Thomas Run Church

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Thomas Run Church
Thomas Run Church.jpg
A beautiful scenic picture of the Watters Meeting House, taken October 2, 2011
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LocationNortheast of Bel Air off Maryland Route 136, near Bel Air, Maryland
Coordinates 39°35′32″N76°17′34″W / 39.59222°N 76.29278°W / 39.59222; -76.29278 Coordinates: 39°35′32″N76°17′34″W / 39.59222°N 76.29278°W / 39.59222; -76.29278
Area2 acres (0.81 ha)
NRHP reference # 78001466 [1]
Added to NRHPJanuary 3, 1978

Thomas Run Church, also known as Watters Meeting House, is a historic Methodist church located at Bel Air, Harford County, Maryland. It is a one-story, rubble stone, three-bay church with a slate-covered gabled roof. It was among the first structures used by Methodists in colonial America. [2] [3]

Harford County, Maryland County in Maryland

Harford County is a county in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, the population was 244,826. Its county seat is Bel Air. Harford County is included in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA Combined Statistical Area.

Slate A fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous, weakly metamorphic rock

Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. It is the finest grained foliated metamorphic rock. Foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering, but instead is in planes perpendicular to the direction of metamorphic compression.

Contents

History

On October 16, 1751, Henry Watters was born near the present site of the church. After being converted to the Methodist faith at the Presbury meeting in 1771, he came back to his home to start a church. He was known as being one of the first American "itinerant" preachers. Around the same time, a log structure was built on the site. It was known as the "Watters Meeting House", but unfortunately the structure was destroyed by a fire years later. The current structure, made of stone, was erected around 1840 on the very spot that the previous log building once stood. It served the Methodist church for many years. The church grew and later became the home of Daniel Ruff, a circuit rider of the Methodist Episcopal Church. [4] According to records at the Lovely Lane Methodist Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, the Church was part of the Darlington Methodist Charge, which included Darlington United Methodist Church and Rock Run United Methodist Church. Records from the Lovely Lane Museum also show that the church celebrated its 150th anniversary in August 1932. It was shared with the other churches in the celebrations, which lasted for a couple weeks. In 1931, Reverend Raymond E. Manley came to serve the charge. In his memoirs, he writes of the interesting travel to the church every week:

Circuit rider (religious) Preacher who rides circuit

Circuit rider clergy, in the earliest years of the United States, were clergy assigned to travel around specific geographic territories to minister to settlers and organize congregations. Circuit riders were clergy in the Methodist Episcopal Church and related denominations, although similar itinerant preachers could be found in other faiths as well, particularly among minority faith groups.

Methodist Episcopal Church religious organization in the United States

The Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) was the oldest and largest Methodist denomination in the United States from its founding in 1784 until 1939. It was also the first religious denomination in the US to organize itself on a national basis. In 1939, the MEC reunited with two breakaway Methodist denominations to form the Methodist Church. In 1968, the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to form the United Methodist Church.

Darlington United Methodist Church United States historic place

Darlington United Methodist Church is located in Darlington, Maryland. It is a pre Civil War structure, built in 1852, with white siding, large windows, and many historically original architecture. It is a church within the Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. It is also one of two churches part of the Darlington Methodist Charge, the other being Dublin United Methodist Church in Street, Maryland. Prior to July 2014, the church shared pastors with Rock Run United Methodist Church, located in nearby Level, Maryland. There was a third sister church, Thomas Run Church which closed its doors in 1945.

"There were three churches- Darlington, Rock Run, and Thomas Run. It was an adventure to go to Thomas Run which was miles back from the main road and the road leading to the church was not kept, which made it hard on a car. This church was kept up by one family and they paid their part regularly." [5]

In 1945, the church closed its doors. It has remained with the Darlington Methodist charge since. For many years, activities still occurred at the church. In 1947, it is known that youth activities from all three churches met there for an entire weekend. Currently, services are held semiannually with one on the first Sunday of June and the other on the first Sunday of October. In March 1996, an arson set fire to the building resulting in complete destruction of the interior. Luckily, photos were used to help reconstruct the inside as close as possible. The church was re-dedicated in October 2000.

The church was purchased by Blanche and Lester Pyle in 1963 from the Methodist Conference. It is now run by the Thomas Run Foundation, Inc.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. [1]

National Register of Historic Places Federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred in preserving the property.

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References

  1. 1 2 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. Eleanor Greer Robinson and James T. Wollon Jr. (March 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Thomas Run Church" (PDF). Maryland Historical Trust. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
  3. Thomas Run Foundation, Inc. (October 2, 2011). "Bulletin": 3.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. Thomas Run Foundation, Inc.
  5. Memoirs of Reverend Raymond E. Manley, served the church from 1931 to 1934.