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Bethel Methodist Church

Bethel Methodist Church

Source:  Obtained from “A History of the Churches of the Tishomingo County Methodist Group Ministry,” compiled May 1966.

 

The cemetery at Bethel was begun before the War Between the States.  There is no exact information as to the date it was founded.  Legend has it that the first person to be buried in the Bethel Cemetery was a Negro child, belonging to the slaves of the bland family who lived back of what is now known as the Robert Smith place.  The oldest monument in the cemetery is dated in the 1840s.  The original building was a log cabin at the south entrance of the cemetery.  Another building later replaced the log cabin.  The third building was constructed down the hill at the site of the present facility.  This building was probably built around 1874.  At present, Mrs. Josie Sprouse is the oldest living member, having been baptized in 1889.  Mrs. Dixie Moser Kay is the second oldest member, with Miss Katie Moser and Mrs. Lizzie Lindsey South the third and fourth oldest members.

 

The present building was built in 1889.  A furniture company in Iuka donated the small table now in use at the altar.  The church had swinging lamps decorated with crystal pendants.  The light for night services came from candles and kerosene lamps.  Around the altar the mourner’s bench stayed polished by penitent sinners.  It was not unusual for it to be filled and the top front benches, emptied of the children who always sat there, to allow more room for the penitent sinners.  Pallets were made for sleeping babies.  Windows were filled from outside the building with faces of men and boys.  These gentlemen were not brave enough to come inside for fear of the “fire” from the preacher’s sermon.  Courting couples sat on the back benches, including mischievous boys of older ages and other young people who had graduated from the front seats.

 

Mr. Ellis Moser and his daughter ordered an organ for the church in 1918 or 1919.  The cost was approximately $17.00.  Mr. Moser’s daughter served as the church organist.

 

A funeral of unusual interest was held at the church.  It was the funeral of John George Washington Benjamin Franklin Lightfoot Lee Gibson.

 
Courtesy of Tishomingo County Historical & Genealogical Society.
 
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