Stirling SteepleRobert the Bruceuniversity

Holly Springs Methodist Church, Marietta Circuit, Atlanta-West District

This history was obtained from the Pitts Theology Library at Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Box/Folder 13/18 Holly Springs Methodist Church, Marietta; n.d. (no dates) It was marked with a handwritten date of 1972.

Holly Springs Methodist Church was founded in 18251. Early worshippers constructed a log cabin which had neither windows, ceiling nor floors. Although the building was inadequate and the hardships were many, Holly Springs [church] grew and prospered until 1860.

Then every male member between the ages of 14 and 66 joined the Confederate Army. Holly Springs [church] received another crushing blow in 1864 when Sherman and his vagabonds burned the building.

In 1867 the indomitable members built a new weatherboard structure. Windows and floors were added, but no ceiling.

During these early years, Holly Springs [church] was a mecca for beautiful singing and good preaching. Young members looked to the Church for social activities as well as spiritual guidance. During those days local preachers served as ministers.

Active membership was usually greater than 100, which is large for a small rural community. Growth was so great that a new building was erected in 1905. Members willingly furnished the labor, material and money. Although not elaborate, it was completely modern. Withe the exception of two coats of paint, a new roof and gas heat, the building has since changed little.

In 1905 Holly Springs [church] joined the Methodist Conference and became part of the Marietta Circuit. Composed of eight churches in 1905, it now has four. With the joining of the Conference local preachers were replaced by Circuit Riders selected by the Conference.

Holly Springs [church] reached its peak between 1900 and 1925. Church and Sunday School attendance was large. All day singings with dinner-on-the-ground were held. Preachers often had revival audiences so great that more people stood on the outside than the packed Church could seat. During this era one of the preachers is said to have remarked: "In this community, we have the devil up a tree."

Since 1925 the interest and attendance at Holly Springs [church] has decreased. The active membership is approximately fifty, with a Sunday School enrollment of about the same number. We hope that in the coming years it will again reach the heights of bygone days.

By: Holly Springs Historical Committee

1 Likely this was meant to be 1835, since this area of Cobb County north of the Chattahoochee River was officially Cherokee Nation until after the Removal of 1838.

Civil War Map showing Holly Springs Church

The Official Military Atlas of the Civil War, an atlas to accompany the original records of the Union and Confederate Armies, published by Crown Publishers, Inc/New York and printed by the Washington Government Printing Office 1891-1895, has in its collection a map of the Marietta area during the Civil War. The church is shown on this map.

These are the explanatory notes on the map.
Follow the link below to see a larger image of the map.Map Authority

Map Explanation
Go to: Civil War Map showing Holly Springs Church

Recent History: Old church a home for Unitarians

Excerpted from an article by Katie Long, Staff Writer, originally published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on December 3, 1987.

The little country church on Holly Springs Road has seen generations of Methodists baptized and buried. But the Dodgens, Murdochs and Groovers, whose names adorn the largest gravestones in front of the church, don't worship there anymore.

Instead, the church houses a small liberal congretation with different ideas about religion. "There's a lot of history behind this little church," said Ruby Fossum, who is president of the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, a growing congretation that has moved into the old Methodist church at 2799 Holly Springs Road. "We're lucky to have it."