As early as 1828, a group of Methodists in the town of Scottsville were trying to purchase land on which to build their church. Little is known as to how long these Methodists had been organized, but on July 4, 1828 they purchased a lot in town, on the opposite side of the street from the site of the present church. Later this lot was sold and the money was used to purchase the site where the church now stands. The church lot was purchased for $150.00 and deeded in March of 1832.
The original square building, built in 1833, consisted of one large auditorium which is the main sanctuary today. The 21-inch thick, handmade brick walls still stand and form the walls of the sanctuary. The columns in the church and the cornice and dentils around the balcony are all the original wood work of the church. Many of the beams used in the ceiling and roof are held together with wooden pegs as was customary in colonial times.
Little is known of how the Civil War affected the church except that regular services were not held at that time. In 1865, services were resumed with Paul Whitehead as Pastor. In 1869, John Bagley came to serve as Pastor and made his rounds of the charge on Foot.
In 1897, under the pastorship of Thomas A. Ware, a committee consisting of one person from each of the eight churches on the circuit was appointed to determine if the Scottsville Circuit could purchase or build a parsonage. It was determined to hold off on purchasing a parsonage until the boundaries of the circuit became more settled. Up to that time, and for some years after, the pastor was either entertained or boarded in some home in the community.
Later, a home for the pastor was rented for $100.00 a year. In 1885, a house was purchased for the sum of $1,000. This served as the home for the pastor for sixty years.
In 1885, the first organ was placed in the church. Mrs. Mollie A. Hill, who was instrumental in raising the money for the organ, was the first organist. Previously to this time a tuning fork gave the pitch for singing the hymns without accompaniment.
Considerable repairs were made to the church under the pastorate of C.E. Blankenship. The building was extensively remodeled in 1927. A new front vestibule, bell tower and fourteen Sunday School classrooms were added to the original building. The remodeling took over a year and during this time services were held in the Lutheran Church. The building was completed in 1929. Bishop Denny was the guest preacher for the first service held in the remodeled church.
The parsonage was sold in 1946 and plans were made to build a new one on a lot donated by Mrs. Helen Pitts. In 1948, the pastor, Jack B. Taylor, and his family moved into the new 7-room brick parsonage built at the cost of $22,000.00. This parsonage is still used by the church today.
A new Baldwin electric organ was installed in the church in 1953. A modern heating plant was added in 1954. An additional room was built on the back of the church. These additions were made during the ministry of E.J. Nottingham, III.
Originally, the Scottsville Methodist Church belonged to the Albemarle Circuit, consisting of eight churches. Later it was divided and became known as the Scottsville Circuit. Scottsville, Alberene, Carter’s Bridge, Mt. Zion and Mt. Olivet were the five churches on the circuit. During the pastorate of J.E. Daniel, Scottsville was a station. When Mr. Daniel retired it became a two-point circuit with Howardsville. In the late 1920’s Norwood was added, taken off, and replaced by Mt. Zion. The Scottsville charge then consisted of Scottsville, Mt Zion, and Howardsville. Scottsville was again made a station during the 1960s during the pastorate of Garry Shelton. The membership of the church was 478.
Rev. Virgil Harris served the church for seven years. During these seven years the church was flooded twice and a major building program was begun.
The flood of 1969 literally covered the community of Scottsville. There was 14-16 feet of water in front of the church and 7 feet of water inside. Pews were floated out the front door and up the hill behind the church along with whatever equipment could be saved. Hurricane Camille struck Scottsville on August 19, 1969 causing $18,000.00 worth of damage to the church.
Property adjacent to the building was purchased for $10,000 and the church erected an educational-recreational-office building including a fellowship hall with kitchen and two bathrooms. The lower level consisted of the church office, bathroom and large classroom. The addition was completed in 1972 at a cost of $36,000.00.
A second flood invaded Scottsville on June 21, 1972 resulting in damage to church property in the amount of $14,000.00. The water reached the dentil molding on our balcony. Flood waters came to the landing of the new building.
Disaster was no stranger to the Scottsville church either; a fire on the night of February 27 and morning of February 28, 1976 destroyed major portions of the original church. Fortunately, Pastor H. Fred Edge and his son moved the altar pieces out of the sanctuary while fire was coming under the doors from the classrooms closest to the lumberyard. One of the deacons and his son also helped move the altar pieces. They removed as much as they could until it was too unsafe to return to the sanctuary. Worship services were moved to the Annex while future plans were made for the church. The re-built building was dedicated on September 24, 1978.
The next several decades would see many highlights and church ministries offered. Currently, Scottsville UMC is part of the Southern Albemarle Charge consisting of Scottsville UMC and Mount Zion UMC in Esmont, Virginia. While the churches have seen many pastors come and go, they continue to be active in the community and beyond through vibrant education, mission and outreach programs.
Scottsville United Methodist Church Pastors
Thomas A. War
Jack B. Tayler
E.J. Nottingham III
Frank G. Laine
H. Fred Edge
Brian Lamb –
Scottsville United Methodist Interim Church Pastors