BUMC History: The Earliest Days
2014 marks the 200th anniversary of Methodists worshipping in Brecksville.  Our church family will  celebrate this incredible milestone in September.  Brecksville United Methodist Church has a rich and colorful history and  this column, which will run between now and November, is a place to share it.  Enjoy meeting some of the wonderful people who have worshipped here before us.  This month we will start way back in the beginning in 1814.

Lemuel Bourne travelled 600 miles from Savoy, Massachusetts to Brecksville on foot and purchased land and built a log cabin on the NE corner of Brecksville and Snowville Road.  After finishing his cabin on the property he returned to New England to marry Delia Waite, bought a horse and in the fall of 1812 set out to return to Brecksville by covered wagon with Delia’s parents and brother.  He and Delia would remain in this cabin for 35 years, selling it in 1848 and building a new home on the southeast corner of Brecksville and Parkview Roads. 

The Bournes were the first of the Brecksville pioneers to hold an organized religious meeting in their home.  It was the year 1814 and there were 16 worshippers who attended that service.  The Bournes were founding members of the Brecksville Methodist Society which formed in 1823 and were part of the project to build the first little church on the square in 1832 which became the Brecksville Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Bourne’s obituary (below) is an interesting window into the times he lived. 

Lemuel Bourne of Brecksville Obituary

Close upon the pioneer meeting held in Royalton follows the death of two of our oldest settlers.  First, LEMUEL BOURN, a dearly beloved citizen of Brecksville for 62 years. His death, occasioned by congestion of the lungs, occurred on Monday, June 10th, 1873, at 1 o 'clock A.M.

He was born in Attleboro Massachusetts, Sept.17, l790, and his death being in his 83rd year. When a young man of 21, he walked from Savoy, Berkshire County, Mass., a distance of 600 miles, to find for himself a home. With his future brother-in-law, Walter Waite, he built the second log cabin to be built in Brecksville, with as little material as Aladdin. Although unlike Aladdin's palace, wooden pegs served for nails and greased paper served instead of glass in the windows. He walked back to Massachusetts in 1812 and married Delia Waite of Savoy. In 1813 he returned to Brecksville with his wife and all their worldly goods in a wagon drawn by one horse.

Early in his pioneer life he became interested in religion and the first religious meeting held in these parts was held at his house and nearly every living soul in the three townships (excepting one family who did not get word of the meeting) was present. The house which was of only one room not being half filled. From this meeting began the religious elements of many conversions, among which “Uncle Lem” and “Aunt Dilly” were of the first who set their faces Zionward. She died nearly eleven years ago (l862) within a few weeks of the golden circle of their wedded life, 50 years.

They were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and since her death her husband has been waiting with Christian hope to join her. Few people have lived a life so unapproachable as has this pioneer father, inured to every hardship, thankful for every blessing, he had in store for his old age a retrospect of a life well spent, which made him the genial grandfather and beautiful Christian gentleman of the old school which he was. This town mourns the loss of one so consistent in life's every duty, no matter how much they differed in viewpoint, religiously or politically. Rev. Smith of Richfield chose these appropriate words;-- “Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his” as the text for the funeral discourse.

His family was large although only four grew to maturity. The eldest daughter, Mary, a lady possessed of lovely disposition whose unhappy marriage created profound sympathy throughout the neighboring town, died of a broken heart at her childhood home nearly twenty years ago. Two sons remain; Deacon William Bourne and his youngest son Rawson at whose home the deceased passed his declining years. Harriet (Mrs. Chauncy Hunt) being an invalid for over a year was unable to attend the funeral. All the children are residents of Brecksville.
Copied from the Christian Advocate at the time of its publication by Mrs. Seth Bourn of Bay City Mich. Online at: