PHILADELPHIA UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
In 1839, Philadelphia Sunday School Society was organized and a house of worship was built on a tract of land on Lick Creek donated by the Turner family. Joel Chandler Harris, while he lived at Turnworld Plantation, attended this church with his mentor Joseph Addison Turner, editor of The Countryman. Near the close of the Civil War, in late November of 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman's 20th US Army Corps passed through the neighborhood of the church on his infamous "March To The Sea " to capture the port city of Savannah for President Lincoln. Confederate soldiers who were on picket duty and camped at Philadelphia Church posted the following notice: "Soldier of the Union Army - Defaced not this Church, nor destroy anything within its walls as you love the union for which you are manfully fighting - An Officer. " The message prevented the union soldiers from defacing the church building. As the community and congregation grew steadily after the war – its members having survived the hardship of Union-imposed post-war Reconstruction through the end of 1871 - and after a more prosperous economy returned, the members of the church decided that the church building needed to be moved nearer to the center of the community. On October 15, 1884, Mrs. Frances Rhoda Hines Turner Herbert graciously deeded the land on which the present church building stands. Timbers from the original church building were used in the construction of the present structure on this site. Early church records and tombstones in the large cemetery bear silent witness to the names of many early church families including Alexander, Batchelor, Beall, Collier, Credelle, Dance, Dennis, Denham, Gatewood, Holt, Little, Maddox, Montgomery, Reddick, Rogers, Rosser, Slaughter, Spivey, Turner and Wheeler. Descendents of these early families are continuing to carry on the work of the founders of this church today. This plaque is dedicated to the Glory Of God and to the ministers and members of this church who have willingly given so much in order that His message of salvation and the life eternal might be shared with all mankind.
Erected 2002 by Members of the Philadelphia United Methodist Church,
Friends and The Eatonton-Putnam
Co. Historical Society, Inc.