100 Years of Serving the Lord

Sand Ridge, W. Va.

Church booklet provided by Virginia Buck.



SUNDAY, JULY 18, 1999


10:00 a.m. -11:15 a.m. Sunday School

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Pastor Rick Swearengin's message

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Congregational singing

2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Reverend Johnny Powell's message

3:15 p.m. - Sharing time and visitation


From the Pastor's Desk - Pastor Brad McBee - - pg. 1

Albert's Chapel Dear to My Heart - Reverend Glendon McKee - - pg. 2

Albert's Chapel Then and Now - - pg. 3 - 9

Albert Poling - - pg. 10-13

Reverend Glendon McKee - - pg. 14-15

Pastor Brad McBee - - pg. 16

Pastor Rick Swearengin - - pg. 17

What Jesus Means to Me - Hollis Higginbotham - - pg. 18

We Trust - Greta Higginbotham - - pg. 18

Record of Pastors Since 1899 - - pg. 19

Albert's Chapel History - - pg. 20

Members of Albert's Chapel - - pg. 21

Church Officers - - pg. 22

Picture Page - - pg. 23-24

Bibliography - - pg. 25-26

- Page 1. -


     A centennial celebration is an important milestone, especially when the centennial being marked is that of a place of worship. Such a celebration bears witness to the fact that people have been serving God in that place for some hundred years. But even before the decision was made to construct the unique octangular building that became known as Albert's Chapel, Christians had been coming together to share their faith and witness at Sand Ridge. The roots then of this community of faith go back much further than just one hundred years. They go back to the earliest pioneers who first brought the Gospel to this part of western Virginia. They go back to those early settlers who came to America in pursuit of religious freedom. They go back to John Wesley, John Calvin, and Martin Luther. The roots of this community of faith extend all the way back to Paul, Peter, and John. They extend to an Empty Tomb, to a Cross, to Jesus.

     Our celebration then is not just about a building in one location, it's about the faith that unites us with Christians of all times and all places. Church buildings are designed to come and go, but the faith will always remain, always unite, always preserve the people of God.

     My prayer for this faith community is that they will continue the long tradition of bearing witness to the life saving Gospel of Christ Jesus.

     God Bless,

     Pastor Brad McBee

- Page 2. -



"Lord I have loved the habitation of Thy House and
the place where thine honor dwelleth." Psalm 26:8

     When I was a young boy, I was sitting with my Mother on the left of this church going in, and I looked at the seven pointed star on the back drop behind the pulpit. I have no way to explain this, but it seemed to me that light rays were going out from each point of this star. That experience stayed with me all these years, and I always noticed this star when I came into the church. It brings back memories of my Mother and the kind of shining star she was.

     The seven-pointed star, known as "The Mystic Star" is an emblem of "the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit." Sometimes the initials of the Latin words for the gifts as stated in Revelations 5:12 are written on the points. They are Vitus, Divinitas, Spientis, Fortituco, Honor, Gloria, and Benedictio. I have experienced each of these gifts and especially so when I was converted. The Glory of God and the Holy Spirit were present with all who were there that evening.

     Oliver Goldsmith in the "Deserted Village" speaking of a pastor and a church said, "And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray." I am thankful that there are those who love Albert's Chapel and keep it open where people can come to pray.

     Many of my family sleep in the church yard. There they await in patient repose in the bosom of God; their souls are present with the Lord. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness." Glory to God in the Highest. May the praises of God always ring forth from the Albert's Chapel Church.

     Glendon McKee

- Page 3. -


     Albert's Chapel is like a lighthouse set on a hill beckoning worshipers and tourists to come and see. It is located on Sand Ridge hill in Calhoun County, on the north side of U.S. Route 33-119 between Millstone and Stumptown, West Virginia. Asbury and Matilda Poling deeded the property for the church and adjacent cemetery to the church trustees: William S. Kimble, Charles Lockney, and Asbury Poling on August 21, 1902.

     Before the church was built only a small cemetery was located on the property. An Owens child, about four or five years of age, was the first known person buried there. In 1898 the church was built. It was named Albert's Chapel in honor of Albert Poling, who became interested in building the church when he was about twenty-five years old. The church is often referred to as "the little round church" or "the octagonal church." Lowell Thomas once described it on one of his news shows as "the little church high on the crest of Calhoun's lofty hills." It is often described as "little," but this is misleading. Some report it can seat 125, 150, or even as many as 200, so it is not really "little". It is further distinguished as being the only circular house of worship in West Virginia.

     In order to get started on the church, committees were appointed but failed to move forward with plans for the church. Finally, Albert inquired as to how many were needed on a building committee. When he was told that one person could comprise a building committee, he asked to be appointed. As a result, he was designated by the district conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church as a committee of one to oversee the construction of the church. James Kinder, first pastor of Albert's Chapel, had influenced them to join the Methodist conference. Albert then asked his Uncle Charley Poling, who was a carpenter, if he could build a round church, and in a short time he had the plans completed.

     Various stories have been told as to why the church was built in such an unusual shape. We do not know which one of these stories influenced Albert's decision to build a round church. It is often referred to as round, but it is actually octagonal shaped with eight distinct sides. One story

- Page 4. -

says Albert and Asbury Poling saw buildings constructed in this manner during their travels in the Spanish American War. Another story is that Reverend Dewitt Talmage preached that if the world were round then why not build a round church too. He also felt the tide of emotion worked better when the congregation was closer together. Matilda Poling, Asbury's wife, may have been influenced and in turn influenced Albert by a sermon Reverend Talmage preached using the text Isaiah 40:22. "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers: that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in." Local folklore's version is that the church was built circular so there were no corners for the devil to hide in. Mrs. Martha Hall says a history book concludes, "The idea to use this peculiar shape was to seat as many people as possible." The Poling family history says, "The design encloses the maximum area with a minimum of material." In other words, "getting the most for your money." Clerissa H. Tatterson in The History and Genealogy of the Poling Family reports that the design for the church was taken from Dr. Fowler's book Human Nature and Christian Perfection Whatever the reason for the church's design, it is truly a unique building.

     After the decision was made to build a round church, Charley Poling completed the plans for the church. With plans completed in the spring of 1898, Albert and other citizens, mostly relatives, began to cut the timber for building the church. Wesley Poling donated the timber and a sawmill to saw the lumber. Albert, Nicholas, and William, sons of Wesley, operated the sawmill. They sawed out the boards and a big pole. When the lumber was dried and ready, there was a comer stone laying. Most of the carpenter work was then done by Charley Poling, brother of Wesley, and by Nicholas, Wesley's son. Before Christmas of the same year the church was built. A dedication service was held by the presiding Elder, Dr. Hess. After the Poling brothers completed the church, there was a debt of $300.00. Albert went to the mountains and worked to pay it off. When services began at Albert's Chapel, Reverend James Kinder became the first pastor and Letcher Ball assumed the duties of class leader.

     The original church's structure was not attached to a standard frame as modem structures are. The exterior was made up of eight whitewashed wooden panels. Old-fashioned oyster shell glass

- Page 5. -

filled the windows. It was known as a Jenny Lind construction. The building lacked studs in the usual places, but its longivity speaks for itself. The big pole was placed in the center of the church as a support for the structure. In front and behind the pole sat rows of wide seats. A second section of short pews was located to the left of the center pews, and a third section of short pews was placed to the right. Curving aisles were found to the left and right of the center section of pews and ended at the altar and pulpit. This made it difficult for pallbearers to move coffins in and out of the church during funerals. It was also difficult for some of the congregation to see the minister during services. Burnside stoves were found on each side of the church near the front. Kerosene lights with reflectors behind them were hung along the side walls and behind the pulpit. The pulpit platform was originally square instead of angled. The pulpit stand, still in use, was made and carved by Charley Poling.

     After the 1910 beatings of Reverend Scott Williams, and Albert and Wesley Poling, the church attendance declined. The attendance continued to decrease in the 1920's until only occasional services were held and finally the church closed. Sometime during the early 1930's the church was vandalized. Song books, literature, and a Bible were either damaged or destroyed. After being vandalized and vacant for a period of time, the church needed repairs. Albert and Ora Mae became concerned about the future of the church he and his family had built. They repaired the roof, renovated the interior walls, and improved the cemetery by leveling the graves, cutting out the locust sprouts, and resetting markers. After this attendance increased and preaching was held twice a month with other occasional services.

     Under the preaching of Reverand Glendon McKee from 1947 to 1951 Albert's Chapel flourished. Preaching services were held once a month. Sunday school and prayer meetings convened weekly. Revivals lasted at least two weeks. There were so many in attendance that people stood outside. The doors and windows were opened until everyone could hear God's word. In 1948, Reverend Glendon McKee baptized eighty people on his circuit.

     In the 1950's the original benches of the church were replaced with seats from the Kanawha theatre. The theatre closed and the church acquired the seats at that time.

- Page 6. -

     During the late 1960's and through the 1970's Albert's Chapel struggled to keep its doors open. Attendance was extremely low, because several had died and others had moved away. Often there were no more than twenty people and a lot of the time as few as five. Many times Hollis and Greta Higginbotham, Oda and Grace Carpenter, and the pastor were the only ones in attendance. The offering was so low that the church's basic obligations could not be met, and the members who were attending would go into the community and ask for donations.

     In 1967, improvements were made again. New ceiling, paneling, hardwood floors and pews were added. Furring strips were added before the paneling could be nailed in place. Some church leaders became dissatisfied with the center pole and curvy aisles. The pole was removed. and it became a center aisle church with two sections of pews instead of the original three. Dare Crawford and Denver Stump replaced the wooden steps with concrete steps. According to Together Magazine, December 1967 issue, Albert's Chapel Methodist Church held a dedication service for their remodeled sanctuary on October 1, 1967, with the Rev. Billie Scott Mick, district superintendent leading the service.

     In the early 1970's it became evident that the removal of the center pole left the church in dire need of some form of support. Several of the church men placed a steel cable around the building just under the eaves to make it sturdier and thus safer.

     When the church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 22, 1982, a special ceremony was held at Charleston's Cultural Center Theatre. Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Hall, who were instrumental in getting the church placed on the National Register, were present to receive the certificate which was signed by Governor Jay Rockefeller. Later as part of the ceremony, they attended a reception at the governor's mansion. With the church's listing in the National Register was supposed to come possible help through federal or state funds to preserve it, without change, for future generaltions.

     In 1992, the church roof was leaking and damaging the ceiling. A new roof became necessary and timbers were also placed in the top in an effort to further preserve the building. The cost for labor and materials was $ 1,975.50.

- Page 7. -

     Until 1995, the cable held the church walls in place. At that time, an architect declared it unsafe for worship services because the interior walls had begun to buckle and the drop ceiling was pulling apart. Since the church needed repairs, the church membership had only two choices - close the church and let worshipers go to other churches or preserve and restore the church. Even though the cost to rebuild was estimated to range between fifty and seventy-five thousand dollars, the membership voted to rebuild. Seeking financial aid from the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church proved futile. Next, the congregation decided to seek financial aid from the state since the little round church had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. When this possibility for financial help was explored, the church membership was informed that it was illegal to use federal or state funds for the preservation of the church because of the Constitution's declaration of the separation of church and state.

     After exploring the possibilities for fmancial help and being denied any funds, the congregation voted to rebuild anyway. A building comittee was chosen to find a contractor and oversee the project to completion. The committee consisted of Jack Webb (chairman), Oda Carpenter, Gordon McKee, Hurthel Garrett and Art Haag. In September, 1995, Gray Construction Company was given a contract and work on restoring the building began. During the restoration period services were held outside when the weather permitted. If not the members attended wherever they chose. When it became too cold to assemble outside, some of the congregation gathered in Hollis Higginbotham's garage.

     Construction was completed in approximately three months at a cost of $ 50,606.82. The cost was paid through church savings and donations. The first gathering was held in the restored building on December 24, 1995. The spirit of the Christ child seemed to descend on everyone as they celebrated Christmas in their new sanctuary. The church was beautiful, and everyone felt as if they had just come home.

     Dedication services were held Sunday, June 30, 1996, from 1:30 to 3:30 P.M. The guest speaker was Reverend Phillip Hickman. Ora Mae Poling also spoke briefly. Special singers were David Weaver, Rodney Young, April, Melody, and Rose Hickman. Pastor Glendon McKee was

- Page 8. -

present for the dedication service. Refreshments were served after the service.

     When the church was restored in 1995, everything was replaced except the floor, pulpit, altar, furniture, wall decorations, and the arch area behind the pulpit. Furniture and wall decorations were replaced as they had been before the church was dismantled. Sheetrock was hung and wood paneling was used to enhance the appearance of the first three feet on the interior walls. Plush burgundy carpet was placed in the center aisle and the area on and around the pulpit. Central heating and air conditioning were added making the church comfortable during all types of weather.

     As you enter the church's double doors, a table sits on the right and folding chairs are stacked against the wall. This is where the intermediate class, taught by Genevieve Smith, meets when the weather is too severe to assemble under the picnic shelter. To the left of the entrance is a cabinet used for Sunday School literature, extra hymn books, and other church materials. The adult class, taught by Gordon McKee, occupies the pews on both sides of the center aisle. Gordon has been an inspiration to the church with his study and knowledge of the Bible. His. teaching adheres closely to the Bible. He is able to make each lesson interesting, informing, convicting, and inspiring. The card class, directed by Mae Kendal, meets behind a folding partition to the right of the altar.

     As you proceed up the center aisle, pews are located to your left and right until you reach the altar and pulpit area. On the right wall the wooden "Register of Attendance and Collections" keeps track of the present and previous Sunday's attendance and collections. Between the wooden register and the clock hangs a picture of Reverend James Kinder, the first pastor of Albert's Chapel. W. Noyes Kinder donated this picture of his grandfather. On the wall behind the pulpit and above the arch is a picture of the Lord's Supper, which was donated by Maude Altizer. A piano, which is used only when someone comes who can play; sits to the left of the pulpit and below the platform. Mrs. Mary Umstead often comes on special occasions and during revivals to play. Occasionally, someone else may come who can play. For years most of the music was provided by Dare Crawford who played the guitar and led the singing. Just recently Donnie Little

- Page 9. -

     has become song leader.

     The exterior walls were rebuilt in the same design as the original church. The original bell hangs in the cupola and calls worshipers to assemble at 10:00 A.M. each Sunday morning.

     After the church was restored, a picnic shelter was added to the premises. On May 18, 1998, a bid to build the shelter 20' x 14' was accepted. The cost was to be $ 5,656.00 plus the cost of cement footer. A 4' x 6' table was built in the center with seating around the inside of the shelter. Jack Clark was contracted to do the construction. Gordon McKee, Oda Carpenter, Jack Webb and Hurthel Garret supervised. The new shelter was dedicated on July 25, 1998, and a picnic was enjoyed by all present. The shelter is also used as a meeting place for the intermediate class when the weather permits.

     The latest improvements were made in February 1999. An underground cable was installed to run electricity to the picnic shelter and to the toilets. A dusk-to-dawn light was installed to illuminate the flag at night. The cost was $ 664.61.

     With restoration, repairs and additions completed, we thank God for one-hundred years of being able to worship at Albert's Chapel. We celebrate its centennial in songs and praises to the Lord. We are thankful for those who founded Albert's Chapel and for all those who have attended and kept it functioning for one-hundred years. Oda Carpenter, the late Hollis Higginbotham, and their late wives cannot be forgotten because they kept the church functioning even when they were the only ones present. With God's help they persevered and the church prospered because they knew God's promise, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," Matthew 18:20. We are thankful for the cherished memories of dedicated Christians and pray that Albert's Chapel will continue as a House of Prayer until Christ returns.

- Page 10. -


1873 - 1954

     A centennial celebration would not be complete without paying tribute to Albert Poling, the church founder. Of course, the Lord founded the church, but he used Mr. Poling as an instrument to accomplish his purpose. Ora Mae, Albert's daughter, gives the best account of her father's life in a letter she wrote to Mr. Frank Ball in 1968. Several paragraphs from her letter are found below.

     "My father, Albert Poling, was a native of Calhoun County, the son of Wesley and Clarissa Poling, born January 31, 1873. He was one of ten children, five boys and five girls. He grew up on Sycamore Creek and Sand Ridge. He and his brother Worthy enlisted in the army on June 28, 1898. His discharge states that he was 6 feet 1/2 inches tall, had black hair, dark complexion, gray eyes, and was a farmer by occupation. He was discharged in April, 1899.

     His opportunities for a formal education had been very meager. After his return from the army he went to a little one room country school which was being taught by Mr. Robert Hall and attempted to enroll. However, as I remember Mr. Hall telling me, a twenty-six year old, six foot veteran did not fit very well-either in the curriculum or desks!

     Sometime later he and his brother, Nicholas, heard the call of the West and settled in Oklahoma. Other members of the family, Rachel and husband, Ottie and husband, Ona and husband, and Nicholas, all moved and lived for a period of time in Oklahoma. My father, Albert, and his youngest brother Nicholas, both bachelors, lived in a "sod shanty" they built.

     On a trip back home, my father, now forty-two years of age, married Artie Simmons Summer, the thirty-nine year old widow of Floyd Summers. They were married on February 24, 1915, by Reverend Steel, a Methodist Minister.

     He took his bride to Riverside, Oklahoma, where their two children were born - Lahoma

- Page 11. -

on May 10, 1916, and Ora Mae on October 14, 1917. Three months after my birth (Ora Mae) Dad and Mother sold their home in Oklahoma and started back East. They spent the winter in Odessa, Missouri, with my mother's brother and then returned to Sand Ridge where they lived for some time with my paternal grandparents, Wesley and Clarissa Poling.

     I believe it was during this time that my father invited Reverend Williams from Oklahoma to come to Sand Ridge to hold an evangelistic campaign. The reason for his bringing this minister was that for the first time while in Oklahoma he had heard the John Wesley doctrine of entire sanctification or heart purity and he was eager for his family and neighbors to know about this "establishing grace."

     His religious experiences had started at an early age. I have heard him relate his desire to be a Christian when, at a very early age, he attended revival services in the little one room school house. However, he was fourteen years of age when he was converted, not at the school house, but back on the hill. His timidity had kept him from accepting Christ publicly the night before.

     His bringing Reverend Williams to Sand Ridge was misunderstood by the church members at Albert's Chapel, and the results were tragic. I won't give the details but the names of all members of the Poling family were removed from the church records."

     Ora Mae did not give the details of what happened, but the Chronicle and Grantsville News of August 1910, did give the bizarre details. The Grantsville, West Virginia News 1910, gives the following account of what happened to Reverend Scott Williams, Albert and Wesley Poling in August 1910.

"A mob of about fifty white caps burst into the residence of Reverend Scott Williams, a Holiness Preacher, on Tuesday morning at about 1:00 A.M., pulled him out into the yard and whipped him severely and outrageously. Albert Poling and Wesley Poling, two very highly respected citizens of that neighborhood, hearing the mob pass their residence, and fearing that violence would be done to Reverend Williams, went to the home as fast as possible to render

- Page 12. -

any aid they could. They were recognized by the mob and were also lashed very severely. The tabernacle or tent in which the Holiness or santification meetings were held was burned to the ground. and the mob left with the warning to Rev. Williams that unless he left the county within ten days. he would again receive a visit from them and would be left hanging to a tree.

     The whipping occurred on Sand Ridge, about twelve or fifteen miles from the place where Rev. Williams had been in a series of meetings. There were many converts, and also bitter feelings had arisen between the members of the orthodox churches and the followers of the Holiness faith, who professed to have reached a state of sinless perfection. The use of the church was denied Williams and a temporary tabernacle was constructed and the meetings held. Threats of violence had been made on several occasions, and that usually quiet community had been in a turmoil over the church and religious questions.

     From the best information we can gather, it seems that the mob gathered at the house used by the preacher and forced the door with a heavy rail, and burst into the room where Williams, his wife and children were sleeping. The preacher was seized and pulled into the yard. while others of the mob turned their attention to the other members of the family to prevent their crying out. A pillow was forced over the face of Mrs. Williams so tightly that she and her four week old infant were almost smothered.

     About the time the preacher was pulled out into the yard, the two Polings appeared on the scene and began pleading and praying for the mob to desist from their purpose, but to no avail. After the preacher had been severely lashed with hickory whips, Albert and Wesley were subjected to the same violent treatment. The tabernacle was then fired, and after delivering the warning, the mob quietly dispersed without making any further demonstration."

     The August 23, 1910, issue of the Calhoun Chronicle gives a similar account and also lists felony and misdemeanor indictments made at that time. They are not listed here because of embarrassing relatives living in the vicinity now.

     Albert Poling died on February 6, 1954, after being struck by a car while he walked along

- Page 13. -

u.s. Route 21, Sissonville road in Kanawha county where he lived with his daughter, Ora Mae. He had lived eighty-one years and had been a Methodist minister for sixty years. During this time he never pastored a church. His ministry was compelled by his great love for people, the unbelievers and the struggling believers. The sixty years were spent in evangelistic work, holding revivals wherever he was called. Many revivals, sometimes three weeks in length, were held in Calhoun and all the surrounding counties. He also responded to calls farther away. Ora Mae remembers Kanawha City and Akron, Ohio. He walked many miles from place to place. He traveled horseback and by the railroads. Although he never owned a car many friends helped him in his evangelistic travels. Only the Father who called him and protected him knows the fruits of his labors of love.

     Funeral services were held in the church he founded by Reverend W.O. Blue and Reverend Charles Wilkinson. He was laid to rest in the cemetery by the church which bears his name. His dreams of heaven were fmally realized.

     If righteousness is in the heart, there will be beauty in the character;
     If beauty is in the character, there will be harmony in the home;
     If harmony is in the home, there will be order in the nation;
     If order is in the nation, there will be PEACE IN THE WORLD.

By Mary Crowley

- Page 14. -


1915 -

     Glendon was born to George and Nora Ball McKee at Millstone, West Virginia, on February 13, 1915. Glendon grew up at Millstone and attended grade school there. He then went to Calhoun County High School. He later enrolled at Glenville State College and graduated with a degree in education. On April 8, 1939, he married Eupha Hicks, a daughter of Carl and Kate Smith Hicks. Reverend Billy Schoolcraft performed the ceremony. They have two children, Roanna Stump and Roger McKee.

     Reverend McKee was converted at Albert's Chapel under the preaching of Harry Eisman in 1937. Several people who were present have commented on his spirit-filled conversion. Dare Crawford said his father commented, "There is a preacher." In fact he started preaching at that moment.

     Reverend McKee began his ministry for the Lord in 1942 and officially retired in 1985 but continued to pastor five churches until 1996. At the time he retired in 1996 his churches included Mt. Zion, Mt. Olive (Hur), Bryner Chapel (Joker), St. Pau1 (Pine Creek), and Albert's Chapel (Sand Ridge). Glendon pastored Albert's Chapel from 1948-1951, 1976-1985, and 1987-1996. This spans more than a score of years. He was also an English teacher at Calhoun County High School for twenty-nine years.

     Glendon served his churches faithfully until his health failed, and he was forced to retire. From an article published in his honor in the Calhoun Chronicle at the time of his retirement, he sums up his years as a minister in this way, "God has been my refuge and strength and a very present help. My work as a minister is completed, but I praise God for his love and the love of the people for whom I have labored."

     Glendon was a devoted, dedicated servant of God and inspired many others to accept and

- Page 15. -

serve the Lord. Some day he will hear the Lord say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of the Lord."

The Lord is my Shepherd - Perfect Salvation.
I shall not want - Perfect Satisfaction.
He maketh me to lie in green pastures - Perfect Rest.
He leadeth me beside still waters - Perfect Refreshment.
He restoreth my soul - Perfect Restoration.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness - Perfect Guidance.
I will fear no evil - Perfect Protection.
Thou art with me - Perfect Company.
Thy rod and thy staff - Perfect Comfort.
Thou preparest a table - Perfect Provision.
Thou anointest my head - Perfect Consecration.
My cup runneth over - Perfect Joy.
Surely, surely - Perfect Confidence.
Goodness and mercy shall follow me - Perfect Care.
I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever - Perfect Destiny.

- Page 16. -



     Pastor Brad was born October 21, 1960, in Warren, Ohio. He grew up in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, and attended the First Methodist Church in Mineral Ridge. Pastor Brad received his first pastoral appointment in November, 1988, to the Bowerston Charge as an interim pastor. He filled this appointment for the next eight months until receiving a Student appointment at the New Garden Charge in June of 1989. For the next two years Pastor Brad served this church, acted as a hospital chaplain, and continued his education. In June of 1991, Pastor Brad was appointed to the Negley Charge. He served these three churches for the next four years until feeling led to move to West Virginia where he received an appointment to the Palestine-Pisgah Charge in June of 1995. He served these four churches for two years before being appointed to the Mt Zion Charge in June of 1997. In June of 1999, Pastor Brad was appointed to the Johnson-Summer Charge in Morgantown, West Virginia.

     Michelle was born on July 19, 1966, in Rome, New York. Her father was an Air Force serviceman, and when she was a year old they moved to California where her father was now stationed. Michelle spent the next sixteen years of her life living in Fairfield, Calfornia. In 1983, she was uprooted with her father's retirement from the Air Force and the family moved back to Ohio. After graduation from Mineral Ridge High School in May of 1984, Michelle worked as a bank teller, retail salesperson and nursing aid before entering Nursing School in 1991. She graduated with her Nursing degree in May of 1995. Since then she has worked as a Registered Nurse at Roane General Hospital and at Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center.

     On September 15, 1984, Brad Douglas McBee married Michelle Lynn Russell. Their twins, Jason Robert and Stephanie Nicole, were born in Youngstown, Ohio, on March 12, 1987. On March 10, 1992, David Douglas was born at East Liverpool, Ohio, completing the family.

- Page 17. -


     Pastor Rick Swearengin was born and raised in Southwest Missouri. He met his wife, Melody, a native of West Virginia, at a Christian youth camp in Elizabeth, West Virginia.

     Rick and Melody were married on October 7, 1989. After their marriage they lived in Parkersburg for a few months. Their first son, Rickey "Tyler" was born on July 31, 1990. After the birth of Tyler, they returned to Missouri to live for a period of six years. While in Missouri, Zackery Taylor was born on Noveber 17, 1992, and Ryan Dale was born on August 29, 1995.

     Rick began his ministry and pastored the Longrun Community Church. He then pastored the Dugginsville Community Church.

     Rick and Melody returned to West Virginia in June 1996. They soon began to attend the Palestine United Methodist Church in Witt County. The following January they both became members of the church. Rick decided to continue his ministry in the United Methodist Church and pastored Burning Springs United Mehodist Charge in Witt County while seeking his local pastor's license. He was then appointed to the Mt. Zion Charge in Calhoun County in June 1999.

- Page 18. -


Jesus is my life, my all,
Without him I would surely fall.
I call on him from day to day,
And then I go along life's way.

As the song you've heard, "How Great Thou Art,"
It thrills me deep within my heart,
And "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross,"
Will always be to me no loss.

I find in him the truest friend,
That I can't find in next of kin.
He paid the price for me to see,
And all that seek his sympathy.

The greatest thing that you can say
Is "Christ has cleansed my soul today!"
And if you ever try his grace,
You'll find a miracle taken place!

------Hollis Higginbotham


Once I was lost in the darkness of sin
Jesus looked down and drew me to him.
Now I am going that upward way,
And will have a home in heaven someday.

Trusting and praying each day of my life,
I know Jesus will lead me through troubles and strife.
And when the time is come that I must die,
He will take me to that home on high.

When you are burdened down with the cares of this life,
You can go to Jesus in prayer and things will look more bright.
So just have faith and trust evermore,
And someday we'll meet on that beautiful shore.

-----Greta Higginbotham

     The above poems written by Hollis and Greta Higginbotham are a testimony of their faith and devotion to the Master.

- Page 19. -


James M. Kinder - - 1899-
A. Price Parsons - - 1917-1921
A. G. Chancey - - 1923-1925
Aldine P. Poling - - 1925-1927
Reverend Hicks - - 1927-1930
George A. Sydenstricker - - 1930-1932
Paul Maness - - 1932-1934
Reverend Goodwin - - 1934-1936
Harry C. Eismon - - 1936-1940
Charles Wilkerson - - 1940-1945
Willis Summers - - 1945-1947
Glendon McKee - - 1947-1951
Gayle McHenry - - 1951-1955
J. Q. Geiger, Jr. - - 1955-1957
O. L. Summers - - 1957-1960
C. D. Harris - - 1960-1961
Stanley Rowh - - 1961-1967
C. E. Pierson - - 1967-1971
Danny Ward - - 1971-1972
Richard Robb - - 1972-1973
Jay Cunningham - - 1974-1976
Glendon McKee - - 1976-1985
Roger McKee - - 1985-1986
Glendon McKee - - 1986-1997
Brad McBee - - 1997-1999
Rick Swearengin - - 1999 - Present

- Page 20. -


1939 - 1956 Albert's Chapel belonged to the Mt. Zion circuit.

1957 - 1963 Albert's Chapel became a station church.

1964 - 1972 Albert's Chapel became a part of the Sand Ridge circuit.

1972 - 1975 Albert's Chapel became a part of the Minnora circuit.

1976- Present Albert's Chapel became a part of the Mt. Zion charge.

- Page 21. -


Paul Bush
Verda Bush
Etta Carpenter
Oda Carpenter
Dare Crawford
Greta Crawford
Marjorie Evans
Hurthel Garrett
Leah Garrett
James Hall
Wilma Hall
Roberta Hartshorn
Sara Hartshorn
L. A. Justice
Mae Leach
Mabel Marks
Oria Marks
Eileen McKee
Gordon McKee
Mary Ella McKee
Erma Poling
Justine Rogers
Kandas Smith
Randal Smith
Avanell Stump
Jack Stump
Kenman Stump
Stella Stump
Tressie Sturm
Dannie Vannoy
Harry Lee Vannoy
Carol Webb
Hartzel (Jack) Webb
Joash Stump (Preparatory Member)

- Page 22. -


Administrative Council Members

Oda Carpenter
Greta Crawford
Margie Evans
Hurthel Garrett
Pamela Garrett
Gordon McKee (Chairman)
Mary Ella McKee
Justine Rogers
Genevieve Smith
Kandas Smith
Randal Smith
Tresie Sturm
Carol Webb

Board of Trustees

1999 Oda Carpenter - President
2000 Hurthel Garrett - Treasurer
2001 Gordon McKee - Vice President

Lay Leader - Gordon McKee
Local Church Treasurer - Mary Ella McKee
Superintendent of Church School - Kandas Smith
Local Church Financial Secretary - Pamela Garrett
Local Church Historian - Genevieve Smith
Membership Secretary - Mary Ella McKee
Pastor/Parrish Representatives - Mary Ella McKee and Justine Rogers
Nuture - Greta Crawford
Education - Margie Evans

Committee On Nominations and Personnel - Pastor (Chairperson)

Class of 1999: Carol Webb, Art Haag, Leah Garrett
Class of 2000: Randal Smith, Justine Rogers, Genevieve Smith
Class of 2001: Gordon McKee, Tressie Sturm, Margie Evans

Committee on Finance

Class of 1999: Jack Webb(Vice Chairperson), Mary Ella McKee, Hurthel Garrett
Class of 2000: Kandas Smith (Chairperson), Verda Bush, Pamela Garrett
Class of 2001: Gordon McKee, Tressie Sturm, Carol Webb

- Page 23. -


Reverand James Kinder, first pastor at Albert's Chapel


Albert Poling about the time the church was built


Albert's Chapel in the early 1930's before Albert and
Ora Mae Poling made improvements on the church.

- Page 24. -


Albert's Chapel Trustees
Left to Right - Gordon McKee, Oda Carpenter, Hurthel Garrett


Albert's Chapel Administrative Council - 1999
Left to Right, Row 1 - Justine Rogers, Greta Crawford, Kandas Smith, Genevieve Smith,
Oda Carpenter, Mary McKee. Row 2 - Tressie Sturms, Pamela Garrett, Randal Smith, Margie Evans, Carol Webb, Gordon McKee, Hurthel Garrett


Albert's Chapel Sunday School Teachers - 1999
Left to Right - Greta Crawford, Kandas Smith, Genevieve Smith,
Mary McKee, Gordon McKee. Not Pictured - Mae Kendall

- Pages 25 & 26. -


Administrative Council minutes. 13 May 1996, 12 August 1996, 18 May 1998, 18 August 1997.

Blizzard, William C. "The Little Round Church." Sunday Gazette Mail, 18 April 1965.

Carpenter, Oda. Personal interview. Mt. Zion, West Virginia.

"Church Members Vote to Repair Calhoun Chapel," 1995.

Church surveys.

Cottrill, Norma. "The Devil Can't Comer You in This Church." Country Magazine, June/July 1998, p.41.

Crawford, Michael. Photographs. Nov. 1998.

Deed Book 30. 21 August 1902, p.72.

Gainer, Roscoe, "History Told of Sand Ridge Church." Research paper, 1952-1954.

Haag, Edith. Personal interview. Sycamore, West Virginia.

Higginbotham, Greta. "We Trust." Sand Ridge, West Virginia.

Higginbotham, Hollis. "What Jesus Means to Me." Sand Ridge, West Virginia. History of Calhoun County, West Virginia 1989, The Poling Family, North Carolina. Walsworth Publishing, 1990.

Hostess Delights. Texas: Home Interiors and Gifts, Inc., p. 38.

"McKee's Celebrate 55th Anniversary." Calhoun Chronicle/Grantsville News [Grantsville, WV], April 1994.

McKee, Glendon. Personal interview. Mt. Zion, West Virginia.

Palmer, Esta Poling. "The Whipping At Sand Ridge, West Virginia." Personal account.

"Photograph of Interior of Church. Together Magazine, Dec. 1967.

Poling, Ora Mae. Personal interview. Spencer, West Virginia.

Poling, Ora Mae. Personal letter to Frank Ball. 19 Mar. 1968.

"Rededication." Calhoun Chronicle, 1996.

"Red Men on the Warpath! Rev. Scott Williams and Wesley and Albert Poling Severely Whipped." Calhoun Chronicle. 23 August 1910.

"Reverend McKee Retires After 50 Years." Calhoun Chronicle/Grantsville News [Grantsville, WV], June 1997.

"Round Church Keeps People Guessing Origin."

"Sand Ridge Church on Historic Register." Grantsville, Calhoun County, 1982.

Schwarz, Bob. "Calhoun Church Tums to Sun Worship." Charleston Gazette, 1995.

Tatterson, Clerissa H. History and Genealogy of the poling Family, Parsons, West Virginia: McClain Printing co., 1978, pp. 290-293, 298-301, 312-330.

Thornton, Terri. "Albert's Chapel Quiet Place to Worship Just Happens to Have Eight Sides." Charleston Daily Mail, 26 July 1985.

West Virginia Conference Journal. "Albert's Chapel United Methodist Church Pastors," 1939- 1998, pp. 1957, p. 440; 1963, p. 439; 1972, p. 233; 1976, p. 81.

"White Caps Whip Holiness Preacher, and Two Friends Who Came to Rescue-Burned Tabernacle and Left Warning." Grantsville. West Virginia News, 1910.