METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH, NOGALUS PRAIRIE
PRAIRIE VIEW UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
List and narrative donated by Clell Davis
Early settlers of Nogalus Prairie started meeting at this location on land owned at that time by Thomas H. Nelms in the late 1870ís or early 1880ís. By August 1883, a new building had been erected on the property by Richard Willborn. On November 25th 1887, when Thomas H. Nelms sold land to Oliver Davis, he specified that two acres was to be reserved for the Church. He drew up a document in which he gave the Methodist Episcopal Church trustees full use and benefit of the building and property. He stated that (ďI, Thomas Nelms, Sr. for and in consideration of the love I bear for the cause of Christ, and for an earnest desire to promote His heritage on earth, do give unto John I. Adams, J. A. Davis and A. J. Frick, trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, for the use and benefit of the Church, one lot or parcel of land containing two acres.Ē) After Thomas Nelms death in 1888, his sons who were appointed executors of his estate, included this same two acres of land in the deed when they sold the adjoining land to J. A. Davis on October 11, 1890. During the last part of the 1800ís and the first part of the 1900ís, this was a favorite gathering place for the community because there were few other places to meet, and at one time had a quite large membership. During the spring and summer time they built brush arbors and both the Methodistís and the Baptistís held their revivals here. Baptism was performed in several stock ponds and creeks in the area. A hitching post or rail was located across the road from the present building where the people tied up their horses and mules that pulled the wagons they came to Church in. Also, there were wooden tables set up across the road in the shade of the tall pine trees where they brought food for what was called (dinner on the ground), after the Sunday morning preaching and singing, they would stop for lunch before more singing in the afternoon. The Church also served as a school house at one time and school was held here four or five months a year until the Nogalus school was built, then later on Center Point school. In 1912, when repairs were needed on the church, William Henry Parker bought the old building for $65.00. Then each church family gave a cow, which they sold to buy lumber. The men hauled the lumber from Old Willard with wagons and mules and a new Church building was built. The community of Old Willard was located between Josserand and Carmona on what is now State Highway #287 between Groveton and Corrigan. This building stood until 1956, when it was torn down and the present building was erected.
Some of the earliest baptisms was in April 1884. The names below came from the oldest Church records.
1. Vetus V. Davis, parents were Joseph A. and Mary Davis, baptized by E. T. Brasier. April 1884.
2. Masse Leonard, mother was Lenora Leonard, baptized by E. T. Brasier 1884.
3. Henrietta Griswold, parents were Jas. and Lenora Griswold, baptized by E. T. Brasier. April 1884.
4. Ellen Davis, parents were Joseph A. and Mary Davis, baptized by Robert S. Finley, April 1884.
5. Sidney Ethyl Denman, parents were S. E. and A. M. Denman, baptized by E. T. Brasier, August 1884.
6. Francis Alma Denman, parents were S. E. and A. M. Denman, baptized by E. T. Brasier, August 1884.
It is assumed that the first pastor was E. T. Brasier, this information is from the above baptism records. It is not known how many members there might have been in 1883 because the records have been lost. The earliest record that has been found was in 1895 when there were 93 members. The Pastor in 1895 was Reverend J. W. Hamner. The earliest recorded marriage that has been found was that of T. J. Morrison and Fannie Daniels on November 17, 1895. They were married by Rev. J. W. Hamner. Below are the names of the members listed in 1895, they were copied and spelled the same way and order as they appeared in the church records for 1895.
1. Joseph A. Davis. 26. Lieuticia Lee.
2. Mary Davis. 27. Theester Ross.
3. Lieutichia Davis. 28. Mollie Smith.
4. Ellen Davis. 29. Gach T. Mask.
5. Naomi Hager. 30. Jas. Turner Hawthorn.
6. Richard O. Davis. 31. Amanda Hawthorn.
7. Belle Davis. 32. Sarah F. Poston.
8. Adline Smith. 33. Josephene Lee.
9. L. Beasley. 34. Rufe H. Thames.
10. Julia Beasley. 35. Nancy Salcer.
11. Perneller Beasley. 36. Louise Rowden Davis.
12. Pasilea Kinley. 37. Floyd Alexander.
13. Ida E. Weeks. 38. Alma Alexander.
14. Wilson W. Davis. 39. Jemina Davis.
15. Willie Davis. 40. Maggie Davis.
16. Charley Moulds. 41. Abert Moulds.
17. Mary Moulds. 42. Samisa Moulds.
18. Henry D. Lee. 43. Andrew J. Martin.
19. Martha Lee. 44. Syrena A. Martin.
20. Alex. Davis. 45. Mary L. Martin.
21. Lexie Davis. 46. Louis Gipson.
22. Chas. F. Davis. 47. Jas. T. Morrison.
23. Margarite Davis. 48. Frances E. Morrison.
24. Rowden Mathews. 49. W. D. Morrison.
25. Jennie Mathews. 50. Mary E. Hart.
51. Mary Wamack. 58. Thos. A. Ainsworth.
52. Louisa English. 59. D. E. Pool.
53. Sam H. Swinnie. 60. Lucy H. Pool.
54. Mattie Swinnie. 61. Lilla R. Pool.
55. Wm. J. Ainsworth. 62. Jno. J. Keels.
56. Jane Ainsworth. 63. M. E. Keels.
57. Richard Wilborn. 64. Lizzie Keels.
65. Jno. Parker. 80. Amanda Smith.
66. Oliver Gipson. 81. Leta Martin.
67. Lucinda Gipson. 82. James Gaston.
68. Burdine Davis. 83. Rosco Davis.
69. Elizza Davis. 84. James T. Kee.
70. Fannie Daniels. 85. Elbert Montgomery.
71. Wm. G. Davis. 86. George Maners.
72. Robt. Stuart. 87. Carrol Hawthorn.
73. Elie Warren. 88. Billie Salster.
74. Nettie Fletcher. 89. Mary Chandler.
75. Eliza Ellis. 90. Birtie Moulds.
76. Sannie Carlyle. 91. Georgie Mask.
77. Ben Hood. 92. Edd Coleman.
78. W. Salcer. 93. Verie Coleman.
79. T. E. Smith.
According to the oldest records found, the largest membership was in 1903 when there were 128 members. The Church sign was erected in 1999 by Dewey Ashworth, T. S. Carmichael and Clell Davis, who also built the steeple with bell tower and bell in 2001. The parking lot was also paved in 2001. The Church now has 46 members.