Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church. - 1605 Bahama Road, 10.26.08
The Methodist congregation in Bahama dates back to the 18th century. As early as 1808 several prominent citizens of the neighborhood agreed to build a meeting house for public worship, which became affiliated before 1820 with the Methodist Church in the Granville Circuit. Church buildings were built in 1838 and in 1850 where the cemetery now is. In 1883 Andrew J. Roberts and his wife Clara deeded four acres of land to Mount Bethel Church. A new church was built on the site and dedicated in 1901. The church was a center of social as well as spiritual activity, with ice cream socials, "dinners on the grounds," and revival meetings bringing the community together. Although two additions were built in 1939, after WW II the congregation had outgrown the space. The building we see today was built in 1949. The simple stone structure features a small bell tower over the entrance, which is reached by a graceful flight of stairs. The fellowship hall was added in the 1980s and the Sunday School in 1998. [Jan Hessling]
Per Jean Anderson:
Archer Harris, son of Nathaniel [Harris] who is credited with the establishment of a meetinghouse. [James] Walker said that the Methodist itinerant preachers came to their neighborhood in 1780, and that Archer Harris was converted and became a lay preacher. Walker further said that when Stephen Wilson bought Charles Carroll's land in 1784, "the Methodists had a Meetinghouse on the land and moved the Meetinghouse" with Wilson's consent to the land of James Walker, Sr. Thus the meetinghouse was built sometime between 1780 and 1784. In 1812, Archer Harris gave two acres of land to John Wilson, John McFarling, and Nathaniel Harris (his son,) "trustees of a meeting house standing at the cross roads between the Harris's and John McFarlings ... for the only proper use and benefit of a meeting house. Five or six years later, the congregation was incorporated into the Methodist Church and assigned to the Granville circuit. The church was long called Crossroads Meetinghouse because of its locations at the intersection of the roads from Raleigh to Roxboro and Oxford to Hillsborough. Now called Mount Bethel, the present edifice, the sixth, stands at the same intersection but on a different corner, separated from its graveyard.