Mt. Zion Methodist

Photography courtesy of Scott Farrar


Mt. Zion Presbyterian  

Org 1814

Mt. Zion was founded as a Presbyterian Church in 1813.  It was sold to the Methodist Church in in 1903 and was active until 1958.  The church is visible from the highway and is sited on a high piece of ground with a commanding view of the countryside.  It is a proper location for a church designed in the Greek Revival style.  The double door entrance leads to an interesting double aisle pew arrangement and the four large columns complete the majesty that is Mt. Zion.  The community of Mt. Zion has a most extraordinary history, the traces of which have entirely vanished with one big exception……………………..Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church.  Mt. Zion has a storied history as an education center beginning with Rev. Nathan Beman.  Rev. Beman moved from Maine to Georgia in 1812.  Shortly thereafter, he agreed to serve as the Headmaster of academy at Mt. Zion as well as the pastor of Mt. Zion Presbyterian.  At the time, the community consisted of the church, a two-story schoolhouse, many houses and various other buildings.  In a period of a few short years, Rev. Beman was able to turn Mt. Zion into one of Georgia’s most celebrated institutions.  There has been a governor (William J. Northern, elected in 1890), as well as famous educators and writers associated with this small community.  We are told that Mt. Zion barely lost out to Athens as the location for the University of Georgia campus.

To learn more about Rev. Beman and the history of Mt. Zion click here.

Mt. Zion was originally a Presbyterian Church, organized by Rev. Beman in 1813.  The present building is the original structure, constructed in 1814.  This is unusual in that most churches in the rural backcountry started as ‘brush arbors’, then progressed to a log church and finally to one or more versions of a framed sanctuary.  The fact that this delightful structure was built in 1814 and still survives speaks to the wealthy planters who envisioned Mr. Zion as an education center of learning from the very beginning.  Mt. Zion’s reputation as such was known far and wide.   After the Civil War, membership dwindled until the building was sold to the trustees of a Methodist Church for $200 in 1903.  The Methodists worshiped in the building until 1958.  The building is currently owned by the Hancock County Historical Trust.  The Mt. Zion church was recently put on the Georgia Trust’s list of Places in Peril in 2012 and has received some badly needed repairs.

To learn more about the Georgia Trust and Places in Peril click here.

For church location and directions click here.

12 Thoughts

  1. Christopher Johnson · January 15, 2017 Reply

    My Father was Baptized in Mr. Zion Church in Hancock County circa 1934. He was born down the dirt road behind the Church and the house they lived in in early part of the 20th Century , although dilapidated and certainly uninhabitable still stands. My family from William Johnson Sr. 1750-1830 settled in Hancock County after the Revolutionary war . I’m trying to research, with some success, the gravestones leading to one great book of those buried in the Cemetery behind the Church. Would love to hear from any Ancestors of those buried there in hopes to see if your Ancestors crossed the paths of mine. Best Wishes. Christopher Paul Johnson

  2. Margaret Cobb · January 26, 2016 Reply

    There is a church in Lowndes County, Georgia which I wish you would add to the website. The church, The First Baptist Church of Ousley, Georgia is located just west of Valdosta, Georgia. The church dates back to the early 1800’s and is still standing with a small, but active congregation. I have a number of relatives buried in its small cemetery. The church features two front doors, which a former minister of ours has told us, dates back to a time when men and women entered the church through separate doors. There is a picture online of this church if you google the church. Ousley was a town with a post office back in the early part of the 20th century and my grandfather was one of its postmasters. The town is now featured on the United States Postal service website as “a place of interest” and is now essentially a suburb of Valdosta along the Sawgrass Parkway.

  3. Frances Albert · October 13, 2014 Reply

    Stopped for the first time last week, it was so peaceful and calm, thanks for those who care enough to preserve our past.

  4. Susan Harris Campo · April 12, 2014 Reply

    My great grandparents were members at Mt. Zion Church, Hancock Co. Ga., and subsequently their eight children were baptized there. Copies of Church Records can be seen at the Georgia Historical Society in Atlanta, Ga. So glad to see the Ga. Trust is involved with restoration!

  5. Andrea Adams · September 19, 2013 Reply

    There was a church here called Mount Zion in the late 1700’s, around 1790. The original Mount Zion predates this newer building for Mount Zion. There was also an academy for young men at this church. Revivals were also held here and thousands would show for three days. This church was used by my family in the late 1700’s. My family name was Montgomery.

  6. Tom W · July 15, 2013 Reply

    My mother, Emilee Alsabrooks, played the piano in the late 1930’s in this church.
    Thanks for this site

  7. Scott · June 10, 2013 Reply

    This church is one of my favorite places in Georgia…I love the way they are maintaining it without really “updating” anything. Wish all of these abandoned churches could be handled the same way.

  8. Kevin G · May 6, 2013 Reply

    These pictures are great

  9. admin · May 6, 2013 Reply

    what a great church

  10. admin · May 6, 2013 Reply

    The local Hancock County community and the Georgia Trust have made substantial improvements in order to keep Mt. Zion viable. We are all indebted to them for these efforts.