Prospect Methodist

Warren County
Org 1845
Photography by John Kirkland

According to a church history – After a meeting in 1845 concerning the need for a church in the Prospect community of Warren County a group unanimously approved a building site on a tract of land owned by Amos Johnson. The land was purchased for $20 on February 4, 1846. Prospect United Methodist still stands on this original piece of land. The original building was begun in 1846 and completed by the end of the year. It was rather large and faced a northerly direction with two doors at the front and two doors at the rear. A cemetery was placed at the rear of the building. In 1878 a need arose for a school in the community. A decision was made to erect a school building on the church grounds. The new building had two large rooms connected by a double door. By opening the double doors the school became one large room. The school was known as Brinkley Academy. Professor Sterling Brinkley and Mrs. Jack Swain were the first teachers. The first term opened in January 1879 with 111 students enrolled. The school taught many subjects and even had a band.

After a school was built in a more convenient location in nearby Norwood, many students transferred from Brinkley Academy. A smaller school building was built and the original building was sold as a tenant house. In the mid 1920’s the school was closed and the smaller building sold. In 1879 a great revival was held and many wanted to be immersed, not sprinkled in the usual Methodist way. They went down to the creek, formed a pool, and were baptized. In 1879 a decision was made to erect a much needed new church building. The old building was sold to St. James church (a negro church) for the sum of $160. Proceeds from the sale and monies raised were used to build a new building. Mr J. W. Norton constructed this new building for the sum of $1,005, including the cost of materials. The first service in the new building was in January, 1880.

This beautiful building is still in use today. Due to the diligence of the congregation, it is remarkably well preserved. The siding is still painted wood and the bathrooms are in an adjacent building. The architecture still retains and reflects the setting of an 1880 church. Around 1880 the church purchased a new organ, much to the displeasure of one prominent member. Ironically, this same organ was played at the member’s funeral. In 1936 the church trustees sold timber on the property and used the money to build a porch on the church. Electric lights were not in Prospect church until 1952 when the kerosene and gas lamps were replaced.
In 1954 the church sold two acres of land for the purpose of funding needed renovations and repairs.

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