First Presbyterian of Cohutta

Whitfield County
Org 1842
Photography by Tom Reed

Just south of the Tennessee border, in the North Georgia mountains is the little village of Cohutta in Whitfield County. According to the local history, the roots of the First Presbyterian church in Cohutta go back to 1842 when the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized by the Reverend Hiram Douglas. Whitfield County was created out of Murray County just after the Cherokee removal, known as the Trail of Tears. The United States had signed a treaty with the Cherokees in 1798, guaranteeing their rights to the land in north Georgia that included Whitfield County. However, in violation of that treaty, the state of Georgia claimed authority over the area in 1828. In 1838 the U.S. government, pressured by the state, removed the Cherokee Indians from their lands in Georgia to a reservation in Oklahoma.

According to the local history, during the next four decades the congregation met at several locations in the area, and in 1882, Reverend A.R.T. Hambright delivered his first sermon in a grove near the center of the village-community of Cohutta. In 1886, the first church was erected on land donated by Mr. S. H. Parker and was known as the Cohutta Cumberland Presbyterian Church with a membership of thirty six. In 1906, this church joined in the union of the Cumberland Presbyterian and the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, and in 1906, the Reverend John Morgan Wooten became the first minster of the Cohutta Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.  Rev. Wooten was pastor of the church for twenty-five years.

In 1915, a new sanctuary was built on the present site, on land donated by its former pastor, Reverend Hambright.  We are told that “In the late 1950s, the congregation became discouraged with the Chattanooga Presbytery’s inability to secure a minister for the church, Reverend Wilkes Dendy of the First Presbyterian Church, U.S., in Dalton offered to help secure a minister and contacted the Cherokee Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. They sent ministers from time to time in order that the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper might be observed. In the fall of 1959, after many months of prayerful planning , the Cohutta church asked to be accepted into Cherokee Presbytery, and on the first Sunday of January, 1960, the First Presbyterian Church of Cohutta became a member of Cherokee Presbytery, Synod of Georgia, Presbyterian Church in the United States. When the church was dismissed from the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. and received into the Presbyterian Church, U.S., it was given the beautiful church building that Rev. Wooten had built and the church manse. The Cohutta Church again became a part of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. along with Cherokee Presbytery after Reunion in 1983.”

The interior of the church is a beauty as you will see. The quality of the workmanship along with the beauty of the stained glass windows is remarkable. The congregation of this Presbyterian church has been serving this little village in the North Georgia mountains for generations and we applaud the stewardship of this lovely sanctuary. She is well maintained and will be serving the community for generations to come.

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