John Newton McEachern United Methodist Church had its beginnings in the hearts of the pioneers who came to Cobb County in their Conestoga wagons soon after the organization of the county by an act of the Georgia Legislature on December 3, 1832. The survey of the Cherokee Indian lands was completed in the Fall of 1832 which led to the organization of Cobb County, named for Judge Thomas W. Cobb, a former U.S. Senator.
David Newton McEachern and his wife, Esther Mary Ann White, arrived in the 1830s from North Carolina. These early settlers brought with them their religious faith and their desire for education. In the 1830s, a group of pioneer neighbors of different religious denominations met in a log cabin on the property of the Reverend Ben DuPree, a Presbyterian minister from North Carolina who became their minister. In 1837, they realized the need to organize themselves into a church. They agreed the church would be of the denomination to which most of the group belonged, which was Methodist-Episcopal. This led to the organization of the Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Church, which later became part of the Powder Springs Circuit. The first mention of this Circuit is in the Minutes of 1847 when the Reverend J.B.C. Quillan was assigned to it.
Soon after the organization of the Ebenezer Church, the people of Ebenezer and Powder Springs planned the Powder Springs Camp Ground on the part of the property where our current church is located. A large camp-meeting shed was erected in the midst of a beautiful grove of trees. Ebenezer was considered the leading church in the Circuit. To the west (where the strip shopping center is located), tents or crude cabins were built where the tenters lived during the camp meetings. The first Ebenezer Church was located just southeast of the Chapel. This was a large weatherboard structure – unceiled, unheated, with only wooden shutters that could be closed in inclement weather. The only means of light was tallow candles. A log schoolhouse was built on the brow of the hill just south of the church. These were the buildings standing at the time of the War Between the States. A few years after the Civil War, I.D. Upshaw bought a part of the church property and opened a store and post office. The community became known as Upshaw.
Because the Cobb County deed records were destroyed by the burning of the Court House by Federal troops in 1864, it is not known whether Ebenezer Church owned title to its land prior to 1887. On February 17, 1887, the trustees of the Methodist-Episcopal Church, South, conveyed to the trustees of Ebenezer Methodist-Episcopal Church, South, title to four acres of Land Lot 460, 19th District, 2nd Section of Cobb County, including the present site of the church.
When Esther Mary Ann McEachern died on May 13, 1893, her son, John Newton McEachern, Sr. bought and donated to the church and the community the land now known as Macland Cemetery. David Newton McEachern died on December 20, 1895. The Macland Cemetery Association assumed ownership of the cemetery in 1935. In order to assure that the cemetery would always be cared for properly, the Macland Cemetery Association returned the ownership of the cemetery to John N. McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church on July 8, 2000. A walk through this peaceful cemetery is a history lesson as the names represent many of the pioneer families of our community and their family trees. Descendants of these pioneer families are still active in our church.
In 1906, the Georgia Legislature passed an Act for the establishment of a School of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts in each Congressional District. John Newton McEachern, Sr. was instrumental in securing the location of the Seventh District A&M School in our community. He donated 200 acres of land to the State of Georgia for the school. The A&M Schools were abolished by the Board of Regents at the University of Georgia under the authority of an Act of the Legislature of February 20, 1933. Arrangements were made to convert the Seventh District A&M property to a county-consolidated school. This grammar school and high school was named the John N. McEachern School, our current high school. At about the time of the founding of the school, the name of our community, which had been called both “Camp Ground” and “Upshaw,” became McLand or Macland as we are known today.
John N. McEachern, Sr. died December 6, 1928. He had married Lula Cordelia Dobbs, the daughter of Rason and Vesta DuPree Dobbs, in 1896. Mrs. McEachern shared her husband’s strong interest in the church and school. Soon after Mr. McEachern’s death, the idea was conceived to build a new church as a memorial to him. With money contributed by the community, his widow, and children, and by the officers and employees of the Industrial Life and Health Insurance Company (later known as Life of Georgia), the present Chapel building was erected and named the John Newton McEachern Memorial Methodist Church, South. The new church was dedicated on June 5, 1932. In 1948, the Church was made a full station with the Reverend L.B. Linn assigned to the pastorate. This was made possible by a liberal contribution supplementing the pastor’s salary from John N. McEachern, Jr.
Lula Dobbs McEachern died in 1949 at her home located at the northwest corner of Macland and Villa Rica Roads. In her will, she established the McEachern Trust Fund which at the time was approximately $4,000 yearly. This money was used to secure a loan to build an annex to the chapel in 1968. This annex is the Lula Dobbs McEachern Memorial Building. The Educational Building was erected in 1982. Our present Sanctuary was built in 1990 with the first worship service being held on December 16, 1990, led by the Reverend Dr. Joe P. Peabody, Sr. The mobile annex building was purchased in 1992. Oaks Hall was completed in February 1996 with its name coming from the beautiful oak trees it replaced.
The property at 2086 Lost Mountain Road was given to the church by a deed executed September 8, 1942, between Lula Dobbs McEachern and John Newton McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church to be used as a place of residence for the preachers of the Methodist Church. The brick parsonage was built in 1964 and used as the senior parsonage until 1984. The property at 2181 Macland Drive was purchased in 1984 and became the senior parsonage. The Lost Mountain Road parsonage became the associate pastor parsonage and was subsequently sold in November 1998. The funds from this sale were used to build a senior pastor parsonage on the church property at 2191 Macland Drive. This parsonage was completed in February 2000. The former senior parsonage became the associate parsonage. The parsonage at 2969 Old Lost Mountain Road was acquired in August 1979 as a residence for our first associate pastor, the Reverend Frank Orr.
Our Church and our Community were established by people who truly believed that they should first “Seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”. May we ever continue our heritage by lifting high the cross at John Newton McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church in the community called Macland.