First United Methodist Church
Wadesboro, North Carolina

Methodism in the Early Days
By Miss Bessie Plunket

     I have been asked to write a short history of the Methodist church of our City, but as I have no record I can only give a brief account of it. In order to appreciate Methodism of today, we should have some knowledge of the struggles through which the church has passed.
     The location of the old Church was the lot occupied by the late Sebe Benton, and adjoined the old Billy Patrick home. The old Church which was built about ninety years ago was an unpretentious wooden structure and was repaired about forty years later.
     There were eight graves in the old church yard where old preachers and their wives were buried. These bodies were later removed to Eastview Cemetery. The lot was since sold to Mr. C.S. Wheeler and the old church was sold to the late J.W. Odom.
     The Annual Conference was held here in 1850, at which time my father, James Plunkett, entertained fourteen preachers, one of whom was the father of Bishop Kilgo, who joined the Conference at that time. The Conference was held in the Masonic Hall, the old Church not being large enough.
     This section was at one time considered a part of the South Carolina Conference. It took in a part of Mecklenburg County and also a part of Virginia. Later changes were made in the Conference which separated North from South Carolina.
     Some of the outstanding preachers of that time were: Rev. G.A. Darby, T.R. Welsh, president of Carolina College, Ansonville, N.C., William Mood, S.H. Brown, F.M. Kennedy, Sam Hill, H.C. Hutto, W.H. Wheeler, W.L. Johnson, Randolph Pegues, W.S. Black, Wesley Pegues, A.C. Clyde, H.C. Parsons and E.W. Thompson.
     It was also customary in those days for preachers to come into the pulpit and bow his head in prayer. After

this was done, he arose, sat in his chair and sang some old hymn before service began. They had quarterly meetings every three months and the Presiding Elder did the preaching. Friday was considered "Fast Day" which was followed by "Love Feast" on Sunday morning.
     For a long period after this the church was put on a circuit, later being made a station. While on this circuit it was a custom to have a senior and junior preacher. The married preacher was given a parsonage, while no provision was made for the single preacher. The salary of the junior preacher was $150.00 per year.
     It was the custom after the usual morning service, after the congregation was dismissed and the doors closed, for a class meeting to be held. The object of this meeting was for those present to be examined by the class leaders in regard to their spiritual life. No member was in good standing and was turned out of the church, who danced or went to a circus, and no one was allowed to wear flowers upon their bonnets or frills on their skirts. Mrs. Fannie McCormick, when a girl was brought before the church for having frills on her dress.
     One of our fine preachers, H.C. Parsons, served the church during the Civil War. During that time the Yankee raid passed through our town and demanded his silverware and other valuables, which were buried about six miles from here on his plantation. The Yankees made him ride a mule with no saddle to his plantation to get these valuables. Not being strong, Mr. Parsons died soon after this. The location of our present church was once used for a hotel, which was operated by my grandfather, Joseph Sullivan. The lot was bought from Mrs. Mary Roscoe back long ago.

     From Dedication of Sanctuary Commemorative Program, January 16, 1966.

1908 Methodism in Wadesboro
By J.H. West, Pastor

     A Summary of the Work Accomplished by the Methodist Church Here for the Year 1908.

     The current year has been one of remarkable growth for our Wadesboro Methodism. One year ago we had, as reported in the Conference Journal, 346. The year closes with 421 members, or a net gain of 75.
     Our people have built, and are furnishing, the best parsonage in the conference. One of the nine rooms is devoted to the pastor's study, and is being furnished at a cost of about $100. About two-thirds of th cost of the parsonage has been secured in money and good subscriptions, and the other third will be fothcoming. The parsonage building committee, composed of W.P. Parsons, H.W. Little, and U.B. Blalock, has done its work well, and these brethren should be commended for their faithful and efficient service.
     I would be ungrateful not to mention the work the Ladies' Aid Society has done in the consummation of this enterprise. In construction and furniture they have put more than $500 into the building. The young ladies have wrought well in furnishing the dining room. I take this method of thanking all who have in any way contributed to this entrprise.
     The salaries of the pastor and of the presiding elder were fixed at $1,200 and $150 respectively, and are paid with some little margin. The district distributing

board assessed this charge on benevolence $428. This amount has been paid with an overplus. Our Sunday School is increasing in interest, number and liberality, $158 have been raised for supplies and missions.
     Our foreign missionary societies now number 154 members, or 129 more than the journal reported last year. Our home mission society is in its infancy, but starts off with 13 members and will doubtless grow to be much larger. The Epworth League is young, but has done some good work during the year.
     During the year the church has paid for all purposes $4,500, or about $13 per capita, not counting the new members.
     The Wadesboro church is able and willing to take its place among the desirable charges of the conference, and our people are determined to make it one of the best.
     The pastor and family are profoundly grateful for all the kindesses shown them, and pray the church's success in the future may be even more abundant.
     The editors of our local papers have been more than kind in publishing several notices, for which they have our thanks.

     From Dedication of Sanctuary Commemorative Program, January 16, 1966.