St. Paul Methodist

Putnam County
Org 1878
Photography by Scott Farrar

In 1871, Enterprise Church and Academy was organized by Rev. W.W. Oslin and stood on land given by William and Kinchen Little. It was located on what is now Sparta Highway. In 1878, a new church was built on part of the Enterprise Church property and the name was changed to St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church South. The Pastor at that time was Rev. F.P. Brown.

In 1897, they merged with another church nearby called New Hope and built a new structure in Rockville, adjacent to the Academy. The community of Rockville was chosen because it was halfway between the old St. Paul Church and New Hope Church and was built on land donated by Mr. and Mrs. F.G. Branch, the principal of the academy.

A special perspective of the history of this church was shared by Pierce Harris, son of the circuit-riding pastor in the early 1900s:

“As a little boy, I used to ride with my father as he served the East Putnam Circuit and traveled the dusty road of that section. in the wintertime, I used to sit in the foot of the buggy hugging a lantern and wishing we would hurry and get where we were going. One Summer during a revival meeting at that little country church, I was sitting in the front seat…so I would be where Papa could watch me. One morning at the close of the sermon, I stepped out into the aisle, walked down to the altar, and joined the church. The preacher didn’t say much but it was one of the biggest days in both our lives.

A lot of years have passed since then and many of those fine old families have scattered. But the little church is still there and I can see it now as I saw it back yonder. Just a plain little wooden church sitting by the roadside, with uncarpeted floors and a simple altar. But it was the Westminster Abbey of my young life. The impressions that came to me that Summer morning as I stood, a little barefooted boy at the altar, have stayed with me. I’ve carried them all over this part of the United States and shared them with thousands of other people.” ~Pierce Harris, Pastor of the First Methodist Church of Atlanta; this story was recorded in 1955.

The Rockville Historic District, including St. Paul’s Methodist Church and the Rockville Academy, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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