History of Grassland United Methodist Church

Ashland District, Kentucky Conference

Boyd County

This is written and dedicated to the memory of my mother, Mrs. Sophia Hazlett Fannin and Mrs. Goldie Davis Craig. Without the records gathered and written for the ninety year celebration, this would have been impossible. May their love, dedication and devotion live on through us.

Compiled and written by ———

Pauline Cue Fannie Eastham



The first church was built May, 1872, on land given by William and Martha Bowling to the Methodist Episcopal church, South. The trustees being David Davis, George Fuller, Soloman Kirk, Henry White and Joseph Campbell.
This was a log building located at the Mouth of Happy Hollow, and was called Farmers Chapel. This building was also used for a school with William White, Henry White and Soloman Kirk as school trustees. There were no windows. A portion of a log was cut out to let in light and air. The seats were made of a log split into two pieces with legs added. They had no backs. These were called “Puncheon Seats”. There was no floor, only the ground.
This community being a wilderness at the time, had no roads except for paths, horse and wagon trails. As time went on more people began to settle here. The church and school being one building soon became too small.


In April 1879, the people gathered together and decided to build a larger church and a separate building for a school. The land was given by Samuel and Elizabeth White to the Grassland Methodist Church, south of the Big Sandy Circuit. The trustees were J.L. Fannin, P.s. Fannin, Soloman Kirk, William Fisher and Harve White.
The Grassland School was built about the same time approximately one mile down stream from the Church. The land for the school was given by Benjamin and Elizabeth Davis to School District No. 18, Boyd County, Kentucky.
The material for the church were trees given by John Powers; hauled to the saw mill by Feliz and Milton Campbell; and sawed by Alfred White. The nails (square ones) and windows were bought from donations given by Joe Fannin, Phil Fannin, Tobe Hazlett, Harve White, George Fuller and Scott Davis. The church was built by the men in the community with Oss Guess and J.L Kirk as bosses.
The building was built out of yellow poplar. Weather boarding put on the outside. Lumber was planed by hand. Roof was board shingles. The inside was sealed with boards with length of boards going around the walls. The ceiling was the same. The boards were about six or eight inches wide. The windows had small pane glass. The seats in our choir are some of the original ones put in the building when it was built. The heat was produced by two “pot belly stoves”. The light was a coal oil lamp, hung on a bracket. The pulpit was a square stand table given by L.C. “Tobe” Hazlett. The table was his mother’s and is still being used as a communion table. The present pulpit was built by Charles Davis.
Now, ninety years later the inside of our church has been completely remodeled from ceiling to floor. We now have electric lights, gas furnace, carpet on the floor and new seats. A choir room has been added onto the back of the church. Part of the walls are paneled and a beautiful picture of the River of Jordan painted on the back of the choir room. Larger amer glass has replaced the small panes in the windows. Roof and doors have been replaced years ago.
About the time the Grassland Church was built, there was a church located on Friendship Creek called “Friendship Missionary Baptist Church”. In 1900-1903 a Sunday School record book stated it had 68 members enrolled in Sunday School. This church has been destroyed many years ago.
The Grassland Methodist Church is the only church on Bear Creek. At one time we had a large attendance which was as follows:
1918-1920 199 members
1938              88 members
1969              43 members
The name was changed from Grassland and Methodist South to the Grassland Methodist in 1939, at the same time it was changed from the Virginia Conference to the Kentucky Conference. In 1967 the name was changed to Grassland United Methodist Church. At the same time, Grassland Circuit was changed to East Fork Parrish. From 1885 to 1969 we have had 45 ministers. Twelve are still living. At one time there were seven churches on the Circuit; Grassland, East Fork, Garrett Chapel, Ross Chapel, Trinity, (Lawrence County) Cannonsburg, and Mary Moore Chapel. Since the change, there are only three on the East Fork Parrish; Grassland, East Fork and Garrett Chapel. Each having a different minister. We have had tow ministers whose sons have become Methodist Ministers. James Clair Jarvis, son of Curt Jarvis, now living in Barboursville, West Virginia and A.J. Peters, son of C. H. Peters, of Atlanta, Georgia. We also have a boy from our own Grassland Church to become a minister, George Thomas Daniels. George received his license before his eighteenth birthday and is the only one from our church to become a minister as of 1969. George is the son of Havyln and Bertha Craig Daniels and the grandson of our very own, Clyde and Goldie Davis Craig.

Three of our oldest living members in 1969 were:
Imogene White West California
Lilliam White Caldwell Catlettsburg
Kathern Fannin Davis Ashland
This early history of our church was gathered and provided for the Ninety Year Celebration of our church by the efforts of Mrs. Goldie Davis Craig, Mrs. Sophia Fannin and Gladys White. No written record of our church existed. These three women spent many hours providing this information, especially Goldie Davis Craig.

Sunday School opened with Earren Vanover presiding. One song for every ten years:
1869 Praise Him Praise Him
1885 Standing On The Promises
1890 Where He Leads Me
1900 Deeper Deeper
1910 He Keeps Me Singing
1921 When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder
1931 I love To Walk With Jesus
1942 I Will Meet You By The River
1951 I Can’t Feel At Home In This World

Sunday School Lesson Scripture read by Reverend Frank Jones
Prayer by Sister Daisy Jones
lesson taught to entire group by Pauline Eastham
Reverend Jones brought morning message. His subject “Rejoice Because Your Name Is Written In Heaven”.
Scripture Reading: Revelation 21:21, Revelations 25:1 and Luke 20:1
Dismissed for lunch
Called for order after lunch by Reverend Talmade Debord
Group singing – That Glad Reunion Day
Piano Solo – When They Ring Those Golden Bells by Judge Imes
History of Grassland Church by Mrs. Goldie Craig
Special singing provided by the Hester Family, The Young Family, The Happy Travelers, Straight Creek Church of the Nazarene and Garrett Chapel Trio.
Dr. Steadman Bagby, District Superintendent, called each church represented to stand some testifying.
All group singers and congregation sang: Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us, Heavens Jubilee and Amazing Grace. There was not a dry eye in the church. All rejoiced and praised God.
Church dismissed.
A group picture was made at the noon hour.
Scott Davis
Eva Davis
William Fields
Martha Fields
Joseph Kirk
Thornsberry Kirk
Henry White
Arletta White
Virginia Smallridge
William Fryman
Christia Campbell
Felix Campbell
America Kirk
Milton Campbell
George Fields
Isaac Fannin
Leander “Tobe” Hazlett
John McWhorter
Alonzo White
Elizabeth Hazlett

Note: The Grassland Methodist Church has since relocated their building.
Submitted by: Theresa Daniels Cox, granddaughter of Mrs. Goldie Davis Craig
The picture above was the one taken at the 90 year reunion. As you can see, some of the ladies made and wore dresses that would have been worn in1879.
Mrs. Goldie Craig passed away in December, 1969, not long after the reunion, Mrs. Sophia Fannin passed away in October, 1974

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