Timeline: History of Shepherdstown Methodism

Follow Us!
Facebook Twitter Google Plus YouTube

1760

The First Methodists
1760

The history of Methodism in Shepherdstown goes back to the early days of the denomination in America, since Mecklenburg (now Shepherdstown) as a settlement dates from 1762, and the first Methodists began to preach in America in 1760.

1776

Freeborn Garretson
1776

In 1776 Freeborn Garretson, one of the leading Methodist preachers of the time, spent several days in Shepherdstown.

1794

Bishop Francis Asbury
1794

Bishop Francis Asbury, founder of American Methodism wrote in his journal of a visit here in 1794.

1820

Circuits Include Shepherdstown
1820

In 1779 Shepherdstown became a regular appointment on the Berkley Circuit; in 1820 the Jefferson Circuit was formed. Many of the leading men of early Methodism preached in Shepherdstown.

1853

First Methodist Building Destroyed
1853
The first Methodist church building, of which there is any record, was a frame and log structure located on Church Street between where the Catholic and Methodist Churches now stand. This building was destroyed by fire which started in the Bradshaw house on the corner of Washington and Church Streets on March 17, 1853. The flames swept across the street, and set the Methodist Church on fire. The fire was soon beyond control, sparks were blown northward and soon the town was in a state of terror. There was no fire engine, but men, women and children formed a double line from the scene of the fire to the Town Run. With incredible rapidity buckets of water passed up and down the lines. Neither the house nor the church could be saved, but other property was kept from burning.

1854

Second Methodist Church Built
1854
The Methodists then bought a lot on the corner of Church and New Streets, and in 1854 a brick building was erected (now the Sanctuary of our church).

1866

Church Splits
1866
The Methodists, like other denominations, were disturbed regarding the institution of slavery, and the Southern Conference pulled out of the General Conference to form a separate church. In 1866 the Southern Methodist sympathizers withdrew from the N.E. Chruch in Shepherdstown and held their meetings in the Presbyterian Sanctuary and the second floor of the B. Baker property (above German Street Market) until they could build a church.

1868

Third Methodist Church Built
1868
In 1868 a new brick church at the corner of Main and King Streets in the heart of town was erected (now the Men’s Club Building). For the next 70 years there were two Methodist Churches in the Shepherdstown Circuit. Mount Wesley went with the N.E. Church and Uvilla, Bethesda and Marvin Chapel with the Southern Methodist.

1940

Church Reunited

1947

New Street Church Remodeled
1947
The Main Street Church was sold in 1947 to the Men’s Club for a community building and the building that was formerly the N.E. Church at New and Church Streets was redesigned to serve as the sanctuary. An additional building was designed to surround it to serve as an educational building. The sanctuary of the remodeled church was reopened for divine worship on Sunday, May 8, 1949. The Reverend S. T. Fitch conducted the service. Work on the Educational Building continued for several years and was completed under the pastorate of Reverend Edwin H. Langrall. Throughout the years other congregations have been included in the Shepherdstown Charge: Scrabble, Molers Crossroads, Rocky Marsh, VanClevesville and Uvilla. Reverend Melvin Hughson followed Reverend as a minister.

1959

New Street Church Becomes a Station
1959
In 1959, because of an increase in membership in the Shepherdstown Church and the increased enrollment at Shepherd College, the New Street congregation was made a station under the leadership of Reverend Randall Parsons.

1969

Denomination Merger
1969
Another change came in 1969 when the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren to form the United Methodist Church.

1989

Parsonages
1989
The original (Northern Methodist) parsonage was the old Criswell house on Washington Street. This was sold and a brand new parsonage was built on the site of the burned Bradshaw house. The Washington Street property was later deeded back to the church by the will of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Jenkins. This was the Northern Methodist parsonage, In the 1980’s ministers were encouraged to provide their own homes so when the Cathart’s built a new home in Cavaland, the parsonage was rented for a while and then in 1989 the congregation voted to sell the property. The parsonage on New Street was the Southern Methodist parsonage and was sold when the churches united.  Most recently in 2014, the parsonage that was purchased for Reverend Wendy Schulemberger was sold.

1999

Pastors
1999
The ministers who followed Reverend Parsons were: Reverend Albert Burton, Reverend Bruce Kuehnle, Reverend Charles Cathcart, Reverend Robert W. Richardson, Reverend Charles Cathcart (second term), Reverend Elizabeth Pate Smith, Reverend Wendy Schulemberger and our present pastor appointed in 1999, The Reverend G. Dee-Ann Dixon.