Cowan’s First Methodist Church: 1842 until ?
By Jim and Jenny Lou Brock
(Reprinted from the Cowan Bell, Vol. I, No. 18, page 3. November 14, 1974)
“This indenture made and entered into this thirty first day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty two -----.” So begins the deed conveying two acres of land to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church by Henry Easley for one dollar. They were to “cause to be erected a house for the worship of Almighty God----“. These were the two acres excluded by the court in the sale of a 240 acre tract to fifteen men, the story of which appeared in the last issue of THE BELL.
We found this old deed, conveying land to the Methodist Episcopal Church, quite by accident. Through an error, the transaction had never been recorded in the index, and in searching for other information, we both noticed the word “Methodist”. We are members of this denomination and thought 1947 marked the year of the first Methodist Church in Cowan. It was exciting for us to find that one existed here over one hundred thirty years ago!
This property was located in the area of the present Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Manse, and the home of Mr. and Mrs. B.B. Looney. It is shown on a plot of the town of Cowan surveyed in the 1850’s.
The church trustees signing this deed of 1842 were: Robinson Wagner, Alexander Bails (This name may be incorrect as it is almost impossible to read), William Stewart, William T. Wells, William Pearson, Hugh Jones and Luke Adams.
These two acres remained intact until 1883. In that year a portion of this land was deeded to J.C. Montgomery, Sr. in exchange for two small plots of ground. At the same time, the Acme Academy acquired another portion of the church property in exchange for one small lot. The trustees for the Methodist Church were J.F. Lason and S.D. Rowe. The pastor in charge, and also signing as a trustee, was J. Ouley or Onley. The names of the men signing the deed as trustees for Acme Academy were: J.M. Stewart, John McIllheran, W.A. Shook, L.R. Sartin and H.J. Hawkins.
We do not know when this church ceased to exist. It must have played some important role in the history of our town.
J.L.B. and J.R.B.
Note: Although the original Cowan Methodist Episcopal Church (founded 1842) ceased to exist in the mid-to-late Nineteenth Century, another Methodist Church was organized in Cowan in 1947. This congregation merged with Cowan Presbyterian Church to become Cowan Fellowship Church.