Methodism in Gallatin County

When Gallatin and Carroll Were One

Over 200 years ago Philip Embury and Robert Strawbridge came to America as lay preachers from Ireland to organize and preach for Methodist Societies in the colonies. Thus Methodist preaching began in the “new world.”  Three years later, in 1769, John Wesley announced, “We have a pressing call from our brethren in New York. Who is willing to go?” Several came. Among them was Francis Asbury who a few years later began his travels through the colonies, which included New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas.  The story of all that transpired on these journies is a very interesting one but we will concentrate on the settling of Methodism in our own State of Kentucky.  On May 7, 1790, Francis Asbury started from Lee County Virginia, for his first Conference in Kentucky to be held at Masterson’s Station. Historians place this station as being “near Lexington.” However, Mr. Masterson later moved to what was then Gallatin County. The old Masterson residence is still standing near Carrollton on Highway 42. The building has been well preserved and looks now as it did when Bishop Asbury was a guest for the night.  The Methodist Church in Gallatin County was founded by Richard Masterson and Reverend Henry Ogburn. Mr. Masterson had entertained Bishop Asbury, ten lay preachers and six circuit riders in the first Methodist Conference held west of the Alleghenies and now Bishop Asbury came to visit and hold services in Gallatin County. 

Reverend Ogburn was the first residented Methodist preacher in Gallatin County. He lived near Port William (now Carrollton). He came to Kentucky from Virginia in 1795.  The first Methodist services were held in the home of Mr. Masterson in the house now standing on U.S. 42. Meetings were held in either the home of Reverend Ogburn or Mr. Masterson until 1810 when a frame church was built on Sixth Street in Port William (Carrollton).  In 1830 a brick building was built on the site of the present church. William Winslow donated the land upon which the church was built and also the cemetery lot behind the church. The old cemetery is still in existence.  In order to make original boundary of Gallatin County a little clearer to the present day reader we might explain it as follows: Gallatin County included all the present Gallatin County; all of Carroll County; the greater part of Owen County, about as far south as Monterey; and part of Trimble County north of Corn Creek.  The Warsaw Methodist Episcopal Church was officially organized in 1844. A year later in 1845 the Methodist Episcopal Church, South was formed and the Warsaw Church became the Warsaw Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Charter Members were: Enoch Kirby and his wife, Delilah;’ Captain James McDanell and his wife, Arena; Dr. John T. Robinson and his wife, Eliza M.; and Dr. Robinson’s mother, Mrs. Lydia Craig. The first minister was Larkin F. Price.  The congregation was strong and vigorous and meetings were held in the homes of the members until 1857, when they rented the Missionary Baptist Church for one Sunday a month. This lasted for 16 years. (This church is now the Second Consolidated Baptist Church).  Later the Methodist purchased the original building of the Christian Church and worshiped there for many years. This is the site of our present Methodist Church. 

There is very little information available for the years 1844 to 1857. Our first Presiding Elder is listed in the year 1845. He was Reverend Benjamin T. Crouch. During this time the church was part of the Owenton-Warsaw Circuit in the Shelbyville District and stayed on it until 1852. In 1853 we were put on the Warsaw, Ghent, Marvin Chapel, Drury Chapel Circuit in the Covington District and were on it until 1903. 

Other Presiding Elders during this time were Reverend John C. Harrison, William M, Grubbs, William McDanell Abbott, and Thomas N. Ralston. While the congregation was worshiping in the old Missionary Baptist Building it was blessed with a great revival of religion under the ministry of Rev. T. B. Cook, which was carried on during one entire winter. Brother Cook was aided in the meeting by S. X. Hall and Rev. B. F. Bristow. Up to the time of that meeting the church had a small membership. After that it grew and became quite a strong congregation. The influence of this revival was so great the evidence of it can still be seen in the present beautiful building that it helped erect. The total value of the churches was listed at $10,900 with one parsonage, in Warsaw, valued at $2500.00. The first listing of a pastor’s salary was given at $1000 per year. In 1891 Reverend T. W. Barker came to Warsaw for the first time. He was here for two years, left and returned for his second stay in 1909 for three more years. Brother Barker can be remembered for many reasons. He probably brought more members into the church than any minister we’ve had. Many of those who are our active members today came into church while Brother Barker was here. He stayed for a total of five years which is longer than any other minister has stayed. In 1901 the desire for a new building came to fruition. A building committee was appointed consisting of J. H. McDanell, Dr. S. B. Robinson, S. P. Griffin, Rod Perry, and Hugh Montgomery. The contractors for building the building were Joseph and William Wilson of whom it was said, “They so faithfully performed their part under very trying conditions and who received a vote of thanks for completing in every detail a beautiful piece of architecture, doing in many instances more than they agreed to.” Another who helped in building the building was Mr. Bruce Scott who was a faithful and sincere worker. 

While the new building was being built the congregation secured the courthouse for services at no cost. They paid the sexton $2.50 per month. Conference claims for that year were $130.00. 

The building cost about $7000.00 and was paid for in full before it was dedicated. On the day of dedication a subscription was taken to buy a bell and make a walk. $200.00 was raised. All of the wood living the walls and forming the ceiling as well as the kneeling rail is of quarte3red oak and was purchased finished in Warsaw. The altar rail being an exquisite piece of workmanship by Carl Hansen. The exterior is of pressed brick with a slate roof.

Dedication of New Building - 1901 During the week of dedication the Warsaw Church entertained the District Conference and the Sunday School Delegates of the district.

The pastor at the dedication on Sunday, April, 20, 1902, was Reverend W. G. Cram, who was in his second year at Warsaw and who later became a Missionary to Korea. Presiding Elder was Rev. F. S. Pollitt. The dedicatory sermon was given by Rev. J. W. Moore of Fourth Avenue Church, Louisville, Kentucky.  The beautiful stained glass windows were dedicated to the following:

J. H. McDanell born 1823; died 1899
Arena McDanell born 1823; died 1887
Emma Kate Perry-Hughes born Aug 20,1869; died May 14, 1899
Eliza Moore-Robinson born Sept 9, 1892; died Aug 16, 1895
Enoch Kirby born April 1, 1800; died 1877
Delilah Kirby born Mar 31, 1800; died July 17, 1891
Susie Morton, 1884-1895
Mary Ann Francis Montgomery born 1822; died 1890
Alice Pryor McDanell
Elizabeth A McDanell; born May 16, 1897; died April 5, 1898
Harry N. Hansen, born May 10, 1900 died Nov 13, 1901
Window in the infant room was donated by the Sunday School

“The church has a bright future before it and will prove a beneficent blessing to our town,” was said by the reporter who attended the dedication.

Early 20th Century In 1903 under the ministerial leadership of Reverend E. E. Holmes, Warsaw was made a separate charge and was part of the Frankfort District.

In 1920 under the leadership of Rev. P. J. Ross we were transferred back to the Covington District. The church seemed to move forward during this time even though in World War I many of its members were in the armed services. In the late 1920’s the men were quite active as well as the ladies. The men of the church showed much pride in being active members of the #4 Sunday School Class. This class met every Sunday and had a membership of between 30-35 men. The teacher was Dr. Sam Robinson. The ministers were Reverend H. C. Martin and Reverend A. W. Vanderpool when the class was at its height. The ladies also were being active and enthused in the Women’s Missionary Society in the late 20’s and early 30’s. Their meetings were well attended and many worthwhile projects were undertaken. In 1932 under the leadership of Reverend E. L. Ockerman we transferred to the Shelbyville District. The Epworth League, the organization of the young people was active with regular meetings. Various projects were undertaken and regular programs held. Since we were a part of the Shelbyville District in the 30’s when the League was most active, we were also an active part of the Riverside Union whi8ch was the Sub-District youth group. Those participating churches along with Warsaw were Ghent, Drury Chapel, Carrollton, Milton, Bedford, and Warsaw was the host to these churches several times when the youth would gather and strive to win the sub-district banner for having the most young people present. Leaders at this time were Reverend and Mrs. C. L. Neikirk. In 1934 when Reverend C. R. Thomas was our minister, Warsaw was placed back into the Covington District. We stayed there until 1939 during the ministry of Reverend Neikirk when we went back into the Shelbyville District. In 1943 while Reverend E. N. Early was pastor Warsaw was placed in the Frankfort District. Three years later, in 1946 while Brother Early was still here we requested to return to the Covington District and there we have remained to the present time. Warsaw has been in the Covington District a total of 93 years. In the late 1940’s the Official Board saw the need to build a more convenient and modern parsonage. The property next to the church was purchased and the old parsonage sold. A building committee was appointed consisting of Messrs. Dean Richards, C. V. Raymond, and M. O. Traylor. The architect for the parsonage was Perry Cleveland who was also the contractor for the construction. The parsonage was built in 1948 and dedicated on the 50th anniversary of the building of the church. The first family to live in the new church home was Reverend and Mrs. W. R. Warner.

The 1950's

The 50th Anniversary of the Warsaw Methodist Church Building was celebrated on Sunday, July 15, 1951. Pastor at this time was Reverend, I. S. Pineur. District Superintendent was Reverend R. R. Patton. Not only was the anniversary observed but the new parsonage was dedicated as was the lovely new bulletin board. 

The bulletin board was dedicated to two late very active members, Mrs. Kathleen Thompson Bradley who for almost 50 years was pianist and organist for the church, and Herman Drees, who was treasurer of the church for many years. 

For this occasion the church was entirely redecorated and new red carpet purchased from Isadore Pineur and company was put down. A very large crowd was in attendance with many former pastors and their families present. 

On this same day a final dedication was in the presentation of the chimes for the belfry given to the church by Bruce Wallace, a former Warsaw resident. 

During this same period the United States Government began the building of the new Warsaw-Markland Dam. This brought many new families to our community and our church grew by leaps and bounds. Now the building was two small for an efficient Sunday School Program. It was decided to build seven new rooms to accommodate the needs of the church. Tragedy struck during this project however, and on Tuesday, July 10, 1956, in the afternoon, while a new footing was being shaped the south wall of the church gave way and one entire section of the church collapsed narrowly missing two workmen. The members were especially concerned with the damage done to the domed ceiling and inclined floor. The large stained glass window was completely lost and the piano as well as some of the pews were badly damaged. The building was restored to its present style at a cost of $10,000. The choir loft was moved and enlarged with the remains of the large window being maintained. The pews were restored and are still in use. The piano was completely restored by Mr. John Pink, a former member of Warsaw Church, as a gift to the church by Miss Edna Florence Tyson, a member. Services were held in the Gallatin County Courthouse and in the Gallatin County High School Gymnasium while the building was being rebuilt. Prayer Meeting was held as Cottage Services. Pastor at this time was Reverend George W. Hoffman and District Superintendent was Reverend H. C. Ogles.  It was with great joy a few years later when the debt incurred by the above tragedy was paid in full and all accounts burned in a special altar service. Then near tragedy struck again. 

On Christmas Day, 1959, an explosion at the Pepsi Cola storage plant in Warsaw practically destroyed the entire community and the church, being only two blocks away, felt the pressure of the blast. Lights were twisted, windows in the pastor’s study and the large Sunday School room were blown out completely, and leaser damage was done throughout the building. Fortunately everything could be replaced but more decorating had to be done in various rooms at a cost of $2700.00. Pastor now was Reverend C. C. Newsome. It was during Rev. Newsome’s time as pastor that the speaker system was installed.

The 1960's

During the pastorate of Reverend Earl C. Roberts, the Methodist Men Group was organized. The first president was Mr. Robert Morris. These men have successfully carried out several worthwhile projects for the church such as building new stairway to the basement, purchasing a film strip projector, laying a new sidewalk. They contributed half of the new roof on the parsonage and helped put it on. The group corrected a parsonage sewer problem by buying the necessary stops to fix it. They were instrumental in securing the movie projector which came as a gift from Mr. Bruce Wallace. Finally, they built the coat-rack which has been so useful and they supported getting the new outside light for the church entrance. This light was made and installed by Mr. William McDanell. The current president of Methodist Men is Fred Donsback, vice president is Dr. E.C. Threlkeld, secretary is Dr. J. O. Tyson, and treasurer is Mr. William McDanell. 

In April of 1964 the first issue of the “Warsaw Methodist News” was published with Fred and Edna Donsback as editors. Since that time 8,122 copies have been mailed to five continents, ten states and 33 cities.

In 1966 the church took part in the 200th Anniversary of American Methodism by having an all day service when our pastor Reverend A. L. Osborne, preached a John Wesley style sermon and several members of the congregation dressed in accordance with the time being celebrated. 

In November, 1967, a new Thomas Electric Organ was purchased by the church. An organ fund had been established some years earlier. The initial gift having been given by Miss Olive Dean in memory of her sister Miss Sallie Dean, both being former members of the Warsaw Methodist Church. On Sunday, February 18, 1968, the organ was dedicated at a special service. 

In June, 1968, at the Kentucky Annual Conference which at Morehead State University, the Methodist Church united with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to become the United Methodist Church. This was the second time the church had changed its name since 1844 founding of the Warsaw Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1939 when the Protestant Methodist Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South united to become The Methodist Church. Now it is the The United Methodist Church in 1968-69. 

During the 1968-69 conference year the Warsaw United Methodist Church is celebrating its 125th Anniversary Year. A series of events has been planned in celebration of this event. 

The first special program was a drama presented on Sunday evening, October 27, 1968 with the ladies from the Concord Presbyterian Church near Patriot, Indiana, bring the drama “The Challenge of the Cross” before us in a most effective presentation. Two former members the former Dorothy Dickerson and Janet Craig were in the cast. 

The next event was our first Christmas Turkey Dinner and Bazaar held on Saturday, November 16. Almost $200.00 was realized from this event as well as much pleasure and fellowship. 

This money along with love gifts from the members of the congregation went toward the renovation of the church on the inside and out. All walls have been painted, floors cleaned and cared for, a new furnace installed, roof put in good condition, Sunday School rooms redecorated, kitchen remodeled with cabinets, work tables and a new stove. The surrounding grounds have been cleaned, the chimes repaired and a new cabinet for records and record player donated as a gift from Mr. And Mrs. Bruce Wallace. 

On April 27, we celebrated our Homecoming with special guests being our Bishop Roy H. Short, and Mrs. Short, and our District Superintendent, Reverend Charles Perry and Mrs. Perry. 

On May 18, a special Sacred Concert is to be presented by members of Zeta Kappa Chapter of Delta Omicron, Professional Music International Fraternity. This event, as plans now stand, will conclude the 125th Anniversary year of the Warsaw United Methodist Church. 

We, the members, pray that in future years our church will look to its past and to its future to build a more fulfilling and successful future in the service of our Savior, Jesus Christ.   


This History of Methodism is from the program for the 125th Anniversary of the Church, held on April 27, 1969, and is the work of Mrs. Edna Florence Tyson Donsback.

The program contains additionally lists of ministers, elders, biographies of various pastors which we have not reproduced here.

It also contains a number of interesting pictures,  but the printing quality is not such that we can scan and reproduce them in these pages. Sorry.