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London KY 40743
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Lockett Family Welcomed by Church Congregation

posted on January 03

By Melodie Phelps, editor
Courtesy The Wayne Weekly

A day nearly 200 years in the making. That is the best way to describe the celebration held at Lockett's Chapel United Methodist Church on Sunday, Oct 10. It was like a family reunion and homecoming. Eric Lockett, a descendent of church founder William Lockett, attended the service and spoke to the congregation, as they celebrated their history and looked forward to their future. It was a day that none in attendance will never forget, according to Gary Clark, who has served as pastor of Lockett's Chapel for the past 13 years. "When the Lockett family walked into the sanctuary on Sunday morning it was though they had always been there, or belonged there," said Clark. "We rejoiced together in worship as the sermon title was following God's will, or following a dream."

It all began a couple of months ago with a phone call from Eric Lockett, who resides in Fall Branch, Tennessee to Clark. Lockett is the great-great-great-great grandson of William Locket. Lockett's Chapel has an important role in local church history. It was founded in 1802 and is believed to be the oldest organized church still in existence in Wayne County.

Lockett, who is also a pastor, invited Clark to visit his home in September, and Clark Accepted. "I was invited to his church to speak on September 19. We received a wonderful welcome from his church and congregation," said Clark. "It was as if it was all meant to be. After I spoke that Sunday morning, later that evening we were invited to Mr. Lockett's home in Kingsport, Tennessee. We shared a meal after saying our blessing and giving God thanks. We talked as though we knew each other all these years. They were very receptive to our visit and very accommodating with open arms."

Back in Wayne County, Clark began to think about the history of Lockett's Chapel. Curiosity prompted him to find Lockett's gravesite and Clark visited it about two weeks before the family visited Monticello.

"I had never been shown where this cemetery is," said Clark. "Several folks had given me a rough idea. So I went to try to find it myself. I came across a gentleman who was cutting firewood on the Clayton Lyons Road. He took me and showed me where the cemetery is." 

Less than a half acre in size, the cemetery had not been visited in some time, so Clark contacted County Judge-Executive Mike Anderson to get some help with cleaning it up. Clark expressed appreciation to all those who helped with the cleanup. He said it made Lockett's visit here even more special.

"When I took the Lockett family to the cemetery it was as if they were going back in time to imagine what life might have been like in the late 1700s and early 1800s. William Lockett and his wife Louisa headstones were still standing and after some cleaning were legible," said Clark. "We spent about an hour and a half on that small piece of ground trying to remember what life might have been like."

The Lockett family visited Monticello over the weekend of October 9 and 10. Clark picked them up at the motel and took them to the church for the very first time.

"Upon walking inside the door Mr. Lockett and his wife, Amy, seemed to pause before entering the sanctuary as tears of joy filled their eyes. Mr. Lockett sat in a pew for about 10 to 15 minutes in silence," Clark said. "The gathering that we celebrated was to welcome the Lockett family to Monticello and that took place at Carl and Connie Gray's home on Duncan Street, one street over from Lockett Street which was also named after William Lockett as I was told. Mr. Lockett read the scripture and shared a few words for the message that I delivered to Lockett's Chapel on Sunday, October 10. After worship service we presented them with three different copies of the Lockett family story."

Lockett said the church congregation was excited to welcome the Lockett's to the church.
"It has been many years since a family member of William Lockett has been in Lockett's Chapel in person," said Clark. "A few years ago there was a letter taped to the front door from a visitor who said they were part of the Lockett family. But we never made contact or had an in-person visit... When the Lockett family walked into the sanctuary on Sunday morning it was though as if they had always been there, or belonged there."

The church history is documented in a number of published volumes including a compilation of family history. William Lockett and his wife, Louisa Deforrest Lockett, moved from Virginia to Kentucky in 1800. The Lockett's resided in the Rogers Grove area of the county and Lockett's Chapel began meeting in his home in

Later, a log meeting house was built on the Lockett property. It later burned, but was replaced with another building. The church is now located on KY 1275. Stone used in the construction of the building came from Ishmael Daugherty's quarry on his farm. There are two stained glass windows in the church. One honors the founder of Lockett's Chapel, William Lockett, noting the dates of his birth and death: 1772-1853. The other window honors Lewis Parker, who was Lockett's son-in-law. He married Matilea Deforrest Lockett. Parker was the noted and greatly revered minister of the United Methodist Church.
The Parkers moved to Pulaski county and started a mill. In fact, Parkers Mill Road is named after Lewis Parker.