Mt. Moriah Campground
After the American Revolution, a Protestant religious movement referred to as the Second Great Awakening or the Great Revival swept across the new nation, and especially so in the South. It fueled the growth of Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian congregations across Georgia. An outgrowth of this movement, the camp meeting ground, became a cornerstone of the movement and resulted in the establishment of many of these special meeting places across the state, many of which still exist and are going strong. Mt. Moriah is a great example of this early 19th century tradition. The camp is located in Matthews, Georgia in rural Jefferson County on a piece of land rich in history. The camp dates back to 1828, when the first camp was held under a brush arbor. The tabernacle was built in 1856 and is one of the oldest landmarks in Georgia still being used for its original purpose.
The following history is from the South Georgia Methodist Conference archives.
“During the American Revolutionary War, a British soldier named Camel fought against his son who had joined the American Army. As a result, Camel disinherited his son. The son changed his name to Pharaoh. After the war, Pharaoh began to preach the Gospel. He preached in North Carolina before coming to Georgia. Preaching first in northern Burke County, in the early 1800s he came to Jefferson County. Here he preached in a one-room schoolhouse on land owned by William Parker. In 1824, William Parker gave a thirty-acre tract of land to be used for the site of the first church building. This building was erected in 1825 by the Andersons, Arringtons, Avretts, Beckums, Daniels, Farmers, Matthews, Palmers, and Parkers.
In 1827, a campground was organized. Services were held under a brush arbor behind the church building. In 1828 a tabernacle was built. In 1829 fire destroyed the church building, tabernacle, and the tents that had been built on the campground. In the early days, the church was part of the Louisville District. A new church building was built the same year, but the tabernacle was not rebuilt until 1856. In November of 1856, fire again destroyed all the buildings. In 1857 the buildings were again re-built only to be blown down by a tornado in 1875. Members re-built the buildings again.”
Mt. Moriah carries on this tradition of service to the community that respects the history of this sacred campground founded almost 200 years ago. This stewardship means that Mt. Moriah history will be passed down to coming generations. We are all grateful for this love and respect of Georgia history. Thank you.
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