Towns County Historical Society focuses on Macedonia Baptist Church

Community, News
Macedonia Baptist Church

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Macedonia Baptist Church, a landmark sitting high on a hill along Highway 76, east of Hiawassee city limits, has a deep history that is unbeknownst to many. The story of the chapel was the focus of discussion at the Towns County Historical Society meeting on Oct. 8, 2018. The informative program was presented by Macedonia Baptist Church Deacon Roger Dyer, and lifelong member Daren “Bear” Osborn.

The room was filled to near capacity with church members and county residents, including Towns County Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and former Commissioner Bill Kendall, both instrumental in preserving the beloved history of Towns County.

Founded as Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in 1839, with the land deeded by Major Josiah Carter, the first of four eventual structures was built behind where the current church now stands. The Hiwassee River rushed along the chapel, and it was said that when the water level in Lake Chatuge sinks low, the steps leading from the original church can still be found. The river witnessed many baptisms throughout the following years, although the initial converts consisted of 11 members. Reverend Adam Corn, an Asheville, NC, transplant, born in 1782, is thought to have been Macedonia’s first preacher, initially serving as a missionary to Native Americans upon local arrival.

Major Carter was a delegate at the founding Southern Baptist Convention in Augusta, GA, in 1845, along with other area preachers. The Hiawassee Baptist Association was organized in 1849, and included Macedonia Baptist beside 23 sister churches from Clay and Cherokee County, NC, and Union and Rabun County, GA.Macedonia Baptist Church

Carter, along with 27 of Macedonia Baptist Church’s first members, lies at rest in Carter Cemetery, tucked behind what is now Towns County Schools.

Macedonia was once known as Shady Grove, GA, and the land was a part of Union County until Towns County was established in 1856. The church was said to have housed soldiers during the Civil War era, although official records were stored in the Union County Courthouse which was later destroyed by fire in 1899.

In 1932, “God’s Acre Plan” was established by Reverend Frank Lloyd. Volunteer labor was used to prepare the land to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. The farming endeavor served as revenue for Macedonia Baptist Church for years to come.

Macedonia Baptist Church Hiawassee

The second Macedonia Baptist Church – Photo courtesy of Town County Historical Society

The second church was constructed in 1942, the result of the addition of Lake Chatuge which caused a need to move Macedonia Baptist to higher ground. The congregation was urged to pray for God’s guidance, and the original chapel was deconstructed, relocated, and reassembled upon an elevated mound. The first homecoming was held in 1945, and it continues to be honored annually on May 15.

In 1957, the congregation desired to build a more modern structure. The government supplied timber from the High Shoals area, and $802 in revenue from “God’s Acre Plan” set the project into motion. The church was built by the hands of church members, with dedication taking place on April 27, 1958. The building remains standing, adjacent to the current church which was constructed in 1995. Reverend Harold Ledford served Macedonia Baptist Church for 30 years until his death on Feb. 11, 2017.  Reverend Ed Jump is serving as Macedonia’s transitional pastor at the time of publication.

Numerous historical photographs were displayed on a projector screen throughout the presentation as Dyer and Osborn offered detailed narrative, and DVDs of the monthly meetings in their entirety are available for a nominal fee through the Towns County Historical Society. Historical Society Secretary Betty Phillips opened the presentation by acknowledging the dedicated efforts of David and Myrtle Sokol in preserving the meetings through videography.

Towns County Historical Society meets at 5:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the former Recreation Center at 900 north Main St. in Hiawassee.

Of note, the Old Rock Jail Museum will close between the months of November and April. Appointments to tour the historical site during the off-season can be arranged through the Towns County Historical Society.

 

Feature Photo Credit: Macedonia Baptist Church

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Towns County rings in 2018 under budget with $3.4 million reserve

News
Towns County Courthouse

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – As 2017 nears an end, the Towns County financial report has been released, and a tentative 2018 budget has been calculated. Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw alluded to the positive news during a monthly meeting held in mid-November, confirming the substantial under-budget reserve on Tuesday, Dec. 19, while addressing the citizens at his regularly held monthly session. Towns County concluded the year with an excess of $3.4 million dollars in reserve funds. The tentative budget was presented to the public during a special called meeting which took place on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.

Commissioner Bradshaw made mention on two separate occasions of his predecessor, former Commissioner Bill Kendall, and his decision to implement an expected surplus while serving past terms, prior to Bradshaw’s election to office. Bradshaw noted Towns County is one of the only debt-free counties in the local region.

Towns County will hold an additional special called meeting on Friday, Dec. 29, at the Towns County Courthouse at 10 a.m. for the purpose of amending the 2017 budget and adopting the 2018 budget.

The 2018 budget is available to view here.

 

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Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

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