A group met under a brush arbor here and then in camp meetings until the membership formed Wesley Chapel Church in 1870. In 1872, a church building was erected and in 1879, John Chapman deeded two acres of land to the trustees for the church and graveyard.
For many years, Wesley Chapel had a small but vibrant congregation that shared a pastor with the other Methodist congregations in the area. But over the years, Wesley struggled with a dwindling membership, and by the 1970s, it was reduced to quarterly services. But all that changed in May 1977 when the chapel was reactivated. The old sanctuary was remodeled, an air conditioner was installed, two bathrooms were added, and a new space was added for Sunday School classes. In December 1984, a steeple was added, along with six stained glass memorial windows. In the early 1990s, a stained glass mural was installed above the pulpit, and in 1993, a social hall was added.
Today, Wesley Chapel is an active church with services and Sunday School classes every week thanks to a group of dedicated stewards who ushered this sanctuary into a new chapter, rather than leaving it behind.
The view of Wesley Chapel looking from the front door to the pulpit shows the old time simplicity of the sanctuary, matched with the updated touches that were added when the church was updated in the 1970s and 80s.
Just above the pulpit hangs a memorial stained glass window that was donated in 1993 in honor of Willis Payne by his family. All of the pulpit furniture as well as the altar rail were also donated in the 1970s and 80s.
After the church was reactivated in the late 1970s, extensive work and upgrades were done to the church, including the addition of 10 memorial stained glass windows. 6 of the windows were dedicated to the glory of God and the other 4 were dedicated to the memory of Susie Ellington, Ethel Butler, Lizzie Butler, and Evelyn Payne who were responsible for reactivating this little country church.
This view of the church showcases the steeple that was added in 1984.
Robert Ashley Rozar was born May 21, 1867 and died February 28, 1930 in an accident in Brooklyn, New York. His wife, Anna Ussery Rozar was born July 8, 1869 and died August 15, 1892. She was the daughter of Henry Llewellyn Ussery and Sara Elizabeth Carr. Robert married second Clifford Rebecca Arnold in 1894.
Mrs. Georgia Ann Payne Ashley Taylor was born May 16, 1841 and died January 26, 1891. She married first Robert J. Ashley and second Seaborn Jackson Taylor (1839-1885). Robert is listed as 21 years old in the 1860 census Wilkinson County census and Georgia is 18 years old.Seaborn served as a private in Company I, 57th Georgia Regiment, CSA. He was captured at Vicksburg July 4, 1863.
Martha O. Jones was born December 11, 1836 and died October 18, 1900. Her husband was William Prescott Jones. By the time of the 1880 census, Martha was a widow with three children ages 9, 15, and 18. Her father, Benjamin Prescott of Screven County, Georgia, deeded 4 slaves to his daughter, Martha Oliver Prescott, in January, 1860.
Anderson W. Williams was born March 18, 1827 and died March 30, 1900. He was married to Martha Amanda Paulk Williams (1831-1920). She lived to be 89 years old and is also buried at Wesley Chapel Cemetery. Her parents were Micajah Paulk (1788-1855) born in South Carolina and Nancy Ross (1802-1843). His parents were Richard M. Williams (1796-1851) and Martha A. Ross born 1809.
According to his pension application, Edward James “Eddie” Williams was born August 12, 1841 and died March 22, 1927. He served in Company I, 3rd Georgia Infantry, CSA. Four members of the Williams family joined this company: Eddie, Joseph Columbus, James A. and William C. R. Williams. William C. R. Williams died in service April 12, 1862. Eddie was married to Rebecca J. Bostwick. Seven children are listed in their family in the 1900 Wilkinson County census. He served as sheriff of Wilkinson County for 12 years.
Fannie M. Adair Butler was born in February 1832 and died December 16, 1908. Her husband, Benjamin F. Butler, served in Company D, 57th Georgia Regiment, CSA. He was killed in the Battle at Baker’s Creek in Mississippi May 16, 1863. They were married August 28, 1851 in Randolph County. In 1900, she was living in Wilkinson County with her son, Horace E. Butler and his family. She had given birth to 6 children with 4 still living.
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