Wesley Chapel 1878-1920
Wesley Chapel from lantern slide
Wesley Chapel was built of honeycomb stone quarried on the farm then owned by Michael Walsh and now owned by Lester Houck. It was built in regular oblong form approximately thirty by forty feet and had two front entrance doors. It sat in front of the present Wesley Church and faced east, towards the present parsonage. The front wall of the present Wesley Church and the side (North) wall of Wesley Chapel share approximately the same location.
From the Quarterly Conference Minutes of Hampstead Circuit 1872-1886:
April 21, 1877 Conference held at Union Chapel (Grace) - Melchor F. Allgire, John Payne, Zachariah Ebaugh, George W. Keller, and George Stull were appointed as a building committee to solicit aid to build a new church.
Because the ground for Brown's Meeting House had been deeded to the four branches (Episcopalians, Methodist, Presbyterians, and Regular Baptists) it was deemed best to secure the location adjoining, owned by George Stull and his wife, for the new church building.
This Deed dated May 28, 1878 for one and one-eighth acre of land made by George Stull and Marietta Stull, his wife of Carroll County, Md. to Zachariah Ebaugh, Melchor F. Allgire, John Payne, George W. Keller, and George Weaver, Trustees, to be used as a place of Divine Worship of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
This deed is in our possession and is on file at Carroll County Land Deeds Liber FTS 50 folio 270.
The new building was begun sometime in 1878. Rev. William E. Bird of Pleasant Grove Charge officiated at the laying of the cornerstone on Monday, June 10, 1878 because Rev. Daniel Haskell was unable to be there.
The mason work was under the superintendence of John Harris, and was put up at the expense of M. F. Allgire at a net cost of $173.87. The carpenter work was under the supervision of William J. Houck, assisted by Jeremiah Ebaugh and son Webster. Cost of carpenter work $175.78, Houck receiving $86.60 and the Ebaughs $89.18. John Payne, George Stull, Zachariah Ebaugh, and George W. Keller contributing liberally, the building was completed at a cost of about $1400.00. It was dedicated on Wednesday, January 1, 1879 by the Presiding Elder, William T. Edwards, with a debt of about $300.00 which was gradually reduced until it was entirely paid. At the Quarterly Conference held on the Campmeeting Ground September 2, 1880, the building committee was enabled to report the entire debt liquidated, and on motion of Rev. D. Benton Winstead, the committee was honorably discharged. (Shindle, 1965)
After the new Church opened for public worship, many things had to be obtained to furnish it, such as stoves, carpeting, sofa, chairs, lamps, boards for the coal house, and numerous other articles. To obtain the necessary funds It was deemed advisable to hold a festival in the adjoining Grove. This took place July 29, 1879. This festival was a success and produced a net income of $85.00, $10.00 was applied to discharging the debt on the Church and the remaining $75.00 were expended in furnishings.
The pulpit and communion table were made by William J. Houck. The pulpit was of white pine and the communion table was walnut and both had marble tops. A large sofa was placed back of the pulpit. Across the front was a lovely ingrain carpet, mostly red but having enough black to show the flowers. The chancel rail was in the shape of a horseshoe and the railing and banisters were made of black walnut. In front of the pulpit stood the communion table with cane-seated chairs (from Brown's Meeting House) on each side. The aisles were covered with cocoa rugs. The pews were second hand, coming from the Old Williams Street Independent Methodist Church in Baltimore. The church was heated by two large coal stoves. There was an oil chandelier in the center which bore six lamps. There were twelve lamps with reflectors, four in front and four on each side wall. These lamps used coal oil, later acetylene gas was used in the church which did not prove to be very satisfactory. (Shindle, 1965)
The earliest Trustees' Minutes tell us that the church had a paid sexton in 1886 and that he received $14.00 per year. The names of the sextons indicate that they always lived nearby and were of all ages, including mature men, young teenage men, and sometimes a widower and his children. In 1886 the total yearly income of the church was $25.26 and the expenses were $24.79 for coal oil, insurance, coal, and the sexton's salary.
About 1895 Wesley Chapel was remodeled. James Bentz of Grace, William Cooper of Trenton, and Noland Belt of Arcadia were the carpenters.
A new steeple was built on the church, much larger than the first. A new wainscoted hopper-shaped ceiling was put up and paneled and trimmed so that it was very beautiful. A new chandelier with several hundred prisms and corrugated reflectors was installed. Thirty-five modern pews were purchased from Globe Furniture Company of Michigan for $300. A ladder was boxed in at the rear of the church to get up in the attic and belfry. A brick pavement was arranged across the front of the church. (Shindle, 1965)
Wesley Chapel had a fine bell for which Miss Elizabeth Armacost had collected the funds. During the remodeling a larger bell was purchased and the old bell was given to Wesley School. The new bell presented quite a problem in the mounting, but Silas Martin devised a plan whereby it was put in place. Much of the old lumber torn out of Wesley Chapel for the remodeling was kept for the purpose of building a storage shed for the old church benches on a site in the present cemetery, behind Wesley Chapel. This shed became known as the "Bench House."
Wesley Chapel was destroyed by fire on the night of September 3, 1920. In preparation for the annual picnic to be held the next day, the men had raked the previously mowed grass from the church yard and cemetery and burned it. Apparently the fire was not completely out when they left, and the wind increased, then blew the sparks onto the wood shingle roof. The roof was scheduled to be replaced with a tin one the following week. The men were able to save some of the furnishings before the heavy bell came crashing down, taking everything with it. There was an air of sadness at the picnic. Many people did not know the church had burned until they arrived for the picnic, which was held just the same.
The cornerstone of Wesley Chapel was later placed in the fuel room of the new Wesley Church. Restrooms are now installed in this area, and the cornerstone can no longer be seen. A few memorabilia from this cornerstone were, however, placed in the cornerstone of the new Wesley Church. The bell was cracked in the fire, then sold for junk.
The first Articles of Incorporation of Wesley Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church of Hampstead Circuit, Carroll County, State of Maryland were dated August 27, 1889. The Trustees named were: Melchour F. Allgire, William H.S. Allgire, John Wesley Davidson, H. H. Spahr, and George W. Rill. This document was witnessed by John W. Abbott and Andrew J. Houck. The second and present Articles dated July 16, 1974, change the church name to: Wesley United Methodist Church of Carroll County, Maryland. Both Articles are in our possession.
The following furnishings of Wesley Chapel are being used in Wesley Church: The marble top communion table now used for bulletins in the rear of the sanctuary, a marble top pulpit in the classroom in the undercroft of the church, and twelve oak high-back chairs also used downstairs. Two oak pews, refinished by John W. Rill, are at the south entrance of the educational building. All furniture is marked with brass plates for identification. The communion urn from the silver communion set used after 1875 and communion filler are also on display, as well as the Pulpit Bible (The Parallel Bible) printed in 1890.
©1986 Porterfield's Photography
Pew from Wesley Chapel
©1986 Porterfield's Photography
Furnishings from Wesley Chapel
Wesley Chapel after the fire September 3, 1920. Shaner tombstone in foreground; Bench House at rear of Chapel.
View from cemetery to rear of Wesley Chapel, photo circa 1900.
Eating Watermelon at Wesley Celebration or Picnic.
Wesley School, also known as Brown's School House, sat on the present Wesley Church property at what is now the corner of Carrollton and Wesley Roads. On December 3, 1860 George Richards, Jr. and his wife Lucinda deeded unto Reuben A. Troyer, Melchour F. Algire and Cornelius Armagost (sic), Trustees of Primary School District number eighty-one "all that house and lot of land known as Brown's School House containing one-fourth acre, to be used for a school house." The land contained a brick school with two rooms. Seven grades attended this school.
There were other one and two room school houses in the vicinity including Houcksville, Brown's (on Neudecker Road), Emory, and Patapsco.
One of the earliest schools was taught in the early 1830s by Sarah Beaseman Murray, second wife of John Baxter Chenoweth, a son of William Chenoweth, one of the first Trustees of Brown's Meeting House. They lived on Emory Church Road, on the present I. Watson Davidson property. Mrs. Chenoweth taught the neighbor children as well as her own in the school her husband built a few yards from the home place.
By 1929 the school students were being bussed to Hampstead School and therefore the one and two room country schools were no longer needed.
On February 20, 1931 the Board of Education of Carroll Count)] sold the Wesley School property to the Trustees of Wesley Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church of Hampstead Circuit for $300.00. "The said property having been held by the Grantor and by the Board of School Commissioners, its predecessors in title, continuously, uninterruptedly, and exclusively for a period of more than seventy consecutive years." It was sold "together with the buildings and improvements thereon, and rights of roads, etc." A copy of this deed and the Agreement of Sale are in our possession. The deed is on file at Carroll County Liber EMM, Jr. 155 folio 203.
The Wesley School Building was sold to Elmer Richards and torn down. Some of the bricks were used in a building behind Mr. Richards' home at 814 Houcksville Road. The schoolhouse bell was used at a small Pikesville Baptist Church which is no longer standing. The congregation of this church relocated between Liberty Road and Pikesville. The land where the school stood is a part of Wesley Church parking area.
Wesley School 1920-1921
Left to right: (front row) J. Raymond Rill, G. Franklin Rill, Ralph Barnes, Walter Raver, Eugene Dell, Paul Leather, Donald Henry, Wesley Elseroad, Calvin Peltzer. (second row) Earl Peltzer, Gilbert Wisner, M. Henry Miller, Helen Beam Baker, Louise Taylor Sission, Viola Rill Brooks, Rosella Hughes Bateman, Marie Keulp Frederick, Mildred Peltzer Bowman, Woodrow Raver, Preston Taylor. (third row) Catherine Miller Morlock, Serepta Hughes Dell, Sallie Elseroad Rill, Beulah Lippy Stocksdale, Roberta Snyder Rill Blum, Louise Eby, Thelma Davidson Rhoten, Grace Elseroad Allgire, Winifred Bossom, Alice Rill Martin, Gertrude Taylor Schanberger. (fourth row) Noland E. Basler, Teacher, Joseph Weaver, Roger Evans, Norman Raver, Wilbert Ruby, James Sellers, Roland Dell, Milson Rill, William Chapman, Sterling Dell, John Barnes, Mildred Smith Shaffer, Teacher.
Wesley School about 1890. Mr. John W. Abbott, teacher.
Left to right: (front row) Frank Taylor, Luther Davidson, Newman Snyder, William Shipley, Wilson Zepp, Earl Bankert, Noah I. Rill, Osborn Snyder, Monroe Taylor, John Zepp. (second row) Rose Bolte, Rebecca Taylor, Kate Snyder, Lula Snyder, Julia Sullivan, Lydia Wampler, Estella Elseroad, Alice Reese, Annie Lynch, Clara Sullivan, Penelope Reese. (third row) Missouri Wisner, Elizabeth Basler, Emma Wampler, Ellie Spahr, Grace Abbott, Lucy Zepp, Melvin Stull, Florence Trover, Bertha Elseroad, Kate Zepp. (fourth row) Edward Basler, J. Earnest Snyder, Newton Davidson, Barton Taylor, John Spahr, Charles Zepp, Claude Allgire, Louis Zepp, Will Taylor, Cecil Snyder, James Sullivan.
The bed of the road surrounding Wesley has been changed three times. First, it laid from near the northeastern corner of the Social Hall, continued behind the Hall and present Church and through the back portion of the present cemetery at an angle, ending near the present corner of Houcksville and Carrollton Roads.
Later, it started at the same location, followed behind the hall and present church, and then curved and came up behind Wesley Chapel (beside the present church) and out to Carrollton Road through the cemetery near the Frank T. Newbelle lot where Brown's Meeting House had formerly stood.
As early as 1886 the Trustees of Wesley Chapel were trying to change the public road leading through the Church property. In 1903 the Trustees asked John and Margaret Smith (who owned the present Ralph Walsh property) for fifty-two square perches of land west of the cemetery. This land was deeded to the Trustees to be used for the beginning of the re-routing of the road near the corner of Houcksville and Carrollton Roads.
This deed dated April 28, 1903 by John Smith and Margaret E. Smith, his wife to the Trustees of Wesley Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church: John W. Abbott, Joel Ebaugh, Benjamin Croft, John W. Davidson, Silas A. Martin, George W. Rill, William H. S. Allgire, T. Edward Shaeffer and Thomas W. Buchman for 52 Square Perches of Land.
A copy of this deed is in our possession and is on file at Carroll County Land Deeds Liber 97 folio 206 and 207.
The Wampler family, also active members of the church, gave the land for the road to be continued from the corner, on past the cemetery and in front of the present Wesley Church. Permission was also received for the road to pass through the school lot. Mrs. George Stull, also a church member, then completed the road to its present location by giving her permission approaching the corner of Wesley and Carrollton Roads and the area in front of the present parsonage. Having gotten permission from the land owners, the county commissioners proceeded to change the route of the road, thirty feet wide, to the present position.
Camp Meetings, a type of revival service, were a popular activity during the mid to late 1800s. There were several camp meeting grounds located nearby. We know there was one at Linwood in Carroll County and the popular Emory Grove Camp Meeting Ground of the Methodist Episcopal Church is still at Glyndon, in Baltimore County.
Once a year, in August or September, the Hampstead Circuit would hold its camp meeting which lasted one week. Tents were set up and whole families attended, making it a vacation from their usual routine. Guest preachers were invited, and many conversions were made through their inspirational services.
Hampstead Circuit had its own Asbury Grove Camp Meeting Ground. It was located on Houcksville Road, one mile south of Hampstead. It comprised a total of thirty-six acres. It was located from what is now 716 to and including 600 Houcksville Road and also included the present Oakdale Housing Development. Part of this land was formerly known as Hampstead Camp Ground.
In 1873 Jacob C. Turner, William Houck, Alexander Fowble, Henry B. Houck, Elias Baker, David W. Houck, Benjamin F. Payne, John Payne, George W. Keller, Melchour F. Algire, Joshua F. C. Algire, Daniel Null, Jackson Belt, Elias Houck, Jesse M. Cullison, William H. Hoffman, Mordecai W. Gist, and Joseph Armacost, all members of the Hampstead Circuit, bought shares of stock to purchase the land. They set up a corporation "to promote the cause of morality and religion by holding camp meetings of the Methodist Episcopal Church."
The Democratic Advocate August 23, 1873 states:
at the Hampstead Camp Meeting, 1 mile south of Hampstead, fifty tents were set up and 3,000 persons attended.
From the Minutes of the Second Quarterly Conference, Hampstead Circuit, held at the camp ground August 26, 1874
The Camp Meeting for the circuit was held on the Grounds of the Asbury Grove Association commencing August 21st and closing August 28th.
Asbury Grove was a family type camp meeting and strangers were not always welcome as we can see from the Conference Minutes of May 18th, 1878:
And in consequence of the Railroad being under contract and other surroundings, it was thought best to not have a camp meeting this season.
Attendance and interest dwindled until the stockholders sold the land December 28, 1887 to Joshua H. Kemp.
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