Rico United Methodist Church
History of the Rico United Methodist Church of Fulton County
Prepared by: W. Carroll Tinsley, Pastor
October 10, 1976
The first half-century of the history was written by R. A. Mixon. R. G. Mixon, a steward in the Palmetto Church, moved to Rico and helped start cottage meetings early in the 20th century. There had been settlements called Pumpkintown and Green Eyes near Rivertown. The Post Office department named this community Rico when a post office was established in 1889.
At the District Conference in June, 1902, Rev. Frank Quillian was given permission to organize a new church. An acre of land for the church was donated by W. J. Shannon, Liberty Hill Methodist member, and another half-acre for a cemetery parallel to the Baptist cemetery. The deeds were recorded at what was then the Campbell County courthouse in Book N, page 463 dated August 6, 1902. Donations were made of trees by various people, of sawmill work by Tom Reeves, of shingles cutting by Jethro Jones, of doors and windows by Eskew Lumber Col, of a wood heater and bricks by R. D. Cole Manufacturing Co., and a bell and a large brass lamp came from Liberty Hill Church.
The bishop in 1902 was W. A. Candler, and bishop Joseph S. Key presided in 1903. The Rico church was dedicated in 1903, May 3, and became a part of the Union City Circuit on the LaGrange District. The 46 original members were the Mixon Family, the W.P. Shannon’s, the George Greens, the Russell Daily’s, the E. A. Camps, a Bagwell family, Laird family, three Gaddy families, Mrs. J. A. Jones, Mrs. H. W. Smith, Mr. W. H. Reeves, Mr. H. W. Reeves, Mrs. W. H. Barnes, and Mrs. Otis Gullett with some of her children. The membership once reached 165, but dropped to 21 just before the half century mark.
Members kept the building in good repair. In 1937, the R. E. A. brought electric lights. In 1952, the wood heaters were replaced with gas floor furnaces, and these were replaced with new ones in 1975. Cement blocks were set as underpinnings.
Pastors following Rev. Quillian during the first half-century George Garry, George Barrett, J. W. Spear, R. W. Lunsford, W. W. Cash, George Summers, D. P. Nelson, Zack Hayes, J. D. Swagerty, C. E. Statham, Henry Bullock, R. L. Royal, J. W. Harrison, Robert Steward, C. J. Grille, Victor Hitchcock, L. H. Cash, and R. W. Langley.
In 1960, an addition was made that included a dining hall and rest rooms. A well-equipped kitchen was provided and the sanctuary was air-conditioned. Aluminum siding was installed in 1973, the sanctuary re-roofed in 1974, and a new carpet placed in 1975. Mrs. Owen Edge III embroidered curtains to represent Bible stories for the dining hall. Extensive electric repairs were made.
Pastors serving during the past 17 years have been C. H. Klein 1959-66. David W. Barton 1966-67. Robert Sadler 1967-68, Matthew L. Boulder 1968-70, Ray Lott 1970-May 1971, W. S. Robins May-September 1971. Charles Crenshaw Sept.-Oct. 1971, and W. Carroll Tinsley November 1971 to the present date. Since the church became a part of the Atlanta-Southwest District, the District Superintendents have been Joseph L. Black, William C. Bowen, and Dumas Shelnutt. The past three bishops were Arthur J. Moore, J. Owen Smith and William R. Cannon.
Mr. R. A. Mixon said: “There is no place on earth where the Methodists and Baptists cooperate as well as they do at Rico Methodist and Providence Baptist churches.” This cooperation continues. Easter sunrise services alternate between the churches, members eat together at Homecomings, and many other joint services have been held.
After being most of her history on a circuit, Rico has recently been a station. Members know that a continuance of this status depends on membership, which is now only 50, four more than there were 73 years ago.
From: the South Fulton Scenic Byways Historic Context.
The Rico United Methodist Church (c. 1909-1919) is located at 6475 Rico Road. The congregation was formed in 1904 as a merger of the Methodist families in the Rico area who attended Palmetto Methodist and New Hope Methodist and many from the Old Liberty Hill Methodist Episcopal Church on Rivertown Road just east of Rivertown.
The rural, vernacular church is wood frame with white vinyl and aluminum siding and a front gable roof. The five bay front facade has a steeply pitched, pyramidal roof belfry tower on the right side and small, secondary gable roof on the left side. A rear ell, side-gabled addition was added during the 1960s. A few items, such as the church bell, are from the Old Liberty Hill Church.