Mt Gilead Methodist Church History

Now known as Carthage United Methodist Church


Written by Ron Brennan of Wilder KY. A copy of this article is at the Campbell County Historical and Genealogical Society in Alexandria.


"This Indenture made this 29th day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-three between Elijah Herndon & Catharine Herndon his wife of the County of Campbell in the state & Kentucky of the one part and Thomas Tarvin, John C Tarvin, James Herndon, S G Tarvin and Wm I Newman trustees in trust for the uses and purposes herein after mentioned all of the County of Campbell in the State of Kentucky aforesaid of the other part witnesseth that the said E Herndon and Catharine Herndon, his wife, for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar specie to them in hand paid....have given granted bargained, sold, released in the County and state aforesaid bounded & butted as follows to wit; Beginning at a stake on the Visalia Road near its junction with the Washington road and running with the said Visalia Road S50 W10 poles to a stake thence North 40 W6 poles to a stake thence N50-E10 poles stake thence S40-E8 poles to a beginning containing and laid out for one half acres of land....belonging or in any way appertaining unto them the said trustees and their successors in office forever in trust that they shall erect & build or cause to be erected & built therone a house of place of worship for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America."

Such is the wordage foudn in Deed Book Q, page 175-177 at the Alexandria Court House in Campbell County that established the Mt Gilead Methodist Church, now called the Carthage United Methodist Church.

There's more to the original indenture; On February 12, 1844 Wm M Newman and John H Nelson, Justices of the Peace for Campbell Co got a statement from Catharine Herndon, apart from her husband, that she agreed to the land transaction and relinquished her dower rights.  Some of the rest of the indenture deals with the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, how vanancies to the nine member trustees are to be selected and replaced, that the preacher is to cast the breaking vote, that the trustees may mortgage the premises to raise money or they can sell the premises to raise money.

The church was organized at the home of Elijah Herndon on Washington Trace Road and the first church was built on the donated land.  In 1900 a new church was constructed on that site and regular services were held there until 1961 when the present church was completed.  Some of the pastors who have served the church are J W Gardiner, R E Lee, T W Barker, J M Johnson, W L Selby, O B Cook, W H Newkirk, J R Nelson, S J Bradley, R B Baird, S W Dean, R Jordan, V L Moore, Wright, Lee, W S Mitchell, C W Pilow, G E Graden, H J Hervey, N C Gray, J H Amsbury, L Adams, G W Cook, W L Taylor, C N Helphinstine, M H Richardson, M L Smith, W H Lester.

A Sabbath School was one of the first orders of business as the following will demonstrate: "Whereas the Mt Gilead Sabbath School association which organized Dec 21, 1845, and not being under the direction of any branch of the church deems it expedient to adopt the following rules by which to govern the Institution;

1st Resolved that the School invariably be opened by reading a portion of the Word of God. The teacher and Scholars strictly conforming to the common rule of worship.

2nd Resolved that they then proceed to business in regular order; each to their respective classes observing the strictest decorum during the hours of School; carefully avoiding laughing, talking or anything that has an immoral tendency.

3rd Resolved that the Teachers shall diligently attend to their duty according to the nature of the institution impressing upon the minds of their Scholars the strict observance of the Sabbath, & good order, each keeping their seats until regularly dismissed.

4th Resolved that no person shall be allowed to vote on any question who has not his or her name regularly recorded as members of the Institution.

5th Resolved that all spectators are respectfully solicited to confess to the foregoing rules & regulations."

The record of the first Sunday School Association meeting has survived. "The Record of the Proceedings of the Sabbath School Association began and held at Mt Gilead meeting house Dec 21, 1845.  After the meeting being opened by the Superintendent they proceeded to business and the following persons were duly elected by the Association. For Librarian-T F Tarvin; Assistant to Librarian-S T Bartlow; Directors-Thomas Bartlow, Wm J Newman & Richard Tarvin Jr. Females-Mrs. James Newman and Miss Elizabeth Mahaffey.  The said Directors to meet the following Sabbath at 9 o'clock am at the church. Adjourned.  John Mahaffey, Superintendent. T F Tarvin, Secretary."  This, of course, indicated that the first Mt Gilead Methodist Church was built and in use.

On April 11, 1847 money was appropriated to purchase 10 questions books, a note book and a Superintendent's book for the use of the association.  The following were chosen to be teachers and their classes are listed;

Class #1-G T Trusdell-Teacher; J Ceathceart, Jas W Florere, S G Tarvin, T W Parish and John Harris;
Class #2-G C Parish-Teacher; David D Clark, J W Mahaffey, T A Bartlow, J T Newman, A G Tarvin, G W Tarvin, S H Trusdell and W R Newman
Class #3-D Hicks-Teacher; Mary Hicks, F D Parish, M A Bartlow, S Mahaffey, N B Tarvin and P H Tarvin
Class #4-Sarah Jane Newman-Teacher; Margaret Tarvin, Nancy Tarvin, M McClason, F D Herndon
Class #5-E M Herndon-Teacher; G B Mahaffey, J E Hicks, A A Tarvin, G F Steavens, C F Kiser and Anzie A Tarvin
Class #6-G W Florer-Teacher; A Dicken, E P Herndon, A G Tarvin, J H Newman, H B Tarvin and E F Tarvin
Class #7-S S Newman and H B Trusdell-Teachers; G W Cathcart, James Tarvin, D Parish, H Hicks, B F Williams, Thomas Parish, R Tarvin and Wm Hicks
Class #8-S T Bartlow-Teacher; E Parish, Wm T Newman, J Herndon and G F Bartlow

Over the years the trustees acquired land for a new cemetery, a parsonage and the site of the present building.  In the year 1953 the need for Sunday School rooms and extensive repair on the church built in 1900, which stood across the road from the present site was inevitable.  A committee was formed to investigate and make plans for these needs to be met.  Plans were drawn and approved for the addition of Sunday School rooms.

In the meantime a lady of the church, Leota Dicken, who by nature was not one to push forward and take the land, contacted each of the church families individually as to the possibility of building a new structure. She met with very little opposition although it came as a shock to most families who were approached.  She received assurance of cooperation even though there was doubt at this sudden turn of events.

A Building Committee was formed consisting of Leota Dicken-Chairman; J J White Sr. Treasurer; Lydia Norwick, Mildred Moore, Alvin Moore and Gerald Moore.  The pastor of the church at that time was Rev C N Helphinstine, who cooperated fully with this committee. An architect, Charles L Hildreth, was employed to draw plans which were approved. A loan in the amount of $30,000 was taken from the Bank of Alexandria on March 19, 1960.  The loan was paid in full as of April 19, 1970.  There was a dedication and a Note Burning Service held at the 22nd Annual Homecoming on June 7, 1970.

No matter how much things change, there is something that always remains the same. Next to the parking lot, which was the site of the1900 church, is the old cemetery.  At the highest elevation in the cemetery, at the edge of the parking lot and overlooking the road are the graves and headstones of Elijah and Catherine Herndon who started it all.  They would approve.


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