The following information was provided by church members Anne Bell and Mary Charles Mallory and researching old cemetery records. Pictures of the original church are not available but are highly needed.
The original Methodist church (the grey house) was located where the current Wampee Baptist Church is located, on the east side of Hwy 90 in Wampee. In 1941 the Government “took” (bought very cheap) all the property on the east side of Hwy 90, all the way down to the waterway, to use as a bombing range. At that time (1941), the original building was moved across the Hwy rolling it across the road on large logs to the west side of the Hwy 90, here in Wampee, and that original building was never used again as the Methodist church. The building was bought by O. J. Bell (Anne’s father-in-law) at the time that he moved it, and those funds went (as best as remembered) towards the new church. The original “grey” church came to Anne & L. J. Bell (her husband) from L. J.’s sister Opal Bell Wilson, who was given (or bought) the deed by her father O. J. Bell.
(NOTE: The church might have been built even before the deed to the land was formally transferred.
A lot of things were done “on a handshake” back then. For instance, deeds were held until a note was paid off, and sometimes not dated until the time of the time the payments have been complete, or??? (Really, pretty informal).
1943-Jan 5: O. J. Bell sold the property that the current church is on to the Trustees of the Wampee UMC for $1.00 (have copy of document).
The land on the south side of Hwy 90 was re-sold by the government back to the original owners (those who wanted to buy it back) around 1944-45.
The current Wampee UM Church building was built right where it is in 1942 (72 years ago) . It is reported that Union Valley Baptist Church Cemetery the original graveyard for the Union Valley Baptist Church which was located there in the late 1800s and early 1900s. After the UVBC burned, the property was later sold and the Wampee Methodist Church
was built on that location. The cemetery was designated to remain a cemetery the Union Valley Baptist Church congregation.
A single grave remains.
Gossee, Luke 1 May 1901 - 1 May 1904
There were 5 Bell brothers; (the Bell Boys), and Elfred Bell (one of the Bell
boys, and father of Dick Bell and JoAnn Bell Johnson) sold the land to the church .
The kitchen was added in about 1973-1974, one of the members paid for it (woman member; one of the Bells, elderly). It is located on the right side of the building.
A tradition dating back to the beginning of Anne’s memories of the church (back to 1971) is that each month one (or two) of the member ladies, members of the UMW would take the month to be the “hostess;” to clean the bathroom and
sanctuary, put flowers in the church, host the monthly UMW meeting, etc.
Rev. Bessie Parker was the pastor here at Wampee UMC 1969-1974. She was the FIRST woman pastor in South
Carolina Methodism! (From memory; she was a wonderful person and dearly loved by the congregation).
In 2005 the stained glass windows were installed.
In as late as 2006 the Wampee UMC was a “complete” (Anne’s term) church (regular
services, members who attended and participated, Sunday schools, choirs, etc.)
No grass in yards “back in the day” (out of style)! Confirms what was told about the church by
Mary Charles Mallory who has been a member since 1930-1931 (was 10 years old; 92 ½ years old now!) Born on the
farm, one of 15 children!! Raised cows,hogs and chickens. Not much money but plenty to eat! Mr. Willard had a country
grocery store as far back as Mary Charles can remember. All but one born on the farm; last was born in Conway. Mother was Ora Causey (from Coxis Ferry Road south of Conway; not related to the Causey’s in Wampee), & father Lucian D. Willard, who grew up in Southport. [Ora’s family had a family reunion for as long as Mary Charles can continue, and the tradition continues. Used to be in State Park, and now down onCoxis Ferry Road (last 5 years or so).
Last Sunday in September near Ora’s old family home, which is still there!! The last three years, Mary Charles was the oldest person there.]
When the Gov’t took the land on the South side of the Hwy 90 the old farm was taken by the government, and all the
buildings were either sold off (preferable) or sometimes torn down. When the family relocated, the store was
rebuilt also (this was down in Little River at the intersection of Hwy 9 & Hwy 90, in an area that used to be called Nixon’s Crossroads. (Store is still in business, but now garden/landscaping store).
Mary Charles remembers (back then, old grey church), there was no grass in the yard. They would hoe up the yard and keep it
clean. Yard was “hard ground” packed earth, like a playground. The congregation would pitch in and keep up the church. A lot of the families would walk to church on Sunday mornings. Church had an old “pedal” organ; Mary Charles thought that was the neatest thing! Pastor Lovin was the pastor then!
Mary Charles seems to remember that the original color of the “old” church building (when she was a little girl)
was red, and she doesn’t remember any trim. Remembers going up a few stairs (four or five), into an open Sanctuary. Sunday school classes were held to the left and right of where the pulpit was. No partitions. Benches on left and right w/central passage,
for the worship services. Back when she was a child, people used to dress up on Sunday mornings “Sunday Best.” New outfits for Easter, too. Kids would change clothes right after church!
(Old “original” church):
Pulpit: Straight through door on “back” wall. Seems to remember a railing, and table and chairs. Seems to remember receiving Communion by intinction back then, but can’t remember if it was standing/kneeling around the altar rail or served in a line.
Mary Charles thinks the church was taken by the government after Pearl Harbor, so that would have been 1942*. (Discrepancy with Anne). (Mary & husband moved to Jacksonville (he worked at Camp Lejeune) in 1942, and the old church was the old church was in its original position on the South side (waterway side) of Hwy 90. Was in Jacksonville in about a year, then back Wilmington & Oscar Thompson (1st husband) worked at the shipyard until about 1944, when they returned here to Wampee.
During the years between about 1942 & 1947, the Wampee UMC met at the school, which is where the Christian school in Wampee is located at now.
The new church building was put up about 1947. The land for the new church building was donated by Joanne’s (Bell) Johnson, R. E. Bell, Sr., for the church, and services started being held there as soon as the church was built. At that time there was just an
organ, no piano. All her kids were Baptized in the “new” Wampee UMC church.
Picture from the SunNews taken in July1992