Category Archives: –OGLETHORPE COUNTY GA–
Settlers from Virginia and North Carolina first came to the area around Mt. Pleasant church in the late 1700s. Robert Smith, known as Uncle Robert, began holding irregular services in a brush arbor near here around 1812-1814 and in 1820 established the first Methodist congregation in a log church at this location. The first Methodist Sunday School north of Savannah was organized here in 1826, with William G. Andrews as superintendent. In 1844, a small frame church was built and the log church was put into use as a school house. When the frame church was sealed and windows added in 1873, some of the congregation’s more conservative members thought it “sacrilegious to have so much finery in God’s house”. (North Georgia Conference UMC Local Church Histories, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University)
In recent years the congregation dwindled to an unsustainable number and the church became Mt. Pleasant Community Church, which it is known as today.
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.