Cherokee Corner Methodist

Oglethorpe County
Org 1822
Photography by Scott Farrar

You can’t help but wonder at the name of Cherokee Corner, and for good reason. It is quite a story and dates back to 1775. The history tells us that prior to 1771, The Cherokee Indians were so indebted to the government trading post at Augusta, they were forced to cede more land to be opened for settlement. Thus, in 1775, a party of government surveyors and Cherokee Chiefs started at a point on the Savannah River some miles above Augusta and made their way westward to formalize the treaty boundries. When they ‘reached a grove of great white oak trees by the Indian trail from Appalachian Hills to Greensboro, the old Indian leading the party stuck his tomahawk into a great white oak and said “We go no further”. They then turned south, making this the corner of the line. Since then, the place has been know as Cherokee Corner.’

The government then built a trading post and a post office to be serviced by a post road, later a stage coach road, from Augusta. Soon the Indians ceded more land to the north and west and the settlers came in vast numbers. After a time, they felt the need of a church and so they came together and built one. According the county history, the church was founded in 1822. At that time, most of the settlers were Presbyterian we are told, and thus the church was designated Presbyterian. It was ‘located in a grove of white oaks just south of the post, on a hill by the old trail which, by this time, was used by the whites rather than Indians. The church was a frame house with no ceiling. It had a gallery for the Negro slaves and many Negro slaves worshiped here and were members until they were set free, when they built a church of their own nearby, known to this day as St. James Methodist.’

The church prospered until the Civil War but with the war came the social turmoil that accompanied it. The church was still there after the war but Presbyterians that worshiped there were mostly gone to be replaced by the Methodist faith. The Methodists met there in August of 1866 and organized the first Cherokee Corner Methodist Congregation. There were 75 members of the church in 1867. Again the church prospered and in 1873, it was decided to build a new church. This was done at a cost of $850 using lumber from the old church as well as new lumber from a mill in Jackson county. The completed church was dedicated on Nov. 2, 1873.

Cherokee Corner Methodist has undergone a number of renovations and improvements over the years as the members reacted to the needs of the congregation. While the church has changed a bit cosmetically, the faith and spirit of the members has not. Neither has the location of this historical treasure, as the members have worshiping in this beautiful rural setting for over 175 years. We owe the members of Cherokee Corner Methodist a big debt of gratitude for preserving this treasure for us all. Thank you.

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