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The History of Carter's Chapel Church 

          This is the history of Carter's United Methodist Church researched from 1842 when land was deeded by Jesse Carter until the present time. This was believed to be the first Methodist Church west of the Tennessee River. This church is located three miles South of McLemoresville, Tennessee, on a beautiful hillside overlooking fertile land.
          When the CARTERS came from South Carolina and settled in Carroll County around 1825, there was not church so the circuit riders held worship services in farmhouses. After the settlements were made the services were held in ROBERT CARTER'S home.
          The need and desire of the people was for a place to worship. The people met and decided to build a church. First they built a log meeting house. The church goers soon became too many for the log meeting house so they decided to build a church.
          The neighbors banded together and cut timber for the new church. The timber was hued with a broadax and sawed with a rip-saw which is similar to a cross cut saw, but longer and slimmer. The frame was weather boarded and floored in this way.
         The inside of the church was one large room with a rail down the center. The women sat on one side and the men on the other. There were only a few churches built during the 1800's where there was a section for the black people to come and worship. They didn't have a way to make a fire since stoves were unknown in those days, but the need for worship was greater than the discomfort of being cold. There were no buggies so people traveled far and near on horseback to worship the Lord. The people also built a big shelter and had camp meetings every year. People would come for miles around to camp for several weeks to attend the services. At the break of day people would go to the hillside to pray. By sun up the people would be singing, praying and shouting. They had no bell to call the people to the services so a huge bugle was sounded to let the people know that it was time to come and worship. The bugle was sounded by ROBERT CARTER.
          Legend states back in the 1880's a severe draught came over the Carter's Chapel area. The crops were burning up, the pastures were weathering down, the cattle were beginning to suffer for food and water. The people of the community met at the church one night and prayed that God would send rain. Around dawn they were awakened by the rumble of distant thunder. A slow steady rain set in and it rained for two days and nights.
          There is a large cemetery located to the side of the church where many Carter's are buried. Many graves do not have tombstones. Sand stones mark the graves of some civil war soldiers. The first recorded person to be buried in Carter's Chapel Cemetery is BETTY MINSKIP, who died October 4, 1842. She lived to be one hundred and one years old. The second person recorded to be buried is THOMAS CARTER a relative of BETTY MINSKIP. They were buried side by side in the same year. Although these two people were the first recorded burials, the first person believed to be buried there is a stage coach driver. This driver was a black man who fell off the stage and was killed. The accident happened near the church so he was buried in the church cemetery.
          In 1952 Reverend JOHN PUGH was sent by the Methodist Conference to Carter's Chapel Church. Reverend PUGH soon became interested in building a new church. Finally an agreement was reached, since the old church was in such poor condition, the best solution was to build a new one. The new church was much like the old one. Neighbors donated logs, time and money. They used as much material from the old church as possible. The pulpit that was made by THOMAS CARTER is still used today. The bell from the old church was taken and placed in a steeple atop of the new church. Until 1962 there was only one room to the church. There were not any classrooms so a so a basement and two classrooms were built onto the back of the church.
          In 1974 the Methodist Conference closed Gregg's Chapel, a small church nearby. The property was sold and the money was given to Carter's Chapel to build a kitchen, classrooms and two rest rooms.
          Reverend L.C. DESHAZO instituted memorial day over eighty years ago. It is still celebrated today on the third sunday in May. On this day people gather to honor and remember their loved ones and ancestors.
          Land for Carter's Chapel Church was deeded by my fourth generation grandfather, JESSE CARTER, one hundred and forty years ago. Today there are only seventy five members. The church still stands as a memorial of faith and dedication of our ancestors.
          This concludes the history of Carter's Chapel United Methodist Church over a span of one hundred and forty years from 1842 until 1982.

Written by DIONE KIRBY

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