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April 14, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Churches: Bethel Methodist Church

Buckingham_Bethel Methodist

Bethel Methodist Church (Courtesy Historic Buckingham) 

In 1854, when Thomas Baldwin’s Gazetteer of the United States counted nineteen churches in Buckingham County, Bethel Methodist Church was among them.

According to Elizabeth McCraw’s historical survey written in 1937, a church was established on the site as early as 1821. By 1833, a log structure was built on land donated by Moses Flood.  When it burned, a new church (pictured above) was built across the road on land donated by Capt. James M. Anderson.  In 1933, the congregation celebrated Bethel Methodist Church’s 100th anniversary.

Located 1.6 miles west of Andersonville on Route 640, Elizabeth McCraw described the building as a “conventional type, one-room rural church, and has three windows on each side and four in the back end.  There is a two-aisle entrance with double doors at each entrance.  The building is ceiled inside, though the original structure was plastered. The church extends back of the pulpit in a circular form.   There are two windows in this part.”

Over the decades it has served many families in the southern part of the county, including these well-known Buckingham surnames:  Anderson, Morgan, McCraw, Coleman, Cole, Jones, Eppes, Davidson, Gilliam, Gary, Flood, Steger, Farrow, Glover, Forbes, Christian, Duty, Rush, Hooper, and Seay.


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  1. Rose Schutte Seay / Nov 5 2013 8:25 pm

    Joanne, thank you for posting about Bethel Methodist. I was somewhat disappointed though not to see the family name SEAY in your list. Especially my mother-in-law Mary Lovelace Seay, who was a lifetime member of Bethel United Methodist Church of Andersonville since 1926. During special Easter Services in April of 1976, she was honored and awarded Life Membership in the United Methodist Women. Her award was pinned on her lapel by her grandson, Ronnie Seay. She was President and Secretary of the UMW; in addition she had been the Youth Counselor for many years.

    I have both of Pennington’s Books and love the drawings, including the Seay Homeplace.

    Thank you for all that you do for us,

    Rose Schutte Seay

    • Joanne Yeck / Nov 5 2013 8:40 pm

      Rose, Many thanks for your comment. The Seay name was not mentioned because it did not appear in the list available to me. I’m delighted that you’ve added this information about your family’s membership and I’ve amended the original post. Joanne

      • Rose Seay / Nov 5 2013 8:57 pm

        Oh Joanne, thank you so very much for your response! Our Seay ancestor shows up in records shortly after Buckingham was formed. There is also a Seay Gold Mine. Both of my in-laws are passed now and I miss them dearly. In fact their beautiful old home which was built in 1888, has now been dismantled.

        the memories….

        Thanks again and I love reading the slate river ramblings,

        Rose Schutte Seay

    • Joanne Yeck / Nov 5 2013 9:13 pm

      Rose, The Seay Gold mine is not mentioned in the 1838 article i quoted in a recent post. I will keep my eye out for a mention of it elsewhere. More about Buckingham gold mines to come!

      • Rose Seay / Nov 5 2013 10:08 pm

        Hi Joanne, Please, when doing your research, if you find something other than the what is written in the publications below, I would love to have it for my family book. Thank you!

        (Our ancestor purchased land that included the mine, in 1798 and was passed down through the Seay descendents and worked until great-grandfather joined the CSA and died 1865.

        It was sold in 1882 to Samuel R. Ludwig.) Rose Schutte Seay

        From : “Geology of the Gold Belt in the James River Basin”

        By Stephen Taber, J.P. Bell Company Inc. 1913

        Page 205: “The Seay mine adjoins the Morrow mine on the west, lying between it and Enonville, and belongs to the same company. (1880 Morrow Mining Company)

        The placer gravels were washed for gold and several quartz veins containing pyrite and gold were opened by cuts and small shafts. There was a mill on the property before the Civil War, but little mining seems to have been done. After the war, a shaft is said to have been sunk to a depth of 150 feet, but nothing further was done.”

        Another source: “Gold in Virginia”

        Palmer C. Sweet, published by Va Dept of Conservation and Economic Development Division of Mineral Resources. 1980. “The Seay Gold Mine adjoins to the Morrow Gold Mine (previously Booker) on the West, lying between it and Enonville, 2.3 miles NW of Willis Mtn., just SE of Tongue Quarter Creek, about 0.4 mile off the NW side of State Rt. 774, approximately 0.85 mile by road South of it’s intersection with U.S. Hwy. 15. In 1913, ten caved pits and trench cuts were observed by the author, Stephen Taber above.”

    • Joanne Yeck / Nov 6 2013 6:19 am

      Rose, Your citation is a gold mine! (pun intended) Now I understand the relationship of the Seay mine to the Booker mine and that section of the vein. Stephen Taber’s book will provide Buckingham gold for many posts to come! Many thanks to you for bringing some nuggests of Seay family history to Slate River Ramblings.

  2. Dave George / Apr 16 2013 2:32 pm

    Hi Joanne, Don’t forget to include the Hooper name in your list of long time residents of that part of the county. That’s my ancestor in addition to the Gilliams. Thanks! Marion George

    Sent from my iPad

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 16 2013 4:15 pm

      Marion, I’ve added Hooper to the list!

  3. Joanne Yeck / Apr 14 2013 8:28 pm

    Great news, George. Very glad you like Dr. Pennington’s drawing. In an upcoming post, I’ll discuss the two volume source of these lovely drawings.

  4. George Cauble / Apr 14 2013 6:09 pm

    Joanne… Thanks for this posting regarding Bethel Methodist Church. And I love the pen/ink drawing that you attached.

    FYI, Harry Holman will be joining me in Richmond sometime in May for a project for which we have discussed. We will be charting his (and my wife’s) ancestors and then eventually joining it with my German ancestors. We are looking forward to having a finished product. worthy of sharing.

    George Cauble Henrico County


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