Liberty Methodist

Greene County
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Org 1795
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Photography by Scott Farrar

In 1785, shortly after the close of the American Revolution, there were only nine churches in the Georgia backcountry – three Lutheran, two Presbyterian, one Congregationalist, three Baptist, and no Methodist. However, the backcountry was about to begin a transformation which would rapidly change this “unchurched wilderness” in a remarkable way and the Baptists and the Methodists would lead this transformation. As one of the earliest backcounty churches, the Liberty Methodist church evolution followed the usual pattern of original Brush Arbor to a frame structure, which was built sometime prior to 1797 according to a church history ( It was then named Liberty Chapel). The original Brush Arbor was built on land owned by Reid Merrit within sight of the present church. ‘Great revivals were held in this crude establishment and out of them grew the first Methodist church in Greene county and one of the first in the state of Georgia.’ The original frame structure was replaced in the early 1800’s by a building that measured ‘forty feet by sixty feet and was located a short distance back from the original church’. This structure was dedicated in 1805 by Bishop Francis Asbury, one of the stalwarts of early Methodist history. He preached at Liberty on multiple occasions.

According to a local history, the name Liberty was derived from the fact that so many of the early settlers in the area were veterans of the Revolution and members of the “Sons of Liberty”. Later the Liberty area became known as “Crackers Neck” when tobacco was the money crop. Oxen pulled hogsheads loaded with tobacco to Augusta. The rawhide whips they used had long crackers on the end to urge on the oxen. Supposedly the little boys in the street would yell out “Here come the boys from Crackers Neck”. As the Methodists began to get organized, Liberty became part of the Appalachee Circuit. The site on which Liberty now stands was owned by Reuben Smith who deeded 7.14 acres to the Liberty trustees on July 27, 1827. According to church history, the church was active for the duration of the Civil War. The little church prospered over the years and construction on the present sanctuary began in 1900 – the building was dedicated in 1903. Liberty has a proud history and one of the longest in Georgia. Long may she live.