October 8, 2013

Traces of Laurel: More early churches



Other Christian churches listed as serving Laurel County in those early years were:  Pleasant Valley, 1891; *New Mt. Carmel, 1893; Bush, 1899; Pittsburg, (no date given).

Early Methodist churches (mostly called Methodist/Episcopal at that time) in Laurel County were: Bethel Church, East Bernstadt (originally Hopewell), organized as Bethel in 1839; Shinkles Chapel, Boreing, 1851; Twin Branch, 1875; New Bethel (Feltz – or Felts - Chapel), near Corbin, 1878; Wyatt’s Chapel, 1891; Old Union consolidated with Foster Chapel ca. 1881 and for more than a dozen years shared its building with a Baptist congregation. They built their own church in 1893; First Methodist, London, 1894; Mt. Olive, 1894; Macedonia, 1895; Warren’s Grove, ca. 1896; Pleasant Grove, Pittsburg, ca. 1896; Slate Ridge, 1897; Mt. Gilead, 1897; New Sharon, London, was in the process of building a church at the time of the Pates’ writing; M.E Church, South, at Pittsburg, originally part of Bethel Church (old Hopewell) at East Bernstadt, no organization date given; M.E. Church, South, London, first building was in 1885, destroyed by fire in 1892, rebuilt on Main Street and was standing in 1900; The African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.) had two churches in Laurel County in 1900:  The London church was organized in 1887; the Altamont church, near East Bernstadt, that same year.  

The only Catholic Church in Laurel County in 1900 was St. Sylvester Catholic Church, East Bernstadt. It was organized ca. 1886 by Rev. Father Paul Volk; its building was completed about 1888. 

A Presbyterian Church was established at Pittsburg in 1889 by Wm. E. Hamilton, D.D. and Rev. B. B. Van Nuys.

Mention is made of the two Protestant churches that came into being after the arrival of the Swiss colonists, ca. 1881.  The first of these was at Bernstadt in 1884. A church building was erected there by 1886.  The second was in the East Bernstadt area in 1887.  This church met for several years in the old Helvetia schoolhouse. I believe this was the forerunner of St. John Swiss Reformed Church, non-denominational, which is still active and is located off north Highway 25, a short distance beyond its intersection with highway 490. 

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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