BLACKWATER UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Salt springs in the Blackwater area (salt deposits usually meant good hunting) attracted settlers from early history. William Christy and John G. Heath were making salt in 1808, making this township one of the first settled in Cooper County. In 1829 William Becknell, who is known as the founder of the Santa Fe Trail, located near a salt works and was engaged in making salt. The population grew.
By 1832, Rev. Buie had established the Salt Fork Cumberland Presbyterian Church; it moved near Blackwater in 1942. The Baptists located at Heath Creek in 1841 (the Heath Creek Baptist Church still exists).
The Methodists organized in 1840 and used the Salt Fork Church (then under the charge of William B. Wear, from the seminary at New Lebanon). Several other Methodist groups were active in the Lamine area.
As the town of Blackwater developed after the Civil war interruptions, the Methodists who had been having home meetings decided to organize formally. J.B. Harris was assigned to the group in 1889.
Messrs. Scott and Cooney donated a lot. James Marshall donated a bell.
The pastor and congregation of the new Christian Church offered use of their building until the new Methodist Church was completed in November of 1890. At the close of the first year sixteen persons were received. The first three charter members recorded were Nannie Gillespie, Willie Kella and Lula (Irving) Rucker.
A womans society with 10 members, and weekly prayer meetings began within the first year.
A parsonage was purchased in 1920 near the church. In 1925 the church was remodeled with a basement added the following year. After a new roof was put on in July 1934, an August storm brought disaster. Lightning struck and the church burned to the ground. Even the faithful bell was cracked and could not be used again.
The catastrophe did not discourage the members or the pastor, O.E. Patton. His talent as a plasterer helped the members through many days of rebuilding. Services were held at the Baptist Church until the Methodist Church was completed.
During the years the Blackwater Methodist Church was on several circuits; the first with Jones Chapel, which burned, later with Ridge Prairie, which disbanded. For a number of years Blackwater and Arrow Rock combined ministries, and later with Nelson. In 1963 the two united with Smith Chapel to form Salt Fork Parish.
In 1993 Smith Chapel and Blackwater were being served by Gary Dewitt. Sunday services are at 9:30 with Sunday school at 10:30.
The "Ladies Aid" is now called the "United Methodist Women" with meetings the third Thursday of the month.
*Rev. Josiah Godbey was a well-known Methodist missionary from Kentucky. He was active in the Salt Fork area after the Civil War. He and his wife, Sena Kelly had ten children, six of whom became Methodist ministers or teachers at Central College (in Fayette).
Return to Blackwater United Methodist Church Home Page
Home Page |
Coming Events |