Turin Baptist

Coweta County
Org 1890
Photography by Brandon Westerman

The Turin Baptist Church is not an old church, relatively speaking. It is the offspring of Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church at Sharpsburg. Mt. Lebanon was one of the first churches established in Coweta County. It was located three miles east of Sharpsburg on McIntosh Trail. The Mt. Lebanon Church congregation moved to Sharpsburg in 1878. Turin Baptist Church and Sharpsburg Baptist Church are daughters of the old Mt. Lebanon Church that stood at the intersection of McIntosh Trail and Reese Road where the Adamson home place is located. The Mt Lebanon would split into two churches… Sharpsburg Baptist Church and Turin Baptist Church. In 1890, a group of 32 members gathered to form a new church in the growing town of Turin.

The Turin Baptist Church was organized in 1890. The Charter Member were John Henry Bailey, Mattie Bryan, Mary Cole, Sallie Dominick, Judson Harris, Lucy J.Harris, Mr. & Mrs. Fielding Hunter, Mr. & Mrs. John B. Hunter, Mary Hunter, A.S. Jones,Alice Moses, Jones, Rebecca Lester, Mary Level Moses, Luther T. Moses, Etta North Moses, Charles Level Moses, Blanche Moses, Emma North, Freddie North, Mr. & Mrs.Hiram Page, Reverend Henry S. Rees,Martha Level Rees, James L. Rees, Mamie Rees, Mr. & Mrs. Woody Walton, Mary Wyley.

For several months after the church was organized Sunday School and Church Services were held in the Presbyterian Church which stood near the home of Mr. Leroy Johnson in Turin near the old railroad station. While worshiping there during 1890, plans were made to build. A lot was bought from Mrs. Addie Harris Russell. Mr. Charles L. Moses was chairman of the building committee. This is the Gothic building they erected and dedicated in 1891 or 1892. Rev. J. H. Hall, from Newnan, preached the dedicatory sermon.

Today, the church building has many reminders of Turin a century ago. The high arched windows and decorative corbeling attest to the popularity of ornamentation in the Victorian era.

Tongue-and-groove boards form an understated wainscoting beneath the chair rail in the sanctuary. Even the antique door hinges feature a decorative tracery.

The Church had a fellowship hall and classrooms added in 1979. In 1987, the fellowship hall and class rooms were doubled in size and the sanctuary was renovated. A beautiful oval stained glass window was added above the new baptistry in 1989

Turin In 1890

A century ago, Turin was a town that had recently been little more than a crossroads.

The settlement of Preston had been located in the area — about one mile south of the present site of Turin — since long before the Civil War, The Savannah, Griffin and North Alabama Railroad came through me area ta 1870, and a new town began to grow up around the railroad line.

A local legend states that the town’s name was provided by local school children. Some of the railroad workers were from Italy and had been talking to the children who were studying about Turin, Italy.

The county history related that during the next few years several homes were built, and two cotton gins were in operation. Several brick stores were built around 1881, and the Turin Academy opened its doors to the area students three years later.

The first house built was owned by the Page sisters. Other early homes were the Hunnicutts, (Edwin Brown home), Dominick (Crunkleton), Harrison Summers (Allen Smith), Hardy (Jimmy Shell), Glynn Bailey, and the Hunter home.

In 1881 many brick stores were built. Turin was growing quickly into a thriving agricultural town. Cotton was king as much was grown and ginned during this era. Mrs. GH Page contributed land for the erection of Turin Academy. Prof. AS Jones was head of the school in 1884. The post office was established in 1890. A new Post Office was built on the corner of Hwy 16 and Main Street (South Hunter) in 1986. Cotton was sold in Turin. In 1903, the Turin Banking Company was established and supposedly held a capital account of $150,000.00. Ed Dominick founded this bank and served as president. He also built the second Turin cotton gin in 1920.

During the early 1900’s, Turin had four general merchandise stores, one of which featured a millinery department with a full time milliner ( a hat maker). There was a grocery store, a hardware store, a drug store, a pressing club (laundry shop), a barber shop, a blacksmith shop and two doctors. John Henry Bailey was the bailiff of the jail . The Methodist Church moved from Tranquil to Turin in 1886. The Baptist Church was organized in 1890.The land for Turin Memorial Gardens, located across from the Baptist Church was donated as a memorial for John Dawson Johnson by his wife.

The land for Turin Memorial Gardens, located across from the Baptist Church was donated as a memorial for John Dawson Johnson by his wife.

In 1917, County Agent B M Drake, who lived in Turin imported Crimson Clover from Italy. It can still be seen growing along Hwy 16.The school at Turin was one of five that were consolidated into Starr High School in 1921. John B Hunnicutt initiated the study of agriculture in the common schools of Georgia and wrote a book that was used in the schools. He brought Bermuda grass to Turin.

Good times did not continue for Turin. The bank closed in 1927. Both the Depression and the Boll Weevil hit and Turin almost folded. In September of 1936, Dr Stovall noted in his ledger, “Plenty of people in town but nobody seems to have any money.”. Fortunately,  to everyone’s pleasure and convenience, Highway 16 was paved around 1937. This road from Griffin to Newnan helped the economy begin to pick up. In the 1940’s and 50’s an active community club was organized. There were  Ladies Home Demonstration Clubs, , Little League Ball Clubs,

Brownie Clubs and Boy Scout Troops. A community  center was built for activities and was used as a voting precinct.

From 1930 to 1950, R H Johnson, L H Johnson and J D Johnson engaged in peach farming. There was a reported record peach crop in 1940. Fifty five  cars  of Elbertas graded No 1 were shipped from Turin.

The Turin community came into being in 1830, when a group of early pioneers settled in the eastern section of the county about one mile south of the site of the present township and called it Preston.

In 1832 Captain Charles Leavell built the home owned by Mrs. JD Johnson. In 1833 another fine home was built by Richard Leavell and willed to his stepson, Dr GH Page.

Other early settlers from South Carolina who came in the early 1800’s were the Dominicks, Shells, Pages, Coles, Summers, Linchs, Tenchs, Eddys, Couches, Sibleys and the Carmichaels.

The Carmichaels came in 1852 and settled about 2 miles south of Turin, building the home that eventually became occupied by Mrs. Rhodes H Johnson. The Lynch family came about 1852 and the Johnsons settled about 3 miles south of Turin around 1855.

During the War Between the States, many men and boys left home to fight for the South’s cause. Major William B Shell was a delegate to the Milledgeville Convention that voted for secession. Colonel George H Carmichael, of Company A, 7th Georgia Regiment, was with General Lee when he surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, on April 9, 1865.

Following the end of the war, construction began on the road from Griffin to Chattanooga, and the line was completed in Coweta County, from Griffin to Carrollton in 1870. This 60 mile railroad was operated for many years under the name Savannah, Griffin and North Alabama Railroad Company. Part of the capital for its construction was the purchase of stock in the new railroad. It was built to connect Coweta and Carroll counties with the main line of the Central Railroad and Banking Company at Griffin, and was considered a most important feeder or the line.

The Leavells and the Pages and others gave land for the town, for schools, churches, and for the railroad right of way. Incorporated into the Page grant were two stipulations- that there would always be passenger service on the trains, and that no alcoholic beverage would ever be sold in Turin. Interesting to note that these stipulations were changed as time passed.

The town plan for Turin was drawn up that same year, 1870. Preston was moved to the present site to be near the railroad. Its name was changed to Turin, named after Turin, Italy. Turin was officially chartered in 1890.

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