History of Lewis Chapel
the early summer of 1851, a group of men, women and children assembled under the shade of some oak trees,
for the purpose of making some plans, whereby, they might worship and glorify
their God. Their wishes were made known
to the Presiding Elder Samuel Wragg Capers of the Columbia district of the South
Carolina Conference and Rev. Nicholas
Talley and Rev. John Wesley North
were appointed to preach to this group the remainder of the year.
After some discussion
on the subject of providing a house of worship, it was unanimously agreed by
the group to build one as soon as possible.
Robert H. Tisdale and Isaac Reddin Brunson Sr. were elected the first trustees
and bought two acres of land from Andrew J. Moses for the sum of two dollars
for said plot. This transaction was made
August 2, 1851, and the deed was secured and recorded in Sumterville Court
House (now Sumter Court House) August 4, 1851, in Book 0, pages 177-178. The deed was written by G. W. Black and E. H.
Jones and contained a Trust Clause. The
plot at present assumes a rectangle shape, due to recent changes in the public
road and a canal ditch.
secured the land upon which to build a House of Worship, these consecrated and
God-loving people began to formulate plans and gather materials for the
building. While preparations were in the
making for the church building, this group continued to meet regularly under
the Oak Tree for worship.
H. Tisdale, a carpenter of his day, was made overseer of this building and with
the help of the other men, work was soon begun.
Records state that all work on the building was done by the group
without any recompense.
the South Carolina Annual Conference in session at Georgetown, South Carolina,
December 10, 1851, this newly organized congregation was welcomed into the
Sumter Circuit under the name of “Shelter”.
This name was chosen because a few boards had been secured to assist the
Oak Tree in protecting the congregation from the sun and rain until the church
was finished. Bishop J.O. Andrews
presided at the conference in Georgetown and Rev. Allan McCorquodale was appointed
pastor for this group, with William Wynn Mood as assistant pastor.
Samuel Wragg Capers continued as Presiding Elder. These men of God were assisted by a local
preacher by the name of William Lewis,
who gave every assistance possible to the new family of God as they built their
house of worship. He is credited with
doing a great deal of the hard labor on the church.
building was completed during the early part of May, 1852, and was dedicated to
God, May 28, 1852, by the pastor, Rev. McCorquodale, using as a text the
following scripture: “Lord, I love the habitation of thy house, and the place
where thine honor dwelleth.” Psalm 26:8.
On this occasion the name was changed from Shelter to Lewis Chapel in
honor of the faithful services and keen interest shown by Rev. William Lewis. The
membership of the church at this time was 41.
Isaac Reddin Brunson Sr. (born Dec. 25, 1811-died May 9, 1874), M.B. Brunson,
and James S. Newman did much work to assist in the early organization of Lewis
According to the "Watchman and Southron" 1903, Mr. Tisdale was one of the oldest citizens living in the Concord township where he spent his long life. He was a useful and valued citizen. He is buried in the Lewis Chapel Church Cemetery alongside his beloved wife, Sarah Elizabeth.
Some years later, the Rev. Henry A. Bass, Miss Kate Tisdale and Mrs. Euphrasia Newman
Childers (1857-1949) worked exceedingly hard to keep the church organized. And because of their untiring efforts and
splendid services these names shall ever be cherished and revered by the people
of this church and community as well.
organization of Lewis Chapel a thriving Sunday School existed throughout the years, and special
mention should be given to the splendid services rendered by the following
superintendents; Rev. Henry Bass, Miss
Kate Tisdale, J. Dozier Newman, D.L. Smith, J. B. Gordon, Mr. James F. Prescott,
who faithfully served for twenty-three years and Mr. A.B. Mooneyhan.
to the Second Quarterly Conference April 26, 1931 of the Oswego Charge, a start
had been made on remodeling Lewis Chapel.
A plan was decided and logs for the framing were cut to improve the
sanctuary and to add Sunday School rooms.
The Rev. R.R. Tucker was the Preacher in charge during this time.
Lewis Chapel and Zoar Churches formed a charge known as Lewis Chapel-Zoar. Plans were immediately formulated to build a
parsonage. A two-acre lot was secured
directly opposite Lewis Chapel on Highway 57, and work on the building was
begun November 1, 1959. By February 25,
1960, the parsonage was completed at a cost of $16,500.00 including
furnishings. The Rev. T.L. Bryson was
pastor during construction.
In late 1972, under the guidance of the Rev.
Jerry Watson, plans were made and funds sought for the construction of an
additional building adjacent to Lewis Chapel to provide more classrooms plus a
fellowship hall and related facilities.
this building fund a substantial start, a long-time member and Sunday School
teacher, Mrs. H. D. (Bessye) Brunson, offered to donate $ 8,000 with a
challenge to the congregation to equal that amount before construction
began. The congregation met Mrs.
Brunson’s challenge and groundreading was held July 1, 1973. Much of the foundation and finishing work was
done by members of the church. The
completed building consisted of six classrooms plus a nursery, a pastor’s
study, kitchen and restroom facilities and a fellowship hall to accommodate
addition was dedicated on March 24, 1974, and named the Bessye Brunson
1976, upon the death of A.B. Mooneyhan, a member and leader for nearly 25 years, memorial contributions made in his
name to the church were designated by his family to be used to establish a
church library. Again, the Rev. Watson
extended much needed ideas, coaching, assistance and encouragement in aiding a
committee to complete this project.
Mooneyhan Memorial Library was dedicated on March 20, 1977, and contained 126
attendance increased, the congregaton decided to renovate the sanctuary in 1987
to expand the seating capacity. This
renovation was completed in the summer of 1987.
September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo roared through South Carolina and Sumter
County was struck extremely hard. The
sanctuary of Lewis Chapel feel victim to this indescribable tragedy. The congregation was disappointed but
hopeful that God would guide us through this horrible experience. They chose seven members to guide us through
the planning and building program. The
Building Committee, Graham Tisdale, Chairman, Carson Prescott, Grace Prescott,
Nancy Boykin, Christine Johnson, Clarence Huggins, and Wade Warr tirelessly pursued the vision of providing
the best facility possible for this generation and those yet to come.
The present sanctuary was dedicated to the glory of God on November 24, 1991. This new facility should be a continual testimony of how Ggod can work in a tragedy for the good of those who love Him. In His Hands the curse of Hurricane Hugo has been turned into an unspeakable blessing for the congregation of Lewis Chapel. May His Name be praised in every generation allowed to worship in this lovely sanctuary.