Category Archives: –OGLETHORPE COUNTY GA–
According to almost anyone you ask in Lexington, or any of the myriad barbecue “experts” out there, Paul’s was one of the best barbecue restaurants in Georgia over its long history. [I’ve eaten at many of the “best barbecue in Georgia” joints and very few have impressed me. My favorite remains Armstrong’s in Summerville and it’s not even on many of those lists. They seem to have issues with their hours, though]. Online reviews raved about the perfect vinegar-based sauce, the thick Brunswick stew and sweet tea better than your granny’s. Paul’s was only open from 9:30-2:00 on Saturdays and on Independence Day. They finally shut their doors on 4 July 2016, a day which made many people sad.
Luckily, the good folks at the Southern Foodways Alliance interviewed the owners in 2008 and recorded an oral history of the business. It began in 1929 when Clifford Collins started cooking and barbecuing whole hogs in Lexington. He and Fudge Collins sold their product under the shade of a Mulberry tree on Main Street for the next forty years. With the advent of health regulations, the business moved inside this building and they began smoking hams instead of whole hogs. Clifford retired when he was in his 90s and passed the business on to his nephew, George Paul, Jr. George was a farmer with no restaurant experience but he quickly learned the ropes. He and his son Jimmy operated the business from about 1979 until 2016, with George smoking the shoulders on a pit at his farm and Jimmy making the Brunswick stew.
Southern Foodways Alliance also recorded this short video, which you might enjoy.
Philomath is a Greek word meaning “love of learning”. White settlers were in the area by the 1780s and the community was established as Woodstock in the 1820s. When the post office required a name change due to the existence of another Woodstock, Alexander Stephens suggested Philomath to honor of the prominence of Reid Academy, a local boarding school for boys. Woodrow Wilson’s father Joseph was often a guest minister here, and the future president was a frequent visitor as well. He recalled his time in Philomath fondly.
The Presbyterian church has become the unofficial symbol of Philomath. In 2005, eight citizens came together and began the effort to preserve it. Today, it’s used for secular purposes.
A Georgia historical marker placed here in 1958 gives more insight: This ancient Church has served under four names and in four counties. Liberty Presbyterian Church was organized by the Rev. Daniel Thatcher, about 1788. The original place of worship, a log house, was erected near War Hill, about seven miles from the present site. The church was called “Liberty”, because, though built by Presbyterians, all orthodox denominations were allowed to use it. The Presbytery of Hopewell, formed Nov. 3, 1796, held its first session in Liberty Church on March 16, 1798. Soon after 1800, the log house was abandoned, and a new structure erected at the top of Starr’s Hill on the old Greensboro Post Road. The name of the church was then changed to Salem. the Rev. Francis Cummins was the first minister to preach there. This building was used until 1834, when the location of the Greensboro road was changed, and a new church edifice was erected at the site of the present Phillips Mills Baptist Church. the Rev. S. J. Cassels was the first pastor, followed by the Rev. Francis R. Goulding. In 1848, the Salem church building was sold to the Baptists, and the entire Presbyterian membership moved to Woodstock, now Philomath, where a new church edifice had been built. The Rev. John W. Reid was pastor at the time of the removal.
Philomath Historic District, National Register of Historic Places