Methodism first reached Anson County in 1775 when a church was organized near the old court house on Ingram level and was known as Jackson's.
When the Methodist Episcopal Church was officially recognized in Baltimore at the Christmas Conference of 1784, Jackson's became the mother church of Anson County Methodism. Bishops' Coke, Asbury and Whatcoat visited there in 1787, 1789 and Christmas of 1794.
The Anson County Court House was moved to Wadesboro in 1787 and a Methodist Church must have been organized soon thereafter, the court house being used a a preaching place. It is believed that our church was organized about 1790, and our present official board felt this a justifiable date to establish. This is supporte by the following entry made in the journal of Bishop Asbury, dated Sunday, January 18, 1801:
|"We came to Wadesboro after a court week. We held our meeting underneath the court house beneath the arches. we had a most delightful day. Bishop Whatcoat spoke with great ingenuity and authority upon the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. My subject was Luke 18:27. We lodged at I. Cash's."|
Conference minutes of 1813 show a membership of forty one whites and thirteen negroes. The second quarter collections amounted to $11.50.
The first recorded deed for property of Wadesboro Methodist Church was entered in 1832 for a lot on Salisbury Street, but records show that the old court house was used until 1830. We feel that our first church building must have been built about that time on the lot now occupied by Crawford's used cars.1 This is also support by the report that the first church building was crude and unpretentious, but was remodeled about forty years later. The bell that was removed from the church razed in 1959 is dated 1870 and was brought from the Salisbury Street building.
Our church served as host church to the South Carolina annual conference in 1850 when Wadesboro was a very small village. The conference was held in the upstairs of the old Masonic Building, as the church was not large enought to seat the delegates. Mr. James Plunkett, grandfather of Misses Mary, Jennie Doak and Bessie Plunkett entertained fourteen preachers attending this meeting.
First parsonage lot deed was recorded in 1853 to Samuel Spencer, trustee, lot No. 72 located on the corner of Rutherford and Martin Streets. The next parsonage lot was purchased in 1875, located on the East side of South Greene Street and a house was built soon thereafter. This lot is now ocupied by the office of Anson Savings and Loan Association.2
Wadesboro Methodist continued to multipy and serve as the center of Anson County Methodism.
In the early 1880's our forefathers decided that is was time to make a big move to provide adequate facilities for their growing Church. They selected and purchased in 1883 and 1888 a very desirable location on the corner of Morgan and Greene Streets known as the Buck Tavern lot, part of our present property, and proceeded to make plans for a new church.
They planned and built well, and they were a proud congregation when they moved to their new church in 1892. Some of our older people say that the church was quite a show place for a town the size of Wadesboro and people came from many parts to see and inspect this beautiful building with a tall steeple, spacious auditorium and beautiful art windows.
The old parsonage was taken down in 1907, moved and re-erected on the Chesterfield Road. A new parsonage was then built on the South Greene lot and served until 1959. This house was first occupied by Rev. J.H. West in 1910.
As Wadesboro grew our church increased its membership and broadened its program to better serve the spiritual life of the community. The need for additional space for an expanding Sunday School was met in 1912 when a new educational building planning committee was named, composed of W.P. Parsons, F.W. Dunlap,
U.B. Blalock, J.W. Gulledge and W.P. Ledbetter.
The building was completed the following year at a cost of over $6,700.00. A new organ was installed in 1920 at a cost of $3,300.00
To add to our church lot and improve our parsonage, negotiations were started for trading our lot and parsonage on Greene Street for the old Dunlap home adjacent to our church building. This was completed and an exchange was made on October 18, 1939, increasing our frontage on Greene Street by one hundred feet.
A large lot on the corner of Leak Avenue and Hall Street was purchased in 1945 for a future parsonage for $6,000.00.
The next expansion came in 1946 when a dwelling known as the Beachum home was purchased by several members at a cost of $6,000.00 and given to the church adding additional class rooms and enlarging the church lot.
The corn mill lot on East Morgan Street, adjacent to Beachum property, was also purchased in 1946 by W.B. Moore and presented to the church, adding still more area to our grounds.
A few years later the old parsonage was taken over and converted into a fellowship hall and class rooms.
The need for a modern parsonage was next recognized by our church. A drive was made for funds, plans completed and a nine room brick house was begun in 1949. This was dedicated November 20, 1940, by Bishop Costen J. Harrell and Bishop Paul N. Garber.
Our people continued to show their interest and desire to expand and improve our facilities with talks for a building program. In 1950 needs for our young people soon took the lead and the urgency for more space. A move for a large educational building soon developed into a plan to raise the necessary funds to build this unit.
To give one instance of the significance of one particular special meeting held in the fall of 1951 at Little's Lake Plumnelly ... the official board met there to discuss the ways and means for raising the money. A tithing program was suggested, but several other plans took charge of the conversation. When none of these plans seemed to have the drive and punch needed for our program, the tithing plan came back into the discussion of our group. A move was made for every member present to stand , who wuuld give a tithe for three years in support of this fund. Every member present stood. I knew than that our educational building would be a reality in a very short time.
The congregation voted to proceed with this educational building. Charles Little, Robert Huntley and W.B. Moore were named to head the Funds Planning Committee. The Building Fund Steering Committee was John Cooke, chairman, Jack Covington and David Blalock.
The bulding Committee was composed of Tom M. Little, chairman, Fred Teal, T.C. Coxe, W.B. Moore, H.G. Hodges, Preston Burns and Walter Lee Lanier, pastor. Charles N. Robinson was recommended and engaged to prepare plans. After several visits to other churches and many changes, working plans were completed and approved by the congregation.The Beachum house was razed and the new bulding was started in July, 1952. On July 12, 1953, we moved into this large building of over 17,000 square feet of floor area, with expenditures for building and equipment amounting to nearly $200,000.00.
Let it be said here that this unit was dedicated by Bishop Costen J. Harrell on March 26, 1954, less than three years after the solemn pledge
was made by members of the official board.
The spark of desire to complete our building program for a sanctuary was lighted with a decision by our people toproceed with these plans.
Meetings were held to discuss ways of raising funds to carry out this expansion. Finally our church decided to call a representative of the Department of Finance and Field Service, Division of National Missions of the Methodist Chruch, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Forrest D. Hedden came and set the plans in motion. A drive committee was appointed with Robert Huntley and Charles Little, co-chairmen; W. Bryan Moore, Pickett Stanback, McRae Covington, Tom M. Little, Jack Covington and E. Paul Hamilton, pastor. A final drive was made in September of 1957, with a goal of $175,000.00 to be paid in three years. This drive was successful with over $180,000.00 in pledges and the amount on hand.
A building committee was named with Tom M. Little, chairman; Mrs. W.B. Moore, Mrs. John Cooke, W. Dunlap Covington, Robert Huntley and E. Paul Hamilton, pastor.
A large number of churches were visited by the building committee to study their size and architectural work. After several meetings, Charles N. Robinson was again hired to prepare plans. Over twleve months of visiting and planning came to a conclcusion when completed plans for approximately 17,000 square feet were presented to the congregation for approval.
On April 5, 1959 final services were held in the old sanctuary which had served our people for over sixty five years, and the building was razed to make room for a new building. Temporary facilities for an auditorium were set up in the fellowship hall.
It was a sad day for many of our members, for they had happy memories of the spritual strength and guidance they had received within its walls.
Our plans were advertised for bids and when the bids were opened we found we would need approximately $250,000.00 to pay for the building, engineering and architect fees. Other features and equipment such as a stained glass chancel window, chancel furniture, pews, light fixtures and organ brought the total amount to approximately $300,000.00. This additional cost was explained to the congregation followed by a motion and approval to proceed with a building program. Ground breaking ceremony was conducted by Bishop Nolan B. Harmon on July 26, 1959 and the contract to build was awarded two days later. We have kept our ties with our history by preserving several articles from former church buildings. We have placed in the new steeple the bell that was first used in the 1830 building, then moved to the second church in 1891. It is now electrified to toll mechanically for specified times controlled by a time clock. We also have preserved two pews from our first church and two pews from our second church. The stained glass window that is placed in prominent view in the main entrance of the sancturary also was kept from the second church.
In the sunken garden area between our two buildings, brick from the second church form a terrace wall in which has been placed the corner stone from this church.
Other interested facts about our church -- It has been associated with the following circuits and then districts: Pee Dee, Anson, Little Pee Dee, Camden, Catawba, Cheraw, Lincolnton, Fayetteville, Georgetown, Wadesboro, Charlotte and Albemarle.
1. Now site of Wadesboro Lumber and Barn, Inc.
1. Now site of Anson Bank & Trust.