Plantersville United Methodist Church
Lunenburg County, Virginia
Rev. Philip E. DeMuth, Pastor
Mrs. Mary D. Hoyle, Director of Music
Located on Rt. 623 at Rt. 688
History of the Church as of June 1999

Prepared and submitted by E. Jack Gregory 27 June 1999

      The land for the Church was donated by Mr. James Richard Townsend. Mr. Townsend's wife, Mrs. Mattie Townsend, was very instrumental in the establishment of the church. She had a vision of a Methodist Church in the Plantersville community in rural Lunenburg County. She was inspired by the preaching of the Rev. John P. Finch whose home was near Rehobeth, somewhere near the head waters of Kitt's creek. His first contacts with the Plantersville area were in the 1880's at which time Mr. Finch preached in an arbor that had been constructed for this purpose on the road from the old Mt. Zion Baptist Church to Lee's Mill. He walked from his home each month to conduct services.

      Ground was broken in the Fall of 1906. Mr. Joe Watson, a neighbor, donated oak trees to provide the foundation. Mr. Sam Bayne, of Fort Mitchell, had a sawmill nearby and prepared much of the lumber used. Mr. Townsends brother, Tom, who lived in the neighborhood, did much of the actual construction of the church building. Mr. J. W. Hartman of South Hill painted the church at no charge.

      The church building was completed and ready for the first service on August 25, 1907 and the first sermon was preached by Rev. James J. Gregory, the first regular pastor. He preached on the confession of St Peter in Christ, where Peter said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God", and Jesus said "Upon this rock I will build My Church".

      The indebtedness of the church was paid off in 1913 and thereby, in accordance with the rulings of The Methodist Church at that time, became fully accredited.

      The first marriage on record was in 1912 of Mr. Douglas Thompson to Miss Annie Selph.

      The bell which hangs in the church was donated about 1915 by Mr. J. L. Craig, of Philadelphia, as a benefit to Plantersville Church and to perpetuate the memory of his friend, Mr. Raleigh A. Thompson of this neighborhood. Mr. Carter Thompson expresses fond memories of ringing the bell twice on Sunday morning when he was a boy.

      The Church basement was constructed in 1953 with the help of Rev. John McKinney, who had been moved from Plantersville to Wesley Memorial Church in Richmond. Rev. McKenry and the men of Plantersville dug the basement with tractors. Mr. McKenry then brought bricklayers from his Richmond church to lay the cinder blocks. Mrs. Ruth Fears furnished them meals and allowed them to use her spare bedroom. On completion of the basement, the church was moved back onto the new foundation.

      The back steps and renovation of the basement in 1980 was supervised by Mr. Herman Thompson at no charge to the church. Members of the church and friends from other denominations gave their labor as well as generous donations.

      Mr. Macon Fears, a beloved educator in Lunenburg County, and a ma of great strength and character, who was related to Mrs. Townsend by marriage, did much to continue the work at Plantersville. In 1988 the Sunday School class was named for him. Even in death Mr. Fears left funds to help Plantersville, the Church and community he loved, and who loved him.

      The congregation has seen growth in recent years, and a continuation of construction to keep the house of worship in good condition.

      In 1996, with generous contributions from many, especially Mr. Carter Thompson, new front steps and a ramp for handicap access were constructed. This was done in a manner to be in harmony with the character of the building. Additional sidewalks were donated by Betsy Long. New front entry doors have also been installed.

      Also, in 1996, the original plaster was restored by Mr. Curtis Jones, care being taken to preserve the words behind the pulpit which was put there by Mrs. Townsend, and was her motto, "God Is Love".

      In 1998, with extensive donations by many members and friends of the church, the exterior was resided with vinyl siding and trim painted.

      From the wisdom of one who saw the possibilities, to the dedication of those with the determination to continue, Plantersville United Methodist Church has enjoyed many years of serving the Lord, with the hopes and prayers of many more to come.

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