Kings Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church located near Filbert traces its origin to the early 1860’s, when Rev. S. C Roper started ministerial work in the thickly populated area of York County.
The First services were held in 1863 in a brush arbor about one mile west of the present church near a rock spring on land owned by the Quinn family. This crude edifice of lop benches set beneath a canopy of trees, drew a small congregation when weather permitted and the occasional passing of the circuit riding preacher.
The church was formally organized in 1864 by Rev. M. A. Connolly and there were seventeen members on the roll. Church records do not clearly state the names of all of the charter members. The names of Rhoda Wood, Ann Clinton, A.W. Beard, J. M. Thomasson, Agnes Mulholland, and Hugh Venable are found among the list of charter members. Times were hard and means for travel were poor, so the congregation could not grow rapidly. Progress at that time was slow.
Kings Mountain Chapel took on new life around 1870and began to grow in numbers and spiritually. Rev. L.A. Johnson was assigned to this territory. He soon married a local girl by the name of Margaret Smith and located on a farm, west on Hwy 5. There was still no church building; services were held at the home of first one then another of the members. Rev. Johnson was determined to build a church and secured the cooperation of Joseph A. Smith and Issac Davis. The land on which the present church is located was deeded by D. H, Smith to the trustees namely; Joseph A. Smith, J.H. Wallace, William Dickson, Franklin Robinson, and D. H. Smith in 1876.
There was not much money among the members with which to provide a more comfortable place for worship. After a consultation between Rev. Johnson, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Davis, they decided to finance construction of the church building and to furnish the labor for this venture themselves. Accordingly, the three took their wagons to the woodlands, cut down trees with axes by hand and hauled the logs to the church site. Mostly through their own labors, the original log building was completed in 1876 and served as the first house of worship for the congregation. Walls were logs covered with rough boards, the floor was undressed pine planks, and seats were rough slabs that probably had no back rest.
The first service was preached by Rev. E. L Archer, who later lived in Spartanburg and became a state senator and prospective candidate for governor of South Carolina. Rev. Johnson preached as often as he could. It is reported that the men in the congregation considered the whole thing a frolic at first. They are reputed to have thought nothing of spitting on the floor, smoking their pipes, or even passing a bottle during service. But all of these things Rev. Johnson and his earnest co-worker, Mr. Smith (dubbed “the Bishop”) ignored. At least, they took them good naturedly and continued to work as though they had the most devout congregation in the land.
For the next twenty years the membership swelled to well over one hundred. The need for a larger and more adequate church was realized and plans were initiated by church leaders. In 1897, a new church was built. This is the same sanctuary used by us today. The building consisted of one very large room with two doors in the west end and a door in the north side. The church was heated by two small stoves and lighted by two wall lamps and three hanging lamps (the original wall lamps remain in the sanctuary to this day). The building cost over $800 and served a membership of 185 by 1898.
Kings Mountain Chapel Methodist Church has always occupied a conspicuous place in the spiritual like of people in this section of York County. Even before the days of automobile, multitudes of people flocked to Chapel to worship God. They came from all directions, traveling in wagons and buggies, on horseback and foot. At the turn of the century, this was one of the largest Methodist churches in York County. Today we continue to reach out and serve as our founders did over 100 years ago.
2014 Kings Mountain Chapel will proudly celebrate its 150 years of service to God.