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Shottsville United Methodist Church History
HISTORY OF SHOTTSVILLE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Submitted by Jimmy Hughes
The first Shottsville Methodist Church was made from hewn logs. The roof was of cypress boards and wooden pegs were used for nails. It was located about two miles north of the present location and was called New Bethel. The building was about twenty four feet by twenty four feet with a door on each side. Church Services and school were held in the which was erected sometime around 1840. The Chickasaw Indians had not all been rounded up and sent to Indian Territory (Present day Oklahoma) and men stood guard with rifles outside the church building while services were being held inside.
In 1836 the Reids and Stones moved here from South Carolina and the church was established in 1837. John Stone may have been the first member. John Stone and his Sons-in-laws claimed the Indian land and settled here. Early residents were the Emersons, Robinsons, Shotts’, and Risingers (The Risingers moved to Texas in 1850 and none of them are buried in the Shottsville Cemetery). They came from Lawrence County and settled along Bull Mountain Creek. The preacher was a circuit rider who preached at different churches every day. John Arnold was a pastor during the Civil War who marked everyone off the church roll who had relatives go north during the Civil War. John Cowden was the preacher around 1892 and stayed in Hamilton. Samuel Reid was an early class leader.
The Shottsville Cemetery was started in 1840 with the grave of John Stone’s little daughter. His wife was buried here in 1846 and was the first adult burial in the cemetery. There are over 400 graves now in the cemetery. Around 1875, the church was moved to it’s present site beside the cemetery. The first church sat just west of the present building on land owned by Mack Shotts. It was a frame house and the people came to church in covered wagons brawn by oxen. Some came a long way for the Saturday Night Service and spent the night in their wagons to be there for Sunday Services. Later many traveled by horseback and the ladies has side saddles and riding skirts. There were places at the church to tie the horses and blocks from which to mount and dismount a horse.
In the late 1880’s, Bexar, New Bethel and Bethlehem were designated the Bexar Circuit and was supplied a pastor from the Methodist Conference. Smyrna, Which was on the Hamilton Charge, was added in 1908 and the charge became a four point circuit and remained a four point circuit until 1985 when Bethlehem became a full time station church and was supplied a full time pastor.
In 1908 a shingled two-story building which served as a school and Oddfellows Lodge. This building was destroyed by fire in 1927 and a new church was built when the Reverend T. A. Hancock was on the circuit. The church was lighted by kerosene lamps set on brackets along each side wall (3 on each side) and a gas chandelier which hung over the pulpit. The church was heated by a pot bellied stove which sat in the center of the church and the first ones to arrive on Sunday Morning started a fire in the stove. This building served as the church building until 1956 when the present building was erected.
The first piano was purchased, used, in 1937 according to the Kennedy Family who were the church musicians(Mrs Ila Kennedy and her daughters Mrs. Argo Emerson and Mrs. Argalis (Arby) Chandler) for several years.
Until the piano was purchased, the church used a pump organ which was sold when the piano was purchased. In 1965, the Shermans purchased a new Kimball Piano and donated it to the church in memory of Mrs. Sherman’s Father, Warren H. Carpenter.
The old piano was sold to Earnest and Ethylene Brown who still has the piano (2003).
The first parsonage was built by Rev. Levie near Gravel Springs School. This was a frame house with 6 rooms (living, Dining, Kitchen and 3 bedrooms) a front porch and a back porch. This parsonage was in bad repair and a new one was built in 1962 about a mile south of the old parsonage on land donated by Odell and Olivia Holley. This parsonage cost $8000.00 and was a fine one for it’s day, considering what most other people in the community had. This parsonage was a brick structure consisting of living room, dining room/kitchen combination, 3 bedrooms and a study, a small porch was placed on the front and a 2 car carport on the east end of the building. This parsonage is still in use and in good repair (2003).
Before the 1920’s, John Reid carried his eating table for two miles to church to be used as a communion table.
During the pastorate of Rev. D. W. Akins, the building that was erected in 1927 was torn down and construction on a new building was begun. The old Shottsville School House, which had been closed since 1948 and had been returned to the Shotts Family was donated to the church by Cleveland and Madge Shotts to be torn down and used in the construction of the new church. This building had 3 very large rooms. The wing which had two rooms was torn down for the construction of the new church and the east wing which consisted of one room was left standing and the church met in this room until the new church was completed. Jim Clayton was hired as carpenter and the remainder of the labor was provided by members of the church and community. The only real material cost was for the basement. Hertis Cayson constructed the basement laying the cement blocks and pouring the cement floor. The congregation decided the new church needed new pews and Arnt Kemp was hired to construct the new pews on site. These pews were used until 1985 when during the pastorate of Rev J. R. Aycock, the church decided to by new pews. These pews were completely funded by memorial gifts (Families buying a pew in memory of their loved ones). These pews and 10 choir chairs cost approximately $8,500.00. This building has a 30’X50’ Sanctuary with a steeple and bell, a full basement with fellowship hall and three Sunday School Rooms.
The building was dedicated on August 19, 1956 by Bishop Claire Purcell. Until the dedication of this building, the church was officially known in the North Alabama Conference as “New Bethel”. At the dedication ceremony, the name was officially changed to Shottsville Methodist Church.
In 1974, an addition was made to the back of the church which contained a kitchen and restrooms. This addition was constructed by Rev. O. D. Eddleman with help from members of the church John Taylor, H. T. Shotts, Harley Belcher and others as they had time away from their jobs.
A deed dated June 21, 1909 executed by Mack and Lucendia Shotts conveyed one-half acre of land to the Methodist Episcopal Church South for a church building. The church stood on this land until 1927 when Tilman L. and Eliza Jane Shotts donated one acre of land for the church building. The present building stands on this land.
The oldest living member of Shottsville United Methodist Church is Mrs. Etta Maddox who is 105 years of age at this writing (1997). Mrs. Etta Maddox (Born April 6, 1892) passed away in May 2001 at the age of 109 and is buried in the Shottsville Cemetery.
The church membership and especially the Ladies Prayer Circle, decided a new sanctuary was needed. The old church had some flaws which were showing up more and more. The basement had a good bit of water in it each time it rained, the walls in the basement had begun to crack and shift and this can be seen by the cracks in the brick on the outside.
In the late 1990’s a fund was established for a new sanctuary and the Ladies Prayer Circle began to have fund raisers. By early 2002. the fund had grown to $30,000.00. Reverend Curtis Sutton, pastor of Happy Hill Church of God, was asked to give an estimate of the cost of a new Sanctuary. At a meeting in late 2001, Rev. Sutton estimated that he could build a new building 30’ wide by 80’ long for $100,000.00 or less. A charge Conference involving only Shottsville Church was held on February 21, 2002 with Rev. Bill Prickett, the Jasper District Superintendent, presiding to authorize the building of the new sanctuary. The foundation of the new sanctuary was built the week before the 3rd Sunday in May 2002. The actual building on the foundation began on August 26, 2002. As was authorized by the Charge Conference, The Trustees borrowed $70,000.00 from First National Bank of Hamilton, Alabama for the construction. Several changes were made in the original design. The original design had no windows in the side walls of the sanctuary. This was changed to have five stained glass windows on each side of the sanctuary with these windows being placed in an arched configuration. These windows were completely funded by memorial donations being made in memory of loved ones.
A steeple was added which was not in the original design. This steeple was purchased from Fiberglass Unlimited in Roanoak, Alabama for $5,200.00 which included all set up costs. The foyer was changed to an “L” shape connecting to the hallway to the old sanctuary. A Baptistry was added and was purchased from Aqua Glass out from Russellville, Alabama for $1,685.00 including pump and heater.
After several delays due to the windows not being ready, the stained glass windows arrived and was installed on January 8, 2003. After the windows were in, finish work proceeded well and the restroom fixtures were installed, floor covering was installed and the furniture was moved from the old sanctuary to the new sanctuary. The first service was held in the new sanctuary on February 16, 2003 ( The 3rd Sunday in February).
The first singing was held on March 29, 2003 and consisted of “The Pharrs” and “Rocky Ewing and Chosen Few” in concert. We had a good crowd for this singing.
The new Sanctuary has a foyer with restrooms and a pastors study opening off the foyer and the foyer connecting to the old sanctuary by a hallway. The new sanctuary is 30’X60’ and has two rooms up front on either side of the choir loft and a baptistery under the large stained glass window behind the choir loft.
Sage Green Carpet was chosen for the floor covering in the Sanctuary and matching green tile for the foyer. The old pews were re-covered in green material to match the floor covering. The cost of re-covering the pews, including fabric, was $2,588.00.
The pews were set at a slight angle in the new sanctuary so everyone could be facing the pulpit directly. The piano was placed so the sound board faces out into the church instead on against a wall and it sounds much better.
The Church was Consecrated/Dedicated to the service of God on Sunday, April 6, 2003.
The Jasper District Superintendent, Rev. Audie Hodges, officiated at the dedication. There was a large crowd in attendance. Many relatives of people who once attended the church and are now gone on to be with the lord came to the dedication.
Many items have been donated to the church in memory of loved ones during this building program. Flags (United States & Christian) and Flower Stands have been donated by the children of Velma Shotts & Sanders Williams and the Children and Grand Children of Woodie and Maude Shotts. A foyer table, lamps and mirror was donated by the children of Neely and Flarce Shotts. A table and angel candlesticks for the sanctuary were donated by Larry and Beth Jefferys. A water cooler was donated by Osevil Holland. Side Sconces for the sanctuary were donated by Ruble & La,Vale Mills, Michelle Mills and Matt, Dawn & Anna Wilemon. The large Chandelier was donated by the Children of Roberta Goggans, Jane, Sheri, Edsel & Maurice. Bibles for the pews were donated by Estelle Kennedy and the Piano Lamp was donated by Anna Wilemon.
In addition to the above gifts, all the stained glass windows were donated by:
Hobert Shotts, Don Shotts, Mike Shotts & families, Ronnie & Kathy posey & Family, Jerry & Renae Rea & family, James & Virginia Lindsey, Hilda Wiginton & Family, Eva Belcher, Eugene Belcher, Larry Belcher & families, Jimmy & Shirley Hughes, Estelle Kennedy, Ruble, LaVale & Michelle Mills, Matt, Dawn & Anna Wilemon, Fred Clanton Family. Betty & Charlie Harbor & Family. Imogene Shotts.
From the time of the Authorization to build the church (February 2002) until the dedication of the church (April 2003), the building fund had doubled to $60,000.00.
The lord has wonderfully blessed us.
The old building, including additions, is still being used. The fellowship hall has been moved upstairs to the old sanctuary and as time and money permits, the kitchen will be moved also. The building will, also, be used as a recreation building. Tables and chairs can be folded and moved aside in the fellowship hall to accommodate recreation and the basement can be used for recreation, Sunday School and other things.
The first Funeral held in the new sanctuary was for Ardecie Cason. The funeral took place on August 17, 2003, the third Sunday in August at 2 PM with the church pastor, Rev. Paul Plumb, officiating. The church choir sang “If I could hear my mother pray again”, “Precious Memories”,” In the Garden” and “How Great Thou Art”.
The first revival in the new sanctuary began the third Sunday in August 2003 (August 17, 2003) with Rev. Ricky Smith being the evangalist. The revival started with a fellowship meal in the fellowship hall at 5:30 PM followed by Revival Services at 7 PM each evening through Wednesday, August 20, 2003. The first Baptism in the New Sanctuary and in the New Baptistry occurred on Sunday Evening, September 21, 2003 when Donald McKinney was baptized into the church membership and Prince Gann and his daughter, Kay Gann from the Bexar Church were Baptised.
PASTORS WHO HAVE SERVED SHOTTSVILLE CHURCH
NAME DATE APPOINTED DATE REMOVED
Ulysis Thompson 1863 1865
G. F. Gurley 1865 1867
Turner 1867 1868
Shelton 1868 1869
J. B. Bulk 1869 1871
D. W. Ward 1871 1872
U. M. Williams 1872 1873
G. B. Wilson 1873 1875
C. M. Livingston 1875 1877
E. F. K. Roberts 1877 1880
J. F. Miller 1880 1881
W. A. Randell 1881 1882
R. A. Spears 1882 1885
G. M. Duncan 1885 1887
C. M. Reece 1887 1888
John D. Arnold 1888 1889
C. M. Rice 1889 1890
E. M. Emmison 1890 1891
P. P. Riley 1891 1892
W. A. Montgomery 1892 1893
J. W. Cowden 1893 1894
W. L. Hendricks 1894 1895
W. A. Blevens 1895 1896
S. B. Smith 1896 1897
L. J. Bagwell 1897 1898
H. B. Ralls 1898 1899
J. H. Jennings 1899 1900
C. M. Rice 1900 1903
J. R. Fullerton 1903 1905
E. D. Thommason 1905 1907
J. N. Davidson 1907 1909
S. L. Prickett 1909 1911
G. G. Grimes 1911 1913
W. A. Tiffin 1913 1916
Josh A. Gann, Jr. 1916 1917
Thomas Barkley 1917 1918
Bennie F. Tingle 1918 1919
W. W. Levie 1919 1922
C. G. Martin 1922 1923
R. E. Meigs 1923 1923
T. N. Chandler 1923 1924
W. W. Aldridge 1924 1925
PASTORS WHO HAVE SERVED SHOTTSVILLE CHURCH
NAME DATE APPOINTED DATE REMOVED
T. A. Hancock 1925 1928
L. G. Alverson 1928 1930
F. F. Lister 1930 1932
A. D. Wilson 1932 1934
Ben H. Seay 1934 1936
J. E. Harris 1936 1937
J. T. Lane 1937 1938
James Elliott 1938 1939
L. E. Beasley 1939 1940
A. M. Jones 1940 1943
J. P. McDurmont 1943 1943
A. W. Gregg 1943 1946
W. J. Pennigar 1946 1948
J. H. Brown 1948 1950
J. L. B. McGill 1950 1952
L. B. Warren 1952 1954
D. W. Akins 1954 1956
A. L. Vance 1956 1957
M. L. Pitts 1957 1958
E. O. Hinkle 1958 1960
R. L. Lott 1960 1962
O. M. Jones, Jr. 1962 1963
H. J. Hardy 1963 1966
H. J. Abney 1966 1968 Died on Charge
J. O. Weathers 1968 1969
W. R. Simpson 1969 1970
O. D. Eddleman 1970 1975
George Doss 1975 1976
Glen Mayfield 1976 1977
Carl R. Long 1977 1979
B. H. King 1979 1982
J. R. Aycock 1982 1987
Charles Richey 1987 1990
Malcolm Barrett 1990 1991
Wayne Blankenship 1991 1994
James N. Baccus 1994 1997
Ricky Smith 1997 2000
Brian Bradley 2000 2001 left ministry
Paul Plumb 2001
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