of the founding of the
Falmouth Methodist Church
1854 - 1954
W. T. Watkins - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Bishop
R. R. Patton, D.D. - - District Superintendent
G. G. Kitson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Pastor
FALMOUTH METHODIST CHURCH
Generously transcribed & submitted by Nancy
Bray, thanks Nancy!
MARY'S CHAPEL 1854 - 1954
Corner Shelby Street and Maple Avenue
Today, May 23, 1954, we are happy to welcome you to the Falmouth
Methodist Church. It is a glorious day for you and us, and we
trust that you will visit with us again.
This little booklet is intended to bring to its readers a brief history
of the Falmouth Methodist Church for the past one hundred years.
We dedicate it to the faithful and consecrated pastors and members, both
past and present whose labors have brought us along the Christian Way of
We are indebted to the Falmouth Outlook and its editor and publisher,
Warren J. Shonert; to records of the late E. E. Barton, Pendleton County
attorney and historian; to data from the files of the late Mrs. R.
Beverly M. Colvin; to Mrs. E. C. Barlow of Georgetown, Kentucky, and to
facts gleaned from many of the earlier members of the church and
community for the material of this booklet. -- Mary E. Colvin Fossett
When a certain Paul C. Lair of this city, by written obligation, donated
to the Falmouth Methodist Episcopal Church, South, a lot in the town of
Falmouth on the corner of Main Cross and Upper Mill Streets (the streets
now known as Shelby and Maple Avenue), it marked the beginning of one of
the leading Churches of Falmouth today.
The members of the Methodist Society, as it was called in the early
eighteen hundreds, had no regular meeting place, first meeting in the
homes of the members and later in the Courthouse in this city. The
small Methodist Society, which was an appointment on the Cynthiana
Circuit, first met in the home of Birkett Colvin, Sr., of Mt. Vernon.
The Cynthiana Circuit, which extended from Cynthiana to Newport,
included the counties of Harrison, Pendleton, and parts of Campbell,
Kenton and Grant.
Leaving the Cynthiana Circuit, the Methodist congregation became a
member of a smaller Circuit--The Falmouth Circuit--which was first begun
in the year of 1832. Among the ministers who served this small
church on the Falmouth Circuit, were Josiah Whitaker (1833-34),
great-great-grandfather of Dr. H. W. Whitaker of Ft. Thomas; James C.
Crow (1835-36); Joel Peak (1837-38) and William C. Mahon, 1839.
Between the years of 1839 and 1854, the time of the erection of the
Church building, which is still standing at the corner of Shelby Street
and Maple Avenue, we have no record of those who served as pastors.
After Paul C. Lair died in 1855, his will, when probated, showed that he
had left no heirs to claim the real estate, which he had previously
donated to the Falmouth Methodist Society. Mr. Lair's wife, the
former Martha Frazer, was a daughter of John Frazer, and she too passed
away near this time, leaving no heirs. Thus the Falmouth Methodist
Church received a clear title to the lot donated to them by Mr. Lair.
According to the court records in the courthouse in this city, George W.
Edwards, Robert Purdy, Elisha B. Harcum and James T. Applegate
represented the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and accepted the lot.
The first three named were trustees of "Mary's Chapel", the
name given the Falmouth Church by Mr. Augustus Robbins, in honor of his
devoted and Christian wife, Mary, who was also a daughter of John Frazer
and a sister of Mrs. Paul Lair.
Augustus Robbins had come to Falmouth from Canada and married Mary
Frazer. He kept a small store and was in moderate circumstances.
When William Henry Harrison was elected President of the United States
on a protective tariff platform, Mr. Robbins was advised to put all the
money he had and all he could borrow, on hogs, which were then selling
for $1.25 per hundred. Mr. Robbins acted upon this advice, bought
all the hogs he could get and transported them down the river and sold
them on the market for $3.50 per hundred, thus making a clear profit of
$20,000. This enabled Mr. Robbins to do what his heart deeply
desired to do during his lifetime--build the church with his own means
and present it, free of debt to the congregation. However, the
furnishing of the building was left to be financed by the membership.
According to the records, the Church was completed by Mr. Lair and Mr.
Robbins, together with the other members of the congregation, and the
dedicatory service was conducted by Bishop Hubbard H. Kavanaugh in the
The building at that time had one entrance, facing on Shelby Street with
a small vestibule inside the entrance. It was heated by a stove in
the center of the room, and the pulpit was in the exact place that it is
today, with an organ and the choir on the side.
The original building has been twice remodeled, first under the ministry
of Rev. D. W. Robertson in 1890 and dedicated by Rev. W. T. Poynter on
February 22, 1891. One of the changes made at this time was the
removal of the vestibule, which opened on Shelby Street, and replacing
it with three large art glass windows. The other windows in the
Church were also replaced with art glass ones to match the front three.
Two vestibules were then constructed, one on each side of the building
making two entrances, as they are today.
second time the building was remodeled was in 1926, under the ministry
of Rev. R. R. Rose, and the dedicatory service was held on February 6,
1927, and conducted by Bishop W. F. McMurray. The Church was
enlarged by several feet at this time to make room for the seating of
the choir behind the pulpit and a small pastor's study at the right of
the pulpit. The upper story, with Sunday School rooms, kitchen and
dining room, was also added, and a hot water heating system was
installed. A balcony was built in the rear of the Church, thus
giving the auditorium a seating capacity of about 350. The belfry
was added to the top of the Church and the bell from the Presbyterian
Church was installed. All through the years, the Methodist and
Presbyterian congregations were very closely connected, shaaring each
other's pastors at times and their buildings, when needed. At the
time of this last remodeling of the Methodist Church, the people of the
Methodist congregation used the Presbyterian building for services and
the Presbyterian Church, having disbanded, donated their bell for the
Methodist tower. The building committee at this time consisted of
R. Beverly M. Colvin, Chrm., J. Edward Fossett, L. L. Kirby, John Booher
and Roy Wilson.
Throughout the numerous changes in the building the pulpit has remained
in the same location and the altar rail is the original one, which was
placed in the Church 100 years ago. In 1952, a new Hammond
Electric Organ was installed in the sanctuary of the Church, under the
pastorate of Rev. G. G. Kitson.
During the ministry of Rev. R. R. Rose, the Falmouth Church left the
Falmouth Circuit and became a station, thus enjoying the services of a
full time pastor.
The first parsonage for the Circuit was bought and occupied during the
ministry of Rev. T. F. Taliaferro in 1881. It was located on North
Maple Avenue and was a five room cottage (now the home of Mrs. Myrtie
Shoemaker) and occupied two large lots with stable for the pastor's
horse, large cistern, well and a cabin on the back of the place.
The present parsonage at 510 Maple Avenue was built around 1900, and
first occupied by Rev. W. M. Britt. In 1915 extra rooms were added
and improvements have been made from time to time.
Since the small Methodist Society in 1832, the Church membership has
increased to its present number of 290, and all branches of the Church
program are well organized and active. A thriving Methodist Men's
Methodist Youth Fellowship and Children's Group add greatly to the
strength of the Church.
Besides the many Christian laymen that the Falmouth Methodist Church has
contributed to the community and the world, one minister, Dr. E. M.
Fossett, Supt. of the Ashland District of the Kentucky Methodist
Conference, received his early Christian training in the Falmouth
Methodist Church. One missionary to the foreign field of Korea,
Mr. Myrtle Barker Brannon, now retired and living in Alabama, was a
daughter of Rev. T. W. Barker, pastor of the Falmouth Church in 1895.
Our Church is justly greateful for the part it has had in the Christian
life of these servants of God.
We have no record of the ministers serving the Church from 1854 to 1869,
but the following were the pastors from 1869 to the present:
|Rev. Orson Long
|Rev. D. W. Robertson
|Rev. G. H. Buffington
|Rev. B. S. Robbins
|Rev. George Froh
|Rev. F. F. Briston
|Rev. Ransom Lancaster
|Rev. R. H. Wightman
|Rev. B. F. Sedwick
|Rev. T. F. Taliaferro
|Rev. L. D. Shaw
|Rev. J. W. Mitchell
|Rev. D. W. Robertson
|Rev. William Shoesmith
|Rev. T. W. Barker
|Rev. T. F Taliaferro
|Rev. F. K. Struve
|Rev. W. M. Britt
|Rev. B. F. Chatham
|Rev. W. S. Maxwell
|Rev. W. S. Grinstead
|Rev. E. K. Arnold
|Rev. D. W. Robertson
|Rev. E. K. Pike
|Rev. S. H. Pollitt
|Rev. C. P. Pilow
|Rev. J. Frank Richardson
|Rev. F. T. Howard
|Rev. B. C. Gamble
|Rev. R. R. Rose
|Rev. R. N. Bush
|Rev. A. W. Vanderpool
|Rev. Alva Williams
|Rev. H, M. Massie
|Rev. E. L. Griffy
|Rev. Madison Combs
|Rev. G. E. Graden
|Rev. W. H. Poore
|Rev. F. D. Swanson
|Rev. K. E. Hill
|Rev. G. G. Kitson
A Faithful Servant
Rev. G. G. Kitson
To those, who have served, loved and worshiped in the Falmouth Methodist
Church through these many years, David W. Foley beautifully expresses
their feeling in the following poem:
"I love to step inside the Church,
To rest, and think, and pray;
The quiet, calm, and holy place
Can drive all cares away.
I feel that from these simple walls
There breathes a moving sound
Of sacred music, murmured prayers,
Caught in the endless round.
Of bygone worship, from the store
The swinging seasons bring---
Gay Christmas pageant, Lenten tears,
And the Sweet hallowing
Of all that makes our human life;
Birth, and the union blest
Of couples at the altar wed,
And loved ones laid to rest.
Into my soul this harmony
Has poured, and now is still;
The Lord's own benediction falls
Upon me, as I kneel
Once more, with lifted head, I go
Out in the jarring mart,
The spring of gladness in my step,
God's peace about my heart."
to "Memory Lane"