HISTORY OF MADISON FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

First United Methodist Church was founded in 1807 on the 30-point Apalachee Circuit. The first minister was Rev. Lovic Pierce, later made Bishop. He served this church twice with an interval of some 20 years between. In 1808 the church was put on a 2-point circuit, first with Monticello, then with Eatonton. The first church building was erected in 1808, but the site has not yet located.

In 1825 the Georgia Legislature granted the congregation the lot on which the present Episcopal Church stands. A white frame structure was built there and was replaced in 1844 by the present brick church. The old frame building is used by Clark’s Chapel Baptist Church. The Church was part of the South Carolina Conference until the formation of the Georgia Conference in 1836. During the 1840’s the Georgia Conference met in Madison since this congregation had one of the largest and finest church buildings in the state. Mr. Shaw, one of the members, boarded one preacher and four horses for the conference.

In 1849 the Madison Female Institute, which had a building where the Episcopal Parish House stands today, was founded largely by Madison Methodists. It was one of the oldest girls’ colleges in the United States, and was in operation until the War Between the States. The building was used as a Confederate hospital in 1864-65. It burned in 1869. Among the founders were Wilds Kolb, builder of Boxwood; Calib Key; and Lucius L. Wittich. Among the teachers were Mrs. Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge, who tells about it in her diary, published by the University of Georgia Press. Rev. Henry Bellah was president at one time.

The third, red brick building was dedicated by Bishop J. O. Andrew in 1844, the year the Methodist Church split over the slavery issue. A slave named Kitty, who occasioned the split, belonged to Bishop Andrew. There is one old communion service dating to the 1870’s and silver and pewter collection plates dating even earlier.

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