May 26 2015

United Methodist Church

To friends and members of the Cloverport United Methodist Church;

We are indebted to a number of people and several sources for the brief history we have of our church. Chief of these sources is Mr. Edward Gregory’s (1863-1939) writings of local history published in the Breckinridge News in 1922 and preserved by his daughter Mrs. Frank Smith. Other material furnished by Mrs. Harold Askins, Bill Thompson, Marcus Whitler, Mary McKnough, Mrs. Lonnie Basham, Elmer Higgenbotham. Assistance given by Virginia Hinton, Archivist, Breckinridge County. Reprints from Breckinridge News and Herald News. Property deeds from the Breckinridge County Court House.

Some of the history we know of United Brethren Church is found on sheet loaned by Mrs. Harold Askins and page 7 of newspaper reprints.

Presbyterians history is found on pages 1 and 5 of newspaper reprints and in old Breckinridge County deeds.

– #1 signed on 25 December 1860
– #2 signed on 26 September 1889

It is interesting to note that the three daughters of Eliza Huston Murray, the second wife of Col. David R. Murray, gave land (Lot #16) Third Cross road and Wall Street (NE Corner of Main at present day [1990] caution light at 300 block) to establish a church of worship for the Presbyterian Church. This gift was given in 1860 with the stipulation that it could be exchanged for other property of equal or greater value should the trustees deem it advisable. This was done (that is the exchange) for property located on North side of East Main, at First Cross Road. Now 127 East Main – they first had worshiped in Col. Murray’s Store House the deed signed on 26 day of September 1889 by David R. Murray, Charles May, Hiram Wiley and Thomas Satterfield. There have been two buildings on same lot in as much as first one built after move from Murray warehouse, burned in 1901 town fire.

The first church built in Cloverport was log cabin that met the needs for a school building and was used by both the Methodist and Baptist folk for their own particular persuasion. The Baptist organized in 1829 and built their first church building after using the meeting house for some 9 or 10 years the Methodist folk organized their people in 1840, purchased a lot on the south side of East Huston Street between 2nd and 3rd Cross Roads present day address of this building lot is at 318 East Huston Street. Bessie and Charles Pate are owners of the church building at present time (1990) and make their home there. Later a new church was built on Elm Street on lot 383, purchased in 1871 from Elvira, (the first wife of John D. Babbage) Breckinridge News owner and publisher and Mr. Babbage. This building burned in town fire of 1901 and a second one was built on same lot and foundation. This second church burned in 1943.

The congregation used the second floor of the Simon’s Building (Higgenbotham’s Store) for two years until the old drug store and bank building on NE corner of Main and Elm could be renovated and dedicated on August of 1945. This church was dedicated with considerable pomp and ceremony and was renamed the Grant Memorial Church to honor Rev. W. A. Grant, the minister.

Later the congregation purchased three separate lots (#218, #219 and lot #305) in the Haddock Addition off of Elm Street at the south end of Cloverport and decided in a composite tract of land containing 4204 acres of land on the 29th day of December 1972 for the sum of $13,500. The trustees of the United Methodist Church, at the time, were Harold Askins, Leander Bruner, Forest Robertson, Baldwin Basham and the late Dr. Earl S. Buchele.

This is the home of the United Methodist Church at the present time. The members of the Lucille Memorial Presbyterian Church, the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Grant Memorial Methodist Church united on June 17, 1971 to become the United Methodist Church.

It is the desire of those working on the history of the church to explore and search further and at greater length as many sources can be found.

Uncompleted work is being done in order to confirm or deny the tradition that the log meeting house was moved to the corner of Wall and Cherry Streets. The frame house that stood for many years and was known for years as the Henry Solbrag (spelling?) house later as the home of Lawrence Early’s family was torn down in 1914. A log house was found in the inside walls of one of the rooms. There are those living who had been told of the existence of a log house and when the outside walls were removed it was confirmed. The last searching of deeds was done on Monday, September 10, 1990. It is believed that the lot #37 was a parcel inherited by Margaret Scott, daughter of Liza Huston Murray (Mrs. David R. Murray) from her mother’s estate. The house was town down by Edward Pate, Cloverport and one of the logs forms the mantle of fireplace of his son’s, Charles Pate, new home.

In order to locate the site of the old meeting house one should walk along the west property line south of Mrs. Clarence (Erma) Beavin’s property at 516 Murray Avenue (Highway #60) approximately 139 feet then crossing a not too well established 25 foot street running East and West then some 150 feet or more South. A depression in earth will establish the center of the old Scott Cemetery. This was the first burial place of early Joesville. It predates the old Murray Graveyard on East Main and Cherry Streets north side, in as much as Murray Graveyard was first used in 1831. The Scott Cemetery occupied lot #1 of Section C of the land now shown as Vesta Court the old meeting house first used by Baptist and Methodist folk and as a school room was on property line of lots #2 and #3. In a statement made in June 1990 at Breckinridge County Court House, Mr. Frankie Roberts told how when these lots of section C of Vesta Court were bulldozed that human bones surfaced.

Mr. Earl Beavin of 518 Murray Avenue remarked that he remembers the old chimney that belonged to old meeting house standing although it has now fallen. In searching further the history of early meeting house those interested hope to rediscover the old spring that furnished water for the school and meeting house. The spring and standing chimney are spoken of by Mr. Edward Gregory’s writings; he tells that after the Methodist built their first church in 1840, the meeting house was used by the black people and the Rev. Bill Orum would preach for them.

On page #4, Mr. Gregory writes was later used to store grain and later when Rev. Cottrell came to take charge of the church on Elm Street built 1871 that the old church on East Huston Street was remodeled to serve as parsonage of Methodist Church.

In 1907, lot #8 was purchased and a new parsonage for Methodist parsonage which now serves the ministers of the United Methodist Church. Mr. H. A. Olze, John D. Babbage, John T. Patterson, J. C. Rolte (spelling?) and A. R. Fisher were the trustees at the time.

Much more research must be done on the histories of the three churches united to form the United Methodist Church. The work is on going. However, one will never know the true and complete history of any of the separate churches or the one united church in as much as the history and ongoing service has been and is carried on daily by dedicated folk while not serving in secrecy, yet, little or nothing is learned of their services. We do know we are blessed to be a part of such an endeavor.

Additional Comments:
Copyright (c) 2006 by Robert Haviland.

[Speech written by Grace Plank Behen Bandy, member of the Cloverport United Methodist Church, was donated to the Breckinridge County Archives on October 31, 2006.]
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