The United Methodist Church has a long and rich history in the U.S. Five years before the start of the Revolutionary War, Francis Asbury volunteered to come to America as a traveling preacher. With the start of the War, most of his fellow missionaries returned to England, but Asbury stayed in what was to become the United States.
Following the teachings of John Wesley, Asbury traveled thousands of miles helping to organize small groups who met to share the Bible and spread the word. In 1780, he met the freedman “Black Harry” Hosier. Hosier served as his driver and guide, and, though illiterate, Hosier memorized long passages of the Bible while Asbury read them aloud during their travels. He eventually became a famous preacher in his own right, the first African American to preach directly to a white congregation in the United States.
In 1784, John Wesley appointed Asbury and Thomas Coke as co-superintendents of the work in America. The Christmas Conference that year marked the beginning of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States. For the next 32 years, Asbury led all the Methodists in America.
In 1788, William Pheobus and James Riggin were appointed as travelling ministers for our area of the Shenandoah Valley. They mostly traveled by horseback or drove buggies organizing small meeting groups and developing churches in the area. Starting with these two, over the next 227 years 170 pastors served New Market Methodists.
The Church, the Parsonage and Church Names
The first record of any building is found in the Martin’s Gazetteer, published in Charlottesville on 1831. It tells of a log church located somewhere near the home of Mrs. Homer Bushong on what is now Lee Street.
In 1845 in a dispute between the North and South Episcopal Methodist Churches, the southern churches took the name Methodist Episcopal Church South. The book of discipline was changed in the 1840’s to make slave owning punishable by removal from the church. This was generally disregarded, but the rift eventually became such that the churches divided into MEC North and MEC South.
In 1857, the trustees purchased land on Congress Street from Andrew and Jane Sprecker to build a new church. This church has been remodeled and built onto over 150 years.
In 1861, the church purchased a bell which still rings today.
In 1888, the church purchased the Southern Part of Lot 43 for a parsonage from the Littell farm. In 1912, they moved the home on the lot back from the street and essentially re-built a new parsonage.
In 1896, A.C. Steptoe moved to Asbury Methodist Church in New Market as the new pastor.
In 1931, the church was remodeled, adding brick veneer, and an educational building (Manor Hall) was added to the rear of the church. The church was renamed Manor Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South in honor of Mrs. Annie Manor
In 1939, Church name changed to Manor Memorial Methodist Church when Union of North and South churches took place. The New Market Circuit included Broadway, Lacey Springs, Pleasant View, and Glasses Churches
In 1958, Farrow Hall built on two pieces of land purchased from B.F. White
In 1965, the Asbury Methodist church in New Market and the Calvary Methodist Church in Mt .Jackson were merged with Manor Memorial.
In 1968, the name was changed to the current name when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged and we became Manor Memorial United Methodist Church
1972: The new parsonage was built next to the church on land which originally had been the New Market Female Seminary, whose principal was Mrs. Jesse Rupert of Civil War fame as a Union sympathizer and which later became the home of Mrs. Mary Williamson who also ran a school for young ladies.
2004: Renovation of Farrow Hall
Where Did Those Names Come From and Who Are Those People
Manor Memorial Church and Manor Hall was named after Annie Manor who moved to New Market in 1888 and married James D. Manor. They lived at and ran Manor Mill, later she moved to a brick residence on Congress Street. She lost her two children within a year in 1917 and 1918. Her husband passed in 1926. Mrs. Manor devoted much of her energy and money to the church. There are many stories of her generosity. She paid at least two of the insurance premiums each year because the church didn’t have the finances. She hosted the church council at her home because she wanted to know what was going on. When the treasurer’s report was read she often pulled out her wallet and made up the difference. One church minutes showed that at one meeting the church had $6.00 is bills and $.23 in the treasury.
Farrow Hall was named after George Thomas Farrow, known to most as Tom. Mr. Farrow was born April 16, 1888 and became a member of Manor Memorial on March 2, 1941. He served in many capacities in the church. He was the first Chairman of the Building Plans Committee for the 1958 Education Building. Shortly before the actual construction began he passed away. The Official Board of the church decided to name the fellowship hall as the G.T. Farrow Fellowship Hall.
Stained Glass Window – Harriet Littell
On the 7th day of May, 1888, Harriet Littell was one of the heirs who deeded the property on the west side of Congress Street (todays 9309 Congress Street) to the church. Her father, F.H. Littell, during his lifetime, had made it well known that he wished the property was sold to the Church for use as a parsonage, but the original deed was lost or mislaid at Woodstock and never recorded. There was a house on the property which we assume was used as a parsonage, up until that house was moved back on the property and a new parsonage built.
Miss Harriet was born in New Market on July 13, 1804 and died at her home (where Farrell Hall stands today) on February 20, 1892 in her 88th year. She joined the church in 1827 and was involved in the erection of the new Methodist Church in 1857. She ran a boarding house for years.
Miss. Littell was the first president of the Women’s Memorial Society of New Market that pays tribute to those VMI boys killed in the Battle of New Market. One of our church stained glass windows is dedicated to Miss. Littell by her niece Eliza Pence
The New Market Food Pantry was started by Lil Hughes.
New Market Horse is Church Attendant by Bill Garrard April 29, 1954: A horse goes to church here every Sunday, except in cold weather. The horse is well behaved, doesn’t make a noise, seems to enjoy the service and doesn’t sleep during the sermons. The church is Asbury Memorial Methodist Church in New Market. It is a white clapboard structure with a belfry, 75 years old, on Cadet Road. It seated 100 people.
The horses owner, William Roadcap, moved the horse in the winter so he could not attend church, but as soon as the weather was warm Felix returned to his window view of the church and the folks inside.