Wicomico County MDGenWeb

Bivalve Methodist Church

This is excerpted, with permission, from Bivalve United Methodist Church Centennial Celebration 1886-1986 by Paul Willing. We are grateful to Mr. Willing for allowing the online publication of this entertaining and informative article.

Bivalve Methodist Protestant Church In 1883, the people of Waltersville attended a small Methodist Protestant Church located on the old Jesterville Road. Several of the leading citizens decided they wanted to build a church in the village. Land was donated by one of the citizens, and it was cleared by volunteer labor. Many of the local men helped to build the church, giving their work without pay. Lumber was bought in Laurel Delaware, and brought down Broad Creek and Nanticoke River in log canoes. It was then hauled by teams of oxen to the building site on a road that was two deep tracks through the sand and mud. Travel was very slow. It took about two hours for the yoke of oxen to make the trip.

One interesting story has to do with the church bell. Mr. Jim Polk Insley, remembered by a window placed in his memory in the present church, went to Baltimore on his schooner named the Speed, to get the bell. It was placed on the schooner's deck by a derrick. When the schooner arrived at Waltersville, the bell was hoisted out by the schooner's boom, and placed on two oyster culling boards that stretched across a log canoe. No one had figured how to get it on shore or up the road to the church. The only method available was manpower.

There were many strong, rugged oystermen and watermen present and willing to help. A heavy rope loop was made fast to the top of the bell, and a large canoe mast put through the loop. Ten men, five on each side of the bell, got under each end of the mast, then raised the bell clear of the canoe, and placed it on the shore. These same ten men then lifted the mast to their shoulders and started to the church site about 3/4 of a mile up the road. (Can you picture this group of hardy, stalwart watermen trudging slowly up the road with the bell on their shoulders?) That church bell is still in use today.

The church was completed and opened for use in 1886 - one year before the village of Waltersville was renamed Bivalve. The cornerstone is still in the foundation and bears the original inscription, "Waltersville Methodist Protestant Church". The first Minister was the Rev. James H. Daugherty.

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