Ghost of Soules Chapel
Updated: Apr 20
Soules Chapel, an abandoned Methodist church, stands about four miles from Somerset, nestled in a valley just off Ky. 80 and a short distance from the foot of Sugar Hill. The white-frame church is Soules Chapel church, whose windows have long been boarded and doors are locked. It was named for Bishop Soule, head of the local Methodist Church, when this particular building was erected.
The church replaced an old log structure called Gragg's Chapel. In 1857 John P. Ridings bought the old church, dismantled it, and used some of the logs to construct a barn on his farm, located near Soules Chapel. Construction of the present building started in the autumn of 1857 and was completed the same season a year later. It is thought Allen Cox donated the land.
Ridings directed the construction of the new church, which has a stone foundation and underpinnings of hand-hewn logs. Along with John Richardson and *** L. R. (Collier) Colyer, he helped most in furnishing materials and money for the new structure. Bill Calhoun and Peter Baker whip-sawed all the lumber used for framing. The lumber for the church pews was sawed at a watermill some distance away.
At one time, Soules Chapel had a membership of more than 200 people and was the second-best organized Sunday School in the Danville District. It was the Mother Church of the First Methodist Church of Somerset. However, during the Civil War, a massive uprising came in the church, and, as a result, the membership split. Those sympathizing with the North left the church and formed Bradley's Chapel - Northern Methodist Church about two miles south of Soules Chapel. Soules Chapel was then known as Soules Chapel Southern Methodist Church.
It is impossible to find a list of the actual charter members, but from the earliest church records are found the names of Collier, Richardson, Gragg, and Ridings.
In 1940 Rev. Charles Marshal Cavit, a circuit preacher, compiled much of the church's history and listed the following membership: Alton F. Bates, Evelyn M. Bates, Clarence G. Bryant, Della V. Bryant, Luther Bullock, Bessie Williams Camble, Alice Cundiff, Charles Cundiff, Maude Gibson, and Mrs. Cora Gilmore. Eugene Gilmore, Sarah A. Greer, Mrs. Mary Hall, Addie B. Mills, Mary B. Mills, Zeda B. Mills, Mrs. Allie Richardson, Craig Ridings, Henry S. Ridings, and Stella Ridings. Willie Ridings, C. M. Simpson, Jewel Simpson, Mary Simpson, Mrs. Zella Struck, Irene Whitaker, Jennie Whitaker, Dessie Williams, Glydas Williams, and Clara Yahnig.
With the advent of the automobile and modern transportation, Soules Chapel began to die slowly. Better transportation meant an opportunity to travel to Somerset to attend church and avoid the narrow road which leads to Soules Chapel from Ky. 80. Now the church is gone. Only a few of the graves have not been choked by horseweeds, ragweeds, and Queen Anne's Lace.
Soule's Chapel was a historical landmark, Somerset's second oldest Methodist church, with one of the oldest cemeteries. The church structure was abandoned for use in the last 1970. The membership is scattered through other churches thought out Pulaski County. The site experienced several fires and was finally burned down by two high schoolers around 2005.
The legend surrounding this site tells of an alleged "Reverend" who held services in the early 1900s. Did this happen? Was this no ordinary Reverend, and how was he directed to end up in Somerset? It can be seen. The rumor of occult religions was allegedly started here to shift to a "new age" religion. From the start, he tried to slowly turn his flock from the conservative beliefs of the area. It started simple enough, with a few rituals here and there. For example, Pentagrams are drawn on the floor to evoke demons (please note the tale makes no differentials between the occult and Satanists, which are two distinct and very different belief systems). Before the arson of the structure, there was evidence of sacrifices. Small animals would turn up for gifts in the nightly rituals of the church. Then nearby farm animals went missing. Soon actual human sacrifices were reportedly made, but these were never substantiated.
As all this was happening, Somerset's city began to grow suspicious of the new Reverend. Tales of this event, imagery, fictional or based on some fact, became common knowledge in the area. - Like most similar events, a lynch mob marched to the church and hung the Reverend from the roof beams. There is no proof of this occurring or evidence that the "Reverard" ever existed. However, this does make for a very imaginative history of the area, attracting many "paranormal investigators from across the county.
This story remains a "legend" of the site and has remained in one form or another in the local areas passed down through oral history to the community. There is no truth to it; no one was ever hanged there, nor were there ever any human sacrifices. The mythical minster never existed, but only in the minds of individuals that find it easier to believe tall tales than the truth.