Our History

Our History

Timeline of First United Methodist Church – Lenoir, NC


1840James C. Harper deeded Fairfield Chapel to the trustees of Lenoir Circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Fairfield Chapel was a log structure located on Beall St with an attached cemetery. The cemetery is still there. Lenoir Circuit was formed from a portion of the Morganton Circuit.

1841Annual Conference was held in Camden, SC. Rev Cornelius McLeod was appointed circuit minister. Same year, Lenoir was established as a town and the first county courts were held.

1845Fairfield Chapel congregation decided to build a new church. Col. William Davenport donated a lot at the corner of Church St and what is now Kirkwood St. Church construction began.

1846The first service was held in the new building on Dec 12. Rev Thomas W Postell and Rev Joseph Puett served as ministers. There were two entry doors – one for men and one for women. Men and women sat on opposite sides of the sanctuary.

1870Originally under the jurisdiction of the South Carolina Conference, Lenoir Circuit became a member of the North Carolina Conference.

1875At annual conference, Lenoir Methodist Church was made a station church. [This is a pastoral charge comprising only one local church; in contrast to a circuit, which contains two or more local churches.] Rev WM Robey was appointed full-time minister and served as president of Davenport Female College.

1876First Sunday school classes were held.

1879-1887Due to the transfer of Rev Robey and the 1877 fire at Davenport Female College, Lenoir Methodist became part of the Lenoir Circuit once again.

1887 – Lenoir Methodist changed back to a station church. Rev TN Ivey was appointed full-time minister.


1896-1898The 1846 church was remodeled, with new pews, improved lighting, heating plant and other modern amenities. Rev TA Boone was minister.


These sketches of the 1846 church (left) and the 1898 church (right) were done by Kitty Huntley.

1898The first service was held in the new building.

1918 Building


1912A lot adjoining the 1898 church was purchased for $6,000.

1917On May 16, construction of the present-day church began on the empty lot. Total cost completely furnished was $32,000. The first brick was laid by Mrs. Rosannah (Uriah) Moore Cloyd, oldest congregational member at 89, blind, and only surviving member present when the 1846 church was built. The church cornerstone was formally laid on Sept 23 with Rev TN Ivey as guest speaker. A time capsule was placed behind the stone. The 1898 church was then used as a residence and later an apartment house.


Cornerstone for 1918 church (left) and bell that resides in dome (right).

1918On Easter Sunday, March 31, the first service was held in the new church with Rev DM Litaker as minister. A farewell service was held on April 7 for the 1898 church.

1920A parsonage was built next to the church.

1946A centennial service was held on Dec 20 with Rev Frank C Smathers as minister.

1949The education building and chapel were completed.

1953Dedication of the 1949 building was held on Nov 22. The sermon was delivered by Bishop Costen J Harrell. Rev Harlan L Creech, Jr was minister.

1959-1961An addition was made to the 1949 building, plus construction of the Fellowship Hall. Rev Herman F Duncan was minister. 

1968The General Conference of the Methodist Church was held in Dallas, TX. The denominations of Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren merged to become The United Methodist Church. Our church became the First United Methodist Church of Lenoir.

1970The church dome caught fire, necessitating major repairs. Up to that point, the dome was used for Sunday school and other meetings. It was never used again. The original bell, which rang on Sunday mornings to call people to church, still resides in the dome but remains silent.

1996Sesquicentennial celebration was held on May 19 with guest speaker Bishop Bevel Jones. Rev Robert W Combs was minister.



2002A groundbreaking service was held on April 24 for renovation of the 1918 sanctuary, the 1949 and 1959 buildings, and new construction of the Christian Life Center. Rev John Fowler was minister. The time capsule that was placed behind the cornerstone of the 1918 building was removed and stored in the historical archives.

2003In March, the first worship services began in the new Christian Life Center (CLC), as renovations were underway on 1918 sanctuary. 

2004The first services began in the newly renovated sanctuary.  A consecration service was held on Sept 26 with Bishop Charlene P Krammerer as guest speaker.

2018A centennial celebration of the 1918 church building was held on April 15. Rev Linda Kelly was minister.

This information was compiled from the following sources: FUMC-Lenoir history room, News Topic, One Hundred Fifty Years of Methodism on Church Street in Town of Lenoir by Genoise H. Davidson, and the Caldwell County Heritage Museum.