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Bethel is not a city. It's an area in northcentral Pendleton County, west of Catawba, which got its name from something best-known in the area-- The Bethel Church. (There is a city of Bethel, Kentucky but it's not in Pendleton County.)
Bethel is located at the intersection of US 27 and Kentucky 17 [on the Falmouth side of Menzie Bottoms—at the top of the hill]. 1
The estate of William J. Bradford, whose will was probated March 16, 1876 by his son, Thomas K. Bradford (the administrator), donated the acreage (one and a half acres) for the church and cemetery (on the west side along Falmouth and Grassy Creek Turnpike [now Kentucky 17]). To build the church, two Baptists, J.K. Bradford, and Bryan Parsons, and two Methodists, T.J. Campbell and Arthur Purdy, were to supervise the construction of building. T.J. Campbell was a carpenter; he and his two sons, Frank and James, built the church with donated help. The church was built in 187 9. It was dedicated in 1881. The first minister, a Methodist, was S. A. Day. Mrs. T.J. Campbell named the church 'Bethel'. 2 When the new Christian Church at Mount Moriah was built in 1911, many members moved to the new church. 3
In April 2008, The Bethel Church was awarded a certificate designating the Cemetery and Church a Kentucky Landmark worthy of Preservation and in 2013, the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Grassroots Preservation Award was presented.
On Tuesday, February 5, 2008, high winds ripped off a large portion of the newly installed roof including the structure beneath. 4 The church was given a total 'facelift' after that but on December 23, 2015 the Bethel Church was so damaged by tornado-force winds that it had to be razed because of safety concerns.
The Bethel Cemetery began in 1854 as a family graveyard. In 1895, then-owner Alex Emerick fenced in ˝ an acre for use as a public, rather than exclusively a family, cemetery.
Bethel Cemetery Association was formed as a nonprofit organization in 1952 for the purpose of perpetual care and maintenance of the cemetery. 5
Charlie Pyles maintains a website and Facebook page and through them you can get the most current information. 6
1] Google Maps--Bethel
2] Bethel Church records [copy]
3] Bethel Church records [copy]
4] Charlie Pyles 'Devastation at Old Bethel'
5] Bethel Church records [copy]
6] Bethel Church Historic Landmark
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