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Church History



When we consider the history of the beginning of the Shady Grove United Methodist church, we honor those who first felt the need of a church, and by faith and love of God and neighbor,  set out to establish a church in the Jonathan Creek Community.

Around the year 1848, Mr. D. Collins Howell, a farmer and Methodist lay  speaker, saw the need for a place of worship in the community.  He selected a piece of his own land in a grove near the present site of the Rock Hill Baptist Church (the old Shady Grove Church).  Mr Howell built a log house with split logs as seats . The building was heated with a huge .fireplace. This church served the community as a place of worship until  1865 when Colonel Kirk and his marauders burned it.

In or about 1870, a large frame building was erected on the same site as a place of worship and a public school building. Shady Grove (then called Jonathan) was one of 13 churches known as the Haywood Circuit. From a record of 1888, we know that the salary for the minister was $396.00 of which Jonathan paid $65.00 yearly. After some years the circuit was divided, putting Dellwood, Maggie, Hemphill, Jonathan and Cataloochee together.

In 1875 a Sunday school was organized with regular services being held every Sunday. Mr. E.H. Howell served as Sunday School Superintendent. Membership began to grow.  He held the office for 44 years.  In  1919, Mr. Glen A Boyd very ably took over the superintend position,  and held it until 1960.  Since that time a number of members of the church have served as Sunday School Superintendent.

During the year 1898, Mr. A.E. Allison gave  the additional acre of land so that the church could be built on a knoll.  It was completed 1901. Later four classrooms were added.  Shady Grove became a station in 1921.

In 1935. a new highway was built down the center of the valley, leaving the church some distance from it. Many time the congregation discussed building near the highway, but not until the summer of 1958 did plans really begin to take shape under the leadership of Reverend C.B. Barr Jr..  A building committee Mr Jule Boyd, Chair, Mr. Bill Boyd, Mr Jacob Leatherwood and Mrs. Ralph (Margaret) Boyd, Treasurer, worked faithfully doing the planning while the congregation, relative and friends banded together and gave their support through money, donated labor and materials. Land given by Mr. Robert Howell Jr., along highway 284, ( now highway 276) was the site selected.

The fourth Sunday of November, 1959 was the date of the first services held in the new building. Since this date there have been various gifts made to the church for its improvement and upkeep, including the Picnic Area built in memory of Mr. Dave Boyd in 1971. Dr. J. Clay Madison presented the dedication sermon for the new Fellowship Hall on November 17, 1971.

This is the story of the “physical” church, the building, which does indeed reflect the life and labors of the “real” church of Shady Grove, the people of God in this valley seeking to do God’s will. We welcome all to worship with us and be part of our fellowship.