Carroll’s Methodist is one of those churches that doesn’t give any indication from the exterior that you are looking at a structure that has been standing here since 1833. The exterior has been covered with asbestos siding and the original footings and support beams are not visible now. In addition, some “restoration” work was done in the 1950’s resulting in redesigning the doors and several of the windows. A portico and banisters were added as well. While this restoration work was well meaning and added decades of life to the church in other ways, it certainly modified the historical character of the church. Only from the interior can you appreciate the primitive beauty that was established here almost 200 years ago.
The very earliest church history states that the church was founded in 1797 and named for the William Carroll Family, who were early settlers in Franklin County. This goes back to the earliest years of Methodism in Georgia and America. Most of the credit for the early establishment of Methodism in the state goes to Bishop Francis Asbury, who was born in England and migrated to America in 1771. At the age of 18, John Wesley appointed Asbury as a ‘traveling preacher’, which was a very apt title. Asbury preached in myriad places: courthouses, public houses, tobacco houses, fields, public squares, wherever a crowd assembled to hear him. For the remainder of his life he rode an average of 6,000 miles each year, preaching virtually every day and conducting meetings and conferences. The early success of the Methodists in Georgia are largely due to his personal efforts.
By 1814 Methodist membership in Georgia exceeded 10,000, a figure that almost doubled during the next fifteen years. By 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, over 97,000 Methodists lived in Georgia. The significance of all of this for Caroll’s church is that Bishop Asbury preached here on November 22, 1799. From Bishop Asbury’s diary, ‘Here on Friday November 22, 1799, we drove 16 miles to Carroll’s Meeting House, a new log cabin in the woods. Some of the congregation are from the East and West parts of Maryland. I felt the Lord was with them. We have the kitchen house and chamber all in one and no closet but the woods.’
The present building you see was erected in 1833 and was restored in 1951- 1952 as mentioned above in memory of Rev. Nelson Osborn (1797-1873) who served Carroll’s for many years. The church history states that ‘He preached 470 funerals and married 540 couples. This old church has paved the way to spread the Gospel over our beloved County and State. Let us ever keep alive the memory of those Pioneers who settled here and left such a wonderful heritage to us.’ To which we can only add…Amen.