Georgia Church from the 1870s Struck By Lightning


Ezekiel Congregational Methodist Church | Ware County, GA | c. 1874

A congregation formed here around 1874, but the structure you see here was built and designed by Manning Thigpen in 1899. A small one-room schoolhouse used to stand on-site as well. They served a rural community, once called Pebble Hill, then known as Dixie Union, as the world outside grew bigger, as wars came and passed, as industry shifted, and the South changed.

Photo of the congregation in the 1930s or 40s. Image courtesy of Leigh Nelson.

In the 1960s, the church was renovated for a few hundred dollars but the rural area never grew back to enough to support the church. The ruins you see now are the result of years of storms, disuse, and fire from lightning.

Photo c. 1974 at the Centennial Celebration of the Ezekiel Church. Courtesy of the Georgia Archives.

At one point, a local historic society attempted to take on the relocation and restoration of the church but there were legal issues with the original church charter. An original signee had to be there to update the charter and unfortunately, those folks are all gone.

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While the church sat in limbo, lightning struck and a fire destroyed much of the building. Today it sits quietly crumbling at this crossroads until it can’t hold on any longer.

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  1. For most of my life I have driven by this church in Pebble Hill/Dixie Union, thinking how beautiful it is and was, along with thinking how scary it looked because it was run down. Each time I drove by it I wondered why it was left behind “forgotten”. To be honest, I never inquired I only admired.
    Waycross,GA; Ware County the adjoining city, was my home town for 59 years. However, I never knew the history behind this church until this article. Now a few years later in my 60’s, I learn the history behind it all. It’s sad the original church charter was written in such a way that no one could not have taken into consideration the death of all members. Ans allow an amendment be drawn up in order to restore this historical church. It’s sad to see it in such a state, slowly falling apart piece by piece, one board at a time just like the prior congregation.
    Because of “The Forgotten South” its filled in the blanks about this church and has now perked my interest in this and many other forgotten places. Thank you Kelly Gomez.

  2. I want to thank Kelly Gomez for taking her time and sharing all her wonderful experiences from “The Forgotten South” web site. It has been so enjoyable reading your articles.

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