Concord Methodist

Walker County
Org 1844
Photography by Sam Ratcliffe

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.

+ Read More