St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church - Heritage Chat
Chatt Hills Residents Laurie Searle and Gloria Edwards met with Rev. H. E. Terrell, who pastored the church in the 1950s, his wife Daisy, and Thomas W. Cochran who attend the church with is family. The purpose of the meeting was to collect oral histories and information on St. Paul AME Church and its cemetery.
The Heritage Chat Video is provided below, followed by a transcript summary.
Heritage Chat Summary
Thomas Cochran was a member of St. Paul AME Church since he was born. His Father, James Ed Cochran, was a trustee of the church. His great-grandfather, Thomas Priest Cochran, was a member of the church and was one of the members who signed the deed in 1916.
Thomas remembers the church as being a big white wooden church, with steps that came up from the front. It was s steep walk up to the church, on a road that came up to the church from Cochran Mill Rd. It was a single store building, with just one meeting room. An outhouse was out back. The cemetery was all around the back
A lot of people back in the time used stones to mark the graves, because they knew where their people were buried, and they couldn't afford head stones.
Thomas had heard that the Cochrans had a big plantation with slaves, and he wondered if that is where his family got their name (Cochran).
Rev. Terrell was the pastor there from 1953-1958. He lived in Palmetto, across from the Mt. Pleasant Church, and came to St. Paul's on the 2nd Sundays of the month. He can't recall how he got there, since he didn't have a car, but Thomas and Gloria both suggested that a church member drove him there. The Rev. recalls one time he walked to the church from his home in Palmetto.
When asked what the church services were like, Rev said, "In those days in the county, there was no such thing as preaching education. We had revival one time, the rest of the revivals (after the church had been vandalized) were at Vernon Grove. We had home coming once."
There was no music in the church (no piano, no singing), and no foot stomping. Thomas recalls his grandfather saying to Rev, "You can't preach this hard for funerals. . . you've got to take it easy on the family. You're not preaching to the one who is dead, you're preaching to the ones left behind."
The church was vandalized in the early 50s - several times. The vandals defecated in the church and wrote "KKK" and broke windows. Finally, some years later, the vandals burned the church down. The members decided not to rebuild, so they left for other churches, most joining Mt. Pleasant Church in Palmetto.
St. Paul AME Church ruins near the church cemetery on
Cochran Mill Rd.
Chatt Hills, GA 30268
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1955 Aerial Map
This 1955 Aerial Map shows the image of the St Paul AME Church.
City of Chattahoochee HIlls
- Resolution 18-11-254 to accept the donation of the cemetery property.
Heritage Chat with Rev. H.E. Terrell, Thomas Cochran, Gloria Edwards and Laurie Searle.
St. Paul AME Church Cemetery
- Cemetery Page