Established in 1883, Centenary Methodist Church was the fifth church to be planted from Mother Church Forest Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church (founded 1840) within Middlesex County. The wooden building sits across from the historic Courthouse square in Saluda with five tall windows down its two sides of the building. Topped by a wooden copula, the building is fitting for the small congregation that met inside its walls for over 120 years. Generations of members moved through the church celebrating births and baptisms as well as marriages and deaths with each other as their church family. After many struggles with congregates relocating outside the county, it closed in 2006 and its members dispersed. The site is currently home to All Saints Anglican Church.
This month our museum was gifted a part of that church’s history in the form of a bible. Found and donated by one of our members, the beautiful bible is richly decorated with gold foil stamping and embossing on the leather cover. It is bound with silver locking hinges to help hold and support the over-sized book. The 4-inch-thick fragile bible is inscribed from one generation to the next: from C. E. Franklin to R. W. Franklin. Correlating dates for births and deaths indicate this family was involved in the Middlesex community at the early turn of the last century. This was also a prosperous time for Middlesex County as well as Centenary Methodist Church.
The bible will be included in the new display being designed for the Saluda Historic District.