The Ezekiel New Congregational Methodist Church was constructed by Reverend Manning A. Thigpen, who was a member of one of the pioneer families of South Georgia. His father, Travis Thigpen, was one of the most successful farmers in Ware County and had fourteen children. Manning A. Thigpen married Miriam Miller on February 24, 1876. She was the granddaughter of William Miller, a Revolutionary War soldier who is buried along with the entire Miller family at Kettle Creek Cemetery in Waycross. The couple welcomed their first and only son, Ezekiel, on March 31, 1877. Tragically, Ezekiel Thigpen died in 1889 at the age of twelve. In 1899, Rev. Thigpen and his wife built the Ezekiel New Congregational Methodist Church in memory of their son.
In 1901, the Congregational Methodists called Rev. Thigpen to serve as pastor of nearby Kettle Creek Church after the former pastor retired. Earlier that year, a new 35×50 foot church was built for $1,000. Kettle Creek was one of the oldest church sites and burial grounds in the area. Rev. Manning Thigpen and Miriam Miller raised six orphaned children and adopted a daughter. Unfortunately, Miriam Miller died suddenly in 1909 at the age of 54 after a brief illness. Thigpen married his second wife, Margaret Jones until she died in 1931. His last wife was Rosa Camelia Aldrich Woodcock, an early settler of Ware County. Rev. Manning Thigpen died in 1937 at the age of 78 and is buried in Kettle Creek Cemetery, along with his first wife, Miriam, and their son, Ezekiel, who rests between his father and mother.
Years ago, there was a one-room schoolhouse located beside the old church. The little church and schoolhouse served the community that became known as Pebble Hill. It is unknown when Ezekiel Congregational Methodist disbanded or when the church itself was abandoned. In recent years, the Ezekiel Methodist Church has caught fire after it was struck by lightning. Despite the fire damage, its Carpenter Gothic design still has some gingerbread ornamentation remaining. There are currently no plans for the old Ezekiel Methodist Church. Sadly, the old church building continues to deteriorate with each passing day.
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