Smith Chapel

Org 1850
Photography by Andy Sarge

This is a history of Smith Chapel Methodist Church from “The Heritage of Carroll County, Georgia 1826-2001” published in 2002:

Around 1850, John Thurman bought land and erected a church where the road from the Thurman house crossed Buchanan Road. It had a rock chimney and logs covered with hand hewn boards. Logs for the floor, which was leveled with an adz, had holes in each end for hickory pins. No nails were used. Posts on each side of the pulpit held tallow candles.

Admitted to the Methodist Protestant Conference in 1852, it was named “Mount Pleasant” by Rev. Thurman’s wife, Martha Ann McDaniel Thurman. Membership included: Thurmans, Parkers, Gambles, Davenports, Jeters, Stamps, Holmes, Alexanders, Moons, McCrays, Robinson, Brown, Ragans, Crawfords, McBurnetts, Thompsons, Upchurches..

In 1875 a more modern structure using iron nails replaced the original. Pastor Anderson Smith renamed it “Smith Chapel” honoring his deceased son, Rev. Seaborn Smith. It also became a school. Nannie Thurman, wife of John Nance was teacher.

Eventually people attending other churches reduced membership. Descendants of early members comprise the present Memorial Association. James L. Thurman, son of Rev. John Thurman, directed construction of the existing structure in 1896.

Rev. Anderson Smith, pioneer of Christianity in Western Georgia, and Rev. John Thurman, distinguished early Georgia Methodist minister who organized Methodist Protestant churches across Georgia, are buried here. Rev. Thurman preached the first sermon in Marthasville, now Atlanta. Reportedly, he moved to Carroll County to avoid rearing his family near the railroad’s negative influences.

Emory and Wilma Marlow purchased and restored Smith Chapel in 1988.”

Mr. Marlow cited sources for the article as the papers of Dr. J.C. Griffies, Rev. Seaborn D. Campbell, tradition, and memories of older citizens.