Shiloh Methodist

Tattnall County
Org 1812
Photography by Randall Davis

Shiloh Methodist is the second oldest church in Tattnall County, the oldest being Mt. Carmel, a meeting house of peeled pine logs eighteen feet by twenty feet erected in 1808. While the exact organization date of Shiloh is uncertain, according to a local county history, it occurred either in 1810 or 1812. The church was organized by William Eason, a farmer and South Carolina expatriate. They erected a peeled log chapel, twenty feet by thirty feet that became Shiloh Meeting House. It was located at the site of Old Shiloh Cemetery about a mile away from the present structure.

In 1858, it was decided to move the meeting house to a site where a spring fed into Thomas Creek, and a two-door frame meeting house was erected less than a mile from Old Shiloh Cemetery. In 1899 the current structure was erected next to the two-door structure. However, old Shiloh Cemetery continued to be used by the community as the earliest grave at the new church site is dated 1890. According to local history, well into the twentieth century, families preferred that first cemetery. Burials include area pioneers, Methodist ministers, Confederate veterans, local and state elected officials, and numerous other whites and blacks – both slave and free. The last burial occurred in 1942. The church has been inactive for some time, but it still used for reunions and special events.

As usual, in cemeteries this old, the number of unmarked graves is substantial and will never be known. Many of the intricately carved as well as the crudely carved wooden grave markers remembered by older Shiloh residents have disappeared through natural decay and neglect. Thus the exact resting places of many of the original pioneers of the community have been lost forever. Fortunately many of public-spirited Shiloh residents in the community have labored to maintain the old cemetery for later generations.