A Historical Sketch of Asbury Church
[Looking through old papers, we recently discovered an article from 1925 about our church. So I retyped it and we are posting it on this web site. Pastor Asher Tunik 08/15/2005.]
Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, situated about three miles East of Port Deposit, and three miles North of Perryville, Cecil County, Maryland, was evidently the outgrowth of the churches of this denomination that surround it. The Methodists of the neighborhood in which it is located worshipped for some years previous to the erection of the first church of that name in Jackson’s school house, which stood in the forks of the road, adjacent to the present district, or county schoolhouse, about three forths of a mile distant to the South, from where the first M.E. Church was erected. This old stone, rectangular, or square school-house was erected by the Jackson’s, and others of this community at an early date and used as a private school before being taken over by the County School Commissioners. The Jackson’s and many others, were the descendents of Edward Jackson, who acquired a vast amount of land in this vicinity as early as 1685.
In 1825, James Jackson, Robert Jackson, Rachel Jackson, Nancy Bell, Mary Armstrong, William Davidson, John N. Y. Ryan, and Elizabeth Ryan, his wife, the heirs at law of Mary Carahan conveyed for the nominal sum of five dollars, a lot containing half acre of land to James Galbraith, in trust for the use, interest, and purpose of building a church, or house of worship, for the accomodation of the Methodist Society of this vicinity.
These facts seem to indicate very plainly that the Methodists of this neighborhood had not organized as a church at that time. Mr. Galbraith held this land until 1829, when he deeded it to the first board of trustees, composed of John Jackson, William Patterson, Amos Eaton, William Dennison, Francis Segar, William Dennison, (of William) and Edward Jackson, in trust , for the original purpose, from which it seems probable that its organization was effected and the first Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church was erected about that time upon the aforesaid half acre of land, a frame structure, located on the west side of the public road leading from the new or present church to Woodlawn, about five hundred yards north of the present edifice.
The land upon which the new, or present Asbury M.E. Church now stands, was donated by Ann Paterson, Callender Patterson, and Leah (Ryan) Patterson, his wife, by their deed dated the 31st day of May 1859, conveying two and one half acres of land, situated on the west side of the road leading from the forks of the road where stood Jackson’s old stone schoolhouse, to Woodlawn, approximately seven hundred yards north of said schoolhouse; to William McMullen, Edward Jackson, John Gorrell, William Taylor, and William Dennison, trustees, for the use and purpose of erecting a house or place of worship for the use of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
Subsequently, Joseph Witaker and Grace Whitaker, his wife, of Chester County, PA., and George P. Whitaker and Eliza A. Whittaker, his wife, of Cecil County, Maryland, donated and conveyed one half acre of land adjoining the present church yard, by their deed dated the 10th day of November, 1859, to the above named trustees, for the purpose of enlarging the present cemetery.
The presend edifice was erected on the year of 1859, under the spiritual guidance and earthly supervision of the Rev. Francis B. Harvey, who was at the time the pastor in charge; many of his friends and devoted members of his flock, such as Edward Jackson, Samuel Whitaker, John Craig, John F. Knight, George K. Patterson, John Wesley Jackson, William James Kackson, William Dennison, John Bing Campbell, William McMullen, and many others, donating from twenty to thirty days of their skill, labor and hauling towards the erection of the present House of God. The great majority of those who assisted in its erection have gone the way of all men, to receive their rewards.
Early in the year 1900, application was made, and articles of incorporation were filed with the Clerk of the Cecil County Court, at Elkton, MD., by the trustees at that time, manely, Samuel Whitaker, Edward D. Gehr, Joseph W. Whitaker, Benjamin F. Thomas, John B. Campbell and Edmind Whitaker, and on March 5, 1900, The Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, of Cecil County was duly incorporated under the laws of Maryland.
The compiler as been ably assisted, and credit should be given to George W. Jackson, and Mrs. Josephine Jackson, widow of William James Jackson, both of whom have passed their four score years of this life, for valuable information furnished, especially in reference to the erection of new or present church, in 1959.
This historical sketch of the above church is largely intended for the edification and benefit of future generations. We should seek to learn, record, and preserve all that concerns these pious men and women who organized, contributed, and have made Asbury M.E. Church possible, whose influence for righteousness, morality and good citizenship upon this community, througout a century is immesurable.
Dated December 14, 1925