Shiloh Methodist Church, Bennettsville, South Carolina
I have lots of documented family buried at Shiloh Methodist Church, Bennettsville, South Carolina. The biggest challenge that remains is the burial records of the Shiloh Cemetery that sits to both the right and left side of the Shiloh Methodist Church.
Shiloh Methodist Church is located just outside Bennettsville, SC. The services are held every other Sunday.
There are lots of vacant areas within the cemetery that potentially indicate unverified burial locations. I have tried unsuccessfully to retrieve these records from both the church and the local funeral home with no luck.
If anyone has any recommendations on how to obtain burial records please contact me.
Church Information: http://archives.umc.org/Directory/ChurchDetails.asp?FAC=31538
Source: Author, Evans, Alexina. Forwarded as family document 2002-2006 by Unknown
EARLY HISTORY OF SHILOH METHODIST CHURCH
By Alexina Evans
When the request came for me to give a history of SHILOH CHURCH, I realized at once that I could not depend upon memory of fragmentary facts gathered here and there and was most fortunate in turning to my childhood friend, Mrs. Julia Smith Buie, of Patrick, who, being the daughter of one of the founders of the church, Mr. Thos. S. Smith, had kept with characteristic devotion the sacred records of the church from its beginning down to the time when the Smith family, like ours, moved away to another community.
I wish to acknowledge with gratitude the great help Mrs. Buie has been to me in assembling these few facts concerning Shiloh’s early history.
It is no secret that before the organization of this little company of church loving people, this community was given over, even on the Lord’s day, to many questionable forms of amusement, such as cock-fighting and horse-racing and a general disregard for law and order.
The great need for a church so gripped the hearts of a few devout men and women that they met and organized in an informal way to promote some sort of religious worship in the community on the Sabbath Day.
As I recall it today, impressive memories bring back vivid pictures of a brush arbor in the Irby Grove on the right hand side as you go towards Marlboro.
There, because of the lack of funds with which to erect a building, pioneer hands, guided by a dauntless pioneer spirit, felled trees and built a frame upon which they laid the branches for a roof to protect the small but determined group of worshipers.
All of this, the singing and the preaching by the Rev. W.K. Breeden, Rev. N.L. Swett and Rev. W.T. Rainwater, from one of my earliest recollections of the beginning of Shiloh Church, but I have learned from Mrs. Buie that probably a year or more before that this same group of people had built a similar place of worship in a pine grove on the Stewart Place, about a mile east of the location of the present building, just a short distance from Highway No. 15 leading to Society Hill.
This location was used about 1877 and 78 and then, when Mrs. Laura Irby agreed to give a lot in the Irby Grove on which to build a church, it seems that some question as to title arose and the brush arbor first mentioned was used until another lot could be secured.
My father, W.D. Evans, had the honor and the pleasure of donating the lot and it was on that lot that the first church was erected, with Mr. Sam Parker as architect and contractor.
In 1881 the building was dedicated by the Rev. M.M. Ferguson and joined to the North Marlboro Circuit of the M.E. Church South.
We all know that in those days so closely following on the War Between the States, money was very scarce and to get out building a church then was a task to stagger men of ordinary determination or zeal.
In the meager minutes available I have seen no reference to the difficulties they must have encountered, no mention of any drives to pay off the church debt, but there is a sheet of paper, worn and yellow with age, showing a list of the first contributors to this building fund and no doubt those whose names make the list were called upon several times before the building was complete, along with others whose names do not appear.
It is interesting to read the list:
“State of South Carolina,
County of Marlboro,
We, the undersigned promise to pay the amount annexed to each of our names for the purpose of building a Methodist Episcopal Church on a cite of land given by W.D. Evans for that purpose:
Aug. 2nd, 1880
W.D. and T.S. Evans Paid 50.00
T.S. Smith “ 10.00
J.K. Pegues “ 25.00
W.D. Crosland “ 25.00
C.M. Weatherly “ 10.00
C.S. McCall “ 10.00
W.J. Stubbs “ 5.00
A Linton “ 1.00
J.A. Wilson “ 1.00
E.E. Evans “ 5.00
John Sweatt “ 1.00
Thomas Cope “ 5.00
J.F. Everett “ 7.00
J.L. Breeden “ 5.00
J.T. Jennings “ 5.00
W.A. Crossland “ 5.00
B.A. Rogers “ 2.00
Milton McLaurin “ 1.00
Knox Livingston “ 7.00
Cash “ .50
J.D. Murchison “ 5.00
P.L. Breeden “ 5.00
C.E. Stewart “ 1.00
Dr. J.T. Jennings “ 10.00
T.E. Dudley “ 5.00
During the early days of brush arbor worship, the congregation was served without charge by Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist ministers and increasing interest led to the organization of a Sunday school under the faithful leadership of Mr. T.S. Smith, who continued in this capacity for many years and was regarded as one of the truest Christians in the entire community.
I can hear him now as he led in prayer and almost always opened his prayer with the first lines of Isaac Watts’ great hymn:
O God, our helo in ages past,
Our hope in years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.
When the building was finished my Mother was asked to name it. I am sure when she selected Shiloh it was from the incident where Jacob had called his sons together for the last time to bless them, and said to Judah, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come and unto him shall the gathering of the people be”, referring prophetically to the kingdom of Christ coming from the remnant of Israel that was saved.
All the leaders in that little church were of that courageous stuff of which pioneers are made, for they began and kept down to them from the Shiloh of Bible days, where the ark of the Lord was kept and where the people all went yearly to worship, that Shiloh where the boy Samuel was dedicated to her God by the grateful mother, Hannah.
There are still a few of us who can recall with pleasure the first preachers sent to serve the young church. Some of them were of the circuit rider type and instead of living at a parsonage, they had to divide their time among the various homes, staying at one place a month or more as convenience would dictate. Rev. Mr. Ferguson, who dedicated the church, was one and Rev. Basil G. Jones was another.
The Conference wisely sent us preachers with small families then. Mr. Ferguson fitted in most happily because he wasn’t married.
Mr. Jones had a wife and in moving about from one home to another, he always carried his own little box of tea which he doled out to the housekeeper with strictest directions as to how to brew it.
That is just a childish impression of Mr. Jones but I’ve carried it all these years along with the conviction that even though he was that way about his tea, still he was one of God’s saints.
Another among the first ministers to serve this church was Rev. T.E. Morris, who lives now at college place, near Columbia.
Then there were Rev. J.E. Grier, Rev. Landy Wood, Rev. B.O. Berry, Rev. J.L. Ray and Rev. W.H. Lawton. I especially remember Mr. Lawton as being fond of children and chicken.
He used to spend many days and nights in our home as did all the others and we all loved him so that we always wanted to fill the back of his large buggy with good things to eat.
I know now why he had such a big lot of things in the back of his buggy – it was because everybody loved him. He was at our mill one morning when my Uncle Tom Evans told him that if he would drive by his house on the way to town, Ras, the old cook, would give him a nice string of fish.
While Mr. Lawton tarried to talk, Ras began to cook dinner, so when the preacher arrived to claim his fish the old told him the fish were skillet frying. Not to be done out of his fish, however, Mr. Lawton said, “That’s all right, Ras, just take them out and I’ll carry them along.” After Mr. Lawton, came Rev. John Manning, whom we all greatly admired also, and probably others whom I cannot recall, having no records to refer to.
It used to be a great even in those days when the Presiding Elder came. He was usually entertained at Mr. Smith’s or at our home and great preparation generally made for him because he came so seldom.
The ones that I particularly recall were Rev. Marion Boyd and Rev. Mr. Stokes, and Rev. T.J. Clyde, all such delightful company and never too engaged in other matters to show an interest in the children of the family.
Among the faithful workers in the little Shiloh congregation during those early days, some are easily recalled as leaders, while others, though not leaders were just as faithful and made their own way.
Some were leaders in the singing, namely, Miss Sara Frazier, now Mrs. L.D. Odom, the Misses Anna & Minnie McIntosh, who later moved to Georgia, Miss Minnie Odom, Miss Florence Wicker, now Mrs. J.J. Munnerlyn, Misses Julia and Della Smith and others.
Some were the untiring housewives who with lavish hospitality served dinners on the grounds on such occasions as Quarterly Conferences or daily during the annula August Protracted Meetings. Among these were Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Dan Odom, Mrs. McIntosh, Mrs. Henry Easterling, Mrs. Munnerlyn, Mrs. Wicker and others.
Some were the Church officials. From the valuable old records I find this entry:
Shiloh Methodist Church 1884, Rev. J. Marion Boyd, Presiding Elder
Basil G. Jones, Preacher in charge
W.L. Pegues, Supernumerary
Nathan L. Swett, Local Elder
George W. Owens, Local Preacher
From those same records in 1888, the following:
Landy Wood, Pastor
W.D. Evans, Sec. Church Conference
T.S. Smith, Superintendent Sunday school
W.D. Evans, T.S. Smith & Daniel C. Odom
Stewards and Trustees
Also from the records, I have a list of Shiloh’s first members, which you might be interested in hearing if time permits:
Shiloh Methodist Church 1881
The roll of Males who sat on The roll of Females who sat on
one side of the church were: the other side of the church:
J.C. Cope Ferebe Cope
G.W. Cope Catherine Bowins
Floid Cope Louise Cope
Jessey Driggers Sabra Cope
W.C. Driggers Martha A. Cope
John J. Irby Minnie E. Evans
Chas J. Gainy Nancy Gainy
Wily Gainy Victoria Gainy
Wm. Gainy Roberta Gainy
Thos C. Grooms Mary E. Gibson