Collinsworth Methodist

Talbot County
Org 1828
Photography by Tony Cantrell

Collinsworth Methodist Church and graveyard are a wonderful trip back into the past. To understand the early history of the church, located in Talbot County, we have to go back to the early 19th century and the history of the conflicts with the Creek Indian Nation. This part of Georgia was the scene of much turmoil between the Creek Nation and the state of Georgia, which was determined to acquire all of the Creek territories from the Ocmulgee River to the Chattahoochee River on the Alabama border. The last conflict with the Creeks began in 1836 when U.S. troops, assisted by Georgia and Alabama militia and led by General Winfield Scott, forcibly rounded up Creeks and sent them to Indian Territory on the infamous Trail of Tears.

Talbot County was formed in 1827 and during this period of unrest, a small group of Methodists formed a society at the home of George Menefee, called Menefee’s Meeting House. Organized in 1828, it was one of the first churches in this community, which was first called Ypsilanti and then known as Redbone.

After meeting at the Menefee Home for a few years, the congregation needed a more convenient location and in 1834, members built a frame church house, two miles east of the current site. They renamed the new church Collinsworth, after the famed Methodist minister, John Collinsworth. Some of the earliest worshippers were: George Menefee, Richard Menefee, William S. Robins, Sarah Robins, James Callier, and his wife. Urbane Leonard Callier, Roderick Leonard, and Ephraim Mabry and wife. Three acres of land was deeded from Robert M. Smith to the trustees of the church and later, member Urbane C. Tigner granted the trustees another 1.5 acres for a burial ground.

As the years went on, the congregation again needed an updated building to worship, so in 1859, the present church up on the hill was built and dedicated by Bishop Lovick A. Pierce on August 20th of that year. It is thought that member, Urbane Tigner built the church that seats as many as 200 congregants. Its 3 ionic columns represent the holy trinity and it has separate entrances for males and females. A small school building just opposite the church building, called Collinsworth Academy operated during this time, teaching students grades one through high school.

We found an interesting story about the purchase of the first church organ in 1892, thanks to members Mrs. Charles D. Matthews and Miss Pearl S. Watts. Members recalled what a great day in the history of the church it was when the wagon arrived with the organ for installation. Today, a second organ, purchased in 1916, still adorns the sanctuary.

Over the years, the church circuits shifted from the Talbot Circuit to the Centreville Circuit, and then on to the Woodland Circuit.  As membership dwindled, congregations in this section began to unite and in 1965, Collinsworth Methodist consolidated with nearby Corinth Church (founded c. 1828) to form on church on the Talbotton Charge. Make sure you read about the history of Corinth Methodist as well HERE.

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