First Church Building
The Charlton City village was rapidly growing with new mill and shops opening giving it the name “City“. No church had been established in the city. People were required to travel to the “Center” to the Congregational or Universalist churches. The place of the Methodist meetings were even farther for people in the north part of town.
Church Built In “Center”
A site was sought on which to build a Methodist Church in Charlton City. On August 15, 1853 Otis Farnum and William Stevens of Charlton sold two tracks of land across Brookfield Road from the previous church building to the Charlton Methodist Episcopal church. The land was on the southeast corner of Brookfield Road and Stafford Street directly across Brookfield Road from our former church building. This put it in front of Mr. Stevens house which was the cause of much trouble in later years. The trustees were to erect and finish a structure similar in size and appearance to the Monson Massachusetts meeting house. According to the deed the building was to be completed within a year or the transaction would be void.
The church was finished on time, and on December 4, 1854 the congregation was organized into a single and independent church, with Reverend William B. Olds as its first pastor. soon after this, a different religious denomination build a church in the Lelandville section of Charlton and invited Reverend Olds to serve them as pastor. Thus he left the Charlton City church and preached for them for a year or more. He is the only pastor of our church to be buried in Charlton, and his grave may be found in the Charlton City Cemetery.
Charlton City Methodist Church Now Official
On September 19, 1859 the Methodist Episcopal Society in Charlton City was legally organized by the first Board of Trustees of the church who were given permission by Simeon Lamb, a Worcester County Justice of the Peace. These first trustees were Louis Holden, Chairman, Ellis Thayer, Secretary-Treasurer, Elijah F. Partridge, Collector, Leonard Carpenter, Elijah C. Thayer and Paris Rich. A “Certificate of Service” was recorded in the records of the Town of Charlton and our Charlton City Methodist Church was now officially and legally organized to conduct the business of a recognized church
Sally Willis leaves Large Gift to Church
An early member of the church, Miss Sally Willis died in 1887 leaving to the Charlton City Methodist church a substantial endowment from her estate. In the following March, the trustees voted to accept the gift of her house, barn and land located on South Sturbridge Road, plus the use of $500. One of the trustees was Edward Akers, who lived on property next to the church and adjacent to the Akers and Taylor Woolen Mill which adjoins the Willis property. In the following years the Board of Trustees sought to establish the exact boundary between the Willis and Akers properties, but was unable to do so. In 1893 Edward Akres moved one of his mill buildings across the brook that formed a natural boundary between the two properties. The church formally notified Mr. Akers, claiming ownership of the land, and said his company was encroaching upon it. Several meetings were held up to negotiate that matter, but no compromise was reached. Mr. Akers added onto the building again in 1894, using more land, and knowing that the boundary line was in dispute.
The matter had to be resolved in court. During the proceedings it was discovered that neither side had properly established the boundary line, and no formal survey made to fix the boundary before the Akers and Taylor buildings had been placed upon the property. It was found that the mill owners had adequate property of their own to accommodate the two buildings, but it will cost more to move the buildings then the land was worth. Akers and Taylor were told to leave the buildings where they were and to compensate the church $225 for the property