Around 1835, Joshua Harshaw, a wealthy first settler, came to this area. In 1844, he granted land on which to erect a place of worship for those of the Methodist faith. Eleven years later, he presented to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South the meetinghouse which was to be known as Harshaw Chapel. Conference records show that the first pastor, Rev. A. R. Wilson, was assigned to Murphy in 1858. As Murphy grew, so did the number of Methodists; and Harshaw Chapel was not adequate to meet the needs of the congregation.
In February 1919, land for the present location was purchased from Dr. B.B. Meroney, Jr. for $2,500. In 1922, after the land had been paid for, plans were made for securing a loan; and the construction of the present neo-classical modified Akron Plan church was begun. Total cost of construction: $30,500. The April 6, 1923 editorial page of the Cherokee Scout notes that the Building Committee of the Methodist Church is canvassing its membership for payments on their pledges. In the February 15, 1924 Cherokee Scout, the following appeared: “To the People of Cherokee County-The Methodist Congregation of Murphy is exceedingly anxious to complete its new house of worship….merchants of our town have consented and agreed to give one-half of the gross profits derived from their business on March 1, to this great cause….we are calling upon every professional man, every wage-earner salaried man and woman to assist by giving one-half of their income for one day, (March 1, 1924):….$1,500 was contributed. Even though the church was not finished but “the auditorium will be practically complete,” the first service in the new church was held June 2, 1924. On January 13, 1929, after all indebtedness had been cleared, Bishop Warren Chandler dedicated the building.
Two architectural changes have been made to the original church and front walkway. In 1956, the front columns were added in memory of Mrs. L. E. Mauney and Mrs. Anne Deaderick Mauney. The front walkway of the church was altered to include a blue and white marble plaza with two marble benches. The area was dedicated in 1981 as the Peggy Manchester Memorial Plaza.
The Education and Fellowship Hall Building was constructed in 1967-68, increasing the space available for Sunday school and social gatherings. In 2005, a Prayer Garden was added to the grounds and renamed the George and Nancy Yates Prayer Garden in 2010.
As ministers have come and gone, as one generation comes and another goes, we are confident that Murphy is a better place because Methodism is making its witness here. We salute those who have labored faithfully over the years – those who have enriched our heritage.