Knowles Chapel Methodist

Hancock County
Org 1875
Photography by John Kirkland

The following history write up is by HRC volunteer Richard Hillman – Knowles Chapel UMC in southern Hancock County is truly a wonderful, serene, and peaceful setting. One can literally travel back to the late 1800’s by just walking inside. You are greeted with the typical “male” and “female” doors in the front. Tall ceilings are untouched and remnants of the days of separate seating by gender are still there. The original pews are still in place and the congregation was wise enough to not cover up the original wooden floors and wooden walls. The essence of the originality is everywhere in the interior. 

The church was established in 1875 in a typical log cabin on property owned by W. T. Knowles. According to Methodist archival history, “Brother W. T. Knowles was the first member of the Church.  He was received on profession of faith in the fall of 1875. The Reverend George H. Patillo being the pastor who baptised him.  Few men have a greater love for the Church than Brother Knowles had. When no minister was present he conducted the service. Usually he led the Prayer Meetings on Wednesday nights. Holding a small brass lamp in his left hand, and the Bible in the other, he would read the lesson and then exhort. He was also known to often feed members and guests at his own expense.” 

Common to the time, the cabin was also used as a school, even after the church moved into it’s new building.  Later the log cabin was torn down and the land sold to Dave Silver of Sparta. Mr. Silver had the distinction of being the only Jewish farmer in Hancock county.  The congregation outgrew the cabin and, per a deed dated October 23, 1886, four and one half acres was purchased from Mrs. Matt A. Ball Ferguson for a sum of thirty six dollars. Members gave timbers, money, and labor to the construction effort.  The current building was erected in 1888 and continues to serve the community.  Many changes have been made over the years but the bones are original.  The history did tell us that is was not until 1954 that the church received its first coat of paint.

Be sure to click and scroll on the gallery photos below to learn more about Knowles Chapel and some the early Hancock County settlers who built this part of Georgia.


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