Prospect Methodist

Jackson County
Org 1788
Photography by Scott MacInnis

Prospect Methodist is one of the oldest churches in post Revolutionary War Georgia and its origins can be traced to the earliest rise of Methodism right after the war. The church predates Jackson County, which was formed out of Franklin County in 1796. Franklin County was the first county established in Georgia after the American Revolution. The earliest records are scarce but, according to a local newspaper article, a wedding was conducted there by Reverend James Tinsley in 1788.

To put this into perspective, this wedding took place before George Washington became president and the Oconee River, just a stones throw away, was the western border of Georgia. On the other side of the Oconee were hostile Cherokee Indians who were grudgingly being forced to give up their land to the white man. This land had belonged to the Lower Cherokee Indians but the Augusta treaty of 1783 ceded the land to Georgia. This was the beginning of a constant expansion of Georgia territory that ultimately acquired all of the land from the Creeks and Cherokees and by the 1830’s the Georgia footprint that we know today was complete.

The church followed the usual evolution from Brush Arbor to a log structure “meeting house” (built in 1812), and finally to a more finished wood frame construction. The present sanctuary was built in 1890. Coday Fowler was one of the founders of Prospect Church and is buried near the entrance of the church. The double marker that you see in the foreground is that of John A. Whitehead (1813-1897) and his wife, Malissa Cook Whitehead (1841-1886).