For a number of years all of the territory now under the supervision of Mayfield Presbytery was within the bounds of Obion Presbytery. Obion was organized in 1833, and not until 1882 was Mayfield Presbytery organized. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that the churches within the bounds of Mayfield, as it is now, were in the bounds of Obion until the year of 1882. I have written to some of the older members of Mayfield Presbytery, and they can not give me the necessary data to change the above opinion.
It is impossible to say just how old Bethel Church is, but it was represented the first time in Obion Presbytery at its meeting in Paducah, Kentucky on "Thursday before the 4th Sabbath in March, A.D. 1838." It was represented by one James Hawthron.
This church has had an active existence since its first organization, and to the knowledge of some of the old settlers in the community, it has been located upon three different plots of ground. These plots upon which the church has been located are some two or three miles one from the other. It was located where it now stands some thirty-five or forty years ago. My grandfather who was an early settler in the county (and long since gone on) gave the land for the present location.
Of the early members we now but little. All of the old records have been destroyed, and much of the early history must come from tradition and memory of the older ones. In the old records of Obion Presbytery there are the names of James Hawthron, Hugh D. Smith, James Ashbrooks, N. Williams, G. W. Lovelace, Albin Jett, and J. R. Burrow. These men were counted worthy of the honor of representing the church in presbytery, and in turn one finds that the presbytery counted some of them worthy to represent her in General Assembly. To the above names the following can be added as charter members according to the best evidence to be had on the subject: Jane Preston, Mernavie Lovelace, and Tilatha Hutcherson. Outside of these names it is impossible to say just who were the charter members. It is thought that the Reverend David Morrow was the preacher who effected the organization of the church, as he is the earliest pastor known.
The following preachers have served this church as pastors: The Reverends David Morrow and W. H. Ward served for twenty-five years; the Reverends J. M. Russel, Pryor, E. E. Mitchener, William Rudolph, D. W. Fooks, B. J. Watson, Elmus Rudolph, W. W. Rudolph, A. D. Rudolph, Hugh Watson, E. S. Hicks, William Black who was one of the first, F. H. Callahan, W. O. Parr, and Wayne Wiman who is the present successful pastor. There are many more who may deserve to be mentioned in this list, but this is all that I know about.
This section of the country hardly knew that there was a disturbance caused by the union question so far as effecting the church was concerned. This church was not bothered in the least.
Ballard County has never been very strongly Cumberland Presbyterian. We have but a few churches in her bounds. Bethel is the strongest of these few. Mighty revivals have been witnessed there. It was in that church that I awoke to the need of a Saviour and heard the call to give my life to the Gospel ministry. It was in that church that many discouraging times have been dispelled by hearing the soothing words of God's Book explained. This church is rich in the grace of God potentially, but I think they have never truly awakened to their possibilities in Christ. But the same could be said of all churches.
At the present time this church is going forward in God's grace. They have as their pastor, the Reverend Wayne Wiman, who is consecrated to the extent that the church is learning what it means to travel with Christ.
As before stated this is my home church, and I was greatly aided by my mother, Mrs. R. L. Gholson, and Mr. Mat Preston, an elder in this church, in the gathering of this material.
A letter from Mrs. R. L. Gholson.
Early records of Obion Presbytery.
[Source: Gholson, Louis E. "Historic Congregations in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church." B.D. thesis, Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1935.]