Sweet Gum Church

Sweet Gum Church was built in Marion during 1847 by a Methodist congregation that had been meeting in the courthouse since 1844. Two lots were bought December 3, 1846 for $37.50 and a one story building raised. Sweet gum logs were hauled from Crab Orchard bottoms by the brothers Thomas and Mathew Watson with their ox team. These logs sprouted each year, and had to be cut back.

Among the original members of the church were Thomas Cox, Hugh and Mary Ann LaMaster, Mr. and Mrs. William Chism, Mr. and Mrs. John McCoy. Joseph Erp and James Shaw shared the preaching, and the latter also led a singing school.

While Simon P. Groves was pastor in the last years of the Civil war, the congregation bought another lot from Oliver G. and Sidney S. Campbell. The deed was signed August 1, 1865; the price, $300. That lot is still the site of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Marion, although three buildings have stood upon it.

The brick church of 1865 was built by Basil Holland for $5000. Trustees at the time were William E. Hearn, Alexander H. Manier, Abraham O. Weaver, William Hooper, Wiley W. Hall, John Goodall, and James Monroe Goddard. Reuben W. Laughlin was the first preacher to occupy its pulpit.

A frame church was built in the early nineties, and on August 22, 1911 the cornerstone of the present church was laid.

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939 which is on sale at the Williamson County Museum)