Vardaman History Project - Young's Chapel
By James Young, great grandson of T.W. and Sally Young

Young's Chapel Methodist Church

The Methodist church at Ellzey was built on land donated by Thomas W. Young and his wife Sarah Frances "Sally" Blue Young. The deed of transfer was dated May 20, 1873, and the deed names T.W. Young, J.C. Hannah, and Levi Ferguson as the first trustees.

Young's Chapel Pastors

Although the land was donated in 1873, the first record found of an established church is in an 1882 church register labelled "Young's Chappel" (sic). That register indicates that the pastor had been appointed in November 1881.

First Members

As shown in this small section of the membership list, the original members came into the church by transferring from another church. Unfortunately the register doesn't indicate which church the member transferred from.

At Least Two Different Buildings Served as Young's Chapel

First Young's Chapel

This sketch by Bayne Collins of what was probably the earliest Young's Chapel shows the separate entrances for men and women that were typical of some of the churches at the time. In a WPA Historical Research Project on Calhoun County in the 1930's, Filmore Young of Vardaman, son of T.W. and Sally Young, described the church as a frame building 30 ft. by 40 ft. The Global Ministries form in the Mississippi Methodist Archives at Millsaps College indicates that a new two-room church building was built in 1955.
Last Young's Chapel

This image of the last Young's Chapel, taken from the October 1992 church directory, shows the wrought iron arch that identified it.

Many of the church members moved to the new town of Vardaman and transferred their membership to the Vardaman Methodist Church after it had been established. As the remaining members of Young's Chapel died or moved away, the total membership gradually dropped and Young's Chapel became a member of the three-church Vardaman "charge" (as the Methodists describe a group of churches sharing a pastor.) The church was discontinued in 1993 by resolution of the Mississippi Annual Methodist Conference as there were no members remaining on the official roll of the church. The resolution states that the title to the property was to be transferred to the Ellzey Cemetery Association, and all other assets were to be equally divided between the Ellzey Cemetery Association and the Vardaman Methodist Church.

The Vardaman UMC Charge published a pictorial directory in October 1992. This directory included a section for Young's Chapel. The first link below, Member Listing, shows the listing for Young's Chapel members and also those who were not members but who regularly attended. The second link contains photographs of those who wanted to be photographed for the directory.

Young's Chapel Member
Listing (October 1992)

Young's Chapel Member
Photographs (October 1992)

The building was in bad shape and the Cemetery Association determined that it wasn't economically feasible to repair it. It was demolished and an inter-denominational building was constructed a few yards north of the Young's Chapel location and was named Ellzey Chapel. The area where the last Young's Chapel building stood is now used for the potluck dinner, the traditional "dinner on the ground", at the annual Ellzey Memorial on the second Sunday in May, and for other outdoor functions.

The sign in front of the new building indicates that the land was donated by T.W. Young.

Young's Chapel Arch Although Young's Chapel is gone, the arch still exists. At some point it was moved into the edge of the woods just south of where the church was located.

Vegetation is growing through and around it, the "P" in "CHAPEL" has been broken loose and is hanging from the "L", and there is other damage. The arch is positioned so that it is seen from the back when the viewer is standing in the area where the church once was located. (This picture of the arch has been reversed so that the lettering can be read properly.) Suggestions have been made for a more dignified location for the arch and there has been an offer to repair it, but the arch remains there in the woods and continues to deteriorate.

Picture by Jim Young