Odessadale Methodist

Meriwether County
Org 1897
Photography by Gail Des Jardin

Odessadale Methodist is another one of those Georgia jewels hidden away in the rural back country between LaGrange and Greenville in Meriwether County. You can get a birds eye peek at the church here.  The beauty of these old sanctuaries never ceases to amaze us and we love to uncover the stories that go with them.  Georgia is indeed blessed with these treasures and we encourage you to get out on the backroads and make your own discoveries.  The little farming community of Odessadale has been around for almost 200 years even though the town was not incorporated until 1905.  Wikipedia tells us that Odessadale has also been known by the names of Odessa and Xerxes at one time or another.  Xerxes was the name of the plantation of a prominent Odessadale Citizen, Colonel Henry Richard Harris. He was a member of the original congregation and his wife, Kate Virginia Moses Harris, was a devoted worker and the first Sunday School Superintendent of Odessadale Methodist Church. 

Odessadale Methodist was organized in the late 1800’s in a schoolhouse by members of the Methodist church in Mountville, a short distance away but still a significant ride on Sunday in a horse and buggy.  The land was donated by Miss Odessa Thompson, a prominent member of the Odessa Baptist church, and the lady the town was named for.  She gave 1 1/2 acres to be used for a school and a church.  The little graveyard beside the church is the final resting place for a number of prominent early citizens of the Odessadale community, including many descendants of the Harman family – and this is where the story gets very interesting.  Of the 113 interments in the graveyard, twenty five of them carry the surname Harman.

Fortunately one of the Harman family, Gaines Harman, is still carrying on the tradition, and was the source of so much knowledge about this lovely little church. It turns out the structure was designed and built by members of the congregation who were led by his great grandfather, Cornelius Harman.  There is no question that Cornelius was quite an accomplished carpenter as you will see when you enter the church.  But before we take a look at the wonderful artistry of the interior, please take a moment to appreciate the majesty of the architecture in the above photo.  Some of these old sanctuaries are really worth a close look and Odessadale Methodist is one of them. The unique entryway, the offset bell tower and the interior craftsmanship are indicative of just how skilled some of these farmers were. 

We encourage viewers to take a close look at this little jewel in Meriwether County.  We are grateful to Gaines Harman and the current members for their stewardship of this important piece of rural Georgia history.  She is still going strong and will serve to tell the coming generations where we came from and how we got here.  

Click on the gallery photos below and scroll for more information.

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