Mt. Pleasant Methodist

Banks County
Org 1780
Photography by Randy Clegg

The following Mt. Pleasant history was submitted by Rev. Bennett Clough.  “In 1780, a group of Methodists gathered on a hill above the present church and constructed a platform that served as an pulpit for preaching services, making a natural amphitheater; during the services the congregation would sit on logs. At one point, a member of the congregation said that it was very pleasant to worship on the hill, which is where the name Mount Pleasant originated.

Around 1804, those involved in these meetings officially organized Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church. The early members were Garrisons, Meaders, Ragsdales, and the Wilmots. The Wilmot’s donated the land and soon after they did, a log church, along with a Meeting Arbor and cabins, was constructed. The cemetery had its first burial in 1814

Rev. Jedidiah Garrison, understood, along with his sons, to be the organizer of the church, is interesting figure within early Methodist history. He was in 1752 in Carteret County, North Carolina and would serve as a Continental Line Solider during the American Revolution. In 1786 he embraced the Methodist faith and would soon begin actively serving as a lay preacher. Some years later he and his family would move to Franklin County, Georgia; this is when he became involved with Mount Pleasant.

He would remain with this church until his death on April 9th, 1830. His Obituary in the Christian Advocate (a Methodists newspaper) stated simply; “…he spent the remainder of his days in the faithful discharge of his duties to God and man.” Both of his sons were ordained by the great Bishop Francis Asbury and would become prominent Methodist ministers. Rev. David Garrison is buried next to his father at Mount Pleasant and Rev. Levi Garrison is buried at Providence United Methodist Church in Anderson County, SC. In 1834, Rev. David Garrison deeded three acres of land to the trustees of Mount Pleasant. In that same year, a log church was built; this building was also used as a school until the early 1900s.

Mount Pleasant constructed its current building in 1883 and it was dedicated by Rev. Thomas O. Rory on November 11th of that year. Sunday School classrooms were built on to the building in 1915 and 1941, a kitchen was added in 1975, and a steeple was placed on the church in 1993.

Mount Pleasant is connected with another historic church nearby, Mount Olivet Methodist. During the turbulent era leading up to the Civil War, Mount Pleasant divided over the issue of slavery as did the Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Marion Ragsdale, a Local Preacher at Mount Pleasant, stood against slavery. He would soon leave Mount Pleasant with family and like-minded congregants to go down the road and start a new church, Mount Olivet Methodist Episcopal Church. When the Methodist denominations reunited in 1939, Mount Pleasant and Mount Olivet began to share a pastor under the auspices of the Homer Methodist Circuit.  While membership of Mount Pleasant United Methodist is small today, they cherish and take care of their proud legacy. Over the years, the church has sent from its membership at least 15 into the ministry of the Methodist Church.”

The cemetery at Mount Pleasant contains 380 graves.  Forty of them bear the surname Garrison.  Six of the sons of Martin Garrison served in the Civil War and only one of them survived.  Local records show Martin had very little assets and owned no slaves.  In the 1860 census three of his children, ages 34, 30 and 28,  are shown as living at home with no occupation and their condition is listed as “pauper”.  Southern cemeteries are full of these tragic stories that illustrate the Civil War was a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. The story of the Garrison boys is found in the last cemetery photo. 

Be sure to click and scroll the photos below to learn more about this historic old church that has roots in the 18th century.  

+ Read More