By Dina McKainNovember 14, 2019
Members of Hinesville's Pleasant Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church gathered on the grounds their ancestors settled in the 1800s on what is now Fort Stewart for the biennial camp meeting, Nov. 2.
Pleasant Grove was part of the overall Taylors Creek Community and was home to a wooden church and a one-room school house. Residents made their living harvesting the hardwood of the live oak trees, and producing pine resin and turpentine to export for shipbuilding.
Residents were had to leave their homes in 1941 when the government purchased the land to create Camp Stewart - an anti-aircraft training center prior to entering World War II. Most moved to nearby Liberty County, Hinesville and Allenhurst where they rebuilt their community's and churches.
Fort Stewart-Hunter Garrison Commander Col. Bryan Logan participated in the ceremony and wreath laying and was received warmly by those gathered.
He said a few words remarking 'that it's always good to have a place to come home, and once we stop that [coming home] it's lost.'
Installation Chaplain Lt. Col. David Beavers also participated and remarked 'we must never forget those who came before us and to remember their lives and their stories, and what they faced and overcame."
Following the ceremony participants laid a wreath at the headstone of the church founder Rev. Piner Martin.
Pleasant Grove members gather once every other year to reconnect with one another and to remember where their ancestors came from. This year they are celebrating the 150th year anniversary of the church founding in 1869.