Historic Hopeful Church was established in 1825. The church, cemetery and garden had fallen into a state of disrepair as church membership declined. A group of community volunteers came forward and have been working this past year on restoring and preserving Hopeful Church.
Fayette County, home of Hopeful Church, was established as an original county by the State of Georgia and named in honor of General LaFayette who came from the royal court at the Palace of Versailles to help in the Revolutionary War.
In 2000, school children from Fayette County and the State of Georgia provided Georgia Forestry Commission seedlings for the Palace of Versailles following a devastating storm in Dec. 1999 that wiped out more than 10,000 trees at Versailles. Now, Hopeful Church in Fayette County has been offered a 6′ bareroot “Marie Antoinette Oak” from the royal garden. The tree is a descendant of the favorite tree of the queen. The Palace of Versailles in France is sending the tree and their top young gardner to Hopeful Church in Fayette County for a rededication event on May 2 at 11 a.m. Georgia Forestry Commission Foresters assisted with preparing the planting hole for this special tree.
Hopeful Church has a rich history. It is the final resting place of Matthew Yates of Yates Apple fame. There are also many members of the Thornton family buried at Hopeful Church. They are direct descendants of Matthew Thornton who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Reposted from the Fayette County News: http://fayette-news.com/yates-apple-trees-fundraiser-benefits-hopeful-church/.
A grand rededication of the restored 1825 Hopeful Church building and grounds at Hwy. 92 North and New Hope Road north of Fayetteville has been scheduled for Saturday, May 2 at 11 a.m.
In the meantime, volunteer Dean Breest says there’s still plenty of work to be done around the church, and, while volunteers are welcomed pretty much any day of the week, Saturdays are the biggest work days. Only two more of those Saturdays remain between now and the rededication, and those interested in lending a hand can either just show up or call Breest at 404-915-1414 for more information.
Also in the meantime, The Art of Landscaping on Hwy. 85 in South Fayetteville is offering a limited number of Yates apple trees to anyone donating $100 or more to Hopeful 1825 Restoration, which is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning donations are also tax deductible. According to owner Robbie Martin, 50 of the trees were specially ordered and planted and are being nurtured for this fundraiser.
According to Breest, the donor contributing the most money through the Yates apple tree fundraiser will also receive a hand-made bench built from a tree from the Hopeful Church property.
The Yates apple tree, which is said to produce an apple ideal for making cider, is perhaps the most significant tree to Fayette County history because it was developed in Fayette County by Matthew Yates (1801-1880), who happens to also be buried in the Hopeful Church cemetery, which was also spruced up over the last several months as part of the overall restoration project.
Matthew Yates is the great-grandfather of State Representative John Yates (R-Griffin), who, at the age of 93, is the oldest member and last surviving World War II veteran in the Georgia General Assembly. His district includes much of southern Fayette County.
Learn more about the Hopeful Church restoration project at www.Facebook.com/Hopeful1825.