Brief History Of Bethel Presbyterian Church, Cornelius, Mecklenburg Co, NC

"Bethel congregation was formed in the Spring of 1829 from parts of Centre, Hopewell, Rama (sic Ramah) & Gilead churches, together with some families who had never before been connected with any church.  Rev. Thos. Espy accepted an invitation to preach a third part of his time, in July 1829.  In Sep. four persons - Messrs Patrick Johnston, Robt. Potts, A. B. Jetton & Chas. Mitchel were regularly elected to the office of Ruling Elder & in Nov. were ordained by Rev. Dr. Robinson."   (Source: Session Book #2, page 1)

Jan 8, 1829 -- First verified meeting of Bethel Congregation.

July 1829 -- First official minister accepted call to Bethel Thomas Espy.

Sept, 1829 -- First election of elders Patrick Johnston, Robert Potts, Alexander Brevard Jetton, Charles Mitchell.

Nov, 1829 -- First ordination of elders by the Rev. Dr. Robinson and first baptisms Thomas Espy Potts and Thomas Espy Godsey.

Summer 1830 -- First building erected - work done by the congregation

1835 -- 18 African American infants baptized into the church.

1835 -- 23 were baptized between 1835-1864.

Sept 5, 1835 -- Earliest known burial in cemetery: Elizabeth Jetton.

May 10, 1844 -- Money was raised to erect wrought iron gate in cemetery wall.

1855 -- Remodeling of first church building when the pulpit and the seats were lowered and the doors to the right and left of the pulpit were closed

1856 -- First deacons elected and ordained S.M. Withers and John R. Knox.

1878 -- First manse built two miles southwest of the church building.

1879-1885 -- The Rev. L.K. Glasgow, minister of Bethel, ran Bethel Academy.

1890 -- Bethel transferred from Concord Presbytery to Mecklenburg Presbytery.

July-Dec, 1895 -- Present building erected. Work was done by the congregation.

1896 -- Church pulpit was built and installed; it is still in use today. The women of the church raised and sold chickens to raise the money.

Jan 17, 1896 -- The Rev. J.M. Grier delivered the first sermon in the present building.

Fall 1896 -- Present building dedicated.

Jan 7, 1906 -- The Rev. J.M. Grier dissolved his pastorate with Bethel. His was the longest pastorate (13 years) at this date.

1907 -- Bethel sent its first missionary to Korea: Miss Bessie Lorene Knox, daughter of John Alexander Knox and Sarah Jane Blythe, members of the Bethel Congregation.  In 1909, Miss Knox married Dr. Robert Manton Wilson, Sr, MD in Seoul, Korea.

1927 -- Selima Johnson died. She was baptized into the church May 23, 1853 and was the last surviving African American. Selima was associated with the A. B. Jetton Family.

1928 -- Small frame building built for men's Sunday School class (moved from grounds in 1939).

Jan 1939 -- The hut was built. It was originally called the community house.

Sept 1947 - John "Wilson" Knox, Jr. ordained Elder, serving longer than any other living Bethel Elder.

1949 -- Two story Sunday School building joined the rear of the church building.

July 20, 1952 -- The Rev. John Edwin Wayland, Jr. was ordained. He began the longest pastorate in Bethel history (47 years).


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