There is some question as to the age and origin of Lebanon Methodist church in Cherokee County among the church members. The exterior of the church is a beautiful example of a typical 19th century rural Georgia church. It has been there for some time on the edge of a very large cemetery and is now surrounded by encroaching development. Findagrave reports 698 interments, with several of them pre-Civil War. One of the more interesting markers is a tribute to “Aunt Minnie”, who was a freed slave that had no family and became an important member of the Bascomb community, located about five miles from the church. We found an article about her in the local paper – the marker and the story are located below.
Apparently there were some significant interior changes made around 1906, but we feel the church you see here was constructed shortly after the Civil War in the early 1870s. We located the original deed for the church, dated December of 1869. The property was owned by Frederick Freeman and the deed is signed by John W. Freeman, who we think was Frederick’s son. Next to the signature is the notation that the donation of land for the church was his fathers “Dying Request”. Frederick died in 1866 so obviously the deed was executed after his death. The origins of Lebanon Methodist may have been much earlier than this, but we have found no evidence of it.
The deed reads in part “Know all men by these presents that I Frederick Freeman for Lebanon M. E. Church and in consideration of the love I bear for the cause of Christ …. Lot No 636 – 15 – 2nd and from an earnest desire to promote his heritage on earth ….. I give and by these presents convey unto Lebanon Church, Methodist Episcopal Church South for the use and benefit of said church (to be used as the church may see and most benefit to the cause of Christ). And the said Church is to have and to hold two acres of land containing the Graveyard and the house thereon, the lines on the North side of the church running East and West so as to not __?__ the Graveyard and run East so far as to make a square of two acres off of lot of land No (636). To have and to hold the property aforesaid for the use aforesaid free from the claims or claims of myself my heirs my executors or administrators and from the claim of all others whatsoever.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 6th day of Dec 1869. In presence of, WW Hawkins, Jacob Haney and JS Haney. Signed by John W. Freeman for Frederick Freeman … His dying request.”
Perhaps some more history will emerge later on and we can add to it. Meanwhile, we feel we have documented that this historic little church was built shortly after the Civil War in a remote part of Cherokee County. Unfortunately, encroaching development has eliminated the remote aspect, but Lebanon Methodist proudly stands as a reminder of days gone by.