Allen Thomas Garrard, son of James Thomas and Rebecca Maddox Garrard, was born in Washington, Georgia on August 22, 1876. When he was five years old his family moved to a farm in Polk County, Georgia. In August 1892, Garrard first felt called to the ministry and determined to acquire the education he needed to become a Methodist minister. Financing his education through a loan, teaching, and farm work, he attended Piedmont Institute in Rockmart. Later he attended Samuel Benedict Memorial School near Cedartown, which was closer to his home. From 1899 to 1901 Garrard worked as a sales clerk, first at a variety store and later at a clothing store. A few months after the great hurricane of 1900 had devastated Galveston, he moved with his sister's family to Texas to help rebuild the shattered city. While visiting his uncle, Jimmie Power, at North Church Community in Nacogdoches County, Garrard decided to stay in the vicinity. There he met his future wife, Katie Loveless, and they were married the following year. In 1904 Garrard was converted to the Baptist denomination at Old North Church and began preaching there. He was ordained a year later and pastored a total of eighteen country churches in Nacogdoches County during his more than fifty years as an itinerant preacher. He died on January 11, 1961. (Ericson. "Garrard, Allen Thomas." Nacogdoches County Families. Dallas, Texas; Curtis Media Corporation, 1985. p. 298).