Tidbits of Shelby County History
Methodist Churches of Shelby County

For next few weeks, Tidbits of Shelby County History will focus on the history of local Methodist Churches. The information is taken from brochures found in the file cabinets in the museum. Author and date of the information is unknown. The first Methodist Church covered will be the one in Joaquin.  (Note: I estimated this article was written about 1993.)

The First United Methodist Church of Joaquin has had a continuous history since 1876, although it has not always been located at the present site (105 Private Road 8432).

The first Methodist Church in Joaquin area was located on what is now the NE corner of the Brookland Cemetery near the Sabine River. The land for the church was donated by the Brook family. The lumber was contributed by Aunt Mary Brook, whose great granddaughters; TaTains McNew and Louise Bigger are still active members. This first church name was Brookland Methodist.

Not long afterward the church was re-located to an area SE of the original location; and renamed Harmony Methodist Church. In 1884 the church was moved back to its original location.

That same year railroad lines were laid from Shreveport to Houston and a depot built in the town of Joaquin. In 1888 the official church board purchased a plot in front of the present church building. After the church moved across the street the T.J. Johnson family, including daughter Grace Childs lived in the old church for many years. Later a residence was built on the site in which Mrs. Mytle Jeoffroy now lives. When the church was completed one of the first social events held in the new building was the wedding of Dr. W.A. Ramsey and Miss Clara Short.

In 1904 a new building was erected on a newly acquired plot of ground on the north side of the road – the side where the present church now stands. This third building was weakened by a windstorm in 1921. It was torn down and a new edifice was built. It was dedicated in January 1922.

The present church building is the fifth in the history of the church and the fourth in the Joaquin township. This building was built debt-free and dedicated in the spring of 1951.

After moving to Joaquin, the church was known as the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Nationally in 1939 the three main branches of the Methodist Church reunited, becoming “The Methodist Church”. In 1968 The Methodist Church united with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to become “The United Methodist Church”. Since 1968 the Joaquin church has been the “First United Methodist Church”.

The Joaquin Methodist Church became a full-time, charge in 1946. Prior to that time, it was a circuit church.

Since 1946, there has been 22 pastors. One of these, the Rev. Randall Barlow, went to England as an exchange minister in 1979. He liked it so well he stayed. He served churches in Yorkshire, the Isle of Mann, is now pastor of a Methodist Church in Camelford, Cornwell, while serving on the Isle of Mann, Queen Elizabeth’s daughter, Princess Anne worshiped in Rev. Barlow’s church.

The First United Methodist Church is the oldest church in Joaquin. It has a long history of service to the community. When the local school burned in 1951, the church school rooms were used as public-school classrooms.

One of the proudest civic achievements came several years ago when an effort was made to legalize the sale of alcohol. This church took the lead in organizing the opposition that defeated this effort.

The church has been here during part of the nineteenth century, all of the twentieth century and will be here to welcome the twenty-first century.

God has guided the Joaquin Methodist Church through these 117 years, and we look forward to his continued guidance in the years to come.