2020 Virtual Annual Conference Session: Read wrap-up articles, watch archived AC session & worship services

Dublin First UMC - North Central


History

The beginning of Methodism in Georgia dates back to 1736 when John Wesley and his brother Charles were asked by General Oglethorpe to minister to the needs of the citizens of Georgia. Methodism officially came to Georgia in 1784. Methodism first came to Laurens County in the first quarter of the 19th century. Darsey’s Meeting House, now known as Buckhorn Methodist Church, was established in the 1820’s. Boiling Springs and Gethsemane Methodist churches were established in the 1850’s. This area was a part of the Ohoopee Circuit and was served by traveling ministers.  The origin of the First Methodist Church dates back to 1852 when Rev. John McGehee stopped to visit John B. Wolfe. Rev. McGheehee preached to a group of citizens who continued to meet until the church could be founded. The only evidence of a prior church is contained in a 181 deed from Jonathan Sawyer, the founder of Dublin, which refers to a lot on Gaines Street as being the Methodist Church lot. That lot was located within a block of the current church location. The efforts to organize a church were unsuccessful and were obviously tolled during the Civil War.  In 1867, the First Methodist Church was officially organized in a manner which was almost unheard of at the time. The sever charter members of the church were all women. Mrs. Ella Smith, Mrs. K. H. Walker, Mrs. Eliza Smith, Mrs. Thomas Rowe, Mrs. Anna Geffcken, Mrs. Phoebe Douglas, and Mrs. William C. Wright founded Dublin’s second church, but a church without a home. The group met in the Baptist Church for the next 24 years. The Baptist Church was a moderate size wooden building located at the present site of the Baptist Church. Daniel G. Pope was the first minister and only preached occasionally due to his ill health.

Beginning in 1885 the congregation finally began to grow. The next year, materials were purchased for the construction of sanctuary. The materials were placed on the ground, but the church was never completed. The first parsonage was built on the northwest corner of East Mary Street and North Franklin Street in the late 1880’s. It was sold for a handsome profit and a second parsonage was built in the early 1890’s on South Calhoun Street on the site now occupied by Georgia Power Company. The third parsonage was built between the church and the Hardy Smith house around the year 1910.  Capt. Hardy Smith donated a tract of land in June of 1887 which adjoined his house on West Gaines Street for the building of a new church. He gave the land in consideration of the love for his church to K. H. Walker, John M. Stubbs, and Capt. Smith himself, as trustees of the church. The building plans stalled and in 1891 the church moved its services from the Baptist Church to the Old Academy on Church Street.  Rev. W. F. Smith, Rev. W. A. Morgan, Col. John M. Stubbs, Capt. Hardy Smith, J. D. Smith, C. W. Brantley, K. H. Walker, T. L. Griner and others began the building program in the early 1890’s. Rev. George C. Thompson, who moonlighted as an architect, designed the new church building which featured a tall roof with a spiral steeple in the front center. Thompson incorporated the European style buttresses to support the roof. Another unique feature was the rope shaped bricks which lined the stained glass windows. Rev. M. A. Morgan conducted the first services in the new sanctuary in 1894. The stained glass windows were placed in the sanctuary in 1900 with one of the first to be dedicated in honor of Rev. Peter S. Twitty who died that same year. 

 In 1899 and 1919, the Annual Convention of the South Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church was held at the church. 

Membership in the church grew in the same manner as the town during the first decade of the century. By 1910 the building had become too small. Mr. Lockhart of Columbus was hired to design the new church. He was soon replaced by Rev. George C. Thompson, who had designed the original building and who served as Supernumerary of the Dublin District of the Methodist Church at the time. John A. Kelley, who built the Carnegie Library and the Catholic Church, was hired to do the work. Sunday School rooms were the greatest priority in the twenty thousand dollar expansion program. Rev. Thompson designed the interior of the building with the Sunday School rooms in the rear, but in a manner where they could be opened into the sanctuary to accommodate 1200 people. The center steeple was removed and two twin towers were placed on the front corners. Rev. Thompson’s designs incorporated Moorish symbols and arches in the building’s front.  A.B. Eubanks and his crew began the construction work and uncovered a surprising mystery. Workers found a body virtually intact buried near Gaines Street. The police concluded the body was put there before the Civil War and was not located in the cemetery. Little Albert Outler, son of Rev. J. M. Outler, laid the first brick in December 1910.  Sunday School classes were held in the new rooms in June of 1911. The first services in the new sanctuary were held in September of 1911.

The church underwent major renovations in the early 1950’s and the latter half of the 1960’s. The bell, which today sits in the church yard, was taken out during the latter renovation.  Rev. Gray was the first pastor to serve five continuous years. Rev. Williams was the first pastor to hold a doctorate degree. Rev. W. N. Ainsworth was elected Bishop of the South Georgia Conference in 1919 and served for 20 years before retiring in 1938. 

The church organists have been an integral part of every church service. Ella Few Douglas (Mrs. Hardy) Smith, a founding member, was the first organist. Daisy Graham (Mrs. L.V.) Stone succeeded Mrs. Smith. Mrs. J. A. Peacock, known as the best organist of the period, served the church for over 35 years. Mrs. Peacock was able to secure $750 from Andrew Carnegie for a new organ in 1906. Mrs. Peacock was forced out of the church by an overbearing member. She played for the Episcopal Church during her absence and returned to a grateful congregation in a short time.  

The Sunday School Department, created in 1874, was headed during the period by K. H. Walker, Rev. T. W. Johnson, Prof. W. E. Thompson, J. M. Minar, A. R. Arnau, C. Whitehurst, M. H. Blackshear, and Dawson Kea. The women of the Church began their charitable and missionary work in 1887 with the formation of the Parsonage Aid Society. Mrs. K. H. Walker was the first President. Mrs. M. A. Morgan presided over the first Foreign Missionary Society in 1893. A home mission group was established in 1901. The two groups merged in 1912. In 1949-50, during the ministry of John Sharpe, the Werden Chapel, the Coralie Rogers parlor, a social hall and kitchen were added to the building.

In 1967, a two story educational building was added on the east side of the Church, being connected to the main building by a wing with offices for the minister and staff on the ground floor and class rooms on the second level. A covered walkway connected the North Monroe Street end of the building with the front entrance of the church. After nearly eighty years, a steeple was returned to the roof of the church. The former bell was placed atop a brick tower on the lawn.  When the parsonage was sold and removed to Hamilton Street in 1956, a new parsonage was purchased on Stonewall Street. A new parsonage was built in 1977 on Payne Place.  Dedicated staffs have been a vital part of the church for many years. 

 

 

 

Location

305 West Gaines Street
Dublin GA 31021

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