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Home North Carolina Stanly County City of Norwood Historical Markers Randall's United Methodist Church

Randall's United Methodist Church

Randall's Church Road at SR 1740, Norwood, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 16' 13.4112", -80° 7' 4.98"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"First services held ca. 1785 by Jesse Lee & Bishop Asbury in home of John Randle. Fifth building, 1974, 3/4 mile East."
      The region now known as Stanly County was first settled by pioneers who entered the area in the mid eighteenth century. As more and more settlers occupied the region, a network of unity developed around local church–oriented men and women. One of the earliest known religious groups in the county was associated with what is today Randall’s United Methodist Church.

      The first meetings for the congregation that would later form Randall’s were convened in private homes as early as the 1750’s. Although the Methodist Church had not established itself in the colonies by that time, the members of the congregation aligned themselves with the Methodists once the movement came to backcountry North Carolina. Randall’s is recognized as the oldest Methodist congregation in the county. The official date for the organization of the church is given as 1783 although there is still some debate as to that date’s accuracy. The lack of documentary evidence is troublesome since a series of fires destroyed records. The Methodist church spread through the use of itinerant preachers, and Stanly County became part of the Yadkin Circuit when the first preacher came to the area in 1780.

      Noteworthy is the number of visits to the congregation by the first Methodist Bishop, Francis Asbury. Asbury traveled extensively throughout the two Carolinas preaching and developing new churches. Asbury recorded in his journal that he visited with and preached to members of Randall’s on six occasions between 1785 and 1805, making it one of the most frequented backcountry congregations during the height of Asbury’s activities.

     Although the first meetings of the congregation were held in the home of John Randle (Randall), efforts were made to establish a permanent place of worship and, by 1790, a log church had been constructed. It was later destroyed by fire and replaced by a frame building in 1828. A subsequent church building was constructed on the site after a storm in 1858 and that building, after much renovation and remodeling, was replaced by a modern structure in 1974. The cemetery, including the burials of members of the Randall family and slaves who worshipped in the church over the years, is on the property.

Ivey L. Sharpe and Edgar F. Pepper III, Stanly County USA: The Story of an Area and an Era, 1841-1991 (1990)
Stanly County Library website: http://www.stanlylib.org/hrchurches-sou.html
Newspaper clippings from Stanly News and Press and correspondence in marker file, Research Branch, Office of Archives and History
Chronology of Stanly County: http://www.scs.k12.nc.us/home/1700s.html
Randall's United Methodist Church Historical Marker Location Map, Norwood, North Carolina