WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP CHURCH HISTORY
Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church
This church is located four miles southwest of Spencer. The church building is a one story frame, 26x40 feet, presents a respectable appearance and has ample and comfortable accomodations. It is located in a quiet and orderly neighborhood, and has a good membership of solid and intelligent farmers. The present building was erected in the year 1853. The church had been organized in a loose way several years previous to that time, the meetings being held in an old log church. Jesse Williams was the minister at the time of building the present church, and superintended the work. The membership at that time consisted principally of the following named persons: Daniel Price Sr, Daniel Price Jr, Aaron Price, Andrew Jackson, John Barnes, Giles Leak, Silas A. Leak, Thomas Gaskill, John T.M. Scott, John F. White, William Holman, Vivian Beck, Martha Gibson, Nathaniel Willard, E.A. Duling, Anthony S. Barnes, John M. Coleman, Frederick Sapp, Lemuel Payne and others whose names cannot now be ascertained on account of a failure to keep any records of the church membership. The only unpleasantness that marked the smooth course of the church was the trial of an erring sister for back biting and too much freedom in her personal statements. She was duly notified to appear for trial at the old log church and she appeared. On account of the crowd it was decided to have the trial outside under the trees.
The wayward and talkative sister at once raised a technical point, claiming that she had not been notified in due form to appear for trial in the woods and refused to attend. She was the liveliest of the flock and was well known for the remarkable fluency and ease with which she handled contemporaneous biography.
The church has always been in good condition and has never fallen into decay or lost its usefulness. It is on a solid basis, with a good membership, a spirit of harmony and an ability to accomplish unlimited good in the community where it is located.
Union of Owen Church
This church belongs to the Separate Baptist denomination and is located about six miles east of Spencer. It was organized about 1836 by Samuel Randolph and John Layman, the fathers of David Randolph and Alfred Layman. The congregation then consisted of seventy five or eighty members, and held their meetings in an old log church on McCormicks Creek, one mile southwest of the present location. The church is a frame building, 36x40 feet comfortably furnished and with a seating capacity of 300. The minister in charge in 1884 was Alfred Layman, who has filled that position for many years. Thomas Franklin is the oldest member and occassionally preaches for the congregation and has ordained many ministers of the denomination. This church is distinguished from other denominations by many peculiarities and is characterized by its primitive simplicity and religious fervor. The custom of washing the feet is still practiced at the yearly meetings in June. There is probably no church in the world which more consistently and boldly repudiates and spurns the earthly vanities and foolish pride of the present generation with its "itching ears", its "sounding brass and tinklin cymbals" and which more closely clings to the traditions, the customs and the faith of the apostles.
Christian Union Church
This church is located about two miles southwest of Spencer. The building is a frame structure, comfortably furnished and with ample accomodations. The church was organized by Rev. J.V. B. Black on February 1, 1865 with the following officers: Buckner Dickerson, Official Elder; Henry Harvey, Financial Elder; John F. White, Recording Elder. Rev. Silas Watts served as Pastor from 1865 to 1867. During the next two years, the pulpit was filled by Rev. T.G. Price and Rev. Waymire. Rev T. G. Price has been the presiding minister from 1869 to 1884, filling the position with credit to himself and his church and with the approval and endorsement of his congregation and community. In 1867, the membership numbered 100, and in 1870 it had increased to 164. In 1870, the present church house was built with Buckner Dickerson, Otho Workman and Henry Harvey as Trustees. The cost was about $2000. The church was dedicated by Rev. O. Abbot. The membership in the mid 1880's numbered seventy seven, some of the members having moved away, while others of the faithful have gone to reap the goodly harvest of their earthly sowing. The church is still in a prosperous condition as the 18th century closes and is one of those institutions whose influence for good, while not always direct or perceptible, yet is of incalculable value to a community.