Bethel United Methodist Church

Established 1812

National United Methodist Historical Site 172

The history of Bethel United Methodist Church cannot be written apart from the persons and incidents in early America., On the heels of Daniel Boone, Kasper Mansker, and other explorers and settlers of what is now Kentucky and Tennessee, came the ancestors of many of our former and present families at Bethel. Circuit riders of the period faced savage cruelty and certain death. They rode on horseback from station to station, fort to fort, sometimes with a guard - sometimes without. The first men appointed to Bethel by the Kentucky Conference from 1786 - 1790 were James Haw and Benjamin Ogden.Haw wrote to Bishop Coke, "No man must be appointed to this country who is afraid to die."

From 1790 to 1822, when the Tennessee/Kentucky border was finally settled, preachers were appointed by the Cumberland Conference. These included Peter Massie, brothers J.W. and Thomas Gunn, and many others.

,In his autobiography "The Life and Times of Elder Reuben Ross",, Ross tells of attending Bethel and a school nearby during the War of 1812 and after. He tells of seeing Henry Bascomb, Thomas Morris, and Peter Cartwright, who afterwards became famous preachers in the, West. The Clarksville and Montgomery County appointments appeared in the Tennessee Conference minutes for the first time in 1828., Cullen Carter wrote "We do not know how long these churches (Bethel among them) had been organized before they were reported in these conference minutes"., Obviously these churches had been in the Kentucky or Cumberland Conference before then.

In September 1834, the trustees of Bethel Meeting House Methodist received title to the early log house from Manoah Bostick They had worshipped there since even before 1812. The current church building is the third building to be built on the present site The first church was a log structure probably similar to other early church buildings that were usually about twenty feet wide, and twenty-four feet long, constructed of logs from the nearby forest.  Worshipers came from miles around to hear the Methodist circuit riders when they were able to come to this area.

The second church was a frame structure, which burned in the fall of 1853, during yard clean up. Most or all of the pews were saved, however, and were used until 2005. The third building was built of, handmade bricks and had a door on each side, one for the men, and one for the women. The outlines of the doors may still be seen on the outside of the sanctuary, which was, built from November of 1853 to March of 1854, according the the dates inscribed on a rafter above our sanctuary.

At the beginning of World War II, Camp Campbell was built near our church, and our church was to be included in the land takeover.  However, two of the church leaders of that time went to Washington, D.C. to intercede. They succeeded in keeping our church from being taken, and also made sure the Tennessee Conference appointed a pastor that year

In 1956 when the highway was widened to four lanes, two on each side of the church, much effort (including legislative intervention) retained Bethel Church and site for Christian witness to the area. This left the church building situated between the north and southbound lanes of busy Highway 41A which became 7 lanes in the 1990's.

Because Bethel is just outside of fort Campbell;s Gate 3, our church has been very fortunate to have many soldier's families take a very active part in the activities and worship at Bethel United Methodist Church. Several have remained after their period of service was over. Bethel's congregation made up of both civilian and military people who are dedicated to serving God's people in this community.


Adult Sunday School 10:00 AM
Worhip Service 11:00 AM
Church Wide Bible Study 6:30 PM

Bethel UMC
3180 Fort Campbell Blvd.
Clarksville, TN 37042
(931) 431-5758
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