Oeland and Sons Contractors
Turns out that there is more than one Oeland. Paul, Jr., was the one in the article responsible for McCarter. His father, Paul J. Oeland, Sr., and his grandfather, John P. Oeland, were also builders in the Greenville area.
From what I could find, the Oelands were a prominent Upstate family. The family has a cemetery in what is now Croft State Park in Spartanburg. Alan and I found more Oelands buried at Nazareth Presbyterian Church in Moore.
These Oelands were in medical professions, doctors and dentists. It appears that both John Peter Oeland and his son Paul were born in Wellford, which isn’t too far from Nazareth. This makes the Oeland-Florence Moore connection even more probable. John Oeland also designed and built Reidville Presbyterian Church in 1889.
John’s son, Paul Joseph, became a partner, creating the construction firm of Oeland and Sons. Paul, Sr., bought and consolidated several lumber yards in the early 1900s and established a thriving construction business.
Paul, Jr., continued in the family business, which built houses and commercial buildings in addition to churches, including the auditorium for the old Parker High School. However, it was the churches for which Oeland and Sons became known. I found several articles in the Greenville News celebrating their construction heritage.
From these articles I was able to put together a list of churches known to have been built by the Oelands. I also used the search terms “Paul J. Oeland” and “Oeland and Sons” to find news articles where they were mentioned as church contractors. The list of churches in the area is impressive, and includes most of the local mill village churches. In some cases the Oelands didn’t build the church sanctuary, but built an addition such as an educational building.
Here’s my list of confirmed Oeland churches, based on this research:
- Augusta Road Baptist Church, Greenville
- Abner Creek Baptist Church, Duncan (burned)
- Bethuel Baptist Church, Greenville
- Calvary Baptist Church, Clinton
- Cedar Lane Baptist Church, Greenville
- Central Church of Christ, Greenville
- Clifton Baptist Church, Clifton
- Concord Methodist Church, Greer
- Ebenezer Baptist Church, Travelers Rest
- El Bethel Baptist Church, Greer (Now Lord of Glory Full Gospel Fellowship)
- Enoree Baptist Church, Travelers Rest
- Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Greer
- First Baptist Church, Williamston
- First Baptist Church, Lyman
- First Church of the Nazarene, Greenville (original building)
- Franklin Baptist Church, Greer
- Grace Baptist Church (Judson), Greenville
- Grace Methodist Church, Woodruff
- Grace Presbyterian Church, Wattsville
- Greer Mill Methodist, Greer
- Georges Creek Baptist Church, Easley
- Hatch Memorial Baptist Church, Paris
- Hampton Heights Baptist Church, Greenville (old auditorium)
- Locust Hill Baptist Church, Tigerville (new sanctuary, but original remains.)
- Lucas Avenue Baptist Church, Laurens
- Lydia Baptist Church, Clinton
- Lyman Methodist Church, Lyman (now burned)
- Marietta Baptist Church, Marietta
- McCarter Presbyterian Church, Greenville
- Mills Mill Baptist Church, Woodruff
- Mon-Aetna Baptist Church, Union
- Monaghan Baptist Church, Greenville
- Monaghan Methodist Church, Greenville
- Morgan Memorial Baptist (Now Cherrydale Church), Greenville
- Newry Baptist Church, Newry,
- Northside Baptist Church, Woodruff
- Pickens Mill Baptist Church, Pickens (new sanctuary, but original remains.)
- Piedmont Baptist Church, Piedmont
- Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Greer
- Pleasant View Baptist Church, Greenville
- Poplar Springs Baptist Church, Ware Shoals
- Reidville Presbyterian Church, Reidville (1886)
- Renfrew Baptist Church, Travelers Rest
- Renfrew Union Church, Travelers Rest
- Shiloh Methodist Church (Substantially altered or replaced), Greenville
- St. James Methodist Church, Laurens
- Seventh Day Adventist Church, Greenville
- Tabernacle Baptist Church, Pelzer
- Tabernacle Baptist Church, Union
- Trinity Baptist Church, Seneca
- Union Bleachery Church, Greenville
- Utica Baptist Church, Seneca
- Victor Baptist Church, Greer
- West Gantt Baptist Church, Greenville
- Westminster Methodist Church, Westminster
- Zoar Methodist Church, Greer
- Thomas McAfee Mortuary, Greenville
That’s an impressive list of churches, and I suspect that there are some omissions, such as the Florence Moore Church. I’ve noted where churches have burned or been replaced, but I haven’t checked every church on this list.
In many cases the congregation outgrew the original building and moved elsewhere, leaving the Oeland Church. Rather than raze the previous church, another congregation would move into the original building. This was the case with El Bethel Baptist in Greer. Other churches would build a new modern sanctuary but remodel the old Oeland church as a chapel or educational building, as with Locust Hill Baptist and Pickens Mill. In some cases the church changed its name, such as Morgan Memorial becoming Cherrydale Baptist and Pickens Mill becoming simply “The Mill Church.”
In my search through news articles I found several photos of the Oelands participating in ground-breaking ceremonies.
The Oelands’ base of operations was just off of Rutherford Road. Oeland Drive is now a dead-end street. I think their business was one one of the corners of Oeland Drive’s intersection with Rutherford.
The Oelands were active in the social life of Greenville. I saw multiple entries for spouses of the Oelands in the society columns of the Greenville News. The family also seemed to be long-term members of St. James Episcopal Church in Greenville, which leads me to some suspicions about another church not on the above list, but more on that in a bit.
John Peter Oeland died in 1921 while visiting a sister in Branchville, SC. He was only 66. Paul Sr. died in 1973. Both men were buried in Springwood Cemetery in downtown Greenville. Paul Jr. died in 1983 and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.
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