March 10, 1932, page 2, col. 3 & 4: History of Methodism in Chesterfield County, by Rev. J. J. Stevenson.

Methodism existed in Chesterfield County from the very beginning though there was no organized charge at first. The churches were incorporated in other circuits. Chesterfield, bordering on North Carolina, was one of the first counties visited by the apostolic Asbury. On his first visit to Charleston, he, under date of Feb. 17, 1785, makes mention of spending some time in prayer in a church in Cheraw. This was non other than St. David’s Episcopal church. This old church, at this writing, is in a perfect state of preservation. Bishop Asbury was entertained by a Methodist who had moved to Cheraw from Virginia. There were then elect ladies who domiciled and cheered the itinerant. Dr. Chrietzberg mentions Mrs. Blakeney, Mrs. Blair, and Mrs. Craig. Their successors have increased during these years. Many preachers shall arise and call them blessed.

William Capers was converted at old Fork Creek church in the summer of 1808 and was called to preach. We find the Methodist churches in Chesterfield county on the Santee circuit in 1808 which extended from Gainey’s Meeting House (now Friendship church) three miles north of the Court House, its upper appointment, to Taw Caw, now St. Paul, the lower appointment. The preachers were Jonathan Jackson, William Gassoway and W.M. Kennedy. William Capers served this charge in 1814 thus serving the church in which he was converted,

From some old records it seems that there were no changes in the boundary until Chesterfield Circuit was set off at the Conference in Darlington, Jan. 23, 1832. Elijah Heddings presided at this conference and W.M. Wightman was secretary.

The first quarterly conference of the Chesterfield circuit was held at the Court House, March 17, 1832. William Kennedy, presiding Elder, and John M. Kelly preacher in charge. Allen Rushing, Hugh Craig, John Stephens were local preachers, L. Ogburn, exhorter, John Burnett, M.K. McCaskill, James C. Brown, and John D. Price, class leaders. Others present were, James Wright, William Morse, C. Therell, Heyward Chapman, A. McInnis, Alex. Cassidy, Edward Odom, and Henry Wallace.

The churches forming the Chesterfield circuit in 1832, were Society Hill, Mt. Zion, Sardis, Fork Creek, Smyrna, Taxahaw, Zion, Pleasant Hill, Court House, Shiloh, Bear Creek, Mt. Olivet and New Prospect. Members added to these churches during the year were 206 whites, 128 colored. The first Methodist church was built at Chesterfield in 1838 on a lot next door to Jimmie Craig’s home. His house was built in 1830. Mr. Craig sold his place for a Methodist parsonage in 1856, Simpson Jones was the pastor. The preachers lived in this parsonage until the present brick parsonage was erected, under the pastorate of J.L. Tyler.

When Sherman burned the Court House in 1865, the old Methodist Church was used for a Court House it serving for both preacher and County officials, until 1877 when a new church was built on the corner of Main and Depot streets. In 1905 this house was removed and the present brick church erected. The building committee was composed of the following: Rev. J.J. Stevenson, W.J. Hanna, D.M. Barentine, Dr. D.T. Teal, and J.W. Hurst. The church was opened for services in the spring of 1806. Dr. A.M. Chrietzberg, an old pastor of 1844, preached the opening sermon. W.P. Meadows was presiding Elder.

The Seventy-fifth Anniversary of Methodism was observed by the holding of the first quarterly conference, Mar. 17, 1907, this being the date of the first quarterly conference held in 1832. Dr. Ben Lucas was chairman of the committee of Arrangements. Dr. J.W. Kilgo, pastor in 1888 preached at 11 o’clock. W.P. Meadows, P.E. held quarterly meeting at 3 o’clock, J.J. Stevenson, P.C., Rev. R.A. Yongue pastor in 1891 preached at the evening services. The churches represented, with all the Stewards present, and one fourth of the salary paid were, Ebenezer, Friendship, St. Paul, Ruby, and Zoar. Thus, the fourth quarter of the first one-hundred years in the new church, was begun. The church was dedicated in 1908 by Bishop W.A. Wilson, P.F. Kilgo, P.E.

From sone old papers in hand, it seems that the Jefferson circuit was set off from the Chesterfield Circuit at the Conference in Spartanburg, Nov. 30, 1887. M.H. Major pastor in 1888. This same paper shows that B.D. Lucas served this work in 1889. He is our own, beloved, Dr. B.D. Lucas. For years he was a missionary in China, but now living in his home town.

The East Chesterfield circuit was taken from the Chesterfield and Cheraw circuits at the conference held in Laurens in 1908, J.A. Cook, P.C. This left St. Paul, Shiloh and Zoar three of the original churches of thirteen, which is now Chesterfield circuit, F.M. Dukes, P.C. At this writing Gobe Smith is pastor.

List of preachers serving Chesterfield circuit from 1832 to 1932:

John M. Kelly, 1832            A.B. McGilvary, 1833            William Brockington, 1834            J.H. Wheeler, 1832
L. Rush, 1836                      Campbell Smith, 1837            Kenneth Murcheson, 1838           
Kenneth Murcheson and William E. Collier, 1839               William H. Holton, 1840                George Tally, 1841
J.W. Bradley, 1842              Able Hoyt, 1843                    A.M. Chrietzberg, 1844                Johns Watts, 1845
M.A. McKibben, 1846        W.L. Pegues, 1847                M.A. McKibben, 1848                 W.L. Pegues, 1849
A. Nettles, 1850                  W.C. Clark, 1851                  Simpson Jones, 1852                     D.W. Seal, 1853-54
Daniel McDonald, 1855       Simpson Jones, 1856-57        C.J. Pennington, 1858-59              J.S. Nelson and J.S. Stoll, 1860; Louis Scarbon, 1861-62      Oliver Eady, 1863-64             J.E. Pennington, 1865-66              Oliver Eady, 1867-68
J.C. Harsell, 1869                J. Sandford, 1870                   J.B. Platt, 1871-7                         Abner Erwin, 1873-74
J.C. Russell, 1875                J.W. Murray, 1876-79           J.D. Rowell, 1880-83                    J.W. McRoy, 1884
J.D. Frierson, 1885             W.H. Whitaker, 1886-87        J.W. Kilgo, 1888-89                     J.L. Harley, 1890
R.A. Yongue, 1891-92        R.R. Dagnell, 1893-94           J.N. Isom, 1895-96                       J.P. Attaway, 1897-98
A.F. Berry, 1899-1900       N.L. Wiggin, 1901-04            J.J. Stevenson, 1905-08                F.M. Duke, 1909
J.T. Fowler, 1910-11          L.L. Bedenbough, 1912-13    J.L. Tyler, 1914-17                       J.B. Guess, 1918-20
L.E. Peeler, 1921-24         W.P. Way, 1925-29                Gobe Smith, 1930-32.

Credit is given to “The Annals of Methodism” for information contained in this article.

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