In Their Own Words
A man by the name of Tolson was the founder or in other words was the first preacher of Tolson Methodist Church. People by the name of Craigs gave the ground. It was put up by any one that could drive a nail. At this time people didn’t have money to hire carpenters like they do today. The workmanship was crude.The cornerstone was laid on Oct 20 1866. The building was dedicated in 1867. A bell was on top the roof but the cupola…decayed and it wasn’t safe to hold the bell so Mr. Monroe took it down and it was later on sold to Douglas Reel. Back to the right side of the building is the cemetery. There were around fifteen families here and a lot of them are buried here.
The inside has the same benches, pulpit, an old organ and piano. The conference furnished us a pastor and where we fell short with our money Mr. Calan would go around to the farmers for chickens and milk and the older ones fixed the chickens and made Homemade ice cream. We made good off them. People seemed to buy and help out.
Mrs. Frances Monroe and myself are the last two members living. When we couldn’t have Festivals we passed envelopes around to people in town and they have given us a donation to help out with expenses. We still have church the first Sun. of the month and we have a meeting on Nov. the first Sun. People are invited to attend.
Notes from a conversation with Ralph Edelle Monroe
Tolsons Chapel was a member of the Washington Conference, Central Jurisdiction, West Baltimore District.
For many years a part of the Charge Shepherdstown Asbury Church. [The local church] had Sundays at 10:00 A.M. and Worship Service at 3:00 P.M. and often night Services at 7:00 P.M. This schedule continued until the middle 30’s for a brief period.
For a short duration Williamsport, Clearspring and Sharpsburg were a Charge (Circuit). The Worship Service in Sharpsburg changed to 11:00 A.M. However the Sundays for Worship in Sharpsburg was on the First and Third Sundays in the month.
The Lodge building was on [Church] Street. It was used for festivals and dinners until the early 40’s. The building was later converted for a dwelling. It [the lot] is now a residence.
The Church attendance was from 60 to 30. This was due to death and migration.
Pastors through the years were Clarence Davis, William Polk, David Keets, Luther Dorsey, John Dyson, Rufus Abernathy, Julius Williams, Havard Johnson, Aaron Johnson, Milton Hargrave, Charles Snowden and Boyd Walton, District Superintendents – Christopher Scott, Ely Lofton, and Kelly Jackson.
Bishops – Charles McDowell, Alexander Shaw, and Edgar Love.
Festivals, Homecomings, Anniversaries, and Bush Meetings were yearly events. Festivals were held on the lawn of Virginia King.
In the year of 1995 the Baltimore Conference of the United Methodist Church closed Tolson Chapel as only two members survived. Over a period of years the Church declined very rapidly.