The history below was compiled by Mrs. Rosa Orr in 1951. Her reminisces of the old days at the church and the campground meeting speak for themselves. The full history can be found in the North Georgia Methodist Conference archives at Pitts Library at Emory.
“Concord Church was organized in 1844. The word Concord means unity and harmony. It is one of the oldest churches in Walker County, Georgia. It is on the Subligna Charge, Dalton District, North Georgia Conference; located 2 miles from Villanow. The first building was of logs which was about 2o’by 20 ft. It was used for a schoolhouse too…..This house Was large enough for the worShip service until 1851 when the people began to see the need for a new church building. Rev. Henry Cosper gave to the church two acres of land on which the log house stood at that time. The deed recites that for “good considerations” the land is granted to have and to hold in trust for the ministers and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, as a place of worship, This deed was dated May 28, 1851. ….In 1851 the congregation erected a large two story-building to be used as a church and a Masonic Hall. This new two. story building was used for headquarters for one of the generals of the Confederate Army. The guns were stacked on the first floor while the men kept a quiet vigil from the upper hall. The sentinals were on the out side. In 1855 the trustees of the church bought 12 more acres of land from the administrators of the Rev. Cosper estate, making 14 acres in all…..The price paid for the land was $68.
Soon after the establishment of the church, a camp ground was laid out. Till the days of the Civil War, a camp meeting was held annually at this place. A large arbor was erected with sills and braces all hewn from oak logs. It was 60 by 90 feet. The boards were rived from the oak trees to make a roof. In 1900 it was covered a new but it was let go and not a peice is to be found today. People came from far and near to attend these meetings. The crowds were often estimated at 1500 people. Houses and tents were built to accomodate those who came to camp. These houses contained sleeping rooms, porches and passageways and were quite comfortable. Long rows of these houses were built, mostly of logs. Cooking and eating was done mostly in the open. The visitors and strangers were given a hearty welcome and asked to eat. Great numbers of horses, oxen, wagons and carts were present. Those who did not have tents would use tbeir covered agons. The preachers stayed and slept in the church. It has been told to me that the shouting would begin at the grove meeting and continue until the three 0′ clock service.
…..I would like to, mention here that I was told that you could smell cabbage cooking across the campground. It came to my mind how distasteful to God the odor of the burnt offerings were but I knew the odor of the cabbage was not held against those who came with clean hands and pure heart. I will get back to the work that must be done. The cows must be milked more carefully to have plenty of extra milk and butter. Some carried their cows with them and others turned the calf with the cow. A friend that could not go would look after the things left at home. A hog must be called up out of the mountains to be butchered, a beef killed, also a goat, and a sheep. The women must be busy baking old fashioned light bread, sweet bread, ginger bread and stacks of pies. Those who had more of the worlds goods would share with others to help them get ready for the camp meeting. There was extra green coffee to roast in the oven before the fire. It took care to roast it even and good. The nights had begun to be cool so the food would keep for several days. The camp meetings were discontinued during the Civil War. But after peace was established they reorganized and continued until 1892…..In 1882 the two story church building was torn down and a new building erected in its place which was remodled in 1907.
There have been many answers given why the camp meeting stopped. One said the people were too poor to take care of the preachers. Another said some apple brandy was being made to sell during the meeting……. In 1892, at the last meeting a man from Dalton named Longley started to drive across the grounds. Mr. Surrett was bailiff and he tried to stop him but he persisted to go on anyway. The bailiff picked up a piece of plank and stopped him very effictively. The singing, praying and preaching was pleasing to God but the devil had to get in his work. On Wednesday morning, 1892, the last Concord Camp meeting came to a close with a prayer service before they returned to their homes. I hope that this place may be used for Camp Meetings again if God wills it so.”
This type of church history is rare and we are indebted to Mrs Rosa Off for compiling it. Concord Methodist has a proud history and many of her early Walker County settlers reside in the cemetery. Be sure to click and scroll the photos below for more Concord history and geneology.
As we saw on the History Page, Exterior photo, Concord is an attractive, multi-gabled wood frame structure with a tin roof. It presents as a well-kept, structurally sound building in moderately good shape given its age of about 140 years. In the interior photo above, we have entered the church and are looking toward the chancel. We see backs of the dozen or so handsome wood pews with scroll arms and attractive escutcheons on the pew ends. These pews were machine manufactured and are authentic of the period, late 18th and early 19th centuries. We can also see the chancel and pulpit. The entire sanctuary is spotless and remarkably clean.
This photo is taken from behind the Pulpit. Again, the excellent stewardship of this congregation is apparent. The floors, pews, walls and ceiling tiles are so clean they glow. The pulpit is a modest, hand-made structure and very few decorative items are seen on the walls in keeping with the tenants of the church.
This is a view of the choir area to the right of the pulpit. The piano, piano bench, microphone and hymnals are placed at the ready for the next service. The congregation at Concord is still very active, services are held often and attendance is robust. This view also highlights the large, clear-glass paned, sashed windows that are seen throughout the sanctuary and allow ambient light to flow in.
Concord has undergone several remodeling projects since the first one undertaken in 1907. As evidence of those project, we see in this photo, one of the early interior, chamfered columns. It is at the rear of the chancel and remains as a ceiling support. This column has been in place and effective in doing its job for over 130 years.
Narcissus Thompson Shaw was born May 15, 1829 and died August 28, 1902. She was a Real Daughter of the War of 1812. Her father was Capt. Gaines B. Thompson, Sr. (1787-1875) who lived in Elbert County, Georgia. She was married to Crayton Shaw (1817-1880).
Major J. Harris and Thomas Harris were brothers. Their parents Charles Pinckney Harris (1815-1862) and Margaret McConnell Harris (1816-1894) are both buried at Concord. Pvt. Major J. Harris was born December 12, 1841 and died May 11, 1862. He served in Company K, 39th Georgia Infantry, CSA. The only record of his service states he received a $50 bounty for re-enlisting March 28, 1862. Pvt. Thomas Jefferson Harris was born in 1836 and died December 20, 1919. He served in Company D, 65th Georgia Infantry, CSA. He was married to William Virginia “Jane” Silvey (1840-1906). His Confederate pension application states “My age and wounds have about rendered me unable to do anything.” At the time of his application he had nine children living, 6 boys and 3 girls. During the war he was a patient at St. Mary’s Hospital, West Point Mississippi. His death certificate shows he died of bronchitis.
Van Tate was born June 18, 1835 and died August 18, 1915. He married first Miss Hamilton Shahan but had no children. He married second Eliza Dorgan Rea and they had eight children. He served in Co. H, 23rd GA Infantry. His Confederate Pension Application states that he was born in Anderson County, South Carolina and came to Georgia around 1850. It also states he had heart problems and shortness of breath and was unable to work.
Rev. Thomas Jophy Griffin was born at Rocky Face in Whitfield County on April 15, 1817 and died in Walker County on August 30, 1894. His wife was Lucinda Dennemore (1822-1900) and they were married in 1841. They lived near Villanow. His obit stated “Quite a concourse of people gathered at Concord” the next day after his death.
Phebe Louise Jane Cosper Rainey was born in Union County, South Carolina on 15 Nov. 1826 and died October 7, 1849 in Walker County. She was married to James Thomas Rainey (1830-1907). She was the daughter of Henry E. Cosper (1803-1852). The 1850 census says he was a Minister of the Gospel, Episcopal Methodist.
Millie Tate Keown was born January 10, 1837 and died May 1, 1858 at the age of 21. She was the wife of William Milton Keown. Her only child was her daughter Emily Keown born May 1, 1858, the same day Millie Tate Keown died.
Rev. Henry Eugene Cosper was born August 3, 1803 and died December 31, 1852. The inscription on this monument reads “In memory of Rev. Henry Cosper who on May 28, 1851 donated the first two acres of ground for Concord Methodist Church Property”. Rev. Cosper was married to Sarah Keown (1799-1846) and they had four children. Rev. Cosper is buried at Concord and though no marker has been found his wife is also likely buried there.
Professor William Dolby Greene was born August 25, 1875 in Butler, Taylor County, Georgia and died April 24, 1915 in Fulton County. He attended the State Normal School in Athens, Georgia. He married Annie Matilda Pittman on December 24, 1903. His obit states “his wife lost a devoted husband, the children a tender and loving father, the state of Georgia an efficient and progressive teacher…” At the time of his death he was principal of the Ben Hill High School near Atlanta.
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