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Shottsville United Methodist Church History


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.  


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




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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