HEBRON UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Marlboro County, SC
Submitted by Carolyn Benge, 2003
HISTORY OF HEBRON UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Material collected and compiled
Alma and Janie Manning
Many thanks and deep appreciation to the late
Mr. T.A. Covington who recorded and excellent account
of the early church.
Other information was obtained from church
records, and from the Wofford College Archives, 1948-1970.
Hebron Church, situated in a rural section of Marlboro County where the planting of cotton has long been king, is three and one-half miles from Clio. Many of the ancestors of those people now living in Clio lived in the Hebron Community and attended Hebron Church. Hebron Church was in the beginning and is now the center of spiritual and social life of the community. Prior to the year 1845, this section of Marlboro County known as Hebron had no church or place of public worship. Most of the residents in this community were members at Old Beauty Spot. The distance was too great to travel over very rough roads every Sunday. Some of the members of Old Clio Church were willing to unite with them in organizing a church.
Thomas S. Covington canvassed the surrounding country and the people responded liberally. Moses Meekins was employed to build the church. The church was finished and dedicated in the year 1848. Rev. Dennis J. Simmons who was the preacher in charge of Bennettsville Circuit conducted the dedicatory service and Hebron Church was considered one of the appointments of that circuit. Composed of members from Beauty Spot and Clio, it was from the first regarded as a strong church. It was Colonel John Covington and his wife, Harriet, who donated the ground for the church, which was built on the ground that is now the beautiful Hebron Cemetery near the east corner where the Edens monument now stands.
In the year 1879, the minister, Rev. George T. Harmon, and the church members expressed a desire to erect a new church building. Ground adjoining that, which was donated, by John and Harriet Covington had already been given by Phillip S. Thomas and his wife Rachel. The church selected a committee, which raised the necessary money through soliciting funds from church members and from friends of the church. Then a building committee, composed of Tristram Covington, Lewis Spears, and E.C. Everett, was instructed to employ a contractor to build the church. Silas Bounds of Bennettsville was given the contract. He furnished all the materials and completed the building for the sum of $1700.00. The lumber was sawed by Neil C. Monroe near Ebenezer Church. All the lumber was selected at the mill by the committee, placed on the church grounds (rough), kiln dried, dressed and matched by hand on the church ground. The builders, who worked on this project were Samuel Parker, J. Arch Spears, and Fletcher Harris. Mr. Thomas Chafin and a Mr. Huntley painted the church for the sum of $300.00.
A proud people saw the completion of their church early in 1880. The first service was held early this year. The occasion was the funeral of Thomas J. Covington. A dedication service was held later in the year by Bishop Wightman. Through the kindliness and assistance of William Frasier an organ was purchased from Lunden and Bates of Savannah, Georgia. This organ was not electric, but was pumped with the feet as one played. The first organists were: Miss Mattie Covington, Miss Nelly J. Covington (Mrs. Joe), and Miss Annie Frasier (Mrs. J. F. McKinnon). Each young lady was presented a gold medal in appreciation of her services.
In the early days of the church the benches were arranged in a manner that the women sat on the right of the church and the men sat on the left. There was no center aisle, but a wooden barrier separated the seats of the opposite sex. There were two aisles, running the length of the church dividing each section. The only occasion any section was used by the opposite sex was when someone came shouting up the aisle going to the altar. Spirituality was demonstrated much more fervently in those days then at the present time, 1970. It did not take a revival to bring forth shouting in the glory of the Lord. It was a common occurrence when services were held. On the women’s side, the benches often had seat pads the length of the bench. These pads were made of calico stuffed with cotton. They made the benches more comfortable for the older women to sit through long services. Today the church uses those same benches, but they have been rearranged to accommodate the families who wish to sit together. The early lights were kerosene lamps with lovely white shades hanging from the ceiling. These lamps were not preserved when the church was wired for electric lights. The present fixtures were given by the Episcopal Church of Bennettsville. The heat came from pot-bellied stoves on each side of the sanctuary. They roasted the people who sat near and did not warm the ones who sat farthest away. These stoves have been replaced by, gas stoves today.
Behind the church were rows of hitching posts where the members hitched their horses during the service. Each family used the same hitching post every Sunday. In the late eighteen hundreds, there were bicycles, carts, buggies, and fringed top carriages. This section was very poor during the Civil War and for some years afterwards. Many people walked to church; some rode horseback. Today only cards of many makes are seen on the grounds. The present membership in 1970 is one hundred. A Sunday School or Church School has always been an important part of the church. The Superintendents since 1880 have been: E.C. Everett, Robert Covington, James T. Covington, C.A. Hubbard, Frank P. Stanton, H.K. Covington Jr., J.L. Stanton, Olive Covington (Mrs. George Welch), Lewis Rogers Stanton, Tom Moore, Ashby Covington, Chesley Covington, Ray Hamer, and Hamer Spears. Brother D.H. Everett reared near this church was educated at Lexington, Kentucky, and Wofford College. He was admitted to the South Carolina Conference of the M.E. Church and served several charges before his death.
In the early nineteen hundreds the highlight of every year for the youngsters was Children’s Day. This was usually under the supervision of Mrs. Clarence Hubbard and Mrs. Ad Hamer. It was always held in the spring when the flowers were in full bloom. The church was an unforgettable sight, with it’s lavish decorations of flowers and scores of children in their Sunday best. The children were comparable to the flowers. Most of the little girls wore white dresses with colored sashes and hair ribbons to match. The boys usually wore white blouses with knee breeches. “Miss Ella” Hamer played the organ while the children marched in singing an appropriate song. Many songs, recitations, and dialogues followed. “Cousin Mary” Hubbard directed this show of juvenile talent. For almost half a century Mrs. Ella Hamer was organist of the church.
The records show that the following people were residents of the Hebron Community prior to 1876. This list also gives the names of their wives
John A. McColl
Ellen Covington Spears
Mary Ann Frasier
Annie Jane Fletcher
Jo Ann Salmon
Clem C. Frasier
John G. Hubbard
Lucy Jane Covington
Thomas C. Bristow
Emily Hamer McRae
William B. Jackson
Col John. Covington
Carry H. Kinney
William W. Covington
Thomas S. Covington
Charity Ann Covington
Capt. Henry B. Covington
James T. Covington
Lydia J. Medlin
Eli J. Covington
Rev. Richard Welch
Thomas Welch Sr.
Ann Nelson McQuage
John P. Smith
Phillip S. Thomas
Rev. Lewis M. Hamer
Elizabeth M. Thomas
Since 1878 the following Ministers have served the Hebron Charge
G. T. Harmon
J. K. Inabinet
J. A. Campbell
George M. Boyd
C. S. Felder
D. O. Dantzler
J. M. Porter
W. E. Sanders
J. W. Ariail
J. E. Cook
Leroy F. Beaty
G. C. Gardner
T. G. Herber
P. B. Wells
W. F. Baker
R. E. Stackhouse
D. H. Montgomery
L. B. D. Williams
J. E. Beard
J. L. Parrish
T. C. Odell
M. F. Goodwin
W. B. Baker
W. S. Martin
B. B. Brown
J. E. Rushton
L. W. Shealy
S. J. Bethea
C. O. Stokes
J. S. Beasley
T. L. Belvin
E. P. Hutson
W. C. Whitaker
S. D. Bailey
F. W. Fraley
In 1939 Hebron Church united with the Protestant Methodist and the Northern Methodist. The name of the church was changed from Methodist Episcopal to the Methodist Church. In 1968 the church was united with the EUB’s and the name changed to Hebron United Methodist Church.
The Hebron Academy, later called Hebron School, stood near the church. In the first church yard a cemetery was started. The first funeral was that of Attelia Meekins, September 25, 1852. After the second church was builts a cemetery association was formed to care for the cemetery and the church. James T. Covington was chosen the first President; Capt. Frank Manning, Vice-President; H. K. Covington, Secretary; and W. H. Manning, Treasurer.
The present organ in our church was given by Clio when they bought a new organ. There is no record of the beautiful antique pulpit furniture. It must have been bought by the members and placed in the church when it was built.
These Memorials have been given in recent years:
Pulpit Bilble- by: Mr. & Mrs. Frank Manning, Jr. in memory of Mr.& Mrs. William Frasier Captain & Mrs. Frank Manning Sr.
Bible Marker-by: Junior Group of Bible School
Hymnals-by: Mrs. George Welch & Mrs. Bruce Hubbard in memory of Mr. & Mrs. T.A. Covington
Hymnals-by: Mr. & Mrs. Walter Hughes in memory of Mr.& Mrs. Sidney Hughes
Hymn and Register Boards-by: Adult Fellowship Group January, 1956
Cross-by: Dr. P.M. Kinney in memory of the Traywick sisters
Candlesticks-by: Mr. & Mrs. Howard Woodley
Baptismal Font-by: W. S. C. S.
Church Signs, Metal- by: Adult Fellowship 1956
Church Signs, Wood- by: Mr. & Mrs. Walter Hughes
Church Signs, Brick-by: Mr. & Mrs. J. A. Stubbs and children in memory of Mr. Jim Arch Stubbs
Pictures-by: Mrs. C. A. Hubbard
Offering Plates-by: Mrs. Jency Brugh and Miss Maxine Brugh in memory of Mr. & Mrs. J. B. Huestess
Pulpit Light-by: Mr. & Mrs. O. F. Covington
Communion Table-by: Mr. & Mrs. Lamar Lee in memory of William Covington
Flower Stands-by: Mrs. Maxine Brugh in memory of Mrs. Jency Brugh
Vases-by: Mr. & Mrs. Ray Hamer in memory of Mr. & Mrs. L. A. Hamer
Vases-by: Mrs. & Mrs. Billy Stubbs in memory of Jim Arch Stubbs
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