No one knows for certain when the Baptists set foot on Florida soil, but historical evidence indicates that some of the first Baptists in Florida were Southern slaves who had escaped to promised freedom under Spanish rule (1783-1821). Many early settlers entered the state by boat, which resulted in a diverse geographical distribution. Along the coast, they came to Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Key West, Tampa and Pensacola. Although some preaching and organized worship may have occurred earlier, the first established Baptist church in Florida was the Pigeon Creek Baptist Church. It was organized on January 7, 1821, in Nassau County near what is now Callahan. The Spanish flag still waved over Florida. Subsequently Baptist churches were established at Campbellton and Sardis in 1825, and in Jefferson and Leon Counties in 1829.
During the 1830's ten churches organized. In the 1840's, the rate of church starts increased rapidly with 36 churches being organized by the end of 1849. By 1854, when the Florida Baptist State Convention was organized, 19 more had been added to the list. The churches organized in the 1840's and 1850's reflected the increase in the population of the new state and the geographical spread of settlers down the center of the state and along coastal areas as far south as Key West.
The Florida Baptist State Convention was organized November 20th, 1854, by 17 delegates meeting in Madison, Florida, in the home of R. J. Mays, who was elected president. By this time, there were three associations: Florida, West Florida and Alachua.