Thank you to Elizabeth Vance of the Thomson-McDuffie CVB for this article!
The Classic South Region is hosting its second historic church ramble on October 6, 2017. If you have ever traveled the back roads of Georgia, you have likely seen the old churches that are scattered throughout, tucked in wooded areas or by the roadside. Five of these historic gems in Georgia’s Classic South region will open their doors for a unique tour. Not only will you get to go inside the churches and hear about their humble beginnings, you will be inspired by songs and words from some of the chancels and pulpits. Snacks and a full lunch are included in the ticket price. For more information or to purchase tickets visit historicpewsandpulpits.com
Churches you will see on the fall tour are:
This congregation dates back to the earliest days of Greene County in 1785 and is one of the oldest brick churches in Georgia. The structure gives an indication of the early wealth of the settlers that settled in this area of eastern Greene County. These early settlers moved into Greene County just after the Revolutionary War. During this period, there were still plenty of conflicts with the Native Americans. According to the church minutes, early settlers carried their guns to service for fear of attack by nearby Indians – two guards were stationed outside of every service, and the large iron brackets that held a beam across the entry door are still in place.
The current brick structure was built in 1896. To say that this was a prosperous and thriving congregation at one time is certainly an understatement. The quality of the carpentry, stained glass windows, chandeliers and the pews are extraordinary. All set off by the plush red carpets and cushions.
The camp meeting, an outdoor continuous religious service, became a fixture of Georgia’s religious life in the early 1800’s. The topography of the land and location of suitable shade trees and water sources were critical in site selection and are often featured in the naming of the site, thus… Fountain Campground. Camp meetings last for several days and involve multiple services each day. Families find this a good time to get away, enjoy each other’s company, and reflect on the spiritual side of life. Georgia campgrounds are a wonderful tradition and a feast for the eye.
The history of Wrightsboro Methodist Church goes back much farther the church itself. It is the site of one of the earliest settlements on the Georgia frontier, a Quaker village named Brandon and the lands were still legally in the hands of Native Americans. After the Treaty of Augusta in 1768 the town of Wrightsboro grew around this area. Wrightsboro existed as a settlement into the twentieth century, if in name only, as its remaining inhabitants gradually assimilated into the religious, social, and civic norms of the predominantly Scots-Irish region.
This church was organized in 1857 by slaves on the Dickson Plantation. Lucius Holsey, a well-known Bishop in the CME church, founder of Paine College in Augusta, and former slave of Richard Malcolm Johnston, began his preaching career at this church. The church grounds offer a quiet, peaceful place to reflect upon the lives of slaves and former slaves as they struggled to define themselves within the limits of their reality. The cemetery is unusually large for such a rural cemetery, and many of the markers are homemade.
Visit VisitLakeOconee.com to discover more at Lake Oconee!