History of Lee’s Chapel United Methodist Church
George E. Lee, Sr. organized Lee’s Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church in Leesburg, Kentucky, now known as Lewisburg, in 1859. The church was named for Pastor Lee, his organizer and first pastor.
Due to the amalgamation of the conferences, Lee’s Chapel was named Lee’s Chapel Methodist Church from 1939 to 1968. When the black general conference merged with the United Brethren Evangelical Church in 1968, the church was renamed Lee’s Chapel United Methodist Church. Today it is the oldest African-African church in the United Methodist Conference of Kentucky. Although there are two other older black churches known in this conference, Lee’s Chapel is the only such church that was organized by all black or “colored” members.
The original founding members were the late Alfred Blue, Sr., Henry Foster, Sr., William Edwards, Sr., Henry Graham, Daniel Robinson, Sr., Nathaniel Smith and Henry Lee. These men under the direction of God and the direction of Pastor Lee were bound by Christian love and faith to worship and fellowship together.
The first worship services were held at the homes of Pastor Lee and Alfred Blue, Sr. Later the services/meetings (gatherings) were moved to the Little Black School, later owned by Arthur Robinson in the trough as the locals called the area by the North Fork creek. The church members with their own hands, and with the sweat of their brows, later built a small country church about three doors south of the old schoolhouse. As early as 1919, several trustees of Lee’s Chapel, the late Richard Jones, Stanley Thomas, Charles Wells, Sudie Breckenridge (mother of Irene Davis and Frances McDade), Mary Steward, George Redmond and Alvin Jones banded together to buy property for 250, $00. of the Gaither family for permanent residence at Lee’s Chapel. The late Pastor Wilkinson was the pastor, when the church was physically moved to its current location by male members and community members. Brothers Jones, Thomas, Wells and Redmond and Sister Breckenridge purchased additional property in October 1938 for $1 paid in cash, and other good and valuable considerations from Addie and Elza Owens for $50.00, and the Union Benevolent Society Lodge No. 1, and its trustees William Blue, Lewis Hughes and Flora Tolliver to enlarge the church property. Pastor John K. Chenault was the pastor who helped the members pay off the debt for moving the church to its current location.
The church’s Sunday school has been organized to serve children, youth, and adults over the years. Other special programs such as the annual basket reunion/homecoming, Men’s and Women’s Day, Easter and Christmas programs, fish fries, sausage roasts, fake wedding program, the Stations of the Cross program leads home and other events were organized as fundraisers, and for holiday fellowship. Lee’s Chapel Church’s first anniversary program was organized in 2008 and coordinated by Wanda Davis. Baptisms were celebrated at North Fork Creek. As far as is known, the first district superintendent was the Reverend Broaddus. Other pastors serving Lee’s chapel were pastors Raleigh, Hut, Brewers, David McFarland, Sapp, William Hinton, Stament, Herth, Hayes, Saunders, Lee, Davis, Ryce, Wicks, Theodore Chase, Willinson, who helped move the church to the highway. , Melvin Harding, Renfro, John K. Chenault, Granige, Joseph E. Brown, GT Brown, Maddox, Anthony Tyson, JE Lewis, Benjamin Ward, Clara Ruffin, Paul V. Smith, Pearlie Palmer, and Pauline Graves, who was pastor at the time this information was provided. Superintendent HH Greene was also superintendent during this time. Former parochial school superintendents and teachers were the late Alfred Blue, Lucian O’Banion, John Williams, Amos Brown;
The younger superintendents were Frances McDade and Alfred Thomas, Jr.; Winn Davis, Charles Wells, Jr., Evelyn Davis Thomas, and Charles Thomas served later over the years. The lay leaders were Charles Wells, Sr., and Irene Davis.
The founding members were also the first administrators. Past directors over the years have been the late John N. Davis, Sr., James Pleasant, Claude Lang, George Redmond, James Tibbs, Sr., William Harding, Sr., William Harding, II, Stanton Thomas, Noah Connor and William. Black-smith. Other younger members served as superintendents and teachers later over the years.
Stewards who served when Lee’s Chapel was organized were Sarah Lee Blue, Fannie Graham, Alfred Blue. The other delegates were Lottie Tolliver, Amanda Williams, Addie Owens, Margaret O’Banion, Sudie Breckenridge, Mary E. Steward, Lottie Foster, Addie Foster and Axxie Brown. The younger delegates were Alberta Thomas, Frances Bush McDade and Irene Davis. The class leaders were Margaret O’Banion, Sudie Breckenridge, Addie Foster, and James H. Tibbs, Senior Chairman of Ladies Aid, Mary Steward and Lottie Tolliver. The presidents of the Woman’s Society of Christian Services were Frances McDade and Alberta Thomas.
Most of this information was provided by Mrs. Frances McDade, who was also a church pianist for several years until her illness. Both Sister McDade and Irene Davis have consistently stated in conversations that “older members as well as current members love their church not just with their lips and tongues, but with their hearts.” The members were spiritually and financially active, and as a small rural church, we hope to be able to survive.
* Most of the information was provided by Ms. Frances McDade. Some information and spelling of names may be incorrect as some records were very old with some spelling mistakes. Some of the actual dates may be a little off, as the dated documents may have been filed much later than the date of the actual transactions that took place by the trustees.