Bethel Methodist Church and Cemetery

Bethel Cemetery dates from the late 1870s.  The oldest marked grave is from December, 1884.  It seems that the earliest graves carried the surnames:  Collins, Weeks and Gilbert.  The location of the cemetery has been a bit confusing in the past.  Some references say that it is located in Winston County and others in Choctaw County.  It is indeed located in Oktibbeha County. 

The first deed for Bethel Cemetery dates from August 1, 1888.  On that date, Hamit Shaw sold for five dollars to JW Sharp, TJ Woodson and JF Savage as "Trustees For Grave Yard", one half acre of land.  The deed described this parcel of land as a "burying ground to wit:  The NE corner of said lands to be 24 ft East and four ft NE of John Gilbert's grave, to run fifty hards due West, fifty yards due South, fifty yards due East and fifty yards due North to the place of starting".  The deed also stated that this half acre of land was located in the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 32, Township 17N, Range 12E.  The deed is recorded on page 49 of Oktibbeha County Deed Book 98.

Bethel Church was organized as a new Methodist congregation in the early 1870s.  The existing church records do not go back to the founding of the church, so the exact date is unknown.  The members of the new Bethel Church came from Shiloh Methodist Church in southeastern Choctaw County and from Pleasant Hill Methodist Church in northern Winston County.  The deed for the location of Bethel Methodist Church dates from August 28, 1874.  On that date, Hamit Shaw and his wife Jane Shaw sold for one dollar to George Carroll, John Savage, JD Hall, and John Hall as trustees, one acre of land.  The deed states that the Shaws sold the land "in consideration of the love and affection they have and bear to the M.E. Church South, at Bethel.".  The deed describes the one acre as a "parcel of land to wit, commencing at the NW corner of the SW 1/4 of SW 1/4 of Sec 32 T17 R12 and running due South one hundred and twenty yards on the section line then due East forty one yards thence due North one hudred twenty yards, thence due West to said corner, containing by estimation one acre wheron has been erected and is now the building known as Bethel Church".  The land was entrusted to the named trustees and to their successors "as a place of Divine worship, for the use of the Ministry and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church Souty, subject to the discipline usage and Ministerial appointments of said church as from time to time authorized and declared by the General Conference of said Church and the Annual Conference within whose bounds said premises are situated."  The deed is recorded on pages 390-392 of Oktibbeha County Deed Book 43.

excerpted from "Weeks Family Newsletter,Vol 7, No 2, May 1998"

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This page was last updated on: March 9, 2002