DAR hosting meeting to discuss book on historic churches in Georgia

The Rev. John Andrew Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will donate a copy of the book “Historic Rural Churches of Georgia” to the Oconee County Library during a discussion about the churches at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Oconee Veterans Park in Watkinsville.


The meeting is open to the public and takes place in the Community Room.

One speaker, Brian Brodrick, a Watkinsville City councilman, serves on the Advisory Board for the Historic Rural Churches of Georgia, a nonprofit formed in 2013 to research and document the state’s most historic and architecturally significant rural churches.

Also speaking is Chase Klugh, a historic preservation specialist and native of Jackson County who now lives in Athens.

The nonprofit group was founded in 2013 by Sonny Seals and George S. Hart of Atlanta. They published a book featuring 300 photographs and histories of 47 churches. They also have a website and Facebook page that features churches not profiled in the book.

The book does not include any churches from Oconee County listed, but two churches, Antioch Christian Church and Salem Methodist Church, are both listed on the organization’s Facebook page.

The DAR provided the following information about the two men who published the book:

“Sonny Seals was a student at Georgia Tech in the 1960s when he met George S. Hart, who was studying at Emory. Exploring the backwoods of Georgia together, they found cemeteries covered with weeds in towns that had almost disappeared. In Hancock County, in the once bustling town of Powelton, the Baptist church organized in 1786 by Jesse Mercer, stood near the Methodist church and its cemetery of field stones and crumbling tombstones. Bending down, Sonny discovered a Confederate headstone with the words, ‘Sergeant William D. Seals, 4th Sgt. Co. K 15th Ga. Inf.’ He had met his great-grandfather. An idea was born.”

The book they published has a forward written by former President Jimmy Carter. The organization was awarded the National Society DAR’s Historic Preservation Medal in 2016.

Earlier, Seals, who serves as chairman of the Historic Rural Churches, released a statement that the mission of the organization “requires significant resources and partnerships working across rural Georgia. Our new advisory board has the expertise and the experience we need to carry out that mission.”