History of Oak Summit Methodist Church

Picture Courtesy of Jack Ogburn

A project sponsored by the Methodist Youth Fellowship of Oak Summit Church under the supervision of the Pastor and the Committee on History and records, homecoming, August 26, 1951.


For many years there has been a need for a history which would bring to light the facts regarding the early days of the community and the origin of the church at Oak Summit.

This project, undertaken by the Youth Fellowship, is an effort to meet this need. Many hours of research by the youth and their advisors have gone into the preparation of this booklet with the hope that many will find great moments of yesterday recalled to the present.

We are indebted to a number of people for their help in this undertaking, especially to Mrs. J. M.. McCustion, Mrs. T. L.. Walker, Sr., Mrs. Jewel Darnell, Mr. L. L.. Walker, and Dr. J. S . Haitt.

No doubt errors will be found, but they were not made intentionally. Some families and some person were mentioned more prominently than others, but this was of necessity.

We sincerely hope that this history of our community and church will prove helpful in promoting a greater loyalty on the part of everyone of us.

The Community

In 1750 Lord Granville offered the Moravians a grant of land in the Carolina's. The tract covered 98,985 acres stretching over the land of the three forks of Muddy creek. Thus, all the land in our vicinity belong to the tract known as "Wachovia."

Little is known of this (northern) section (of Forsyth) until about 1800 when Edmund Ogburn, the pioneer Ogburn of this section, came into the state from Pennsylvania. He settle on a fifty-one acre tract seven mile north of Salem (Near the present intersection of Routes 8 and 66 ). Here he cleared the land, cultivated crops , and secured wild game. The main thread of our story of the community comes to light in the son who was born about a year earlier in Brunswick, Virginia .

James E. Ogburn purchased a tract of land adjoining that of his father's, as soon as he was married, and did his father before him, constructed a home of the pioneer type of logs hewed from the forest on the tract. It is recorded that the chimney of the house was built of hewed logs, also riveted together, and coated inside with a plaster of clay.

This house is still standing today on the same site that it was constructed on over one hundred years ago. It is situated on the lot behind the New Mineral Springs High School, and is locally known as the "Red House."

All the Ogburns in this section trace their ancestry back to Edmund and his five sons, especially James E. and M. L.. James E. and his wife reared eight children, seven boys and one girl. The eldest son, Marcellus H. ("Stump ") bought land adjoining his father's and built a pioneer home. It is still standing today and is known as "Green Pastures" (the home of Mr. and Mrs. Blake Ferguson and family.) One of his daughters, Anna married another Ogburn, Joe E. They have been outstanding in this community for a number of years.

M. L. ( " Matt ") built an old log home about a half-mile from the present site of our church. this home, over eighty years old, is known as the Gladstone place today. His children are well known in our community . They are : Mrs. J. L. Newton Sr., Mrs. C. R. Ferguson, Mrs. J. H. Pratt, Mrs. W. R. Gladstone, and Willis " Bud " Ogburn . Page after page could be written about the ancestors of the pioneer Ogburn in this community .

But there are other families too, which are worthy of mention. a glance at the Cox clan brings us to the knowledge that this community was first called "Flat Branch." Inquiries to the Post Office Department revealed the fact that this Community had a Post office established as " Flat Branch" on December 31, 1877. William H. Cox was the only Postmaster at this office. It stood just about where Mr. Fred. E. Lewis, Jr.'s house stands today. it was named "Flat Branch" for the flat branch which ran down behind the house.

Mrs. Billy Cox (Sarah) acted as postmistress for this office and was displeased with the Name "Flat Branch." She wrote to the Department at Washington having it changed to "Oak Summit" for the great oak trees in the community and for the summit on which they stood. This was done on March 9, 1981 and the office carried the name until it was discontinued on March 31, 1903.

The name recalls Martin Westmoreland, the founder of the Sunday School in the Mount Pleasant community which became the Mount Pleasant Methodist Church. Martin was the father of T. T. Westmoreland, one of the first stewards at Oak Summit. he is the father of the following members of the Oak Summit Church ; Mrs. I. J. Grubbs, Mrs. M. F. James. Mrs. Fred E. Lewis, Sr. Mrs. A W. Stoltz, Sr., and Mrs. L. L. Walker. Another son, Ernest, is connected with R, J, Reynolds Tobacco. Company.

Worthy of note is the Old Joe Marshall place in what is known as the Cheery Hill section of our community. This old home is still pointed out as one of the oldest in the area. Mr. Joe W, Marshall was on the school committee of Oak Summit when the land for the school was acquired.

Another old home of the community is the Millard Walker place. The widow, Mrs.Anne Walker, is living in the home at this date. The walker family has always been active in the life of the community and church.

The Kapp homestead located just below the Gladstone place was started in 1875. W. W. Kapp and his wife reared a large family of children, several of which are outstanding in our church and community today. They are : Mrs. R. C. Brinkley, Mrs. A. E. Stanley, and Mrs. M. B. Wolfington. Other children are Mrs. J. W Caudle. Mrs. D. S. Walker, M. L. Kapp, W. C. Kapp, Sr., and W. E. Kapp.

These are just a few of the many outstanding families which settled our community and whose children are still very active in the life of the Oak Summit section.

Oak Summit School Photo

Like most schools of yesterday Oak Summit was used for teaching the three "Rs" during the week and for study and preaching of the Word of God on Sunday. According to the recollections of many people who attended the Old school in the early 1900's (the land was bought from the Moravians on September 3 1888 for twenty-five dollars). The first Methodist to preach in the school was the Reverend J. H. Robertson, pastor of the Forsyth circuit. On the other Sundays the several Christian preachers brought messages to the people gathered in the old Oak Summit School. The aforesaid Mr. Robertson organized a Sunday school which later became the church.

The annual conference of the western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, in 1906 received a young man by the name of Joseph Spurgeon Haitt on trial and appointed him to the Forsyth circuit. It was during that year that he found a group of people interested in the Methodist way of life and thus proceeded to organize Oak Summit Methodist Episcopal Church, South in the one room school building. Here begins our known history of the Oak Summit Church.

Mr. Haitt's first sermon was preached from the Text: " Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27). In all probability Mr. Millard Walker led the singing for this first Sunday worship service.

As the interest continued to grow the group felt the need for larger quarters. October 15, 1907, marked the day that Henry W. Thomasson and his wife, Bettie, deeded approximately one acre to the following trustees : C. M. Hauser, Edward Walker and C. S. Walker for the amount of $45.00. Construction, more than likely, was begun during the fall under the supervision of Millard and Charlie Walker. Millard was the husband of Mrs. Anne Walker, the oldest living member of Oak Summit church. Charlie was the father of Mrs. T. L. Walker,Sr.'s late husband.

This building, like the others of its day, was a one-room church. there were two aisles - short benches were on each side. (These are still in use in the men's and women's Bible classrooms) and the present long ones. It was heated by two stoves - one on each side with the pipes joining overhead. There were two outside doors - one on each side - with steps, perhaps four, leading up to the doors. the men would go in one door and the women in the other . There were two windows on either side of the Pulpit, this being the style of architecture for the early twentieth century .

The following notes gleaned from the Quarterly conference records of the Forsyth circuit at the Mt. Tabor Parsonage are very interesting :

First mention of the Oak Summit Church is on October 28,1905. First mention of the new church at Oak Summit is on October 3, 1908. The Reverend Mr. Haitt penned these words in his flowing Spencerian handwriting in his reports to the quarterly Conferences: " Now worshiping in new church at Oak Summit. " (January 16, 1909). a later entry, April, 1909 states, " Oak Summit now finished . "

Photo of Wiley W. Thomasson, courtesy of Jack Ogburn

Another entry in the records reveals that the first Sunday School superintendents were Wiley W. Thomasson and C. S. Walker . The First Quarterly Conference ever held at Oak Summit was on June 19, 1909. Mr. Haitt adds : "There were no records for Oak Summit as of this date. " The date is unknown, but probably in the following year, when the church was dedicated. It was dedicated by the presiding elder, Dr. T. F. Marr.

Mr. Haitt served the Forsyth circuit of which Oak summit was a part from November 19, 1906 until November 21, 1910. He was succeeded by the reverend D.P. waters (deceased, August 15, 1950 ) who served until November 25, 1912.

The first recorded of stewards and trustees for Oak Summit was during the Reverend Mr. waters' pastorate. They were as follows : stewards - C. M.. Hauser, the late husband of Mrs. Charlie Hauser ; T. T. Westmoreland; Willis Ogburn, and Edward Walker; Trustees - M. H. (Stump) Ogburn, T. T. Westmoreland, T. E. Ogburn (Joe E. Ogburn's father), and Edward Walker, father of Mrs. Lottie Walker Johnson, Robah F. Walker, and Howard J. Walker. Mr. Edward Walker was also the Sunday School superintend. Mr. Waters was followed by the Reverend G. W.. Vick (deceased, Dec.. 5, 1949) and he in turn by Rev. J. H.. Vestal. Reverend H. H. Mitchell (deceased ). Reverend E. K.. Creel, Rev. J. C. Cornette, and Reverend John w. Cline were the last pastors to serve Oak Summit on the old Forsyth circuit.

The Western North Carolina Annual Conference of 1923 set up a new charge - Ogburn Memorial, Consisting of Ogburn Memorial, Oak Summit, and Shiloh. The Reverend G.B. Clemmer was the first pastor to serve this charge.

Oak Summit had continued to grow during the ministry of the devoted men who had served her until she was cramped for room. It was during the pastorate of Mr. Clemmer that some very important additions were made. The first was the boiler room and the adjoining room to the right . The second addition comprised the rooms on the right and left wings upstairs and downstairs. The stairway on the right was added at this time to give access to the room on that side. Previously there was just the one stairway on the left.

The pulpit windows of the original church were made into doors in order to give entrance to the four rooms at the back of the church. Now these were boarded up and the present doors cut. The porch, too was added during this time. Robah Ferguson and Hunter Gladstone poured the concrete for the porch. Memorial windows were installed where the two outside doors were and the center doors with the center aisle were devised.

Mr. Clemmer also found his bride during his pastorate at Oak Summit. He is married to the former Clara Newton, daughter of Mrs. J. L. Newton, Sr.

Other pastors to serve the three - point Ogburn Memorial circuit were the Reverend W. M. Robbins, the Reverend O. P. Ader, the Reverend O. L. Brown, and the Reverend B.M. Crosby ( Deceased, December, 1949).

On Friday, November 18, 1932, during the Reverend Mr. Brown's pastorate, the women of the church were organized into the Women's Missionary Society . Mrs. T. L. Walker, Sr. , was president and the society had fifteen charter members.

The old school house in which the church was started had enlarged by the county. When the county built Mineral Springs Number Two, it was offered for sale and on March 4, 1937. L. L. Walker, J. L. Newton , Jr., and C. R. Ferguson, trustees gave $750, which had been raised by the women of the church, for the building and property. This edifice has been used for Sunday School classes, a social hall, and a place for many suppers for the benefit of the church building fund.

The Annual Conference of the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church (the three branches united in May) of 1939 set up Ogburn Memorial as a station, leaving Oak Summit and Shiloh as a two point charge. This was done during the pastorate of Reverend C. D. White. This was short lived however, for the Conference of 1940 took Shiloh from the Oak summit-Shiloh charge and placed her in with the other churches of the Mt. Pleasant Circuit. Oak Summit was placed with New Hope and thus formed the New Hope - Oak summit charge. The men who served this two point charge were the Reverend A. C. Kennedy, Sr., the Reverend G. M. Carver, the Reverend G. W. Williams, and the Reverend G. F. Houck.

During the pastorate of the Rev. Mr. Williams the people of Oak summit laid plans for building a parsonage at Oak summit. The parsonage was then located at New hope in the Old Town section.

Here begins the heroic saga of the combined efforts of a hard working pastor and the equally hard - working members of the congregation. The site of the parsonage was selected on the oak summit just to the west of the old school building in which the church was organized. A number of tall, stately oak trees were removed, taken to the mill and made into lumber for the parsonage. The actual work on the parsonage began at Easter time, 1947. A number of the men under the capable leadership of Mr. Fred E. Lewis, Sr., would gather for work in the evenings after work and on Saturday and holidays. Suppers were held to pay for the materials that had to be bought and for the labor that had to be contracted.

In August, 1949, the people of Oak Summit were promised a station and a pastor for the next year. Being pushed for time, the finishing work was contracted, and the furniture moved in several days before the new pastor, the present one, moved in.

The parsonage , completed in October, 1949, is modern in every respect. It has seven rooms - living room, dinning, kitchen, master bedroom, study, and two upstairs bedrooms; two full baths and a full basement, part of which is used for a garage. It is heated by a central oil-fired furnace. The cost of the parsonage and furnishings is estimated at $25,000.

The State Highway people paved the road in front of the church in the Spring of 1949. Now that the hazard of red dirt was lessened. Mrs. C. R. Ferguson, seeing the need of painting the church, set out to obtain the necessary funds. In a few short weeks of hard work she secured the needed contributions and shortly after conference, Mr. A.C. Larrimore and Mr. Robah Ferguson gave the exterior a coat of gleaming white; the belfry was treated with aluminum paint.

The beauty of the outside contrasted so badly with the unloveliness of the interior that the men of the church decided to beautify the sanctuary too. first, the ceiling was celetexed and then the men met one evening and painted the interior in the restful green color so in demand in these days. Lonnie Benge and Junior Ashely put up the celetex. The women's and men's Bible classes were then dressed up with the same treatment. These projects were done in January , 1950.

The rooms in the Sunday school were painted by the men shortly afterwards in the restful blue, rose, and green that you see today.

The people of Oak Summit are proud of their present accomplishments, and rightly so, but they are already laying plans for the future. a building fund has been started for the New church which will be built across the road adjacent to the parsonage. The present enrollment of the Sunday School is 229 . The present membership of the church is 270.

Oak Summit, situated in a rapidly developing residential area, and within shouting distance of the New Mineral Springs high and Elementary Buildings (Valued at $1,500,000 ), and the Oak Summit Elementary school with its new $250,000 additions, has every chance to grow into a leading suburban church. May the Lord guide her future as He has the past

Register of Pastors - 1907 - 1951

Forsyth Circuit

1. J.S. Hiatt - November 19, 1906 - November 21, 1910
2. D.P. Waters - November 21, 1910 - November 25, 1912
3. G.P. Vick - November 25, 1912 - December 25, 1912
4. J.H. Vestal - December 1, 1913 - November 19, 1913
5. H.H. Mitchell - November 19, 1917 - October 27, 1919
6. E.K. Creel - October 27, 1919 - September 25, 1920
7. J.C. Cornette - September 25, 1920 - September 24, 1921
8. J.W. Cline - September 24, 1921 - October 22, 1923

Ogburn Memorial Circuit

9 G.B. Clemmer - October 22, 1923 - November 7, 1927
10. W. H.. Robbins - November 7, 1927 - October 29, 1928
11. O.P. Ader - October 29, 1928 - November 15, 1931
12. O.L. Brown - November 15, 1931 - October 28, 1934
13. B.M. Crosby - October 28, 1934 - October 24, 1938

Shiloh - Oak Summit

14. C.D. White - October 24, 1938 - October 24, 1841

New Hope - Oak Summit

15. A.C. Kennedy, Sr. - October 24, 1941 - October 23, 1942
16. G.M. Carver - October 23, 1942 - October 22, 1943
17. G.W. Williams - October 22, 1943 - October 13, 1947
18. G.F. Houck - October 13, 1947 - September 26, 1949

Oak Summit

19. C. Marvin Boggs - September 26, 1949

One of my fondest memories was attending this church and then going over to my uncle's
house (J. E Hall) to count the day's offering. Uncle Pete was Treasurer for many years - Faye Moran

This information generously contributed by Jack Ogburn. Jack's email address is: WOgburn571@aol.com

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