They came in horse drawn, canvas
covered wagons searching for religious freedom and good
land on which they could settle and cultivate.
They led farm animals and carried
Bibles along the great Philadelphia wagon road into
buffalo trails, along Indian paths through wilderness.
These churchmen rallied strong opposition to an
established church that colonial rulers never levied
taxes like those collected in other counties for the
Church of England
Their activist aggressive religion
led them to organize an underground railroad so sIaves
could escape to freedom. This also led into civil rights
and anti-war movements.
Methodist were active in the
frontier revival spirit across the Carolinas in 1700.
One of the first Methodist Bishops in America was
Francis Asbury. He was a frequent circuit riding
preacher who said he crossed the mountains more than
sixty times and almost drown when swept from his horse
by raging waters of the Catawba river at Hickory.
First Methodist Society was
organized in the state of North Carolina in 1774. The
First Circuit in Baltimore was established in 1776.
Methodist began in England in 1729 by John and Charles
By reading of the Bible he saw
inward and outward holiness and followed after it and
invited others to do so--a new Church to seek after a
new life. "The world is my parish," said John Wesley.
Some of the first Methodist
preachers in the state were Robert Strawbridge, Jesse
Lee, George Whitefield, Tomas Coke, Robert Williams and
Jesse Lee states there were
Methodlst in North Carolina in 1760. John Wesley fol]ows
coming up from Georgia. Methodist came to Guilford
Circuit in 1770 served by many traveling preachers
New Hope Circuit which extended
west of Greensboro was served in 1779 by James O'Kelly
and Phillip Adams. In 1783 Guilford Circuit was served
by Ira Ellis and John Oakley. In 1784 Tomas Coke and
Francis Asbury preached in Guilford County.
Methodist is man going forth with
good news about God--a man who reqires no altar upon
which to provide sacrament--who needs no sanctuary in
which to proclaim his message--who needs no vestement in
which to present his truth--who needs only persons who
feel their need of the Word from God and persons who
want to hear about God. He is ready to proclaim the Word
from tree stump, tavern, house, hall or church. He is an
evangelist telling the good news. He is a prophet
calling men to righteousness. He is a herald proclaiming
the message from the King.
Francis Asbury was in and out of
North Carolina for twenty-years. He was called the
morning star of North Carolina Methodist. In June, 1780,
he states after crossing Roanoke river, "I rode to
Sister Pegram's where about sixty people were present.
It was a muster day, but those were happy souls. As soon
as we began to sing, the Power of God came over us. I
spoke on I Peter 5:6-8 and then rode to Captain
Burrow's. The people in many places like little children
in understanding. I went to Widow Ellis found the Lord
was there. I slept in peace last night and rode with a
deep sense of God, met with Henry Jones, a serious young
man, and believes he is called to the work of ministry.
I advised him to go with me.
Saturday, July ], preached at
Widow Ellis on Hebrew 10:21-24. Here Edward Dromgoale
met me. February 5, rode to Guilford Quarterly then
twenty-five miles to Shorts and Mederias. On the visit,
I crossed Roanoke and next day was met by several
preachers at Sister Pegram's where the Lord was with us.
On Saturday 16, I had long ride to Roger Jones. A
hundred souls had been brought to God. Then met Philip
Sands on Guilford Circuit In April 1705, preached
funeral of Grandmother Gordon who was 87 or 88 in Wilkes
In 1799, Francis Asbury states he
was with Jesse Lee when they crossed Dan river at
Perkins Ferry and entered North Carolina "We came to
John Harris in Rockingham County--a pious soul from
Dorsset, Maryland. On Tuesday et Smith meeting house we
preached Hebrew 3:12-13 and dined at Martin's. We came
to Father Lowes where a large crowd attended; spoke on
Isaiah XL. The heat was very painful. On October 3, we
rode twelve miles to Convey's in Guilford County.
Friday, October 4, we rode twelve miles to Mrs.
Campbell's on the south fork of Haw River. We had to
work our way through woods and on Sunday we attended the
quarterly meeting at Bethel upon Belews Creek where I
ordained five deacons; preached on 1 Timothy 6:11-12. We
had a gracious time and rode only twelve miles in two
days. I lodged at McDaniel's and on Monday I rode
through Stokes County and attended the meeting at Loves
Church, which had glass windows and the yard was fenced
I look up 1 Timothy 6:ll-12--"But
thou, O man of God flee from these things, and follow
after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience,
meekness, fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on
eternal life where unto thou art also called, and hath
professed a good profession before many witness."
BIRTH OF BETHEL CHURCH
I went to record deed office and
found deed (Book 6, Page 219) by William Anthony made
January 23, 1797 to George McKinney, Durey Peoples,
William Jeans, John Dwiggins, James Knot, Andrew Ray,
Harvey Medderts, Edward Pegram, Frances Brooks, and
their successors in office forever in trust that they
shall erect and build or cause to be built a meeting
house for the use of the members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church in America according to the rules of
This is according to what Mrs.
Elizabeth and Mrs. Nancy Pegram told me years ago; that
our first Church was built of logs; that there were no
windows but just slab shutters and logs were cut in half
for slab pews. We lost records of our Church when it was
changed over to Associated Methodist.
The Methodist church originated in
protest against what its followers regarded as a lack of
democracy in American Methodist, which at the time did
not admit laymen to membership in annual or general
In May 1829 at Moriah the on
Guildford County circuit all members except two withdrew
from Methodist Episcopal Church and called themselves
Associated Methodist Church. Practically the whole
membership of the original body, including Flat Rock and
Bethel in Guildford, went into the new organization and
their property was taken over but the new groups erected
their own meeting houses.
In 1829 the Guildford Circuit
joined the Methodist Protestant Church Conference. On
July 19, 1831 a deed was made by Jesse Pegram to Sunday
School Trustees for a meeting House. It named John
Moore, William Archibald Blair, Archibald Bowman, Cabel
Jones, and Harvey Clark as trustees and their successors
in office forever. They shall build or cause to build a
house of worship for members of Associated Methodist
where the minister of the church may expound Godís Holy
Word and divine worship. This deed was signed by in the
presence of George Pegram and Travis Jones.