Efforts to preserve historic church in Cherokee County
CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A piece of Upstate history is listed on the national register and one organization is making efforts to preserve and protect the historic structure,
The Mulberry Methodist Episcopal Church in Cherokee County sits where Union and Cherokee Counties meet. It’s listed on The National Register and was built in the 1800s.
FOX Carolina’s Ashley Garrett caught up with descendants of those who built the church in the 1800s.
The descendants, including Larry Littlejohn, showed us, a hole in the roof, broken glass, the grounds unkept, and the church leaning quite a bit.
Littlejohn shared he hopes the efforts of the Upstate Preservation Trust will help keep the church upright for now.
“My father, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and nephews back then this yard would be full of people in wagons and mules to come to church on Sundays,” said Hilliard Littlejohn, Larry’s father.
Prior to the church being built, Larry says services would be held outside.
“If it rained they would be welcome into the White churches where they would sit in the balcony and worship.”
He says this was during the times of segregation, meaning Whites and Blacks would sit separately. Despite this, Hilliard still has great memories from when he would go to church which was last active in the 19-40s.
“I would come to church and hear people singing,” said Hilliard. “You’d walk but then you’d start running to get to the church for services. It was important back then and people had... I don’t know how you would describe it. It’s some type of feeling when you walk in a church regardless if you walk in a church there’s something that comes over you to know that you in the presence of some type of Spirit.”
Larry and Hilliard say when it comes to those who founded the church, instead of calling them former slaves, they’d rather call them servants. The Littlejohns came from three servants. Those servants include- relatives who were some of the first members of the church.
The Upstate Preservation Trust provided the following statement for their plans to preserve and protect Mulberry:
“Our initial goal is to highlight its importance and to hopefully spread the word to help any preservation efforts. Our hopes are to partner with other groups who can help be “boots on the ground” to accomplish restoration and preservation of the property.”
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