Historic Rural Churches of Georgia was founded in 2012 by Sonny Seals andGeorge Hart with a mission to research, document and ultimately preservehistoric rural churches across the state. The movement started when Sonnyinadvertently discovered his great grandfather’s grave in the old graveyardof Powelton Methodist, a long inactive church in the “lost village ofPowelton”. That discovery of his personal family roots and the relatedhistory of the little village of Powelton led Sonny and George to wonderabout the old rural churches across the state and the disappearing villages.How many were there? What will happen to them? Does anybody care? Is thereany way to save them? These questions are what led to the development ofthis website.
Georgia is blessed with many of these old rural treasures, but many of themare now gone and others are badly in need of assistance. HRCGA has recruiteda group of very talented and passionate photographers to document thesetreasures in the style we think of as “reverential documentation”. Ourgroup of talented photographers make these old sanctuaries come alive withbeautiful photographs, while paying appropriate attention to the primitivearchitectural integrity of the structures. We try to capture the beauty ofthe sanctuaries, inside and out, but also the history behind them. We alsouse the haunting cemeteries to tell some of the stories of the ruralpioneers who founded and built these treasures. Simply put, Georgia historyin unique in many ways and Georgia history is rural church history…thestory of who we are and how we got here.
Board of Directors
Mr. Beard is a Senior Vice President of Wealth Management for Morgan Stanley. Tom joined Smith Barney, now Morgan Stanley, in March of 2004, coming from the Private Wealth Management division of Deutsche Bank Alex Brown. As Managing Director with the Deutsche Bank Mid Atlantic Group for the investment banking division, and as Director of the Atlanta branch of Stephens, Inc. (Little Rock, Arkansas), Tom launched investment banking opportunities on a national and international scale, with a focus on the Southeast. A graduate of the University of Georgia business school, Tom was a U.S. Army officer and later served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to President Carter. He has been a board member with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, The Atlanta College of Art, The National Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees, The President’s Committee for the Olympic Games in Atlanta, the International Campaign for Tibet, and Camp Sunshine. He is also a former co-owner of three Winston Cup NASCAR race teams.