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.
Nestled among the towering Georgia pines, the congregations of Cherokee Corner have worshiped in this location for over 175 years.
Improvements have been made over the years in order to keep the congregation in some semblance of comfort but the bones are from 1873.
Entering the sanctuary, there is a single wide aisle in the center flanked by oak pews. Other than the wainscoting on the walls, the interior is about a plain as it gets.
This is a final resting ground for many early Georgia settlers with a number of graves dating from the 1820’s and 1830’s. The cemetery is on the edge of a beautiful forest and has not changed much in almost 200 years.
The Cherokee Corner cemetery is very old. There are 135 total interments, the oldest documented grave being that of Elizabeth Freeman who died in 1806. The cemetery was apparently in use before the first church was organized and built.
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That old historic church is now occupied by a group of Quaker worshippers. The Methodist stone sits in the church rear in front of an abandoned cemetery that is grown up with weeds, thick leaves and small trees all among the grave stones. You would think some old family lines would gather and help clean up that historic burial place – folks that have family ties to people buried there. This was written May 28, 2022 after paying a roadside visit there off Highway 78 east of Athens.
Maybe you can spearhead the effort to clean it, Rollin!
Farm Hill was a small plantation/farm. Fielding Dillard settled his family there in, I believe, the early 1800’s. The original house does not exist anymore. Descendants of Fielding still live on the land. I’m an a descendant of Fielding.
L. Bishop …
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my inquiry, and I do apologize for such a late response …
My 3rd Great Grandfather David Franklin Montgomery (1800 – 1876) married a lady named Mariah L. Fielder (1804 – 1882) and they had several children listed as being born at “Farm Hill, Oglethorpe, Georgia”. Their son Rufus F. Montgomery (1831 – 1902) is my 2nd Great Grandfather.
I was born in 1960 & grew up over in Atlanta and never knew my family history.
I moved to Athens in 2007 and now live on a farm in Madison County, Georgia.
Last year with everything shut down because of Covid, I decided to explore my family tree.
Imagine my delight to discover that I have settled down in an area that many of my ancestors are from!
That makes it kind of a homecoming of sorts!
Again, apologies for such a late response, and I sure do appreciate the information you provided about Farm Hill.
Does anyone have information about Farm Hill, Oglethorpe, Georgia?
Where it was located and what is located there now?
Researching family history and genealogy.
Part of that history mentions relatives being from Farm Hill, Oglethorpe, Georgia early 1800’s, and this church is mentioned therein as well.
I presume Farm Hill must have been a community or settlement in the vicinity that was large enough to be well known but not an actual city.
My efforts to find geographical information on Farm Hill have proven fruitless so any help afforded would be much appreciated.
Cherokee Corner Church now is the home of Athens Friends Meeting (Quakers). Athens Quakers are thankful to the remnant of the Methodist congregation for providing a home to local Quakers. We Quakers seek to preserve the historical nature of the site and a continued spiritual presence in that sacred space. I’m Hugh Minor, a member of Athens Friends Meeting and a former United Methodist minister.
Thanks Hugh. So glad to hear that the Friends have found a new home at the Cherokee Corner church. I is indeed both historical and spiritual. Thanks for taking care of it.
Very nice to see. I’m Russ Hawkins, grandson of Elizabeth & Dillard Hawkins who lived at the farm in which Cherokee resided. I see it’s an Amish church now due to the politics of large Methodist Churches revoking recognition of these smaller churches…very sad