The History and Heritage of Portsville Methodist Protestant Church
The history of Portsville Methodist Protestant Church began around 1830 when Freeborn Garrettson and Francis Asbury were preaching in the Sharptown, Mount Pleasant, and Laurel area about the “New Methodism,” a new division of the Methodist Episcopal Church that gave the church laymen more freedom from the Episcopal part and was called the Methodist Protestant Church. Methodist Protestant groups started to meet in the area of Portsville and private homes and school houses. Portsville at the time was a thriving village, having a grist mill, granary, shipyard, saw mill, and stores. The people who lived there followed the sea or made their living from those that did, who in turn relied on the local plantations and saw mills for cargo. Most of the people here were descendants of those who had fought for independence during the American Revolution and had themselves fought to keep that freedom during the War of 1812. These people were attracted to a religion such as the Methodist Protestant Church, which gave freedom of thought to its laymen. Soon, it was conceived in the minds of some that of the needs of this community was a House of Worship, to pray and praise Almighty God. So in 1832 the original Portsville Church Building was erected on a ¼ acre site located about ½ mile South from the present church on what is now Mt Pleasant Road, named after the Mt. Pleasant Church. A deed shows that on February 21, 1834 James H. Phillips and Nancy Phillips, his wife, “in consideration of the sum of $10.00, which sum had already been paid as appears by as receipt dated April, 30, 1832,” conveyed on this site “near Portsville and whereon is not located a house for the purpose of religious worship and also for the use of a school house to the church trustees, who at the time were John Allen, Thomas Phillips, Levi Collins, James M Rider, Cyrus Collins, William Adams, and Obediah Marvel. The original church came to be known as “The Portsville Academy and Chapel.” The present building was built in 1868, on a second ¼ acre parcel, acquired by deed dated February 4, 1869, from Isaac G. Phillips and his wife Emeline to the trustees, Doughty Collins, William G. Hearn, Isaac G. Phillips, William S Phillips, and James H. Jackson. A third deed dated August 1st, 1874, shows that additional lands for the church were purchased from Jesse Wright. The new church building was known as “Mt. Lebanon” for a number of years, and was associated with the Union Charge of Sharptown, Maryland. In 1916, the vestibule of the church was build, with the bell being purchased from Charles Williams Stores, of New York City, for $30.00. This is the same bell that is rung today. At this time the choir and pulpit were elevated. In the late 1920’s the old windows of plain glass were removed, and the present ones installed. Over the years many changes have been made to the church.
Portsville Church was part of the Hebron Circuit form 1897 to 1920, when it was added to Christ Church, Laurel, for one year.
In 1921, it was added to the Laurel Circuit, which served 5 churches. The next year it was returned to Christ Church where it remained until 1942.
Portsville Church then became part of the Bethel Charge, where it remains today.