Field’s Chapel Methodist
Field’s Chapel, is to a great extent, the story of Jeremiah Field and the Field family. It is a story that takes place at a seminal point in Georgia history involving vast amounts of cheap land, conflict with the Cherokee Nation, the discovery of gold and ultimately, the sad removal of the Cherokees from this land on the infamous ‘Trail of Tears’. The white encroachment on the land began as early as 1800, possibly earlier. The old Federal Highway, completed in 1805, ran in the northeast part of the county and provided access for land hungry settlers. At first there was a trickle of settlers but after gold was discovered, the trickle became a flood. Prior to the formation of the county and the discovery of gold, the conflict with the Cherokee began to escalate, exacerbated by the fact that the Cherokees had sided with England in the Revolutionary War. This did not sit well with these backcountry pioneers who had been strong revolutionaries with little taste for Loyalist sympathizers. Soon after the formation of the county, the land was dotted with gold mines and encampments of miners. According to one church history, Field’s chapel was organized and built by Jeremiah Field sometime around 1820. However, there is a Field Geneology document that suggests he may have moved into Cherokee County at a later date. Regardless of the date, Jeremiah Field was one of the earliest settlers in Cherokee County and was quite an entrepreneur who owned a grist mill, a general store and thousands of acres engaged in agriculture. According to the 1840 Federal census, Jeremiah owned 39 slaves and according to the 1850 census, the value of his property was given as $50,000….making him the richest man in the county. This original church stood for many years and was in use until the present church was built by Charles Steele in 1898. The church was dedicated on June of 1899 by the Reverend Sam Jones and ‘it was said that there were three thousand people present to witness the dedication in spite of the rainy weather’. A few words about the Reverend Sam Jones would be in order here, as 3,000 people standing in the rain for a rural church dedication sounds like an exaggeration. However, Sam Jones had that kind of power, and he was regarded as the South’s most famous preacher in the late 19th century. He preached far and wide all over the country and once preached to over a quarter of a million people over several weeks in Chicago. His ‘Quit your meanness’ message was delivered in a homespun theatrical style that resonated with the common man as he railed against the evils of ‘theater, dime novels, playing cards, baseball, and dances’. However, his biggest campaign was against alcohol…… ‘I will fight the liquor traffic as long as I have fists, kick it as long as I have a foot, bite it as long as I have a tooth, and then gum’em till I die’. For more information about Sam Jones click here. It was a great send off and the little church prospered until 1927 and 1928, when the church was threatened by the building of the Allatoona reservoir and many people were forced to sell their land. Membership had declined until there were only 15 or 16 left due to the fact that so many people had been relocated and others simply cut off from access to the church. The little church has now fully rebounded and has an active congregation of over 140 members. Services are held every Sunday at 8:40 and 11:00 am and visitors are welcome. The sanctuary is also available for special events.