Barrs Chapel Methodist Church was established on March 24, 1879, and this sanctuary was built the following year (1). Originally of lap siding, the exterior has been resurfaced with vinyl (1).
Barrs Chapel Methodist Church is maintained by Edgefield United Methodist Church (2). Both the churchyard and the historic chapel are open to the public (2). Worship is held twice yearly – once in the fall and once at Christmas for a candle-light service (2).
Like most early methodist churches, Barrs Chapel originally was served by an itinerant preacher who “rode circuit” between a set of churches. In this way, a small rural church could host services led by an ordained pastor every month or so. Writes John A. Chapman in his History of Edgefield County from the Earliest Settlements to 1897,
In 1893, there were thirty Methodist houses of worship in Edgefield County, with an aggregate white membership of 2,823. These churches paid for ministerial support that year the sum of $5,647.40, and the sum of $1,684.35 for benevolent and other purposes. The total valuation of church property then amounted to $33,300.
The Edgefield Circuit was in turn subdivided into nine smaller circuits (3). By 1897, Barrs Chapel was part of the Parksville Circuit – along with Parksville, St. Paul, Modoc, and Dothan Methodist Church (3). Note that Parksville, Modoc, and St. Paul were all located in what is now McCormick County. Services at Parksville were discontinued in 1931, but the churchyard is still extant (4).
Barrs Chapel Methodist Church: Our Sources
1. Bill Segars (photographer and historical contractor), Personal Records, File “Church 12=06-079 to 084.”
2. Russell Wilkes (congregant), Personal Correspondence, December 23, 2019.
3. John A Chapman, A. M., History of Edgefield County from the Earliest Settlements to 1897, Elbert H. Aull, 1897.
4. John Hofman, Parksville Methodist Church Cemetery – McCormick County, South Carolina, SCGenWeb, August 20, 2000.