1905 The Maquoketa Colony began settling into the area. A group known as the Maquoketa Colony was made up of 20 families from Maquoketa, Iowa who had purchased this land that would become Edgerton, Virginia.
The families cane, some stayed, others returned to Iowa or moved on to other places.
All of the members of the original Maquoketa Colony are now deceased but many of the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of those families continue to live here and are members of Edgerton church.
1906 Mrs. Sylvia Laird moved the community of settlers to begin Sunday school to be held in the School House down in the grove. The Church in Maquoketa sent literature and song books. Mrs. F. M. Reigel, Mrs. Ada Twiss and Mrs. P. J. Kleis offered to help. They were quickly joined by all the Colony because of the need to study and know our God was recognized as a necessity for successful community living.
1907 – 1910 Rev. Delaney, a student minister perching in Lawrenceville was recommended by a African American Presbyterian minister to Edgerton. Rev Delaney began preaching once a month and was paid $2.50 per service.
Rev. Marks of Lawrenceville Church would come and preach when he could. He encouraged the members to build a church building. To build that building was a real struggle. Times were hard, money was low, but they did it. The play, “Ten Nights in a Bar Room” was given in the unfinished, no floor church to raise money. They sat on the floor joist to see he play.
1910 – 1914 Rev. J. W. Stith, was the first pastor in the new Edgerton M. E. Church of the Lawrenceville Charge.
Mrs. Susan Riegel Lyon made a gift of a beautiful Pulpit Bible to the church. That Bible is still in the church today bearing evidence of many years of use. Mrs. Lyon was the mother of Mrs. Frank Riegel.
The Ladies Aid Society was formed. Its members included: Mrs. R. S. (Ada) Twiss, Mrs. E. P. (Irene) Jolly, Mrs. V. P. (Mamie) Blick, Mrs. F. M. (Della) Riegel, Mrs. C. E. (Mamie) Hall, Mrs. R. E. (Maude) Crane, Miss Myrta Jolly, Miss Annie Jolly, Mrs. John Dameron and others soon joined.
Mr. George Malone was the superintendent of the new church Sunday school.
Mrs. C. H. Wells, music teacher was the pianist for the church and would be until her death where Miss Mary Louis Blick would take her place and serve in that position for 62 years.
1914 – 1918 Rev. H. B. Fouchee performed the first wedding in the church. Milton M. Lucy and Mary Merland Pearson were married at the church on November 21, 1917.
1918 – 1919 Rev. Gee
1919 – 1920 Rev. L. J. Phoupp
Edgerton, Liberty, Antioch, Mount Carmen, Mount Pleasant and Pelham churches joined to become the Brunswick Charge.
Mr. V. H. Blick became the Sunday school superintendent of the church.
1920 – 1923 Rev. C. L. Salmon
The Epworth league was formed and was active.
The ladies of Edgerton, Liberty, Antioch, Mount Carmen, Mount Pleasant and Pelham churches formed The Circuit Ladies Aid Society.
1923 – 1927 Rev. J. K. Holman
The Sunday school rooms were added to the front of the church.
At this time the parsonage was in Adsit, Virginia.
1927 – 1930 Rev. R. W. Burnett
Early Hall and Clyde Britton were added to the list of stewards.
1930 – 1931 Rev. Rood
1931 – 1935 Rev. O. B. Carter was the youngest pastor that the church had experienced to this date.
1935 – 1936 Rev. H. C. Gregory encouraged the members and the community as they built the parsonage next to the church in Edgerton.
1936 – 1940 Rev. J. H. Abernathy was a violin maker and had a shop in the garage where he made beautiful violins.
There were a large number of young people in the church at this time and the Epworth league was very active.
The Ladies Aid Society was renamed to the Woman’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS).
1940 – 1945 Rev. W. J., Boyd was not only a preacher but a very good farmer. He raised big crops of cucumbers that he sold to the pickle company.
1945 – 1952 Rev. H. B. Owen was here when the School House down in the grove was purchased. The funds for this purchase were received through the efforts of the young people of the community who performed a Minstrel, the “Blackface and Music”. The minstrel was performed in the school house to a large audience and then was ask by the South Brunswick community to do it again in their school and then again in Dolphin. It was great fun as well as profitable.
The schoolhouse is now gone, if only it could have been preserved and made a museum.
1952 – 1956 Rev. H. H. Johnson
The MYF was very active at this time. Mrs. Johnson published a book “The Whip O’r Will”. It is a story of the life of a minister.
1956 – 1960 Rev. R. E. Couch
In March 1960 the WSCS presented an Alter Ste and Communion Table to the Edgerton church in the memory of Mrs. R. S. Twiss.
1960 – 1963 Rev. Virgil Davis introduced the Unified Budget and Envelop System to the church making it much easier to keep the finances of the church in order.
1963 – 1964 Rev. Linwood Harris
1964 – 1968 Rev. William O. Hudson
1968 – 1972 Rev. Frank Lane
The Brunswick Charge begun making some changes. Liberty church with drew and went independent. The Brunswick Charge was reduced to three churches in lieu of the five it had been.
1972 – 1984 Rev. Gordon D. Walters Sr. ministered to the three church charge though he was an older man just entering the ministry and was still in school. He was very devoted and it was catching.
Soon after coming, the church was in need of more facilities and almost before the proper approval could be attained from the Methodist Conference, the members had almost completed the work. From the talents if the community the addition to the church was suddenly there.
After the men had had a good rest from the building the addition, the sanctuary was repaired and painted, new carpet was installed, the church acquired some pews and stained glass windows, new siding was installed on the outside of the church. A porch was added to the front and sidewalks were built around the church.
Mrs. Flora Pearson Moseley, a member when a young girl, gave a heating system and the bathroom fixtures for the addition.
Mr. Charles Betz of Baltimore, father-in-law of Patsy Crane Betz secured our organ for us when his church in Baltimore decided to get a new one.
Mr. Marvin Kleis, in addition to working very hard on the addition took the beams that had been removed and made two crosses. The lighted one that hangs in the church today is one. The light from the cross is a reminder for all to seek Christ and make Him a part of their life.
Rev. Walters had to retire for health reasons and continued to be a powerful force for Christ in his daily living until his death in 2003.
1984 – 1990 Rev Franklin T. Jennings held services in each church every Sunday in lieu of two services a month as had been done in the past.
His wife, Lynn, began the “Little People’s Church”. The children enjoy having their own service.
1990 – 1999 Rev. Alfred Green
Several years ago the church was in need of repairs again. A new roof was installed entire church. The bell tower enclosed and new siding was installed on the entire church. Stained glass windows were installed in all windows in memory or in honor of loved ones and were dedicated November 19, 1995.
The very active children’s group is a real joy to the church. They love to sing and the members enjoy hearing them.
There are monthly birthday parties, Sunday night suppers, pic nics and many other activates that make for a closer church family, when the Heavenly Father is the Head of the House.
1999 – 2007 Rev. Ken Thrasher and family moved into the parsonage with three boys all actively involved in the goings on in the church. Pastor Ken supported Emmaus and Chrysalis with many weekends spent as Spiritual Leader for the weekend. Pastor Ken completed his schooling at South Side Virginia Community Collage and is working toward his degree from Duke University.
The birthday parties, Sunday night suppers, pic nics and many other activates continue with the addition of bible study, praise and worship services, CSI Bible study, back yard Vacation Bible School where service to the Lord can continue to expand and infect not only the church but the community as well.
The church has seen improvements that include cushions installed on the pews and a new central heating and air conditioning system. Additionally the basement that had been subjected to flooding was repaired and has done great. The Sims family reorganized the Library installing new shelving and roommade for the pastors study in the same area. The family also donated and installed locks through out the church. The church established an audio visual team where by the service at Edgerton has been augmented through the use of contemporary technology.
1773 This church in Greensville County dates back to early days of Methodism
As you cross the threshold of Pelham’s United Methodist Church, in Greensville County, it’s fascinating to think of how many other souls have also entered under the same doorway.
The many lives that have passed through the building are the fibers that have intertwined over the years to form the living tapestry of this old church, so rich in history. Each fiber, each life has its own story to tell.
The church, which dates back to 1773, celebrated its 200th anniversary on Sunday October 31. The weather was pleasant as members and friends gathered to celebrate the church’s milestone. The small church was packed with people who gathered to worship, fellowship and reminisce.
The Rev. Ken Thrasher welcomed everyone and thanked the members and others whose dedication and effort had made the special day possible. The musical group, rolling Waters from Main Street Baptist Church, in Emporia, performed during the service.
David Roach was there that memorable day. “we had a great turnout,” he says. Roach grew up in the church and his family has been attending the church for several generations.
The spirit of the church is in its people, and Pelham’s Church composed of people who have made the church an integral part of their lives. “My parents and grandparents went to the church. I have seen so many preachers come and go. But the people stay because they are dedicated to the church,” Roach says.
Over the last 59 years, Roach has seen the church go through some changes. The most recent additions include a Sunday school room and a vestibule on the front. “I can remember back to when there was a wood heater,” he says.
THE BRUNSWICK CIRCUIT
The Brunswick Circuit is commonly revered to as the “Cradle of Early American Methodism.” And is the longest continuing pastoral appointment in American Methodism. It dates back to 1773 and first appears in the church minutes of 1774 as an appointment, and has continued as such every year since.
In 1774, its boundaries extended from the James River on the north to and across the Roanoke River on the south, with no eastern or western boundaries. The charge now consist of three churches. The other churches are Edgerton United Methodist and Pleasant Grove at Charlie Hope. Pelham’s Church is the oldest church with a continuous history on the charge. In a deed dated 24 May 1783, land owned by Thomas Branscom was sold for five shillings to John Wesley and his successors. It was recorded by Peter Pelham, clerk of the Circuit Court of Greensville County. In another deed dated 25 February 1804, the land on which Pelham’s stands was given by Peter Pelham, a leader of Methodism in his day and for whom the church was named, to William Rideout, William Kennedy, Samiel Pelham, Edward Heath, Miles Cooksey, William Whittemore, Charles Rodeout, trustees, and to their successors in office. But the organization of pelnam’s goes back farther than that. There was a camp meeting house on the grounds when the deed was written and it is mentioned in the deed. Bishop Ashbury, in his journal, gives several interesting accounts regarding his activities at Peleham’s Church. He preached there in 1794 from 2nd Cor. 12:15. February 12th of 1798 he writes, “I rode to brother Pelham’s, here I am at home.” Tuesday, 3 April 1798, “I attended a sermon and sacrament at brother Pelham’s.”
The church has no definite record of activities that took place at Pelham’s for a period of years. There is, however, an old roll book that dates back to 1882.
Today, the small church holds night services, Sunday school classes, an annual revival, and homecomings.
RUNS DEEP IN HER VEINS
Peggy Wiley now attends her husband’s church, but she grew up in Pelham’s Church. Her family has been attending the church all the way back to her great-grandfather, who surrendered with Lee at Appomattox in the War Between the States. “Pelham’s Church is just as much a part of me as the blood that runs through my veins. I think all of us that grew up in the church feel the same way” she says, her affection for the church is very evident in her voice. “It’s a very special place, and the feeling I get when I’m there is one I just can’t explain with words.”
At the 200th Anniversary service, Wiley says that it was nice to see people she hadn’t seen in years. “Oh, it was a wonderful service,” she exclaims. “The fact that the church has survived 200 years with such a small membership is remarkable to me.” Members of the church hope to encourage more young people to join the church because, as Wiley says, “The future of the church lies in the young people.”
No matter what lies in the future of this beloved church that has celebrated 200 years existence, its tapestry and its memory will live on in the hearts of those who are forever connected to it.
by Laura Emery