Morrison Chapel Methodist Church and cemetery are the oldest recorded history of the Morrison City community. It was known as the beacon of light on the hill that overlooked Carters Valley. The cemetery is older than the Church and was made possible by donated land from Peter Morrison in 1793.
Peter Morrison received a land grant after the Civil War from the State of North Carolina for 1,000 acres that was located in both East and West Carters Valley. Peter’s wife, Mary requested that he build a church on the property of their family cemetery. A one-room log building was built where the pine tree now stands in the cemetery. The building was crude, and the benches were hand made.
Mr. J.O. Smith logged the timber and brought it by wagon and oxen to the building site. Morrison Chapel Methodist Church served as the only house of worship for many people in the areas known as West View, Parkers Chapel, Lynn Garden, Clouds Ford, Bloomingdale, and Weber City. The school was held in the church for six months out of the year which allowed children to help their family on the farm. The earliest recorded records of Morrison Chapel began in 1857 and the first members came via horse and wagon.
Membership began to grow and in a short time, the log building became too small. $685 was raised to build a new church building. The log church was removed soon after the death of Elizabeth Perry, who had requested to be buried beneath the church in the cemetery. Her burial was held on December 13, 1900.
Additional land had been deeded to the church by the Morrison heirs, and a beloved white frame church was constructed north of the cemetery. The first service was held on December 17, 1899, conducted by the Rev. W.I. Fogelman. The new church had a small belfry over the front gable which contained a small bell. In 1923 funds were raised to purchase a new bell and a new belfry was added to the side of the front doors.
Peter Morrison, Mary Morrison, and their son George are buried in the cemetery. George and Mary had 13 children. One of them, Nancy Morrison, married Rev. Samuel Patton. They settled at String Place, a well-preserved two-story log house near the Holston River on Carters Valley Road. String Place was the family home of Ruth Winegar Jones and the Winegar family. Rev. Patton joined the Holston Conference in 1819 and had a very successful ministry. In 1844, during Rev. Patton’s ministry, the Methodist Church split into the Methodist Episcopal Church North and the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Rev. Patton stayed with the Southern branch. He died in Knoxville on August 1, 1854, and was buried in the Morrison Chapel cemetery.
The church was called Morrison Chapel Union Methodist until 1939 when the two branches of Methodism reunited. It was then called Morrison Chapel Methodist Church. The church was on a circuit from the very beginning and lasted this way until 1947. In 1947 the church became a full-time charge in the Johnson City District of the Methodist Church.
The Methodist Women’s organization began as the Ladies Aid Society during the 1930s. This group helped the church many times over the years through such projects as purchasing a piano and furniture for the parsonage which was completed in 1950.
In 1958 an educational wing was completed. The wooden structure of the church burned down in 1963 and a new building made from brick was completed in 1967. In 1968 with the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, Morrison Chapel became a United Methodist Church.
Morrison Chapel has had several members go on to become ministers, including E.C. Allgood, Clarence Allgood, Ray Haynes, James Henry, Jeff Strong, Basil Freeman, and a deaconess, Mildred Bellamy.
Morrison Chapel also birthed other churches in the area including State Line Baptist, Freewill Baptist, and the Morrison City Mission.