First United Methodist Church Madisonville can trace its roots almost to the date of the founding of Monroe County which came into being on November 13, 1819. The Holston Conference was established in 1824 at the General Conference. It was in 1826 that the commissioners of Tellico (later renamed Madisonville) sold to those acting as trustees for the Methodists a plot of ground to be used for a meeting house and burial ground. The plot of ground was surveyed and laid out with the rest of the town by Captain Robert Wear. On this plot of ground was built the first meeting house, pastored by Reverend Creed Fulton. This structure was destroyed by a tornado that struck Madisonville in the evening of June 7, 1849.
The first structure was replaced with a frame building that faced Tellico Street. It was in use until it burned in 1863. There is no documentation, but it is felt that the church was burned by Yankee soldiers under the command of General Jefferson Davis.
The third church was also a frame structure. While the first church faced west, the second faced east and the third faced north. Madisonville grew and so did the church membership. Soon the facility space was too limited and it was sold. It was moved down Tellico Street and Main Street and now stands as Victory Baptist Church.
A larger frame building was erected in 1909 on the site of the original church and faced west. This was the fourth church building. An outstanding feature of this building was its beautiful stained glass windows. On a Sunday morning in 1915 this fourth church burned--the result of a flue fire.
A period of fund raising followed the latest loss and the fifth building on this plot of ground was built in 1917. A two story wing containing a fellowship hall, kitchen, additional restrooms and classrooms were completed in the spring of 1990.
Another fire occurred on December 10, 2007 destroying all except the latest wing. After three and one-half years of planning and construction the first worship service was held in the sanctuary of the new building on June 19, 2011.
In 1979 Miss Gussie Ghormley wrote “The History of First United Methodist Church Madisonville." She closed with “Through the years, the buildings have changed, the pastors and leaders have changed, the programs and emphasis have changed. Only one thing remains unchanged; that is the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ the Lord. He constantly will remain."
May this be our banner as we continue to move forward.
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