Historic Markers Across Georgia

New Hope Methodist Church

Marker ID:  R15
Location: intersection of New Hope Church Road and Heards Bridge Rd, Davisboro, GA
County: Washington
Coordinates: N 32° 55.853    W 082° 36
  32.93088333    -82.6
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


New Hope Methodist Church
We camp by side of¨.a neat frame church

—March to the Sea Heritage Trail —

New Hope is the oldest Methodist Church still in existence in Washington County. Its early written church records are lost, but oral history relates that New Hope's original structure was built in the late 1700s. It was a one-room building with a single hand-hewn beam spanning its length and columns to support the ceiling and roof. Bishop Francis Asbury held a quarterly meeting at New Hope in 1801. In 1922 the church building was lifted and rolled on logs 138 feet to its current location in order to enlarge the cemetery. Through several building enlargements and renovations the single hand-hewn beam has remained intact and is still visible today. Original doors are now used for the church's front entrance and Sunday School rooms.

In November 1864 the war came to New Hope. The Federal 15th & 17th Corps crossed the Oconee River at Ball's Ferry on Saturday, November 26th. By the 28th the 17th Corps, commanded by Major General Francis P. Blair, Jr., had marched northeast. They were
joined by Major General William T. Sherman and his staff at Widow Peacock's home (near the current intersection of Old Savannah Road and Georgia Highway 15). Their destination that day was "the nearest parallel road to the railroad, on the south side, south of Williamson's swamp creek." The column of more than 11,000 infantrymen turned east-southeast (on Heards Bridge Road) where General Sherman and his staff stopped for their noon meal at the J. C. Moye home. By evening they arrived and made camp around New Hope Methodist Church.

General Blair and several other officers reportedly camped in the church, even taking their horses inside and tethering them to columns. To stay warm they burned hymn books, church records and some of the building's wood siding in the stove in the middle of the church. But General Sherman camped outside, as Major Henry Hitchcock of his staff recorded in his diary, "We camp by side of road, in open space with pine woods in immediate rear, and on right of camp a neat
frame church."

The following day, Tuesday, November 29th, Generals Sherman and Blair with the troops of the 17th Corps continued their march generally southeast, past Tarver's Mill and just south of Bartow, along the Savannah road.

[Photo captions]
Top left: Bishop Francis Asbury
Middle top: Union Major General Francis P. Blair, Jr.
Middle bottom: General Sherman's Headquarters "Fly" Tent (Harper's Weekly)
Top right: Approximate routes of the "March to the Sea" through middle Georgia in November 1864
(adopted from the Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies)
Background watermark: New Hope Methodist Church

[to view photos of this marker, see HMDB.org]

Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc.