To dig into the thick and rich history of Dawson County, one need dig no further than its churches and founding members.
One of those churches on June 15th will celebrate its 100th anniversary -- Salem Methodist Church, located at 412 Salem Church Rd., in an area of Dawson County known as Barrettsville.
This is one of Dawson Countys historic landmarks, but so few people know about it, said Carol Dooley, who is researching the churchs history. Dooleys husband Benjamin Charles Dooleys great-great-grandfather, Wesley McGuire, penned his name on the 1846 property deed.
Wesley, by the way, was one of three contractors who also built the historic Dawson County courthouse.
Benjamins grandfather, Joshua Anderson Dooly, was a trustee at Salem Methodist Church.
He married Sarah Elizabeth Hulsey-Banister on Aug. 3, 1865, according to Dooley. Together, they had 12 children: Laura Florence, Mary Louise, Nancy Alice, James Anthony, Libera Bera, Martha Lourinda Mattie, Ruth Isabell Izzie, Amanda Louvana Mandy, John Anderson, Eva Mae, Benjamin Cleveland and Jesse Conrad. Joshua died in March 20,1925, and Sarah on March 14, 1937.
Like many of the 100-plus-year-old churches, Salem Methodist also doubled as a school. Before the brick church was built in 1914, a log structure served as both school and church.
There was an ongoing major problem at Salem, wrote Dawson County Historian Charles Finley in his book, Yesterday Once More: A History of the Schools of Dawson County. ...Salem was a Methodist church and several staunch Baptist parents didnt want their children to go to school in a Methodist church.
Six names are etched into the cornerstone of the new Salem United Methodist Church. They are: A.E. Bond, W.V Hayes, J.M. Hughes, J.M. McGehee, G.W McGuire, and W.E. Purcell.
Two acres for the building were donated by Capel A. Barrett, and the area became known Barrettsville.
Descendants of the Barrett family currently living in Texas, Kentucky and North Carolina are expected to attend the anniversary celebration. Services begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by singing and a covered dish supper. For more information, you may contact Carol Dooley at 770-887-3049.