Our History

Wesley Chapel's Origin

The first preaching place for Methodists in Nansemond County was "Rushworms" on Everet's Road in the late 1700's according to Dr. William B. Wellons, writing in January, 1872. Dr. Wellons organized Oakland Christian Church. According to Dr. Wellons, "Rushworms" was built on Mr. Powell's property. Mr. Powell did without deeding the land to the Methodists and his son inherited the property. His son was not religious, so he dismantled the building and started to build himself a house down the road. Just before finishing the house, it caught fire and burned to the ground.

After "Rushworms", Cowling's Chapel was erected on the present Moore Farm Lane in Late 1700's or early 1800's. Probably in 1828, or shortly thereafter, some members seceded from Cowling's Chapel, moved to Chuckatuck, became part of the Methodist Protestant Church, and erected the Wesley Chapel building in 1850. In 1871, Cowling's Chapel Methodist Episcopal members, who had moved to Oakland in 1851, reunited with Wesley Chapel Methodist Protestant members and become Wesley Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church South. It is not known where Wesley Chapel members held services from 1828, or shortly thereafter, until the building was erected in 1850.

*Excerpted from Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church 1850-2000: A Brief History compiled by Katherine Spady and Frank Spady.