Tag Archives: Churches of Oglethorpe County GA

Vesta Baptist Church, 1912, Oglethorpe County

This congregation was established in 1906.

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Lexington Presbyterian Church, 1893, Oglethorpe County

The present home of the Lexington Presbyterian Church dates to 1893, but the congregation is one of Georgia’s most historic, originating with a group of Pennsylvania missionaries who came to the area in 1785 to witness to Native Americans. The early church was formally established on 20 December 1785 about three miles south of the present location by John Newton and was named Beth-Salem.

The congregation has dwindled to just a few members today and upkeep of the church has been difficult as a result. Hopefully, this treasure will be preserved.

Lexington Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church, 1896, Oglethorpe County

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.

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Philomath Presbyterian Church, 1892

Historic Philomath Presbyterian Church Oglethorpe County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

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

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Salem Baptist Church, 1828, Oglethorpe County

Historic Stevens Grove Baptist Church Oglethorpe County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

This beautiful church is located just outside Lexington. Kelli Paradise Smith notes that the congregation dates to 1789. Originally known as Buffalo Creek Church, it’s among the oldest Baptist congregations in this area. Though the structure has been modified over the centuries, it still stands proud and welcomes a very active congregation each week.

http://salembaptistcommunity.org/about/history/

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Center United Methodist Church, 1914, Oglethorpe County

Center Methodist Church Oglethorpe County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

Center Methodist Church was organized around 1820 by John  Beasley, David McLaughlin, George Moore, David Patrick, and George Williamson. It was non-denominational at its founding, but the Baptists and Presbyterians in the congregation eventually built their own houses of worship.

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