Thomas W. Brandon is the founder of the church in Bartow County known as Brandon’s Chapel. Mr. Brandon grew up in Gwinnett county but he was born in Virginia, a very typical migration pattern of early Georgia settlers that populated Georgia from Virginia, North and South Carolina. Thomas and Louisa Green were married in 1830 and moved into the county in 1835, and began their life on a plantation he acquired on the Etowah River in the wilderness that was then Bartow county. He became one of the leading farmers in the Euharlee-Stilesboro area. Thomas and Louisa had seven children, four girls and three boys. All three sons served in the Civil War. They survived the war but not without a lot of trauma. All three boys were captured but ultimately made their way home. Thomas died in 1874 and Louisa in 1883. Both are buried in the family cemetery near the old home place now on land now owned by Georgia Power’s Plant Bowen.
Thomas joined the Methodist Church at the age of 17 and later started a Sunday School on his property that was the beginning of Brandon Chapel. Built of hewn logs, with a large fireplace at one end, it was used as the first school house in the county as well as the church. The old United Methodist churches were called societies, and this new church was named ‘Brandon’s Society’ in honor of its founder. Later a new frame church was built on the west side of the present railroad, nearer the town of Stilesboro. Mr. Brandon was instrumental in the building of this church, and it was known as Brandon’s Chapel. The church was destroyed by a cyclone in 1898. The present building was completed in 1899 in Stilesboro and in the course of years has had a large membership.
Brandon’s Chapel was a Methodist church for 161 years but in 1997, it became a Baptist church. The church has recently undergone some restoration work. The photo above was taken before the steeples were lovingly restored. Come pay them a visit if you get the chance. Services are on Sunday mornings at 11 am and Sunday evening at 6 pm.
The interior of Brandon's Chapel is quite impressive. It is expansive and can accommodate large crowds of worshipers while still projecting a homey, reverent atmosphere. The highlight of this Meeting House are its huge, gothic stained windows. Lining each wall and placed in the apse as well, these windows bathe the interior in light. The brown stained ceiling would leave the sanctuary dark and less inviting were it not for these windows.
This close up view of the windows in the apse allows us to appreciate the fine carpentry, fit and finish work that exists throughout Brandon's Chapel. The large window frames are well finished and joined. The hand laid leaded glass windows let in abundant, colorful light to illuminate the entire area behind the pulpit. Yet, the plain decorative elements of this area as well as throughout the church reflect the desire for simplicity at the core of the denomination's doctrine.
This setting looks inviting and comfortable; a place to sit, contemplate life and express gratitude. We think that is one of the great gifts that these old sacred places have always given to those who visited in the past. We want to work to insure that places like these will remain available for all to enjoy in the future.
Here lies the founder of Brandon's Chapel, Thomas Wyly Brandon who died in 1874. This family burial ground is now on land owned by Plant Bowen. You can visit but you must call security to get permission. There are 20 interments in the cemetery of family members, most of them are dated prior to 1900. Thomas' grave is the oldest.
Here lies Virgina Brandon who died in 1903 at the age of 59. She was a spinster by the standards of the day, primarily because she had the misfortune to be born in 1844. The Civil War was a demographic disaster for the south and created a lot of widows and spinsters.
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