Ward Chapel A.M.E. Church History
The section of Alabama in which Prattville lies came under the care of organized Methodism when Bishop Roberts, at the South Carolina Conference in December 1818, appointed the Reverend Alexander Talley as missionary to the Alabama Territory. Prattville did not then exist. However, Washington, a village at the mouth of Autauga Creek (on the site of the Indian town Atagi) Methodist preaching was taking place by 1819, in various private homes, particularly that of the Reverend Mark Howard. The Alabama Circuit (a territory along the Alabama River, covering the present Autauga, Elmore and several other counties) reported at the Mississippi Conference, November 17, 1820, a membership of 255 whites and 21 blacks.
Later in 1844 on March 9th, the first quarterly conference in the Prattville church took place. Also in this same year the church divided itself nationwide into the Methodist Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church South; the Washington Circuit became part of the latter.
Prattville became a station in 1847; its first quarterly conference as a station was held February 27, 1847 by Reverend Joshua S. Heard; Presiding Elder S. P. Smith as secretary; S. Bird, a local preacher; S. Mims, class leader; D. Pratt, Joseph Harwell and S. P. Smith were Stewards. Jesse P. Parham, a machinist in the gin shop, was preacher in charge. He was an effective revivalist and soon had the church full of young people, most of them Pratt's employees. Services for blacks were held every Sunday afternoon at three o'clock.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Prattville had already been constructed in 1843 by Daniel Pratt, the founder of Prattville, and was located near Autauga Creek, south of Chestnut Street. In this framed two-story building, the upper story was fitted up as a church and the lower story was used as a store. At the close of the Civil War, the same building was deeded by Mr. Pratt for a church and school building for Negroes. This building was burned in 1902.
On March 7, 1891, the executors, Julia Pratt and Daniel Pratt did sell the property and building to Walter Carter, James Mack, George Sullins, Walter Durben, Samuel Marther, Mouser Benjamin, Patrick Williams and Tahd Williams, Trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church for the sum of $150.00 in cash. This was signed by Julia A. Pratt and Daniel Pratt on the 24th day of October 1891.
Filed April 1894; Recorded May 29, 1899, G.S. Livingston, Judge of Probate; Vol. 33, page 433 Deed Book