George Foster Pierce, DD
Inscription and Notes:
b. in Greene County, Ga., d. in Hancock County, Ga. Additional titles: Bishop and
George Foster Pierce, DD, LLD
Engraved on 4 sides of imposing monument:
"Entered the Christian Ministry of the M. E. Church in 1830. Ordained a bishop of the M. E. Church South, May, 1854."
"He was the first President of Wesleyan Female College at Macon, Ga. For six years, he was President of Emory College at Oxford, Ga."
"The peerless preacher, the devoted husband and father, the humble and consistent Christian, he lived beloved and died lamented."
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. St. Paul"
"As orator he never had a superior; as a citizen, he was a model; as a patriot he was loyal to his state. Georgia never gave birth to a nobler son."
United Methodist Church emblem is on monument.
Biographical data provided by Sparta Cemetery Association:
Bishop George Foster Pierce, a renowned figure in the history of the Methodist Church in Hancock County and Georgia. Bishop Pierce was educated at the University of Georgia. After becoming a Methodist preacher in 1831, he spent the next seven years as a circuit rider, but in 1838 he was chosen as the first president of the Georgia Female College, now Wesleyan College, in Macon. He was also president of Emory University from 1849 to 1854, when he was chosen Bishop at the Methodist Conference in Columbus. He held that office for thirty years. His home, known as Sunshine, was a few miles outside of Sparta. In 1868, Bishop Pierce granted a license to preach to Lucius Holsey, a former slave who six years earlier had been married by Bishop Pierce at Sunshine. Holsey became a leader in the Colored (now Christian) Methodist Episcopal Church and had a long and distinguished career. When the original Sparta Methodist Church was destroyed by fire in 1905-1910, the replacement church was named Pierce Memorial Methodist Church in honor of Bishop George F. Pierce.