Poplar Springs Methodist

Wilkinson County
Org 1828

There was an old Methodist Camp Meeting Ground close by that was the genesis of the Poplar Springs Methodist Church. According to the records, Fulton Kemp deeded ten acres of land to Jesse Peacock, Wiley Miller, Peter VanLandingham and Jethro Dean as Trustees of the church. In the cemetery there are twenty documented interments for the VanLandingham’s and thirteen for the Kemps. The oldest of these interments is a Kemp infant buried in 1828. However, one must keep in mind that there was little money in this part of Georgia and these old cemeteries are full of either unmarked or undocumented graves.

The original meeting house would have been of log construction, which was the custom at the time. This was replaced by the present frame structure built by E. J. Tarpley in 1859. There is little available history for this classic mid 19th century rural jewel but according to county history, the sanctuary was used by Sherman’s soldiers passing through in 1864 and the “old minutes have never been seen since”. We will keep looking for some better records and will add to it as we go.

The cemetery is very interesting and also raises more questions than answers. The first interment that we know of is dated 1828, so this burial ground has been in use for almost 200 years. Part of the cemetery is “fenced” and part of lies outside the fence. We are told that inside the fence was the white section and outside the fence was the black section, but the dates outside the fence are relatively new, even though there are a few pre-1900 interments. Blacks would have formed their own church after the Civil War, complete with their own cemeteries so this configuration of the cemetery is confusing. Another intriguing aspect of the cemetery is the liberal use of wooden markers that are still visible. Some of these wooden markers have very interesting shapes and represent a burial custom that seems to be unique in this part of Georgia. Again…………….more questions than answers but we will keep looking.