CHURCH HISTORY

  • In the 1740’s settlers began to arrive in what is now the Dublin area.

  • The first village present in Pulaski County was New Dublin, about two miles southwest of Ingles Ferry on New River, a trading post, likely established by a Dublin Irishman (p. 13). Methodist appeared in the region not long after the Presbyterians. About 1773 a congregation was organized. In 1795 Alexander Page deeded the land to the Methodist Society to build a "new” meetinghouse. 

  • Francis Asbury, the early Methodist leader and circuit rider, preached at Page’s in 1801, 1802, and 1806. For many years Page’s meeting house (approx. 6 miles from Dublin) was the Methodist place of worship for the entire eastern end of what is now Pulaski County. 

  • Thornspring Methodist was organized about 1841 (p.16) about 4 miles west of Dublin on what is now US 11.

  • Most Methodist’s clung to Pages meeting house until a congregation began to form in the late 1850’s (p. 16). This shift from Pages became the origin of DUMC and Mt. Pleasant.

  • John Grayson Cecil, Sr (1792-1861) was one of the most colorful and influential Methodist preachers in the Dublin community for the first half of a century (p.16). He was as much a hunter as he was a preacher. He performed more weddings in Pulaski County than any other minister in the area during his day (according to public record). Read “Dublin and the Darsts” book, p. 16 for a hilarious story about a session of morning prayer with his family that turned into a hunting trip.

  • By the first decade of the nineteenth century (1810+) elements of the frontier still existed. Often “wolves and panthers were heard howling and screaming around the homes” of Dublin. (p.20) It was not until 1838 that the Cherokee were forced out and required to participate in the during the “Trail of Tears.” This is a dark season, along with slavery, of our American and Dublin heritage. 

  • Newbern had a population of 190 in 1835, and became the county seat in 1839. (The assumption is that 190 does not include slaves. It may or may not have included children and/or women.) This was the beginning of the evidence of the passing of the frontier in Dublin. The level of culture and quality of life (for the white settlers) were generally improving.

  • With affluence and the passing of the frontier mentality, a new emphasis was placed upon education. At first people taught children in their homes from the Bible, then augmented this work with spelling texts, and by the 1890’s subscription schools came into being. A “subscription” school was when more than one plantation owner would work together to pay for a school teacher. (p.22) The children who participated were almost exclusively white.

  • The first school that was not a subscription school was located on the Thornspring Methodist site, as early as 1821.

  • By the mid 1850’s there was an upward moving prosperity in the community of Dublin. Communication and transportation where slow and arduous, making plantations self-sufficient and independent out of necessity. The isolationist feel, coupled with the proud independence and self-sufficiency, is the attitude that was often referenced to what helped Dublin survive and thrive in the early 1800’s and post-reconstruction.

  • Hogs, cattle, and even turkeys, were often driven to Norfolk and Baltimore through the Dublin area, often down main street, until the “Southwestern Virginia Turnpike” was authorized in 1846 by the VA General Assembly. This Turnpike was built mostly on what was then the “Wilderness Road”.

  • DUMC was most likely originally established in 1857 on this Pulaski/Giles Turnpike, about 2-3 miles north of the Depot and about in the middle of the distance from Page’s Meeting House and Thornspring School and Church.

  • “Although all basic needs and many luxuries were available within Southwest Virginia, there was a psychological sense of isolation from the rest of the Commonwealth. The arrival of the railroad changed the outlook and way of life. With many attempts prior to its success, the first locomotive appeared in February 1852. Railroad surveyors commented in 1851 that at the time “more than half of the county around Dublin was in the woods (virgin timber).” (p. 43).

  • 1854, a grand celebration was held that most had never seen in the area (p.48) when the passenger trains started to run. The Virginia Governor and other elected officials, etc. came in July of 1854. As the train filled with dignitaries arrived, a drunk Irishman stood on the tracks, at the present Depot, and cussed at the noisy “cook stove” before he passed out.

  • 1857 a telegraph line was established, in 1858 a separate telegraph line was established for Associated Press. (p. 55)

  • Farmers and plantation owners who lived near the line increased their income three-fold because of the train. The plight of the slaves become more burdensome.

  • By the time of the civil war (April 12, 1861-May 9, 1865), the area was in a prosperous upswing. The war ravaged Dublin. 

  • The May 9, 1864 battle of Cloyds mountain was particularly devastating. All homes were touched by the loss of at least one male, if not more. Many buildings and supplies were burned down before the Northern Army moved out.

  • The 1865 crop was meager because veterans returned too late to get the crop in the ground.

  • Reconstruction began following the war, and more steadily in 1867. Almost no family in the village of Dublin and the county had been spared a casualty of some nature. Many of the young men who would have stepped into positions of leadership in the community were dead or disabled. This loss of human resources was the greatest of all those experienced by Pulaski. (p. 121) The livestock was carried off. Morale low. Fences destroyed. Economy was in shambles. Confederate money was valueless and real estate was reduced to a fraction of its previous value. Many former slaves had left, some were returning, only a few had stayed.

  • However, in the cold winter of 1869 historians point to our church ushering in a Methodist revival in Dublin, with 21 people making a commitment to Jesus in a town of less than 400. Though our community culture and context has changed over these past 160 years, our passion to invite people to follow Jesus has never waned.

  • With the purpose of offering hope to a wounded nation and community, it was in 1873 that a frame structure with a spire and gallery was erected on the present site. It was purchased for $275 from James W. & Margaret W. Darst. (See picture of Darst family below.)

  • The intention of the gallery reflected the segregation of the era and was designed for African Americans. However, in the late 1870’s most African American’s withdrew from Dublin Methodist and formed their own congregation called Mount Pleasant.

  • 1881 In the Wesleyan spirit of meeting social and spiritual needs of our community, it was in April of 1881 that Mt. Pleasant purchased property and developed a school for early elementary aged children who did not have access to the new and developing public school system. The land was purchased for $300 from Minerria J. and Lizzie M. Brown. The church was built on the present site of Grace Baptist Church, Dublin.

  • 1888 Home Builders Society for children was begun. Their work was to raise money to build houses for homeless preachers. Miss Ruby Trinkle (later Mrs. Billy Cecil) was on the role of honor for having raised the largest amount in the Holston Conference.

  • 1912 Became the Dublin Circuit with Mt. View/Newbern and Thornspring.

  • Sept. thru Nov. 1918 No Sunday School or church services were held because of a devastating influenza outbreak.

  • 1927 Education rooms along the original sanctuary were built and dedicated in 1939 by Bishop Paul Kern.

  • 1937 A parsonage was purchased on Darst Avenue for $3000. Later torn down to build Family Life Center.

  • 1939-49 During these years Dublin Methodist grew 55%, which was the largest growth of any church in the area.

  • 1951 Became a station church, with Dean Neese serving as the first minister.

  • 1954 Construction of Sunday School annex and offices were completed. This area is where our offices are currently located.

  • March 15, 1970 DUMC and Mt. Pleasant UMC voted to merge. This was almost 100 years after the split of the two congregations. In an era of racial unrest, these two churches forged a new path of witness, passion, and hopefulness for our community. Charles Lippse was the pastor. Following this decision, kerosene was poured in the shape of a cross and was set on fire in the front yard of the parsonage (which then was located beside the church.) It was quickly extinguished. Rev. Charles Lippse and his family contacted leaders from Mt. Pleasant, and the decision was made to not bring this action to the larger church body or news outlets, and instead “persevere in love.”

  • April 19, 1970 First service of Dublin United Methodist Church as a merged congregation.

  • July 1978 Groundbreaking for the present sanctuary.

  • Nov. 1979 1st Sunday in the sanctuary.

  • Sept. 1997 The Learning Circle preschool opened, continuing the deep spirit of acceptance, growth, and generous ministry that engages our community. This ministry is a partnership with the Darst-Vermillion Foundation. The Learning Circle has become the most reputable church- affiliated preschool in our region for the past 30 years. Its fruitfulness is hard to hide. Children who have graduated from the program are now bringing their own children, with even one early graduate now on the teaching staff of the Learning Circle! Honor rolls of local elementary schools are populated with graduates of the preschool program.

  • Dec. 1998 Dedication of the sanctuary and note burning for all building debts. Futures Committee was created.

  • April 7 & 28, 2003 Fires which destroyed original building.

  • September 2003 Purchased new parsonage, 4504 Moses Dr.

  • Spring 2004 Groundbreaking for Education Building now known as the Collins Educational Building.

  • August 15, 2004 “It’s Our Turn Now” Campaign for Family Life Building.

  • August 28, 2005 First Sunday in Educational Building.

  • Spring 2006 Began using the Family Life Building.

  • July 9, 2006 Consecration of the Family Life Building and Dedication of the Educational Building by Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.

  • December 2009 Dedication of our playground for our church children and the community.

  • April 19, 2020 50th Anniversary Celebrating the merging of Mt. Pleasant and Dublin Methodist Churches.

  • Present: Though our context and location has changed many times over these 160 years, our church has a long tradition of being bold and courageous as we make faithful decisions of acceptance, growth, and generosity. We truly are a congregation rooted in faith and branching out into our community.