Union Chapel United Methodist Church, Circa 1858, & Union Chapel School, 1913

This vernacular Greek Revival church is among the oldest in Putnam County, and was built on land originally owned by the same man who owned the nearby Rock Eagle site. The historical marker placed by the congregation and the Eatonton-Putnam County Historical Society in 2001 gives a detailed history: On April 24, 1855, Irby Hudson Scott deeded to the trustees of a new newly organized and consolidated Methodist Episcopal group, three and three-quarter acres of land in the Tompkins District in Putnam County, Georgia. A church building was to be erected on the land. There had been a small church on nearby land owned by the Hearn family named Bethel Church. There was also a small church named Rock Chapel on what used to be known as “the ridge road,” and now called the Uncle Remus U.S. Highway 441. Because the membership of each of the two churches was small, they united into one larger congregation and built a house of worship on the land offered for the purpose by Mr. Scott. These early members built well and today the building is still in excellent condition. No one now living knows where the lumber was milled but it is all the very best heart pine lumber, nowhere to be found today. The sills and framework are hand-hewn and pinned. The doors and triple-sash windows are said to have been made in Augusta, Georgia, and hauled overland to the building site. The lumber used to make the pews and the door and window facing was all hand planed. The pulpit Bible was presented in 1855 and the first pastor was the Rev. Henry Morton. As early as 1867, there was a Sunday school at Union Chapel. Mr. Cullen S. Credille was superintendent of the male members and Mrs. Mary Scott was superintendent of the female members. Many years ago the orientation of the interior was changed with the pulpit and pews being reversed. Originally, the pulpit was before the high windows between the two front doors, and was mounted by steps. A new pulpit and communion rail was installed at the opposite end of the building and a center door was removed and the opening closed.

The adjacent schoolhouse is a landmark, as well. More history from the marker notes: On August 13, 1913, a delegation of 25 gentlemen from the Reid’s Crossroad community went before the Putnam County Board of Education and requested that a better school be built in the area. The board voted to build a school at Union Chapel. The builder was Mr. Robert E. Vining and the school opened in November 1913 and was in continuous operation until county school consolidation forced its closure on May 25, 1946. The school’s first teacher was Miss Fannie Mae Jones. It has been used since as Sunday school space by the church. For generations United Chapel Church and school have been important parts of this community.

1 thought on “Union Chapel United Methodist Church, Circa 1858, & Union Chapel School, 1913

  1. Michael Porter

    Love your descriptive comments. I have a sizable heart pine remnant from a tree that died in 1960. Fantastic building material, but also very hard to work.

    Reply

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