Turin Methodist, located in rural Coweta County was organized in 1838 by a group of families who migrated from Newberry County in South Carolina in 1828, shortly after the county was created by the Treaty of Indian Springs in 1825. The treaty was signed by Chief William McIntosh, who was later assassinated by fellow tribesmen who contended he had no authority to sign such a treaty. These early families came from Prosperity, South Carolina and their church was named Tranquil Methodist, as it had been in Prosperity.
The local church history states that …“The earliest church building was located between the large oak and large cedar tree at what is now Tranquil Cemetery and was of log construction. The second building was a large square frame building located on the same site. Land for these first two buildings was given by William Baugh Shell and his wife Nancy…Mr. Shell’s home contained a preacher’s room, kept always in readiness for the preacher whenever he came….. There has always been a direct descendent of William B. Shell active in the church.”
This history was written in 1982 which means that Shell direct descendants have served the church for over 150 years. Of the 322 recorded interments in Tranquil Cemetery, 42 of them bear the surname Shell. One of these interments memorializes CSA veteran William Derrick Shell, the son of William B. and his wife Nancy. William wrote letters to his parents back home in 1861 and 1862, the last being written on June 21, 1862. He died about three months later in Lynchburg, Virginia. Just one of thousands of sad stories to be found in the Georgia cemeteries. Ironically, his father was a delegate to the Succession Convention at Milledgeville and signed the papers of secession from the Union.
The church prospered and the decision was made in 1886 to relocate to the town of Turin, located nearby. The name of the church was changed from Tranquil to Turin at that time. Building the church was a community affair with the members hauling logs to saw into lumber and then gathering to do the construction as well.
We salute members of Old Turin for their stewardship of the church, that can now be enjoyed for generations to come. Be sure to click and scroll the photos below for more Turin Methodist History.
In this interior photo, we have entered the church through its lovely double doors beneath the Victorian porch. We are standing mid-aisle and looking directly at the chancel, pulpit, choir loft and apse. This church interior was modified well after the original building was completed in the late 19th century. But, the general design, walls, flat ceiling and much of what we see here, is authentic to its era.
We are now standing at the chancel and have a close up view of the entire area. The layout is uncommon with a main, proscenium-like arch that matches the smaller, non-structural arch on the back wall that frames a colorful stained glass depiction of Jesus. There is a traditional semicircular balustrade/prayer rail with kneeling pads on the chancel floor. The pulpit and offertory are not ostentatious. The more ornate chairs are Victorian and may date from the late 1890’s.
Here we see a relic service roll that lists 25 of the members as well as two, old, hand turned, offertory bowls. This display is a reflection of how important this church has been for many congregants for many, many years. Turin Methodist is still active today thanks to its loyal members.
This is a close-up photo of the chancel area. We get a better look at its layout, the furniture, the choir loft with pews and the apse arch with framed stained-glass portrait. We are struck by the immaculate and well taken care of stewardship that is in evidence in every area of the sanctuary.
Here we see just one of the six large, memorial, stained glass windows that bring a colorful and welcoming ambient light into the sanctuary. Each of them is placed in a handsome, molded wooden frame. This is another example of how much love and tender care is given by the congregation and why it remains so well cared for. They are working hard to insure that their historic old church will be there for future congregants and visitors.
This is a photo of the beautiful stained glass transom that sits atop the gothic entry door of Turin Methodist. It is of high quality and artistic merit and is much appreciated by all who get to view it. Our next photo will provide a better look at the entire entryway.
As promised in another photo, here we have a view of the entire sanctuary from the pulpit and a grand view of the entryway door, its transom and many of the other stained glass windows at Turin.
This is a shot from the rear of the sanctuary. The congregation takes great pride in the matching, manufactured pews we can see here. The earlier pews were replaced by these quite expensive replacements. This is another sign of the pride and dedicated stewardship of the Turin Methodist congregation.
This is a close up of the colorful and professionally created stained glass portrait that hangs in the apse.
Here is an example of the history of Turin Methodist that has been handed down through the generations of congregants. They obviously treasure that history and we applaud them for their stewardship of it.
Buried here are James D. Hunter, Sr. (January 21, 1832 to October 21, 1891) and his wife Rebecca J. Hunter (August 16, 1842 to November 18, 1919). James D. Hunter and Rebecca J. Elder were married in Coweta County April 29, 1864. They had at least 5 children. James was Captain, Company D, 19th Georgia Infantry, CSA. He served from June 11, 1861 to January 11, 1864. He was wounded December 13, 1862 at Fredericksburg, Virginia. His left arm was disabled. James D. Hunter’s parents, John Levi Hunter (1801-1871) and Abigail Johnson Hunter (1809-1847) are also buried at Tranquil Cemetery.
Foreground: Pvt. Frederick Foster Page born August 24, 1839 and died Aug. 13, 1861. He served in Company D, 19th Georgia Infantry, CSA. He entered service June 11, 1861 and died at home. He was the only son of 10 children. His father was Dr. George H. Page (1810-1885) and his mother was Nancy Gay Page (1819-1905). They are both buried at Tranquil Cemetery. In 1860, Dr. George H. Page owned 67 slaves. The value of his real estate was $31,000 and the value of his personal estate was $68,630. The marker in the background is for Charles Leavell who was born August 30, 1803 in Newberry, South Carolina and died of Heart Dropsy October 10, 1879. His wife, Elizabeth Worthington Hunter Leavell (1813-1884) is buried near him. They had six children. In 1860, Charles Leavell owned 28 slaves.
Emma Frances McKnight Summer was born February 3, 1845 and died February 19, 1907. She married William Harrison Summer December 28, 1865 in Coweta County. They had three daughters. William Harrison Summer (1840-1932) was a Corporal in Company D, 19th Georgia Infantry, CSA. He was wounded at Petersburg, Virginia. He is also buried at Tranquil Cemetery.
Mary Walker Bowden was born November 15, 1852 and died January 1, 1945. She is shown in the 1900 Coweta County census where she was listed as 47 years old, the mother of six children with 5 still living at that time. The five children ages 10 to 20 and her husband Raleigh Bowden (1841-1907) were listed in that same 1900 census. Raleigh Bowden’s cemetery marker is also visible in this picture. Raleigh Bowden’s occupation was listed as land lord. He served in the 32nd Infantry, Company B during the Civil War and was wounded by a shot striking about 4 inches to the left of his spine.
Your tax-deductible donation to Historic Rural Churches will help keep history alive through digital and physical preservation efforts for Georgia’s rural churches, their history and the communities that support them.
Full Name *
Sign me up for the newsletter!