnson: “Georgia was patient, kind, understanding, tender, and loving; and everyone loved and admired her. … Georgia had a smile and a good word for everyone. The soft sweet voice of this young woman led someone to say, ‘She has the voice of a nightingale.’”

Illness and Death

Georgia and her husband valued education for their children, and they especially wanted to cultivate the talent they saw in Bob. When Bobby, as she called him, was offered an opportunity to attend a secondary school 13 miles away, they agreed to let him go.

The day Bob left during the late summer of 1896, Georgia packed a shoebox with food so that, if he wanted at first, he could eat in the comfort of his room at the boarding house. As she said goodbye, she told him, “Be a good boy, son.” He remembered, “I didn’t see how I could leave my mother. I didn’t want to leave any of the family, but especially did I not like the idea of staying away from my mother. When I kissed everybody goodbye, I saved her kiss for the last.”

Later, at the end of his first weekend visit home, Bob noticed that his mother felt feverish as he said goodbye to her. However, she reassured him that she would be all right. Two weeks later, Bob returned for a surprise visit to find his mother so sick that his father had intended to send for him the next day.

When Bob arrived at her bedside, she asked him, “Have you been a good boy, son?” Then she continued, “Son, you have always been a good boy. I want you to trust God and follow Him and let Him make something of you. I am going away. I want you to be a good boy and meet me in heaven.”

Not long after, she passed and was buried in the cemetery near their home, leaving a legacy of diligence and faithfulness.