Photography Courtesy of Scott MacInnis

Photography Courtesy of Scott MacInnis

 

Smyrna Methodist   Circa 1785

Smyrna Church was organized by two Presbyterian ministers in 1785. For a number of years there was no church building and the members worshiped in their homes or under brush arbors. Sir John Talbot, an Episcopalian, had moved to Wilkes in 1783 to occupy his land grant of 50,000 acres. During the 1780’s he had been disappointed to find no Episcopal Church to attend. In 1788 he decided to affiliate with the Presbyterians and worship with them. In 1793 he deeded two acres of land to the Presbyterians. A church made of logs with a gallery for slaves  was erected that year, and Reverend John Springer, the first Presbyterian minister to be ordained in Georgia, became its first pastor.

By 1820, the church had not thrived and membership had fallen to just 15.  Those congregants decided it best to transfer their membership to the more successful and active Washington Presbyterian church and offer their building to the Methodists who soon had a flourishing Society there.  During the 1840’s, the Presbyterians and Methodists held union camp meetings annually on the church grounds under brush arbors.

In 1860 the Methodists decided to demolish the log structure and build a larger frame structure. That church was remodeled in 1883 and stood until 1911 when the present structure was built. Smyrna is still, in the 21st Century, an active and vibrant member of the community.  The Smyrna cemetery is one of the most historic in this section of the state. Here lie Sir John Talbot and his son Matthew, President of the Georgia Senate in 1811, 1817-22 and briefly as Governor of Georgia in 1819. Also present are Revolutionary War officers and War of 1812 officers as well as soldiers of every other war in which the United States was engaged in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries. 

For Wilkes County map and church locations click here.

  • Smyrna Cemetery 1
  • Smyrna Cemetery 2
  • Smyrna Cemetery 3
  • Smyrna Exterior Front View
  • Smyrna Exterior Three Quarters View
  • Smyrna Exterior with Cemetery
  • Smyrna Interior Wide

7 Thoughts

  1. Virgil Wolter · July 21, 2015 Reply

    Having a larger membership, this church has Reverend Richard Broom hold services every Sunday. He then holds a second service at Mt. Zion Methodist Church on first and third Sundays, and at Bethel Methodist Church on second and fourth Sundays.

  2. Torri Galaviz · June 9, 2015 Reply

    Hi! Is this church available to rent?

  3. Carl Crowley · May 29, 2015 Reply

    Hello. I’m trying to help a friend find the resting place of her ancestor, Capt. James H. Giles (b. 1742) who lived in Wilkes County from at least 1785 through his death, the date of which is uncertain. He came over from Abbeville SC. My theory is that he was a Presbyterian ( his widow and many other family members are buried in a Presbyterian cemetery in Abbeville)., and I’m hoping that if we can find the site of his church in Wilkes Co. we can find his grave.

    We believe that he may have died in 1799 ( but are not sure).
    If anyone has any info or ideas please email me (see below).

    Thanks.

    Carl Crowley
    Atlanta
    cacrowley@georgialaw.org

  4. Betty Slaton · July 25, 2014 Reply

    I just noticed that this is labeled as a Presbyterian Church. The first church on this site was Presbyterian, but after 1825 this became Methodist property. Your history indicates this, but the name under the picture does not.
    This is a wonderful effort and gets better each month.
    Thanks.

  5. admin · July 16, 2013 Reply

    There is a lot of history in this church and a wonderful cemetery. Still going strong after 225 years.

Thoughts