Pine Level Methodist

Macon County
Org 1840
Photography by Tony Cantrell

Macon County was created on Dec. 14, 1837, from Houston and Marion counties. The 91st county, it was named for the recently-deceased General Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina. General Macon served in the U.S. Congress for 37 years and ran for U.S. vice president. It is said his name was chosen because many of the settlers of this area came from North Carolina. The earliest inhabitants were the Cherokee,  Muskogee (who later became part of the Creek Nation), and Uchee Indians.

In 1838, the first county seat was chosen when the county’s inferior court selected the Lanier community. The Georgia General Assembly made it official on December 29, 1838 when Lanier was incorporated as a town. The name for the community was selected by the earliest settlers who had come from Lanier County and the name stuck. A Methodist Church was established at Lanier around 1840 and was served by a circuit-riding minister.

The Central of Georgia Railroad was built through Oglethorpe in the 1850s and the opportunity followed. As Oglethorpe grew, the legislature called for referendums on moving the seat away from Lanier and in 1856, a referendum was confirmed, adopting Oglethorpe as the new county seat. By 1858, the community of Lanier had dwindled considerably and that year, the circuit-riding minister who served this region recorded that the congregation at Lanier was struggling to maintain its membership. The church closed its doors that year.

The exact date isn’t clear, but sometime in the next decade, the church was moved from the community of Lanier to a nearby community called Pine Level, when it was renamed for its new location. It was reorganized in 1869, following the Civil War.

In regards to the consumption of liquor, we found an interesting entry in the Acts and Resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, 1885, page 542, which said the following: “Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the passage of this Act, it shall be unlawful for any person, or persons to sell, barter, or exchange any spirituous or malt liquors within four miles of Pine Level Church and the academy located within fifty yards of said church, in Macon County.”

In 1931, Pine Level was on the Oglethorpe Circuit with Corinth, Ideal, and Oglethorpe with Rev. W. E. Dennis as pastor.  They had a membership of 75 at that time.

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