Haralson Methodist

Coweta County
Org 1845
Photography by Gail Des Jardin

The following is a church history by Winston Skinner published in the Newnan Times-Herald.

“The church has its beginning with a pioneer family that had strong tensions between father and son. Joy S. Garrison wrote a history of the Garrison Meeting House, as the church was first known, in 1976.  Caleb Garrison, the benefactor who built the first church and then tore it down, was “a true pioneer, living his entire life at the extreme edges of civilization,” according to Joy Garrison.

Caleb married Rachel Box in the Haw Creek District of North Carolina and later moved to Banks County and Hall County before he came to Coweta County. Subsequently, he lived in both Alabama and Arkansas. “He was in each of these locations when they were raw pioneering communities,” Joy Garrison wrote.  While he was living in Banks County – around 1825 – he attempted to whip his son Michael, who ran away. “Michael outran his father, his only possessions being a claybank pony and a muzzle-loading shotgun,” Joy Garrison wrote.  A few years later, Caleb set out to find Michael. Wandering through the Georgia wilderness, he followed clues from people who had seen his son. Joy Garrison wrote that Michael was “young, healthy, industrious” at that time. He had married and become “a leading citizen in Haralson community, which at this time was known as Lick Skillet.”

Michael Garrison owned considerable property and had part interest in a store.  Caleb Garrison decided to sell his Banks County holdings and move to Haralson, as well. Caleb was a Methodist – two of his brothers were Methodist parsons – and he gave two acres for a church in Haralson and built a log meetinghouse.  “As the area became more populous and membership in the church increased, some of the members wished to hold camp meeting at this location. The only convenient place for the campers to get water was at Caleb Garrison’s spring. Caleb refused to allow this,” according to Joy Garrison.  Michael led campers to his property and let them hold camp meeting near a spring there.  When Caleb Garrison made 10 gallons of whiskey, “members of the church already unhappy about the camp meeting affair ask Caleb to destroy the whiskey and make acknowledgement of his misdeed openly in church – which he refused to do,” Joy Garrison reported.  Caleb Garrison was dismissed from the church. He tore the church building down and used the material to build a barn. He also refused to allow church members onto the church property.

“Again Michael was not in accord with his father. He invited the people to a location on his land.” A brush arbor was built for services.  By around 1840, Caleb Garrison had headed to the next frontier. His son remained and helped build a new church building. The Methodist church building in Haralson today – built in 1890 – is on the same site at that church and as Garrison’s original meetinghouse.  The church property, the adjoining cemetery and a schoolhouse were deeded to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church by William Taylor in 1845. Both Union and Confederate are buried in the cemetery – many in unmarked graves identified by head and foot stones.”

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