History of Hardinsburg United Methodist Church
June 2, 2019
The History of the Hardinsburg United Methodist Church
1828 – Methodism comes to Hardinsburg
Rev. James Taylor answered the call to the ministry at Mt. Zion Methodist Episcopal Church and was licensed to preach. On February 8, 1828 he moved his family to the village of Hardinsburg – the county seat. It was the local center for gambling, drunkenness, crime and general immorality. The only religious services at that time were at St. Romulus (now known as Romuald.) Rev. Taylor faced the challenge and on July 5 he gathered a small group in his home, forming the first Methodist Society in Hardinsburg.
In the fall Rev. Taylor, along with Marcus Lindsey, presiding elder for the Salt River district, Stephen Harber from Meade County, and Silas Lee and John “Jack” Stith from Hardin County joined together for an evangelistic crusade. They helped 66 persons to convert. There were conversions at almost all prayer meetings for many years to come.
As a side note, in 1867 Rev. Taylor’s daughter Jenny Taylor McHenry used the pen name “Rosine” when she wrote a book of poems entitled “Forget Me Not.” In 1873 the town and Post Office of Pigeon Roost, Kentucky was renamed “Rosine” in her honor.
1843 – The first church building
For the sum of one dollar, ¼ acre of land was purchased by the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Masonic Hall which was the north half of Inn lot #14, fronting on Main Street 52 feet, 3 inches and extending back westwardly the whole length of the lot – 209 feet. According to the deed dated April 13: “The building now erecting, the lower story to be finished for the express purpose of a place of Worship for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, according to the rules and discipline which from time to time may be agreed upon and adopted by the ministers and preachers of said Church.” “The second story in the building to be finished for the express use and purpose of a Masonic Hall.” B.A. Basham was the pastor.
1844 - General Conference
In 1832 James Osgood Andrew was elected as a Bishop by the General Conference. At that time he was not a slaveholder. According to most published accounts, Andrew never bought or sold a slave. Rather, he became a slave owner through his wives. Bishop Andrew's possession of slaves generated controversy within the M.E. Church, leading to the separation of the denomination in 1844 into northern and southern branches.
1845 – Kentucky Methodist Episcopal divides
The Methodist denomination, along with everyone else in Kentucky, was affected by the division facing the entire nation over the issues of slavery and state’s rights. While the Kentucky delegates in the General Conference almost unanimously supported the southern churches, many of them both in the Conference and in Kentucky during the following year endeavored to re-establish harmonious relations between the contending factions. Henry Clay, although not a member of the Methodist Church, used his influence to prevent a division of the church. His attitude, as well as that of many Methodists of Kentucky , is clearly expressed in a letter dated April 7, 1845, and addressed to a certain prominent Methodist of the South, in which he said, “ I will not say that such a separation would necessarily produce a dissolution of the political Union of these states; but the example would be fraught with imminent danger and in cooperation with other causes unfortunately existing, its tendency on the stability of the Confederacy would be perilous and alarming. . . With fervent hopes and wishes that some arrangement of the difficulty may be devised and agreed upon which shall preserve the church in union and harmony.” Unfortunately the efforts of Clay and others on behalf of peace were of no avail. On May 14, 1845, Delegates from the southern states met in Louisville, Kentucky to organize and separate from the general church and become the Methodist Episcopal Church South. It should be noted, that in that same year, the Baptists of the East and Northwest refused to cooperate with the southern churches and the Southern Baptist Church was the result. Joseph D. Barnett was the pastor.
1869 – Hardinsburg Methodist Episcopal splits
The majority of Kentucky’s Methodist societies stayed with the Louisville Conference of the new southern church, but in Breckinridge County Rev. Taylor’s opposition to the division caused a large number of people to organize a new Hardinsburg unit which associated itself with the recreated Kentucky Conference of the northern Methodist Episcopal Church. J.H. Lennon was the first pastor of Taylor’s Chapel.
1871 – Taylor’s Chapel
In a deed dated August 1871, town lots 37 and 45 were purchased for the sum of $200 by the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This is the land on which they erected a church which was named Taylor’s Chapel in honor of Rev. James Taylor. Its location is next to where the “Old Cemetery” is on Hardin Street. The trustees for the church were William B. Stith, Williamson Cox, James G. Haswell, Morris Eskridge, Gideon P. Jolly and Jepe W. Kincheloe. Silas Green was pastor.
The North and the South
Vivian and Vitula Daniel lived at Ivy Hill and were active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Their daughter Tula was very active in the Mission cause in the Louisville Conference. When the church divided, the Daniels stayed with the Methodist Episcopal South.
Across the street from the Daniels family lived Judge Jesse White Kincheloe and his family of nine. They were ardent supporters of Taylor’s Chapel—the northern Methodist Episcopal Church. Two of his daughters married ministers affiliated with the southern church and another daughter was a southern sympathizer. The story goes that on Sunday mornings, the Judge would stop at the crossroads and watch his daughter go up the street to the M.E. South as he turned right to go to Taylor’s Chapel.
1903 – Ask and you shall receive
On a Sunday in January, a collection is taken to build a new church. From a newspaper clipping that we have in our archives, “Last Sunday morning, after an excellent sermon by Bishop H.C. Morrison of Louisville, a very successful effort was made to raise the money with which to erect an elegant new church house... In less than one hour $6318.50 was subscribed.” This amount exceeded, by over $1000, the amount asked for. Several of the Beard families gave $500 and $1000 donations. With these funds, the corner lot on Main and Second was purchased and construction of a beautiful brick building began. W.F. Hogard was the pastor.
1904 – A New Church Building
The Hardinsburg Methodist Episcopal members moved into their new church home on August 2, 1904. Some of the church trustees at the time were C.L. Beard, B.F. Beard, W.A. Walker, A.C. Board, M. Board Sr., M.D. Beard, P.M. Beard, J. Whitworth and J.C. DeHaven. G.S. King was pastor.
1905 – Dedication Deferred
From a newspaper clipping in our archives, dated May 16, 1905, “Doubtless the rain kept away hundreds from Hardinsburg Sunday, but still other hundreds came and the church was crowded to its capacity by those who wanted to hear Bishop Morrison. At the close of his sermon, which as usual, was one of great power, the question of lifting the $3,500 indebtedness was submitted to the congregation.” Since only $2100 was raised and their remained a debt of $1400 the dedication of the church was deferred. The picture shown here is from that article.
1913 – The Great Fire of Hardinsburg
May 14, the great fire of Hardinsburg. Fourteen businesses and houses were destroyed. Among them was B.F. Beard Dry Goods, James Gardner Dry Goods, Kincheloe Drugs, Spellman’s Hardware, J.W. Guthrie, confectioner, J.P. Haswel General Merchandise. Several smaller shops were destroyed which carried little, if any, insurance. The total loss was estimated at $185,000. According to a newspaper article, “a notable fight saved the Farmers Bank and the new Methodist Church.” As you can see in the picture, the church is the only building still standing on that side of the street.
1933 – The Church Burns
February 5th. On a cold Sunday afternoon, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South burned. Firefighters from Hardinsburg and Cloverport worked for over four hours before containing the fire. Though the walls of the building were left intact, the interior was destroyed. The only part of the furnishings saved was the holy communion set. In the 1933 Quarterly Conference Records, Rev. E.P. Deacon remarked, “Since the loss of our church at Hardinsburg, we have secured the Court House and will hold our regular services and Sunday School there.” Damage totaled $10,000 though the church was only insured for $5000. Being the height of the depression, raising money was hard, but the church members moved forward in plans to rebuild during the spring and summer months, The restored interior was finished and dedicated on November 4, 1933. E.P. Deacon was the pastor.
1939 – Together Again
The Methodist Episcopal Church, South and the Methodist Episcopal Church (north) were reunited and became “The Methodist Church.” In Hardinsburg, the two congregations met and decided the logical choice for their place of worship was the newer, brick building that the Methodist Episcopal Church, South was already occupying. In September of 1939, Taylor’s Chapel membership gathered for their farewell service, complete with ‘dinner on the grounds.’ The chapel building was sold to a church known as Freedom.
1940 - WSG
The Women’s Society of Christian Service was formed. Eighty women signed the charter. Cooking, by these women, was used as a money making venture to help make sizeable contributions into the church building fund. Also around this time the “Wesleyan Service Guild” was formed and one of their projects was the marker at Miss Tula Clay Daniels grave. Both groups eventually evolved into the United Methodist Women… and they’re still cooking today.
1951 - Basement
A full basement was dug under the church, by church volunteers. The excavating was to create a recreational room and Sunday School rooms. Elmer Ashby was the pastor.
1957 – Sunday School Addition
The Sunday School Annex (addition to the church building) was built and included seven classrooms and two restrooms. Also at this time a new air conditioning and heating unit were installed.
1958 – Glen Dean
Established in the 1880s, Glen Dean was once a town of several hundred people. The Methodist and Baptist used to hold worship in the schoolhouse, then in 1903 John Dean deeded land to the Glen Dean Methodist Episcopal Church, South for the purpose of building a house of worship. But, after the railroad was removed, people began moving to bigger towns and the membership of the church waned. On July 6, 1958, the Glen Dean Methodist Church closed, the property was sold, and the membership moved to Hardinsburg Methodist. Owen Hoskinson was the pastor.
1968 – The United Methodist Church
The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church combined to become the United Methodist Church. Rev. Dudley Fish was the pastor.
Methodist Episcopal Church 1796-1939
Methodist Episcopal Church, South 1845-1939
Methodist Protestant Church 1828-1939
Methodist Church 1866-1877
Evangelical Association 1807-1922
United Evangelical Church 1894-1922
Church of the United Brethren in Christ 1800-1946
Methodist Church 1939-1968
Evangelical Church 1922-1946
Evangelical United Brethren Church 1946-1968
1978 – 150th Anniversary Celebration
1988 – New Parsonage
A house was purchased in Breckwood Subdivision to become the new parsonage and the old parsonage next door to the church was torn down. Fred Whitmore was pastor.
1996 – Memorial Hall
The land which used to be occupied by the Billy Davis Store, the old firehouse and the Nehi building, beside the church, was acquired and Memorial Hall was built and dedicated. There was a dedication ceremony and several former members and pastors attended. Wayne Sayre was the pastor.
The History of the Hardinsburg
United Methodist Church
By: Cindi Spencer