Bethel United Methodist Church

It is generally accepted fact that Bethel Church is one of the oldest, if not the oldest Methodist organization in Trigg County, having been established several years before Trigg County was formed in 1820 from portions of Christian, Caldwell and Lyon counties. In an old history of this region, mention is made of an early Methodist class which was organized by Rev. John Butcher, in the Young settlement on Bird's Creek. A log house of worship was built and used for many years, after which a larger fram building was erected near the same site. This is said to be the parent of the Cadiz Methodist Church which was organized several years later.

Although the name Bethel is not used in connection with this early class, the description of the location and the families connected with this movement, such as the Youngs, Rev. Thomas Humphries, the Willises, the Howardsand others who are known to have been original settlers of this locality, is prrof that it was the beginning of Bethel Church. The exact date, also, is not definitely stated in any of the material available, however, an altercation with a band of Indians is referred to in an early history of the County has happening near the old Bethel meeting house about the year 1813.

As early as 1811 this area of Kentucky was included in the Christian Circuit of the Nashville district of the Western conference with Peter Cartwright as presiding elder and Jacob Turner preacher-in-charge. From 1813 through 1821 it was in the Green River district of the Tennesse conference and 1822 it was changed to the Kentucky conference which was later divided. The western portion, including Trigg County, then became a part of the Louisville conference.

Unsuccessful efforts have been made to obtain authentic records of Bethel's establishment and early activities but the extensive research necessary to trace them through the vast sparsely populated, undeveloped western teritory of the early 1800's has not been accomplished-- at least locally.

Late in the 18th century a large complete church register containing spaces for all necessary data for an extensive church record for many years was presented to Bethel Church by two of her most prominent members, Nancy abd I. B. Wilford, one of the outstanding philanthropic couples in the history of Trigg County. This book was well kept and contained sufficient information for a complete record of church activities until during World War II when the pastor, Rev. Thomas Hinchee, volunteered to serve our country as a Chaplain in the army, leaving the parsonage of the Cadiz Circuit vacant for several months. Unfortunately, this Bethel register was at the parsonage at that time and mysteriously disappeared. A short time later Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Freeman presented a new register to the Church. This register contains all authentic statistics to this date.

On August 18, 1836 the deed for Bethel Church ground was signed by Benjamin W. Carloss. For several years around the turn of the century Bethel and the Cadiz Methodist Church was served by the same pastors. These included J. D. Fraser (1896-1899) Will Hayes (1900 - -- ), J. R. Mc Afee (1901- 1903) F.A. Mitchell (1904-1905) R.B. Rider (1906 - ). At this time Siloam, Dyer's Chapel, Oakland and Bethel were combined to form the Cadiz Circuit. A few years later Linton and Tobaccoport were added to this circuit. In 1966 Dyer's Chapel and Siloam withdrew to form a separate 2-point charge, leaving Tobaccoport, Linton, Oakland and Bethel on the South Cadiz Circuit at the present time.\

About 1888 a still larger fram structure was erected a short distance from the old church and beside the Bethel cemetery. This building serves as the house of worship for this community each Lord's day and is used for other spiritual activities.

In 1968, under the leadership of the pastor Rev. Ralph Helm, the Church was remodeled -- adding a full basement for Sunday School rooms, new pews, lectern, pulpit chairs, communion table and carpeting for the sanctuary and stain-glass windows and brick veneer on the outside of the building. The bricks were donated by Rev. C. B. Thomas, a former member.

Some of the family names who attended this church in its early days were, Thomas, Alexander, Broadbent, Freeman, Grigsby, patterson, Mitchell, Sadler, Lawrence and Mize. Today many of the present members are descendents of this group.

* - Trigg County History Book - History of Trigg County Churches Page 84

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