Young’s Chapel Methodist
Young’s Chapel Methodist Church, in Ben Hill County, started in a brush arbor around 1875 and finally closed in 1974 when the congregation was too small to support it. Once a part of the long vanished Ashley community, the church is located near Rebecca. This structure was built on the site of the brush arbor where its organizers first gathered, but the congregation later moved it about three miles to the present site. This land was donated to the church by John Thomas Young, grandfather of Marsha McWhorter of Fitzgerald and Travis Biggers. Johnny Young, who grew up in the church, suggests it was built around 1876.
The chapel was named for the Youngs since so many members of that family were a part of the congregation over the years; Martin Young, who was a state senator and county commissioner; Clyde Young, a state representative; J. R. F. Young, a member of the Ben Hill County school board; and S. S. Young, Sr., Wilcox County Tax Collector. S. B. Young was treasurer and Emma Young was the longtime pianist. Other known members were: Sammy Young, Wiley Young, Able Young, Tommy Young, Hazel Snow, Helen Brooks, and Minnie Brown. Services were held every third Sunday.
The last major renovations were done in 1971 by its few remaining members in an effort to keep it open. There were only eight members left when it closed in 1974. The county has only one incorporated city, Fitzgerald, which was founded by former Union soldiers on a 50,000 acre tract owned by the non-profit American Tribune Soldiers Colony Company. The citizens of Fitzgerald, pledging unity with their former enemies, named streets after leaders of both armies.
There is an effort underway to save Young’s Chapel being led by a number of concerned local citizens. Please take a look at their Facebook page and help if you can. Old Young’s Chapel has been in a downward spiral for a long time but is in surprisingly good shape. The combination of a tin roof, tough Georgia pine and rugged construction is a powerful combination. There is still time to save this wonderful piece of rural Georgia history. We will keep you posted on progress via our newsletter and Facebook postings. Stay tuned.