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Methodism in Coweta County

The Newnan Herald, Friday, Feb 13, 1925

HISTORY OF METHODISM IN COWETA

‘The past is only a blessing as it inspires to a greater future’.

The Methodist were first to organize a church in the wilds of Coweta County. It was one of those brave, true soldiers of the Cross, the sainted William W. Steagall, who came over from the Fayette Circuit in February 1828, and organized a Methodist church in the northern section of the county, called ‘Concord’. Rev. Willis Matthews was the first pastor in charge. Near that location repose the remains of Jacob Redwine, great grandfather of Messrs. Ben L. and Frank H. Redwine, and of Dr. R. W. Redwine; also the great great grandfather of Mr. J. H. Powell and Mrs. Lynch Turner. Rev. Dabney P. Jones, the great champion of temperance, (a traveling Methodist minister from Broad River Circuit) came in 1828 to the new purchase west of the Flint River, and located in north Coweta, one-half mile south of Palmetto, on the claim now known as the ? place. When arrived, to quote his own words, "The bark camp of the Indians was still standing, and the wolves howled in the solitude of the forest primeval." Mr. Jones assisted in building the first church in Coweta. Later in 1835, a lot was bought in the original Fifth district, containing six acres being part of land lot No. 176. Trustees named in the deed were Dabney P Jones, James Kelley, Richard T. Penn, Lewis Redwine , John Redwine.

Mr. Jones preached the first sermon in Newnan, (by a Methodist minister), in a rude log-house square --- presumably the court-house. As time passed, and the temporary building in north Coweta became dilapidated, the church was removed and built further south, between Big and Little Cedar Creeks, on the plantation of Lieut. W. M. Redwine, b………….. Newnan and Palmetto, on the old Campbellton Road. It was served by Revs. Robt Jones and J. L. Lowe. In 1869 the church was moved again to its present location in Madras, then a hamlet in the woods. Mr. and Mrs. George Powell, two Presbyterian friends, donated four acres of land for church purposes. The building committee was Rev. W. F. S. Powell, a local Methodist minister, L. P. Redwine, and W. R. Ballard. A nice edifice, ceiled and painted, was the result of their efforts to help establish the kingdom of God in the world, ‘a place where God’s honor dwelleth." In 1921 it was decided that a modern church building was needed, so a handsome brick church with an up-to-date Sunday School plant for the religious training of the young people of the community was erected in a different location on the same lot by the ….. efforts and to the everlasting honor of Mr. P. L. Redwine, chairman of the building committee, and his faithful helpers. On the cornerstone is the Bible verse, holding aloft its welcome to wayworn travelers along the toilsome pathway of life: ‘This is the home of God and the gate of heaven." May this building stand for years to come as a splendid memorial to each one who gave time, money, effort and prayers to its erection. When the church was moved to Madras, the name changed to Jones Chapel. To memorialize the name of Rev. Dabney P. Jones, who gave the campground near palmetto, where spiritual revivals were held from 1840 to 1860. Those who tented and attended at the camp meetings were the Steeds, Skeins, Hearns, Wilsons, Kelleys, Condors, Cooks, Shropshire, Redwines, Charlie Arnold, Hugh Arnold, Tom Banks, Tom White, Charles Toliver, and others. These were God-fearing, law-abiding citizens – the very foundation stone on which their community was built. . How full of interest it would be if some scion of each family would write it’s biography for "Coweta Chronicles". The family of which Mrs. Earnest Powel and Mrs. J. T. Kirby are members are descendants of Rev. W. W. Steagall, who added in organizing this early church. Mrs. Eugene Askew and Mrs. Amos Wilkinson are great grand daughters of Rev. Dabney Jones. Mr. Jones delivered the first temperance lecture ever heard in Newnan. It was after the barbecue on the 4th of July, 1838. The lecture at most of the Superior Courts when the friends of temperance called on him. He gave such influence to the people of the new county that when White’s History of Georgia was published in 1849, the historian referred to Coweta inhabitants as being ‘remarkable for sobriety and hospitality’. He died at his home near Palmetto, and his ashes repose in the old family burying ground just across the railroad in front of his old home. His noble spirit is with God, who gave it to bless his generation. Is not Coweta County largely indebted to him?

Some of the best men of the Methodist Conference have served this church through the years, besides the presiding elders who came with their soul-stirring sermons. It is regrettable that no record of names of pastors can be found for the first forty years of the church …….. 1828 to 1868, but from 1868 to the present time the pastors have been: Robert Jones 1868; J. L. Lowe 1869-70; J. M Bowden 1871-72; T. H. Timmons 1873-4; J. S. Bryan 1875; Joseph Carr 1876; W. M. Bond 1877; W. A. Parks 1878-9; S. H. Dimon 1880; J. W. Quillian 1881-83; A. W. Quillian 1884, F. M. Brannon 1885; G. W. Duval 1886; J. J. Morgan 1887-8; Jere Reese 1889; J. S. Askew 1890-92; Artemus Lester 1893-4; J. N. Snow & G. W. Griner 1895; W. G. Crawley 1896; E. G. Golden 1897-8; J. T. Eakes 1898-1900; J. W. Bailey 1901-2; L. L. Landrum 1903-4; W. H. Meacham 1905; W. S. Gaines 1906-7; A. E. Sansburn 1908-11; J. A. Sewell 1912-13; S. D. Cremean 1914-15; T. M. Elliott 1916; J. A. Davis 1917-20; V. A. Roark 1921-22; T. H. Shackleford 1923-25.

N. L. Cook.

 

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