A History Of Concord Methodist
Tulls, Hendricks, Mountjoys Lockwoods, Hitcnes, Harts,
By Mildred Bowen Belew
To the glory of God and the advancement of Christian faith was one of the key phrases and aims of the early charters of our country. A step toward carrying this aim out was begun around the beginning of the year 1800, when a Methodist Society was organized at Concord, Pendleton County, Kentucky. The families making up this society were the Tulls, Hendricks, Mountjoys, Lockwoods, Hitcnes, Harts, and Steeles. At the time this society was organized there was no church building in existence and meetings were held in the homes of members or in the local school building, when it was available. There were no roads and those who attended meetings made the trip on foot or horseback.
Shown above are 13 members of the I. T. S. S. Class of the Concord Methodist Church, Concord, Pendleton County, Kentucky. This photo was taken on September 22, 1917, by Miss Laura Fields. Cova Lee Rusk Freeman's (who shares this photo) mother, Mabel Maude Steele Rusk and her aunt, Bessie Lee Steele, were members of the class. They are the daughters of George Wesley Steele ad Ada Lee Hart of Concord. Standing, l-r: Mrs. Mae Hitch, Miss Ruth Houchen, Deloris Redmon, Hester Kidder, Mabel Steele, Georgia Hitch, Bessie Steele, and Helen Hart. Kneeling, l-r: Ruby Fields, Christine Houstin, Ruth Fields, Fannie Pribble, Annette Pettit, and Helen Fields.
Some of the earliest ministers were the Reverends Clinging, Leach, and Todd.
There are no records to indicate whether or not this organization was a part of the Cynthiana circuit which existed early at that time and extended to Newport, Campbell, Kentucky.
In the year 1844 after a number of years of worshipping in their homes and the school building, a plot of land was set aside by Thomas Rush for construction of a church building and also provision for a cemetery. After the death of Mr. Rush in 1850 the heirs of his estate, Daniel Rush, Peter Rush, and Mary Ruth Hendricks proceeded according to the wishes of the late Mr. Rush. On August 24, 1867, the property was deeded to the trustees, who were: Samuel Nolan, H. B. Bonar, and Perry Rush. Following his death in 1850 the body of Thomas Rush was the first to be interred in the new cemetery.
The construction of the new church building was headed by Henry Waggermann, who was the contractor. Mr. Waggermann did the carpentery work taking everything in the rough and transforming it into workable material and ultimately into a beautiful frame building. He did the completed job for the amount of $100. Those who assisted Mr. Waggermann were William Ellis, Phillip Hendricks and sons, Bailey Harrod, Nicholas Young, William Sherwin, John Wilson, William Cookendorfer, John L. Wellman, and Alfred D. Moore. Jeremiah Trinkle sawed all of the lumber free.
There are no records stating that the church was a part of the Falmouth circuit at the time it was built. It is known that later it was a part of that circuit.
Two of the ministers that are recorded to have engaged in an active ministry of the early church prior to the time of accurate records were Rev. Kavanaugh and Rev. Whitaker. Rev. E. B. Harmun, a local Methodist Episcopal minister, held services for a number of years with very little remuneration. Inadequate records do not provide information as to the length of time served by these early ministers.
The date of the dedication of the first church building and the pastor serving at that time is unknown. The first written accounts of pastors and their length of ministry begins in 1869.
During the ministry of T. F. Taliaferro in 1885 and after 40 years of worshiping in this place the decision was made to construct a new building on the same site. The late George L. Myers and Lee Hasrcuin were the contractors and carpenters who built this new building. This church was a frame building similar to the first church, with the pulpit situated in the back, with two aisles and two front doors. This building was painted white. It was destroyed by fire in 1904, along with all of its furnishings and church record books, leaving the people of the Concord area without a place to worship.
The officials soon called a meeting to decide on plans for the construction of a new church building. Since the Presbyterian people in the area had been holding services in the old church for a number of years also, the members and officials decided to build a union church. (The building was a union church in that the two groups held their own individual services at different times, usually one group using the building on alternate Sundays). A tract of land was purchased from the late John Kidwell, across the road from the old church site. This church was purchased by both denominations and became known as the Concord Methodist and Presbyterian Union Church. The officials at that time were Methodist, and Rev. E. L. Griffy was pastor with Hayden Ellis and John R. Houchen serving as trustees. The Presbyterian group had as their pastor Rev. T. C. Kerr, with N. J. Fields and Daniel Rush as elders. Daniel Rush also served as superintendent of the Presbyterian Sunday School.
After all of the plans were made for the construction of the building, Mr. Edward Houston was employed as the head contractor. Much of the lumber was donated by N. J. Fields and was sawed by Charlie Morris of Pleasant Hill. Other members donated work of various kinds. The church was completed in the fall of 1905.
The dedication was held on June 3, 1906, in an all-day service. The presiding elder at that time was the Rev. J. H. Simms who also preached the dedicatory sermon. The united use of the church by the Presbyterian and Methodist was carried on until 1925, when the Presbyterian body discontinued worship services at Concord and disbanded.
During the time of rebuilding the church services were held in the Concord School. In the year which the church was completed Concord was changed from the Falmouth Circuit to the California Circuit and remained there until 1919, when it was placed on the Butler Circuit where it remains today. This third church building was a frame building, 38 feet by 44 feet, having a side entrance and vestibule and alcove in back where the pulpit was situated. After worshipping in this church building for 48 years it was the decision of the members to construct a basement and make various improvements. This program was carried out under the leadership of J. B. Harmon as pastor and Rev. Dr. R. R. Patton as district superintendent, both of whom gave much time and study to the plan. The basement was completed in 1955 and consisted of three Sunday School rooms, two bathrooms, a furnace room, kitchen, and auditorium; with one outside entrance and one inside entrance leading up into the vestry.
Concord Church has contributed many Christian people to the country, and in the field of Christian service the church has yielded from its ranks five ordained ministers: Rev. B. H. Fields, Rev. E. K. Kidwell, Rev. Arthur Carl Ashcraft, Rev. Ralph Fields, and Rev. Robert Taylor.
Cova Lee Freeman, 3943 Creek Road, Cincinnati, OH 45241; [email protected], shares this article with our readers.