Methodists and Baptists on Pine Log Mountain
Briar Patch Church, Reinhardt’s Original Chapel 

“You had to go to preachin’, everybody had to go to preachin’, and everybody went!”

                                       -Mrs. Jesse Fincher

Briar Patch Methodist Evangelist Church was founded in 1834 by Lewis Reinhardt.  Briar Patch Church was closely connected with Reinhardt College, through the Reinhardt President, who also acted as the minister of the church. The church was attended by both Methodists and Baptists because there were no other churches in the area. The largest camp meeting in Cherokee County was held at Briar Patch Church in 1884, when more than 500 people attended the ten-day meeting.  Attendees stayed in shelters and tents across the road (now Route 140) from the church.

Photo courtesy of Reinhardt University Archives.

Briar Patch Church and Cemetery, Waleska, Georgia

Augustus Reinhardt Diary

 

The Reinhardt University Archives holds the 1878-1880 diary of Captain Augustus Reinhardt, in which he journals about his Christian faith.

 

October 13, 1878

"Attended class meeting at 9 ½ and preached at 11 a.m., Sunday School at 3and church at 7 ½  p.m. Bro. P. preached about the great gospel… And the excuses have been much less …than were from some scholars in my S.S. class."
 

Courtesy Reinhardt University Archives

October 3, 1878

"Have just read the 1st and 2nd chapters of Luke, and while in prayer received a very gracious blessing of the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, and these alone, (my wife being absent at her mothers) on my knees. Covenanted anew with my God, to fast every Friday morning and to give the Lord one tenth of all my gross income, consecrating myself and my little all to him for life. And have the promise of the ever witness of the Holy Spirit by which to overcome self."

October 20, 1879

"Attended church twice. Reprimanded a church backslider for crooking and finding fault with preacher, with good effect. Induced a sinner to go to the altar. Have done some good and we have called with Bro. P. to see wife Emma P.  and parents. Spent a few pleasant and profitable moments."
Minutes of the Seventh Session of the North Georgia Annual Conference of the M. E. Church, South - Dec.16, 1873
The Reinhardt University Archives holds this Methodist publication from before the founding of the college. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South came out of the Methodist Episcopal Church when they split in 1844 over slavery. The Annual Conference determined where the ministers would be appointed, and it compiled reports of what the church accomplished and the finances they used that year.
 
 

Courtesy Reinhardt University Archives

Courtesy Reinhardt University Archives

Methodist Episcopal Doctrines of Discipline, 1843
This 1843 Methodist Episcopal Church's Doctrines of Discipline was printed right before the denomination’s split in 1844. A discipline contains the rules of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is updated every four years by the General Conference. The book was made small so that the circuit riders could carry it in their satchels when traveling. A circuit rider was a Methodist minister in a rural area who rotated between churches, as described by Cora Mae Harris in A Circuit Rider’s Wife.
 
Church Services on Pine Log Mountain
Newspaper articles in The Cherokee Advance, the North Georgia Tribune and the Bartow Herald from the late 1800s and early 1900s describe church services on the summit of Pine Log Mountain, as well as Reinhardt students and faculty holding church services there.
 
Pine Log Mountain hosted Easter services with more than a hundred people in attendance. Reinhardt students sometimes camped on the mountain and held services. In an essay called “The Camping Trip” in The Reinhardt Mountaineer, the college’s first literary magazine, one student described a Sunday morning when students were camping at the summit, on the White Cliffs, noting that “services were held at a large grove near the camp.”
 

Courtesy Reinhardt University Archives

Pine Log Methodist Church

Courtesy

Photo courtesy Etowah Valley Historical Society

Old Pine Log Methodist Church
The oldest church in continuous use in what is now Bartow County (formerly Cass County), Georgia, Pine Log Methodist Church was founded in 1834 by settlers who had migrated from Eastern Georgia and upstate South Carolina following the land lottery. The original log structure served as both a school and place of worship. Later, the frame church (1842) was built, along with a tabernacle and cabins (1888) for camp meetings. Located to the southwest of Pine Log Mountain just off the Tennesse Road (today's Hwy 411) a little north of the intersection with Hwy 140--about four miles west of the site of the Cherokee town called Pine Log village (“Notetsenschansie”), the church is now on the National Register of Historic Places. For more about this church, click here.
Pleasant Arbor Baptist Church
Pleasant Arbor Baptist Church was founded in 1877.  The church cemetery contains the graves of several Confederate soldiers, including J. Travis Jones and Seabury Jones. There is also an African-American section.
 
The Hutcherson family, one of the early settler families in the Salacoa Valley, had a nearby farm and owned ten slaves in 1860. After the Civil War, the family continued to employ African-American freedmen, who attended church at Pleasant Arbor and are buried there.
 
The African-American families of Hutcherson, Herd and Watts are represented in the cemetery.
 
Olivine Baptist Church Cemetery
Olivine Baptist Church was an African-American church in Waleska built in 1914 and active until the late 1990s. The church burned down, but the cemetery is still maintained.
 
Most of the members of the church worked as farmhands for the nearby Carpenter farm, which cultivated 1,000 acres of cotton. Cull Carpenter donated the land and built the church so that his workers would have somewhere to attenda place to worship on Sundays. Olivine was also used a schoolhouse on the weekdays.
 
Refuge Baptist Church and Zoar School
Also known as Little Refuge Baptist Church on Little Refuge Road in Waleska, this church was also the site of the Zoar Schoolhouse, a one-room rural school.
 
Ola Darby Poole, born 1921, told Mary Cissell (in a 2010 interview for the Cherokee County Historical Society) about attending school there as a young girl, some three miles walk from her family's home: 
"I started school when I was eight. We didn't start school as young as children do now. You had to be big enough to walk to school, you see. When Daddy moved on the farm, we first started at the Waleska School. But the girls, there at Waleska School, was city girls and they could dress and have things that we couldn't have. It wasn't that we didn't like the people, but Daddy felt that we would feel more satisfied in this country school.
 
"So we all started going to Zoar School, it was a country school. Every morning, Mother would have to get up and put wood in the old wood stove and get it good and hot and cook our biscuits at 4:00 in the morning. . . . Mother'd pack our lunch in a little square, tin, lunch box with a lid on it; she'd put a baked potato in there and one of her biscuits with sausage in it. We didn't carry anything to drink because we drank water at school."
 
 
 
 
"We had a trail (at the school) that went down in the holler and of course the community fixed a spring. They dug the spring out and fixed it real nice and the water would run real clear. We'd take a bucket and a dipper down there and we'd fill up the bucket and tote it back up the trail. I think we all drank out of the dipper, I don't remember any cups. It stayed in the water and we all drank out of it and nobody got sick!
 
"When we got to school, we'd have to start a fire in the wood heater. The men would cut the wood and have it setting on the porch and then we (children) would have to build the fire in the stove. We'd get there before the teacher and we'd pick up pine burrs and sticks and get the fire going, and by the time it was going good, it was time to go home! Then we'd have to do it all over again the next morning!
 
"The school was just one big open room with all of the classes (grades 1 - 8) in it. Teacher would call the first grade up and they'd do their lesson, and then she'd call up the second grade and third and on like that. The names of my brothers and sisters that went to school with me: Bill, Roy, Horace, and Marie Darby. There wasn't many houses like there are now, so we walked three miles by ourselves. The other children came the same distance from the other side of the school.
 
"It was a dirt road, and when it rained, our shoes would get very muddy and we'd rub them off with a leaf or some straw before we went into the school. We wore lace-up shoes that your feet wouldn't get wet. Momma would clean them up at night for the next day.
 
"I remember Mrs. Ingram was my teacher. She came from Pickens, and she boarded at a neighbors' house close to school through the winter months. I believe she went home on weekends with her husband. . . . 
 
"Every community had its own school. but we never mixed. We had up toward forty students in our school grades one to eight with one teacher. I don't remember her having any trouble with the kids. Parents made their kids mind back then. I went to seventh grade, and then I met my husband, Ernest. "
 

© 2023 by Marian Dean. Proudly created with Wix.com