Vaughn M.E. Church was built in 1894

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
The Vaughn M.E. Church has fallen into disrepair, but it was once a community center in the Oldfield area of central Dorchester County.

OLDFIELD — The Vaughn M. E. Church is similar to many rural chapels in Dorchester County erected for the region’s African-American congregations. Following the essential recommendations of the Methodist Episcopal denomination’s Board of Church Extension, the membership of Vaughn Chapel financed a straightforward Gothic Revival inspired church in 1894, information from the Maryland Historical Trust says.

Like most of its contemporaries, the rectangular main block and corner tower are supported on brick piers. A combination of plain weatherboards and wood shingles were used to cover the exterior.

Pointed arch windows on each elevation, fitted with clear glass, light the one-room sanctuary. The sanctuary survives with a pressed metal ceiling and vertical beaded board wainscoting.
The church and its nearby hall are no longer in regular use.

In 1894, the congregation of the Vaughn Chapel applied to the Methodist Episcopal church’s Board of Church Extension for $200 to help them build a new house of worship, and a resulting deed of conveyance to the Methodist Episcopal Church using the land as collateral was entered in the Dorchester County land records.

The reasoning for originally naming the church “Vaughn Chapel at Beverly,” the grantor of the lien against the property in the 1894 is somewhat clouded. An earlier conveyance for the “Colored School” across the road in 1868 lists William D. Vaughn as one of its school trustees for the property, which was known formally as the “Beverly School House.”

Perhaps William D. Vaughn contributed funds to build the church that was named after him. The congregation at Vaughn Methodist Episcopal church lasted until the late 1960s, and the property was sold ultimately by the Trustees of the Peninsula.