Wesleyan Church

36.013492, -78.921555

Cross Street
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Wesleyan Church, likely 1930s.
(Courtesy Mac Bare and John Schelp)

The Wesleyan Methodist Church, later the First Wesleyan Church, was organized in the summer of 1907 by Wesleyan minister Rev. Shuber Williams after a tent revival held on Broad Street. Williams held services in different homes in West Durham before, on January 10, 1908, thirty charter members organized the West Durham Wesleyan Church in the home of JE Conway, who lived on Hillsborough Road near Ninth Street.

The congregation held services in a variety of locations until 1915, when they built a small frame church with a belfry at 922 Ninth Street. In 1935, the sanctuary was lengthened 30 ft., and in 1957, a two-story education wing was added to the rear of the building.

In 1979, the church merged with another Wesleyan congregation and added members from the Pilgrim Holiness Church on Hale Street, which had been damaged by fire.

In the late 1980s, the church moved to a new location on Cole Mill Road, and the church became the Covenant Church of Durham. The building is currently used by the Dayspring Fellowship.

Former Wesleyan Church, 09.12.09

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Songwriter John D. Loudermilk was born "on a kitchen table" in 1934 at 8th and C streets (right behind this church).

Loudermilk wrote several hit songs including: 'Tobacco Road' (Lou Rawls), 'A Rose And A Baby Ruth' (George Hamilton), and 'Turn me On' (Nora Jones).

The Loudermilk family lived in several houses in Durham. As a youngster, Loudermilk lived on Dezern Place, near Erwin Mill No. 4 in West Durham (the house still stands today, near Hale and Hillsborough).

Covenant Church of Durham added a new facade to the front of the building at 9th and Knox in the late 70's or early 80's. This church eventually merged with Christian Assembly on N. Roxboro Road in Durham, and sold the building to Dayspring Baptist Fellowship in July, 1998.

My family attended the Wesleyan Church. Ladies including my Mother made quilts in the basement.
I was born 1938 and we lived at 905 Virgie street. My growing up in the church we did not wear
clothes with no sleeves, no make up and slacks.
My how things have changed. Sunday school was in the basement. Many wonderful memories.

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