In the Western Pickens District and Oconee County, South Carolina
go to the Wm A. Lyles page | modified February 20, 2000

go to Salem Methodist Church

go to Hopewell Methodist Church

go to Double Springs Methodist Church

go to Rock Springs Baptist Church

go to Unity Baptist Church

Chauga Baptist Church (Shoal Creek Baptist)

Salem Church, Choestoea Creek

near Westminster, South Carolina

(See the Land Locations page.)

Aunt Amy Lyles' records say that sometime around 1820 Thomas Fowler, a Methodist preacher and the father of Mary Fowler Lyles, donated land for a church on Choestoea Creek near Westminster, South Carolina, put up the first church building, and preached there. Aunt Amy's notes go on to say that William Albert Lyles and Joseph Lyles were early trustees before 1840. (Whether she meant William Albert Lyles' brother Joseph Lyles or the elder Joseph Lyles, 1792-1870, I don't know.)

Recently, though, we have discovered the 1844 deed by which Coleman Fowler, not Thomas Fowler, donated the land for the church. Coleman Fowler had preached at Hopewell Methodist Church just a few years earlier, about 1839. But he apparently moved to Salem Church and does not appear among the Hopewell members in the 1850s. The 1844 deed names Joseph Liles and William Liles among the trustees, and a plat with the deed gives us an idea of where the church was located. (See the Land Locations page.)

We don't know when Salem Church disappeared. By the early 1850s, Joseph Lyles had moved to Hopewell Methodist Church and William A. Lyles had moved up to Mountain Rest and helped to build Double Springs Church. Was Salem Church gone by then? Or did it go on for a while with Coleman Fowler, John Gassaway, and other original members?

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Double Springs United Methodist Church

Mountain Rest, South Carolina


The William A. Lyles family moved up to Mountain Rest sometime after they had buried young Zillah in Westminster in 1852 and in time to help build Double Springs Church about 1858 or 1859.

"On September 9, 1858, Alexander Brice, Sr and Elliot Keith executed a deed to Lewis Morehead, Bry[a]n Fretwell and Gambrell Breazeale as trustees of a ten acre tract of land to be used for the cause of religion in the community," according to Footsteps in Time: A History of Double Springs Methodist Church and Community (edited by Vera Robins and R. Will Stackhouse, 1983). The deed did not name any denomination, and the church served both Methodists and Baptists until 1948, when the Baptist left to form a separate congregation.
The church was built by the people of the community, including Lewis Morehead, Bryan Fretwell, Gambrell Brazeale, Abel Robins, Ransom Hunt, Andrew Keys, William Mongold, Charles Hunt, Robert Crisp, A.J.M. Billingsley, S. G. Herndon, W. G. Russell, Baylus Nicholson, Simpson Mosely, Billy (William A.) Lyles, George Symes, Jacob McCall, George Killian, W. H. McGill, James W. Vissage, Tyler Gillespie, Lawson Brown, Harriett Pell, Mary Barker and Sue Barker ("her colored girl").
The present-day church building and the cemetery lie right next to the county road (37-196) that runs from Mountain Rest to Whetstone. As the crow flies, the Lyles house sat above West Village Creek 0.9 mile northward. The old house is gone now, replaced on the exact spot by the new house of a new owner.
William A. Lyles' children--James Turner Lyles and Sarah Lyles--and grandchildren were active members of the church, and his grandchildren W. Clifton Lyles and Amy Lyles, are still remembered in the stories and anecdotes still told by their former students and neighbors today, a half century after they died.
William A. Lyles and Mary Fowler Lyles are buried in the church cemetery. So are Sarah Lyles, James Turner Lyles, Selena Vissage Lyles, Amy E. Lyles, and William Clifton Lyles.
A Nancy Lyles Roach lies there, perhaps from one of the Westminster Lyleses. We don't know.
Many of the Vissages lie there too--John J. Vissage and Melissa Fincher Vissage and many of their children and in-laws.

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Chauga Baptist Church
also called Shoal Creek Baptist Church
Oconee County, South Carolina
Levi Lyles and Parthana Lyles, two of the Oconee Lyleses about whom we know very little, were members of Chauga Baptist Church in 1847, according to a membership list for that year. They were admitted by letters of reference for another Baptist church that we have not identified. Chauga Baptist Church is located about 3 1/2 miles southeast of Hopewell Methodist Church and about a mile west of U.S. Highway 123. --jrl

There were no Lyleses listed in 1818 and no sign of any of the family in the records prior to 1844. Many of the records from the 1820s and 1830s are very faint and are nearly unreadable on the microfilm but I am fairly sure that I would have seen a Lyles in the 1818 membership list or a literate Lyles being appointed to a church office.

From 1836 to 1842 the church nearly disappears. Lots of folk leave andthere are only 8 members, one male and seven females (I have tried to alter the spelling and punctuation as little as possible):

"First Saturday in August 1836 Met at Chauga and siting in conference all in peace 1st dismissed Sister Mary Minton by letter 2nd dismissed Jane Cogins by letter 3rd dismissed Sister Mary Tannery by letter 4th dismissed Levi Tannery and wife Parthener Tannery by letter 5th dismissed James Mason and wife by letter and concluded."

Many of the records for the next six years are very faint but in 1842 the following entry appears:

"Saturday before the fifth Sunday in May 1842 the Committee appointed bythe Association met at Chauga to know the minds of the few remaining members of Said Church and finding one mail member and seven females, we concluded to remain a church hoping for an increase to inable us to live together as Brother Barch Chambers has agreed to attend to us for one yearand concluded."


At the bottom of the page for August 12th 1844 there may be a note receiving --- Liles into the church. It requires a lot of imagination when staring at the microfilm and copies don't show it at all. It will take an examination of the original document to know for sure.

Then, four years later, there is this note from Jan 8 1848:

"... 4 agreed to grant Sister [difficult to read] Jemenia Willis a letter of dismission from us and Brother Liles and wife letters of dismission from us."


But Levi and Parthena stay in the church a while longer since the record records the following note from Oct 4th 1852:

"The Church dismisses Levi Liles and his wife by letter."


But the Liles story at Chauga is not quite over. I found the following entry very near the end of the microfilmed records:

1853 "Saturday before the first Sunday in April the Church met and after service sit in conference 1 invited visiting brethern to sit with us then call for the peace of the Church all in peace then call for reference none then call for business and the Church calls for Brother Wm M Marton to preach to them and he agrees to do so this year then open the door of the Church and received Martha Liles by letter and close."

The records end shortly thereafter. But there is one final note: the date on the membership list which we found on the web is probably wrong. I think that it is 1845. There is another list from 1848 (this date is very clear) showing Levi Liles and a scribble which could easily be "dismissed" beside his name. --Bryan

William Barton, excluded
Joseph G. Oliver by letter
Joel Mason by letter, Ex
Elijah Land by letter
Hugh L. Okelly by letter
Peter L. Barton by letter, excluded
David O. Barton by letter, D.
Richard Tierce by letter
William Harbin by Exp
Wm. Barton, excluded
Dreury Knox by letter
David O. Barton dis. by letter
Wm. Barton by rec.
R. Tierce dis. by letter
David O. Barton und. wah. cas.
Posey Hicks by letter
Levi [L]iles by letter


Mary Harbin
Martha Eddens
Elizabeth Oliver by letter
Jane Moor by letter
Winny Barton by letter
Eleanor Land by letter, dead
Sarah Tierce by letter
Sarah Tierce by letter
Nancy Land by letter
Elizabeth Oliver by letter
Leena Oliver by letter, dead
Martha Okelly by experience
Susannah Morris by letter
Eliza Harbin by exp
Jane Moor dism. by letter
Nancy Okelly by letter
Leena Oliver, dead
Sarah Tierce and
Sarah Tierce dis by letter
Annis Hicks by letter
Parthana Liles by letter
Jemima Willis


Names of Blacks & Free Coloured People
Wm. Barton's Willis by exp, excluded
Swift's Jack, dead, by rec
Wm. Barton's Willis restored
R. Hackett's Tom by exp
Swift's Aaron by exp
to the association
Free Mary
Swift's Caty
Pew's Amy
Ferrel's Dicy, dead
Pew's Vipsillah
Wm. Barton's Charity by exp
Harbin's Vilot by exp
Swift's Maria by exp
Free Elizabeth by exp
D. O. Barton's Liza by exp & dis. by letter
Jas. Rust's Linda by exp
to the association 1847


from a membership list of 1847 in the possession of church clerk Joel Mason.
From the Original in the Baptist Historical Collection
Furman University
Greenville, South Carolina
Shole [sic] Creek (or Chauga) Church Book
1796 - 1853
Transcribed from Microfilm contributed by Ruth Roberts
Shoal Creek Baptist Church
Oconee County, South Carolina
1796 - 1853


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