Many say there is nothing left of Lee Chapel except an old graveyard and concrete steps which lead nowhere – well, I have a different perspective. This little church is where families worshiped, children learned their Bible verses in Sunday School and many enjoyed afternoons of fellowship with picnic lunches in the churchyard after services.
Lee Chapel served a large portion of the Burke area. There were days of joy and days of sorrow. Parents brought their babies to be baptized, giving their newborn a name and promising to bring their child up with Christian teachings. Young people came to be married and many buried their loved ones in the little graveyard.
This little church was a busy place in its day with memories of old hymns sung with the aid of a pump organ, evening Bible classes by the light of kerosene lamps until 1949 when electric lights were installed,
Christmas Pageants, children learning the 23rd Psalm in Sunday School, sharing communion and helping neighbors in need. Even though there is no building left those steps led to a place where people talked to God, asked for forgiveness and guidance and worshiped – those still linger in this Holy place.
When I visit my families’ graves at Lee Chapel it’s quiet and peaceful and I realize this place has memories – memories of the good people of Burke who served their God in this little chapel.
The family names below are some of those who from 1871 to 1951, a span of 80 years, who worshiped and worked at Lee Chapel. No doubt there were many more and it’s important to note that many of these family names included three to four generations.
As my brother and I decided to take on this task and as others joined in our first thought was to collect all the bits of history we could find on Lee Chapel. As we began to collect this information it became just as important to honor those who kept this little Chapel going. Before the subdivisions, 7-11’s and Giant Foods came to Burke there were lives lived on the very land where these sprawling subdivisions are now located. All of the family names below lived in the Burke area, built their homes, raised their families, worked their farms, looked after their neighbors in need and supported Lee Chapel.
ALLEN, BEACH, BEVINS, BRADLEY, BROWN, CARSON, CARTER, CHESLEY, COWLING, CRANFORD, DAVIS, DAWSON, DEARDORFF, DEMORY, DENNIS, DILLON, DODSON, DOLPH, DOVE, DUVALL, DYE, ELGIN, FISHER, FLEMING, FORCE, FORD, FOWLER, GROH, HALL, HALLEY, HAMMILL, HARRIS, HARVEY, HARRISON, HEISTAND, HODGES, JERMAN, JONES, KEYS, LANSTREET, LEWIS, LIGNER, LONG, LUDLOW, LYNN, MAHON, MALEY, MARSHALL, MAYHUGH, MEEKS, MELVIN, MOODY, MONROE, MORRIS, MOSS, NEVITT, OWEN, PETTIT, PHELPS, POWELL, PUGH, RASMUSSEN, REID, RIGGLES, RILEY, RENNER, RICE, ROY, RYAN, SANGSTER, SHANTON, SHUE, SIMON, SIMPSON, SNYDER, STARKWEATHER, STONE, STYLES, SWETNAM, TEYERS, TAYLOR, TIGNOR, TRICE, TYERS, WAGNER, WEIR, WILES, WILEY, WYCKOFF, ZELL
Lee Chapel not only provided for religious needs but was the hub of social activity for the area with Oyster Suppers, 4th of July picnics, and Box Suppers. In addition, Lee Chapel’s Epworth League took care of the needs of the area’s less fortunate. Here are a few examples found in the Epworth League meeting minutes:
To quote Helen Simpson Meeks “In her time, Lee Chapel cared deeply for her community. It is good that the community now remembers, respects and cares for Lee Chapel”.
This web site was put together with the express purpose of gathering all of the information, pictures, newspaper clippings, deeds, etc. that pertained to Lee Chapel Methodist Church before they were lost. There are very few people who remember attending Lee Chapel. Most were children who are now in their 70’s & 80's. Many old family names of Burke are found in the cemetery and you’ll find flowers still placed on graves by their relatives.
There has been no effort to correct or embellish any of the information contained herein. Many hands have contributed to this effort – this very web site was designed and donated by Matt Carson (owner of Site Whirks) whose fraternal great and great-great grandfathers, maternal great- grandmother, uncle and an assortment of great-great aunts are buried in Lee Chapel Cemetery. Susan Meeks-Versteeg spent hours with me sharing her families’ (Tom & Helen Simpson Meeks) papers which are contained herein, as well as Irma Mahon Clifton (daughter of Naomi Beach Mahon) & Chip Carson (son of Roy and Olive Carson) who edited this site. And lastly, thanks to Brittney Mansfield who has no connection with Lee Chapel except to having gotten caught up in the history and expertly populated this site.
LaVerne O. Carson (Email)