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Damascus Methodist Episcopal Church

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Location: Damascus, Marylandmap
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This church became Damascus Methodist Church in 1939 when the Methodist Episcopal Church united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and the Methodist Protestant Church to become The Methodist Church. It became Damascus United Methodist Church in 1968 when The Methodist Church united with the Evangelical United Brethren to become the Category: United Methodist Church.

1822 Founding of Damascus Church

A search in the Court House land records, the Methodist Historical Society, and elsewhere has revealed some of our early history. A Montgomery Circuit record book dating from 1857 to 1871, which includes our church, has been a valuable source of in formation. This book shows the change from the Mount Lebanon Methodist Episcopal Church to the Damascus Methodist Episcopal Church when the congregation moved into town. The same members and Class Leader were listed before and after the move. This, along with other evidence, should convince anyone who has had any doubts that the same congregation worshipped in both churches. [1]

The first record that can be found pertaining to our congregation is on April 13, 1822 when Benjamin Benton, our founder, deeded one acre of land, part of the land tract "Pleasant Plains of Damascus" to the following trustees to “erect and build or cause to be erected and built thereon a house or place of worship for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church: . . .John Etchison, Elisha Etchison, and Evan Thompson of Montgomery County and Robert Warfield and Ephraim Warfield of Edw., both of Anne Arundel County. (They lived in the area now called Howard County, then a part of Anne Arundel County.) [1]

In order to place the year 1822 in perspective, perhaps it would be helpful to recall briefly the national scene one hundred fifty years ago. James Monroe, our fifth President, was in office. (Richard Nixon is now our thirty-seventh President.) There were only twenty-four states in the United States. The War of 1812 was over, but the Civil War was yet to come many years in the future. In 1822 there were no steam-powered railroads as yet. The United States was indeed still a young nation. [1]

Let's take a look at the local scene one hundred fifty years ago in 1822. Six years earlier in 1816 the town of Damascus was laid out by its founder and first postmaster, Edward Hughes. However, by 1822 the town consisted of little more than several houses and a store and post office. Damascus was not even a crossroads as yet! Only one public road existed in the Damascus area in 1822. This was the ¡°Great Road also called the "Old Quaker Road", which had meandered through the area since Colonial days. Using present day names for places, the road came up through Etchison to Damascus, then on through Clagettsville and Kemptown to New Market. (The other sections of Ridge Road were later public roads.)[1]

Let us return to the wording of the deed in 1822, in which the original trustees were listed, to learn something briefly about them and where they lived, in order to understand the wide area served by our first church. Trustees John Etchison and Elisha Etchison were brothers. John Etchison lived for many years in a house still standing a short distance off of Annapolis Rock Road on Annapolis Rock Lane. Elisha Etchison lived on a farm just northeast of the Gue Road-Ridge Road intersection. A house still standing is believed to be the one in which he lived. (The Elisha Etchison who was a Trustee of our church died in 1851. There was a later Elisha Etchison.) Another brother of John and Elisha was Ephraim Etchison, an original trustee of the Bethesda (Browningsville) Methodist Episcopal Church in 1808. Both Ephraim and Elisha Etchison were commissioned officers in the Maryland Militia and served in the War of 1812.[1]

The following list of parishoners proves the claim that this is the Ephraim Etchison cited in the history of the church as his wife is listed as one of the members. It is also interesting to note all the names of our ancestors who were members of this church.[1]


The earliest Montgomery Circuit record book we have been able to find dates from 1857 to 1871, which lists members of all the churches on the Circuit. This was kept by the Circuit Minister who at Conference time would transcribe names of members to the Circuit record book from the local class book kept in each church. He then had his overall record for the Circuit in order to make his report to the Conference.

The following is a list of the members of our church as of Conference time in March 1857 taken from this old record book: (The initials M and S before the names mean Married or Single.)

  1. M Ephraim Warfield
  2. M Catharine Warfield
  3. S Margaret A. Warfield
  4. M Nathan B. Warthen - Leader
  5. M Rhoda A. Warthen
  6. M Ruth Etchison
  7. M Jonathan Fry
  8. M Milly Fry
  9. M Aden Bowman
  10. M Keziah Bowman
  11. M Rezin Bowman
  12. M Mary Bowman
  13. M William Bowman
  14. M Sarah Bowman
  15. M George W. Bowman
  16. M Ellen Bowman
  17. M Henry L. Moore
  18. S Anenath Burditt
  19. M Joseph Hopwood
  20. S Martha Hopwood
  21. M George W. Gue
  22. M Ellen Gue
  23. M Sarah Warthen
  24. M Sarah E. Crockett
  25. M Drusilla Warfield
  26. M Eliza Shipley
  27. S Louise J. Shipley
  28. S Isidore Shipley
  29. S Annie Shipley
  30. M Elizabeth Claggett
  31. M William Benton
  32. S Dorothy Bowman
  33. M Wesley Miles
  34. M Ellen J. Miles
  35. M Ellen Purduin
  36. S Rachel A. Barber
  37. S Caroline E. Barber
  38. M Rezin Duvall
  39. M Harriet Duvall
  40. M Eleanor Duvall
  41. S Charles P. Penn
  42. M Lydia E. Moore
  43. M Grafton Watkins
  44. S Annie Duvall
  45. S Ruth A. Duvall
  46. S Lenora Claggett
  47. M Rachel A. Hilton
  48. S Sarah B. Mullinix
  49. M Eleanor McAtee


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 History of the United Methodist Episcopal Church, Damascus, Maryland as recorded by Janie W. Payne, Historian. Mention is made of Ephraim Etchison.

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