Clarksburg United Methodist Church

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

Early History

(Excerpted from “Clarksburg United Methodist Church: A History” by
Alan Hawk)

Francis Asbury, Circuit Rider – photo credit: Alison Burdett, BWC. Used with permission.

Clarksburg, Maryland was one of the stops of the early circuit riders. It began as a trading post intersection of two Indian trails established by William Clarke in 1735. As European settlement expanded into westrn Maryland, the trail became a road that ran from Georgetown to Frederick, Maryland (now Route 355). By 1754, a small settlement with a 17-room tavern/hotel, named Dowden’s Ordinary, grew up around the trading post.

The Methodist Society in Clarksburg was formed on June 5, 1788; the same year that the Montgomery Circuit was established and Francis Asbury was appointed the first bishop of the Methodist Church.

A parcel of land known as “Warfield’s Vineyard” was purchased under the names of the congregation’s trustees. The log building, known as “Ebenezer Church,” was a plain functional building without plaster or paint on its walls. Seating was on plank benches that had no backs and the pulpit was a tall narrow box elevated three feet above the floor.

One of the converts of the circuit riders was John Clarke, William Clarke’s son. He was the proprietor of the town’s general store and tavern. His appointment as the town’s first postmaster on April 1, 1800 gave the community the name of Clarksburg.