HISTORY & STAFF of
A HISTORY IN STONE
Morton Memorial has a lengthy history on Monteagle Mountain. Throughout the early 1800’s, Methodists were spreading throughout the Southeast from the Carolinas westward through Tennessee. The earliest record available of Morton Memorial Church, in 1880, shows the church to be on a charge with Summerfield, Pelham and Layne’s Cove. Apparently these churches were the first Methodist churches in the area.
The deeds show that the land on which Morton Memorial was erected was purchased in two lots. The first lot was purchased in 1895 from Robert and Elizabeth Riddle for $100. Second lot was purchased the next year in 1896 from Robert and Elizabeth Riddle for $140. Will Richmond, Sr. came from Sequatchie Valley to work on the construction. He married married Mandy Tucker. Both the Tuckers and the Richmond’s were staunch Methodists. Together they were building the Methodist Church from wood on the lot where the rock church now stands. Addie Hoss, wife of North Carolina Bishop E.E. Hoss, interrupted and wanted the church build of the mountain stone. A new plan was secured, and finally, the stone church was started in 1897. It was on the last Sunday in August 1904 when the Bishop E. E. Hoss dedicated Morton Memorial Methodist Church in memory of David Morton, who was the first Secretary of the Church Extension Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.
For years, the sanctuary was the only building that Morton Memorial had. The need for an educational building was obvious. Those needs were finally met with the building of the two-story block structure behind the sanctuary. The first floor has classrooms, the pastor's office, a kitchen, and dining area. On the second floor is a full-size gymnasium. In 2018, Morton Memorial consecrated a 3300-square-foot addition - a Fellowship Center - with handicapped restrooms, a commercial kitchen and extra storage (both dry, refrigerated and freezer) creating much-needed space for the monthly food ministry, fellowship meals, and community events. Though the total cost was more than $1 million, generous donors combined efforts to allow for 80% of the debt to be paid immediately by the time the building addition was finished. The same stone used in the original building was used in the addition.
Rev. Melisa Durseweh
Melisa is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. She received her M.Div. from The School of Theology at Sewanee. Her family includes husband John, a retired elder serving Bascomb UMC, McMinnville, TN, in retirement. Their home is in McMinnville.
Home is also Nashville, where she was born and raised. They keep a house there for close proximity to their granddaughters. Their daughter Brandi and her wife Heather are parents of Emilienne (age 2) and Lissandra (one month). Brandi is an educator and Heather is a CPA. Their son Michael is in IT and Nathaniel is an attorney.
Elizabeth K. Masters
Elizabeth McMasters runs the day to day operations for the church including managing the master calendar, preparing and distributing our monthly newsletter, weekly email announcements, weekly worship bulletin, and records and reports required by The Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Elizabeth handles all inquiries for aid and manages the Pastor's Discretionary Fund. She is the first face most people see when they visit Morton Memorial.
Music and Choral Director
Food Ministry Director
Dr. Nancy Boone Allsbrook is Professor Emerita at Middle Tennessee State University. She served as professor and coordinator of music education in the MTSU School of Music since 1979 and retired in 2010. Nancy earned the B.S. degree from Tennessee Wesleyan College, the M.S. from the University of Tennessee, and the Ed. D. from the University of Illinois. She has lived in Monteagle since 2010.
Retired from Parsons in Norcross, GA, where she conducted reviews and environmental impact assessments. She lives in Monteagle with her husband, Gordon, and enjoys hiking with her grandchildren. She enjoys helping others learn about caring for the environment. She has a Bachelor's in Environmental Science. She has been managing Morton's Food Ministry since 2019.
David M. Pilcher is a Certified Public Accountant who works part-time preparing income taxes. His professional career includes public accounting, as well as working in private industry. He is a life-long United Methodist and recently moved with his wife from Nashville to Monteagle; in part because of his long history of involvement with the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly, serving on its Board of Trustees, including three terms as treasurer. David’s involvement with his former church in Nashville, includes serving on several boards and committees.