Pine Log Methodist & Campground

Bartow County
Org 1834
Photography by Sam Ratcliffe

The beautiful church you see above, the oldest in Bartow County, has been improved over the years but was actually built in 1843.  The church was sited on “The Tennessee Road”, built through the Cherokee Nation in 1829 to provide a market road from the Tennessee River to Augusta, the nearest port city.  In addition to the church and campground there is a substantial cemetery with the oldest recorded interment, according to Findagrave, being  that of Ann Atherton who died in 1831.  Much of the history contained in this commentary came from a History of the Pine Log Methodist Church ca 1834-1981, as well as research recorded for the National Register in 1988.  The land for the church and cemetery, said to contain a Cherokee burial ground, was donated by early settler Lindsey Johnson, who came from Elbert County to prospect for copper in 1830.  The roots of the Campground go back to the earliest days as well, with annual campground meetings being held on the grounds beginning in the 1840s.  The present tabernacle was built in 1888 and has survived virtually intact. 

Bartow County was originally named Cass County in honor of Gen Lewis Cass of Michigan, who was Secretary of War in the Jackson cabinet and very instrumental in the removal of Native Americans from the area.  However, he fell from favor in the south at the beginning of the Civil War, and the county was renamed Bartow for Gen. Francis Bartow, who was among the first to fall at the Battle of Manassas in 1861.  The early years of Bartow County were tumultuous as Georgia forcefully acquired the Cherokee lands, culminating in their forced removal on the Trail of Tears in 1838. 

The county was settled by parceling out Cherokee land in a lottery that awarded land in either 40 or 160 acre increments, the smaller being classified as those potentially containing gold.  The new settlers bought land lots from the fortunate lottery drawers and began to settle the area. Many of the organizational members of Pine Log Methodist Church who were in the area by 1840 were farmers, and many owned slaves.  The census of 1840 tells us that church members owned 170 slaves.  

The Civil War years were particularly difficult for the Pine Log and Cassville areas due to the fighting preceding the Battle of Atlanta.  Rogue elements of both sides roamed the area while most of the younger males were serving in the various theaters of conflict.  Property destruction and the deaths of one-third of the county’s soldiers during the war caused financial and social calamity for many.  There are a few CSA vets in the cemetery, but we have to remind ourselves that these were the ones who survived and returned from the war.  That is usually an unknown number, but the Pine Log history tells us in detail that at least twenty church members fought in the war and never returned.  

The Pine Log history is long and proud and we are so fortunate that the local congregants have been such good stewards of it.  She is still serving the community after 180 years.  Be sure to click and scroll he photos below for more information about Pine Long and the earliest settlers of Bartow County.

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