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
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
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.
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.
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.
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