In 1836, Godfrey and Tabitha Young moved their family from Pulaski County, Kentucky, to the Highland area of Lincoln County, Kentucky. Church services were held in their home at that time. Records indicate that the Highland Methodist Church was established in 1849 on a knoll just east of the Old Corduroy Road, which is the present Highway 1247. The original church was built beside the cemetery and was known as the Pleasant Hill Meeting House. It had two doors, one for women & children and the other for men. When the Civil War started in 1861, one door was used by the supporters of the North and the other by sympathizers of the South. To further separate the Blue and Gray, a partition was built down the center of the church to keep the groups apart as a result of hostile feelings.

The following excerpt is from an old church record book. It is dated September 3, 1938 and was written by Cyrus M. Young:

"I do not know when the old church was built but I can remember while attending school in the church when I was very small and can remember one incident of said school and that was playing with the other children in an old dilapidated shed or tabernacle that had been used for church services. Seeing the old pulpit is all that I can remember about it. The shed stood just to the right of the road near where the gate to the cemetery is at the present time. The old church was a log house about 24' x 28' with two windows on each side and as well as I can remember was weather boarded on the outside but not ceiled on the inside. The deed to the church lot was made by my grandfather, Godfrey Young, in November, 1849. I suppose the church was built sometime afterward."

In 1877, ten feet was added to the old church and another window on each side. It was plastered inside and a bell was put on top. Cyrus remembered many "glorious" revivals being held there.

On March 9, 1904, John H. Butt and Everette Young chose the site for a new church to be built. Through the influence of Mr. William Landgraff, an agent for the Lincoln County Land Company, they secured the half acre lot for free. Squire Griffin made the foundation and prepared the cornerstone making the figure 1904 on the stone from a cardboard that Cyrus Young had cut the figures on for him. On October 5, 1904, John H. Butt, Newland E. Butt and Walter Young began putting down the sills.

Here are more excerpts from the church record book:

"On Saturday, October 15, 1904, a small crowd of people gathered at the old church for service in the a.m. Dinner on the ground. Although the crowd was small, Brother Cannon succeeded in raising $40.00 in small amounts. The two largest amounts over $1.00 being given by John H. Butt - $5.00, and Rhoda Butt - $1.25. At 2:30 p.m. the cornerstone ceremony was conducted by Rev. G. H. Cannon, assisted by Reverends Cook, Cloyd & Blackburn. Something like 150 names of donors were recorded in the book which was deposited with some other things of which I don't remember. Many of the names of very small boys and girls giving five cents and ten cents. Some of whom have passed on to their reward."

They were having trouble raising more money and work was stopped from time to time. Mrs. Lockey Young, wife of Cyrus, started writing to people for donations. Finally, it was completed and dedicated on August 30, 1908. Afterward they "repaired" to Cyrus' spring, where a bountiful dinner was spread on the tables under the trees (his property adjoined the church lot on the north, on the corner of what is now Red Oak Lane and 1247). The last sermon in the old church was on September 16, 1906, and the first in the new church was June 21, 1908. Services between those dates were held in the school house, which was near the cemetery.

The following description of the new church was taken from the Highland United Methodist Church 50th Anniversary program:

"It consisted of one large room; there was no basement, no Sunday school rooms and no bathrooms. It was heated with two large coal burning stoves. Kerosene lamps were used for light. To the left of the pulpit and yet on the same floor level where the congregation sat, there was a section called the Amen Corner. Any member who felt worthy to sit there was welcome. Often during the church services, the sound of "Amen! Amen!" could be heard from that section. To the right and on the same level as the pulpit was the church organ and the choir. The altar extended the length of the pulpit and around the side in front of the Amen Corner. Each Sunday school class had a designated place in that same room. When classes were over, everyone was dismissed for a short intermission. Many would take a walk outside and always the bell would be rung to let everyone know that worship service was ready to begin."

In 1942, it was decided to demolish the church and replace it with a new one. Rev. Arnold Watkins was the pastor at that time. Mrs. Nannie Butt had the honor of removing the very first shovel-full of dirt at the ground breaking ceremony on April 21, 1942. A tin box was placed inside the cornerstone. Some of the items sealed within the tin box included a Holy Bible, copies of the "Discipline" and the "Christian Advocate", the Kentucky Methodist Quarterly, a list of contributors to the church and some children's pictures, papers and a card. The present building was dedicated on November 15, 1942. Hardin Cook was the main carpenter along with other members, many of whom were Youngs, worked long hard hours. The altar and pulpit from the previous church is still used. The old bell, which rang in the belfry, is still there today and is still rung to invite the community to church services every Sunday.

Tabitha B. Young was a granddaughter of Godfrey Young. On December 8, 1885, she was married to Elbert G. Baugh by Rev. James M. Cook. Elbert was a steward and trustee of the church and also was a secretary and treasurer of the Sunday school. In honor of Tabitha and Elbert, their children purchased a stained-glass window memorial for the Highland Methodist Church in 1942 for $25.00. This window is located inside the church office.

On July 26, 1992, the congregation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the present church building. Pastor Rev. Dennis Spencer led the morning worship with prayers and beautiful hymns. During the service there was an introduction of former pastors and a presentation about the history of the church.

In the year 2020, attendance is small, but worship continues by the descendants of the founding fathers of Highland United Methodist Church.



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