The Story of the
Methodist Church on Knotts Island

The Church Building

History:From Henry Beasley Ansell's "Tales of Knotts Island":

   Methodist Conference

History: From the diary of Sue  Austin

History: Personal accounts of church members

History in photos

The Ministers

The Members

Records and Archives


Back to the Scrapbook
In 1811, first United Methodist Church was built on Knotts Island. In 1911, the current building was erected and is presently in regular use.

These links will take you to pictures and newspaper clippings that chronicle the rich history of this island icon.

A Brief History of Knotts Island United Methodist Church

from the 172nd Anniversary Bulletin of May 15, 1983

In 1811, a church was built on this site. Lumber was used from nearby, and it's likely that church was being held in homes prior to this. In former articles, by Jane Brumley, Allan Miller, Hal J. Bonney, Jr. and Donna Strawhand, Methodism was on the move in this area. Ten years before the American Revolution the religious movement began in England by John Wesley in 1758, and made its way to this country. Two Methodist Lay Preachers from Ireland arrived in 1765 and soon had 15,000 followers. Caleb Ansell, a Knotts Island native, obtained a grant from the Edenton Assembly in 1771, to build a church. We have no proof that it was for a Methodist church. Early records do show, a Methodist church was built on this site in 1811.

The present Knotts Island United Methodist Church, located near the center of the Island is the third building erected on this site. Len Smith, and Ed Waterfield drew the plans for our present building, which was completed in 1911. They also helped with the work of construction. Mr. Waterfield's son Carl Waterfield, Jim Bowden, Walter L. Beasley and John Beasley. Mrs. Beatrice Etheridge recalls her father, Walter Beasley, taking her in the church and telling how he put up the beautiful "beaded" ceiling, and putting the pews in; to make the number on hand fit the interior, no two are spaced the same. Also note the fine art design on the lower wall panels, done with a comb. The Educational Building was added in 1950, and an additional three rooms and bath in 1971.

In the early 1800's we shared a Circuit Rider with many other churches. We joined the Virginia Annual Conference in 1814, with the assurance of always being supplied with a minister. At one time we shared a minister with Charity, Bethel, and Beech Grove, located in old Princess Anne County, on the Norfolk District. In 1955 Knotts Island became a Station Charge, with The Rev. Robert Pierre being its first full time pastor. A new brick parsonage was built next to the church, on the "old school house" property, and since that time, many dedicated servants of God have been appointed, and served God and the people of this lovely community.