‘Holy grounds' Point Washington UMC marks 125-year milestone

Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 04:42 PM.

A map from 1888 shows Point Washington in Washington County. PWUMC historian Brenda Rees told The Sun, “When Point Washington left Walton County in 1825 to be part of Washington County until 1913, what is now known as Destin went with it. South Walton, including Point Washington, and Destin returned to Walton County in 1913. Then, Okaloosa County was founded in 1915 and took Destin."

Rev. John Wesley moved to the Point and was not only the first pastor, he was also the fourth. He was the regular Sunday preacher while the appointed pastor, G.N. Winslet, came over for a night service on second Thursdays.

Rees told The Sun that the land for the church was donated by General William Miller and his wife Maria in 1893.

Miller, a soldier, attorney, timberman and politician, served as a general in the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. He led reserve troops of the state of Florida and won one of the South's last victories of the war at the Battle of Natural Bridge.

Born in Ithaca, N.Y., Miller was also a veteran of the Mexican-American War, and was awarded by the government for his service with 40 acres of land in Florida.

Members of the first church contributed their materials and time to the building. The lumber was all local and milled at the Strickland and Wesley sawmills. Wesley continued to serve the church until his death in 1901.

Services have continued every Sunday since with no interruption. Rev. Wesley's son, Stephen, kept faith alive by ringing the bell and leading services every Sunday until his death in 1943.

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