OUR RICH AND SPECIAL HISTORY
Methodists in the Cartecay area of Gilmer County began to worship under a brush arbor before the first building was erected in August, 1834. Built on the property of Lewis Ellington about a mile and a half down Roy Road from present-day Georgia Highway 52, the first building of Cartecay Methodist Church, South was most likely a log structure which later burned. The property was deeded to the church July 20, 1844, but reverted to the heirs when the church site was moved.
The cemetery was nearby on the property of S.M. Simmons. His descendant, W.A. Simmons, deeded the cemetery to the church in 1940. The earliest dated tombstone in the cemetery bears the name of Wikle and is dated 1834. Older native stones are unmarked.
The first pastor of the congregation and the first Methodist preacher in Gilmer County was the Rev. William Ellington who was ordained by Bishop Francis Asbury on September 16, 1805, before Mr. Ellington came to Georgia. The ordination papers are on file in the Wesleyan Collection at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
The first Sunday School at Cartecay Methodist Church, South was organized April 20, 1851, with the Constitution for a Sabbath School drawn up on October 9, 1853. The officers and teachers of the Sabbath School were Lewis Duvall Ellington, William Adolphus Simmons, Sr., Daniel E. Slagle, Barnett Wilson, H.R. Wilson, Joseph McClure, Mrs. Jane E. Tabor and Mrs. Mary E. Simmons. The Sunday School has met continuously since its constitution and celebrates its anniversary the first Sunday of each October.
In 1859 Barnett Wilson gave two acres of land for a new building and cemetery. The deed was signed October 25, 1859. The second building of the Cartecay Methodist Church, South was erected that year out of virgin pine timber, hand hewn and planed. The pews, altar and pulpit were fashioned from solid pieces of wide pine planks, one and one-half inches thick, fastened together by dove tailing and mortised with wooden pegs. The floor, ceiling and walls were also constructed from hand-hewn wide planks. Frank B. Haigler, a church member, later refinished all the wood used in the sanctuary in a buff color accenting the wood grain with a soft finish.
As was the custom of the day, the church was built with two entrance doors, one on the left for women and the other for men. The pews were divided by a wooden partition, so that men and women did not mingle during the services. Pews set along the back wall were used by slaves, some of whom are buried in marked graves in the cemetery beside the church building.
The congregation was divided by the issues that divided the nation during the War Between the States. Often during that period, the men of Cartecay Methodist Church, South brought their shotguns and spent the nights in the church building to protect it from their enemies who had deserted their church for the Northern Branch.
Sunday School rooms were added to the rear of the sanctuary in 1948 and again in the mid fifties. Gas heaters replaced the wood burning stoves in the early 1950's. Electric lights replaced oil or gas lanterns in the 1940's.
Although no longer in use as a church, the white wood frame building still stands at the corner of Roy Road and Highway 52 East and in 2001 received it's designation on the National Registry of Historic Buildings.
The present brick building at the top of the hill and across the cemetery from the old building was erected in 1974 on land donated by Ernest T. Hudson, Raymond Hudson, and Winifred Hudson. It was dedicated on February 23, 1975 by Bishop William R. Cannon. The Rev. Dr. Oscar Poole was the pastor. The Fellowship Hall was added in 1975-76 and was dedicated in December, 1976.
Present members added a Fellowship Hall and two additional Sunday School rooms in June of 1996.