Hays Chapel Church


Hays Chapel
Hays Chapel front view

1972 Centennial Newspaper Article   |   Preachers from 1889 to 1999  |  Church History
Hays Chapel Cemetery   |   Hays Chapel School
Hays Chapel Founding Fathers

The following newspaper article ran in the Johnson County Graphic, July 1972

Hays Chapel Church Centennial Is July 1-2
By: Anna Joe Weatherton

The Hays Chapel Methodist Church on Highway 64 west of Clarksville will celebrate its 100th anniversary July 1-2.  The church was founded in 1872 by three early families who had settled on the Horsehead Prairie, Dr. James King, who moved his family from Tennessee in 1838, H B. Hays, who came to the area in 1830 and A.J. Clemmons, who brought his family to the area from North Carolina in 1857.

All belonged to the Methodist denomination and began having Sunday school and prayer meetings in the various homes.  The church was organized prior to the civil war and the members later met in the Cherry Valley School house, which was located near the present church.

During this period H.B. Hays donated land for a church building and he, King and Clemmons each gave $100 toward a building fund.  The original structure was a tall frame building and was built by the men of the small community who donated their labor.  The new building was named Hays Chapel in honor of Mr. Hays.

This building was used for 74 years.  Age and severe damage by cyclones prompted the replacing with the present church, which was built in 1946.  The old hand hewn log sills from the first building were still in excellent condition and were used in the new structure.

The present facility of stone and brick has a large carpeted sanctuary, fitted velvet pew pads, a fellowship hall, modern kitchen, classrooms, rest rooms and the entire building is air conditioned.

A relic from the old days, which remains on the church lawn and can still be used, is the old hand levered pitcher water pump.

Old school house water pump

On Saturday night, July 1, beginning at 7 pm, visitors, descendants of early settlers, friends and members of the church will assemble for a period of group singing; special musical numbers and visitation.  Wilburn Stouffer of North Little Rock will serve as master of ceremonies for the two-day event.

Guest speakers for the Sunday morning service will include the Rev. Ruben Gilmore of Fayetteville and a former member of the church, the Rev. Charles McDonald of Fort Smith district superintendent; and the Rev. Gaston Matthews, pastor of the church.  Bishop Paul Galloway has been invited to participate in dedication ceremonies.

Mrs. Delbert Sparks and Bill Bennett will lead group singing.  Accompanists will be Mrs. Ethel Northup, organist, and R.B. Sparks, pianist.

A luncheon will be served during the noon hour by the ladies of the church.

In the afternoon special music will be provided by the Singing Rangers composed of Levon Bean, Mrs. Betty James, E.L. Sparks and Kenny Sexton.

The grandson of one of the founders, 88-year-old Winfred King of Clarksville is the oldest living member and still attends all services at the Hays Chapel Methodist Church.  Five generations of the King family have been members through the years.

The Rev. Frank Clemmons, the great-grandson of A.J. Clemmons, one of the founders, is now pastor of the Waldron First United Methodist Church and plans to attend the centennial observance.

Former pastors of the church who have been invited to attend include Earl Carter, Aaron Barling, Paul Kelly, Kenneth Renfro, Fern Cook, Larry King, and Charles Reid.  The church has had 44 preachers to serve as pastors of the church during the 100 years.


Preachers from 1889 to 1981

                                                                                            W. M. Warren                    Bates Sturdy

                                                                                            J.S. Shangles                       R. N. Davis

                                                                                            J. H. Welch                         J. H. Harger

                                                                                            T. J. Adams                        W. W. Peterson

                                                                                            W. H. Mathney                   S. M. Adams

                                                                                            J. E. Martin                         Paul Kelly

                                                                                            J. M. Clatyon                      B. E. Robertson

                                                                                            J. J. Holland                        Earl Carter

                                                                                            H. W. Wallace                    Kenneth Renfroe

                                                                                           James Ashmore                   Fern Cook

                                                                                            Wm. Adcock                       A. F. Arron Barling

                                                                                            Elisha Dyer                         A. R. Brooks

                                                                                            O. C. Loyed                        Charles Reed

                                                                                            J. L. Shelby                         Larry King

                                                                                            J. B. Stewart                       Gaston Matthews

                                                                                            J. H. Wallace                       Jacob Cline

                                                                                            R. A. Robertson                   Danny Roark

                                                                                            W. J. Jordan                        James W. Krohn

                                                                                            J. M. Barnett                       Carmon Austin

                                                                                            Floyd Villines                       Chris Rink (Pastor since July 4, 1999)

Thank you Mrs. Rink for updating the Hays Chapel list!


*The following “History of Hays Chapel” was given to me by my cousin, Ronald Reeves.  There is no mention of the person who wrote this “history”.  Therefore, I cannot give credit at this time.

Hays Chapel Church History

The Hays Chapel Church was organized in 1872.  Previously they had met in various homes and later met in the Cherry Valley School near the present church before building a church building.

Three families, who had settled on the Horsehead prairie, Dr. James King, H.B. Hays, and A. J. Clemmons founded the Hays Chapel Church.  Attendance at times was small but they maintained services.  H.B. Hays donated the land for the church.

This building was used for 74 years before time and a number of storms damaged it severely.  It was replaced with the present building in 1946.

At the time the original church was in use there was a school in connection with it.  The school was discontinued in 1942 at which time the school consolidated with the Shady Grove School.  Soon after that they consolidated with the Clarksville School system.

In the early years money was short and the women quilted to make money and many suppers were held to make improvements such as carpet, air conditioning and many other necessary things.  A few years ago the church purchased a small portion of land behind the church which may be needed in the future to use for recreational purposes.

The cemetery is close to the church.  No charge has ever been asked for anyone wanting a burial plot.  Many of the older members have ancestors buried there.

Several years ago a gazebo was built over the hand pitcher pump which was the water supply for the church and school.  Also, with contributions from people who went to school and to church in the old building, we erected a memorial with names of those who wished and with room for more later.  Each Decoration Day many of the older folks gather  to think of the ones whose names appear on the plaque.

The church is always ready to help in times of disaster or needs.  Each month we set aside a day to gather food for the Inter Faith service to help those in need of any kind.  Any other disasters are met with the same willingness.

Much of the history and other information has been lost or misplaced over the years.  Have had many pastors, trustees, and other officials who left no records of changes.

There are  very few left who have been members of the church for many years.  Those who are there that helped build the building we now have and kept the church going when times were hard for small churches.  One member said when they decided to build the present building in 1946 they could only raise one hundred dollars but with everyone doing what they could to help the project was completed.  Recently, the church has added on to the fellowship hall and two Sunday school rooms besides other improvements.  All the building has central heat and air conditioning.

The only revivals we have had in the last several years have been combined revivals with several other churchs where we hold revival one night in each church.  The attendance for our church has been real good.

In September each year we have a cookout for the children for their back to school outing.  We have Easter sunrise service each year and involve any other churches who want to come.  Our men prepare breakfast and do a wonderful job.  We are fortunate to have several new members who have really been helpful in all the new projects.

We are trying to get pictures of as any of our members as we can.  Have many of those folks who were there in the early times but have passed away.  It will be interesting for the new members we are getting each year to see those who really are the start of the church.  This includes some of the previous pastors.

We have been fortunate to have had dedicated pastors who give lots of time to the congregation not only for the Sunday services but in times of illness or other problems.  As we have no parsonage we have had men who live here and want to maintain their own homes.  Before this we were on the charge Hartman and the parsonage was there.

Our deeds and other important papers are in a safety deposit box at the bank.

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