Below are short statements about the known churches in Clay County. These excerpts were taken from the book entitled " History of Clay County, West Virginia, 1989" published by the Clay County History Book Committee. Much more information on these churches can be found in that publication.
The Bethel Baptist Church-- There was a hewed log church built about one hundred yards from where the present Baptist Church now stands. The Bethel Baptist Church of Adonijah was organized by a council of Christians meeting together and agreeing to organize by selecting a pastor, deacons, clerk, treasurer, and trustees. This was done by 1950. The organizing members were: O. M. Mays, Jefferson Dawson, Thomas Jones, G. M. Morton, J. C. Nichols, J. H. Bird, and Earl Eakle. The Reverend O. M. Mays was selected as first pastor, and he and the church members were Fundamentalist in belief. The church is located about two miles west of the Lizemore Post Office on Route 10 in Pleasant District, Clay County.
The Blessed Hope Advent Christian Church, Bomont--In the autumn of 1921, two good women of Procious, Mrs. Virgie Townsend and Mrs. Stella Walker, felt that a revival meeting should be held in an abandoned store building about a mile up-river from their homes at Kings Shoals, later called Apex. While awaiting the arrival of the Rev. Mr. Heber Metz, whom they asked to hold the revival, these two great ladies, in humble expression of the depth of their desire for these meetings, gathered coal that had dropped from freight cars along the railroad in order to have fuel to heat the building. During this revival meeting, souls were saved, Christians were revived, and on December 26, 1921, a church was organized and given the name it still bears, Blessed Hope. The church had ten charter members: The Rev. T. H. Estep (elder); Henry Townsend (deacon); Daniel Walker (clerk); Ella Estep; Virgie Townsend; Stella Walker; Maysel Boggs; Lula Cook; Julia Foreman; and Elva Harper.
The Big Union Baptist Church--Located at Dille, West Virginia, the Big Union Church was first organized on October 19, 1901. On October 27, 1916, the Big Union Church was dedicated as the Big Union Baptist Church. On November 16, 1926, the building was damaged by a flood and was moved to the present site, which was donated and deeded to the church by Mrs. M. M. Butcher.
Blue Knob ChurchThe history of Blue Knob United Methodist Church began sometime in the late 1850's, several years before West Virginia became a state in the Union. The Davises, Pattens, Piersons and Wyants settled around the West Fork of Blue Knob Creek, and the old Mount Zion Schoolhouse, which was probably built by these families. The Kings, Rhodeses, and Groses had already settled around the Northeast and Southeast Forks of Blue Knob Creek, and they may have been the persons responsible for building the Mount Zion Schoolhouse mentioned above. Having lost by fire the old Mount Zion Schoolhouse, in which they worshipped, the people were anxious to have a building of their own for the sole purpose of worship, without any of the former educational strings attached. On the other end of the Blue Knob Community, the people living there were also anxious to get out of the Blue Knob Schoolhouse, where they had for many years, and in three different schoolhouses, conducted their religious worship. The two communities went together and build the present structure near the center of the two communities, sometime in 1913. Mrs. Susan Markle Wolfe writes that her grandfather, Daniel W. Markle, carved the small wood carvings around the inside church windows. Her father related to her that Ben Davis, Curt Davis, and John Davis along with Daniel Markle helped build the church. Mrs. Wolfe provided the following picture of the church:
Bomont Methodist Church--This church was built and organized by the charter members of the old church which burned in 1913 and took it's name from the community post office and school. The organizing members were: Washington King, Charley Samples, John Morris, Mary King, and B. V. Samples. The first pastor was Daniel Wilson. The church is located on Porters Creek, a short distance below the H. E. White School.
Burke Memorial United Methodist Church--Mrs. Leona Burke came from Charleston, West Virginia, to a summer camp at Camp Creek, Procious, West Virginia. She saw a need of a place of worship in the community since none existed. In earlier years, church and Sunday School had been held in an abandoned school building at the foot of Dulls Creek Hill. This building was sold and services were moved to the Dulls Creek School building. Since services there had ceased, there was no worship service in this community. Mrs. Burke started a Sunday School on the porch of her summer camp; these services were later moved to the former L. J. Reed Store building. This building had once housed a store and post office. Mrs. Burke began writing letters soliciting funds to build a church. Goldie Ellen Samples, who was a good friend of Mrs. Burke, said that she sent letters to General Eisenhower, Bob Hope and Kate Smith, to name a few. In 1947, Luther Foreman donated a lot for the construction of the church. As a result of contributions from many Americans, the Leona Burke Memorial Church became a reality. The church was built by Charley Goodwin, Van Hanshaw, L. J. Goins, Okey (Mack) King, W. A. Smith and many others.
Church of the Risen Lord--The Catholic Church in Clay County has a long history. Although church records indicate that there were Catholic families in Clay County as early as 1902 it was not until 1909 that Clay became a mission outpost of the Catholic Church in Richwood. A priest, Father Nicholas Hengers, traveled to Clay once every three months for Mass, baptisms, weddings and other religious services although the exact location of these services is unknown. In 1910, Widen, the largest and most up-to-date town in Clay County, was added as another mission outpost from Richwood. Religious services in Widen were held in a private home or in the theater. In 1916, the Elk River Coal and Lumber Company built a Catholic Church, Saint James, in Widen. By 1919, Catholic Mass, Sunday School and other religious services were held at Saint James Church every week. Unfortunately, Saint James Church was completely destroyed by a flood in 1928. In 1971 a Catholic Community was established in Clay County. The present church property, located in Maysel at the junction of Routes 4 and 36 was purchased in 1976.
Clay Community Church--The Clay Community Church is located on Pisgah Road in Clay, near the location of the old B&O Railroad Station. The people of the area decided that a little country community church was needed. They held religious services in the Downey Store building for several months until the owner, John Downey, decided to stop renting the building for church purposes. Ollin C. "Brownie" Moore and wife, Nellie, purchased the building and the people continued to hold church services. After the building was purchased, it was discovered to be so dilapidated that a new building was needed. In July, 1955, the following people met to organize the Clay Community Church: Rev. Williard Morris and wife, Ruby; Ollin C. "Brownie" Moore and wife, Nellie; Joe Streets and wife, Sabra; Mrs. Dencil (Anita) Legg and William A. "Bill" Jones.
Clay First Baptist Church--Prior to 1865, the Baptist churches in what is now West Virginia, were for the most part, connected with the Baptist General Association of Virginia. A few churches in the northern part of the state were for some time affiliated with the Pennsylvania Baptists. One of the oldest Baptist churches in Clay County was the Clay Missionary Baptist Church, now known as the Clay First Baptist Church. Before it was organized, the M. E. North and the M. E. South had preaching services once in a great while. Sometimes a month to three months passed between services. These services were held in a wooden court house which stood where the old court house now stands. Attorneys Alfred Bell and B. C. Eakle were instrumental in starting a community Sunday School which met in the same building. In 1896, the Clay Missionary Baptist Church was organized by Rev. Theodore Given, pastor from Braxton County. W. E. Mullins was the first clerk and was most active in promoting the organization and construction of the church building. He was Clerk of the Clay County Circuit Court. B. C. Eakle, W. T. Hamrick and Worth Mullins were the three trustees and deacons.
Clay Methodist Church--Before a church was erected in the town of Clay, West Virginia, known at that time as the town of Henry, services were held in the old court house with Rev. Samuel Smith as circuit rider. Communion services were held each time he came to his appointment. The first church building was erected in 1896, and Rev. Joseph Jenkins was the first pastor of this church. Rev. Jenkins was a circuit rider and the church at Yankee Dam, West Virginia, now Elkhurst, was among the churches in his charge. He assisted with the erection of the first church building and is said to have done the plastering himself. The church was a frame structure with a cupola and bell.
Fairview Baptist Church--In the community of Two Run at Clay Junction, on State Routes 4 and 16, a group of concerned Christians met in the old Elkview Schoolhouse for worship services. Rev. Carl Traub of Valley Fork was their visiting preacher. As the group grew in number, there was interest shown for the construction of a church building. A committee was appointed to canvas the community to see if the church should be a Baptist or Methodist church. After the canvas it was reported that there were more Baptists than Methodists living in the community. The church organization was first called Stephenson Baptist Chapel. Using the name of Stephenson was probably due to the fact that much of the land in Two Run had formerly been owned by the late Albert Stephenson, and the fact that the estate of Mr. Stephenson donated the land on which the church was built. In April 1948 the name of the church was changed to Fairview Baptist Temple Baptist Church.
Flat Fork Missionary Baptist Church--On August 23, 1874, several people met with the Big Otter Church and organized the Flat Fork Missionary Baptist Church located at Harrison, West Virginia. They had fourteen members. On March 5, 1888, William Riley Deal and his wife, Emily, deeded to the Flat Fork Missionary Baptist Church one acre of land for the church building. The old records of the church up to 1901 were destroyed. D. W. Ross was the first pastor. Plyant Cobb was the first church clerk. Few records remain of the second church.
Fola Missionary Baptist Church--From 1896 until 1923 church services were conducted in a one room school known as Rosella No. 3, near the site where the present post office was established on August 4, 1913. The worshippers were members of the Sycamore Baptist Church. At a meeting on Friday, August 22, 1922, the group agreed to organize the Fola Missionary Baptist Church and to construct a building on the plot then occupied by the school. The organizational meeting was held in the schoolhouse on September 21, 1922, with the following in possession of their letter from Sycamore Baptist Church as charter members: John Legg, Curtis Legg, Earl Keith, Jesse Fitzwater, J. W. Fitzwater, Ray Gray, Jacob Keith, W. C. Legg, Elmer Legg, H. L. Keith, Basil Jones, Icy Legg, Hattie Legg, Archie Gibson, and C. V. Osborne. Rev. L. T. Jones was called as their first pastor.
Goodwill Community Church of Grannies Creek--This church located on the Grannies Creek Road at Newton, Roane County, was built by the "push" of Louisa Gandee. She rode horseback all over and sold products to raise money, and she asked for donations to build the church. Land was donated by Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Gandee and timber for the building was given by Clay Bullard, Walter Gandee and Brooks Gandee. Work was supervised by Edgar Gandee. The head carpenter was French Parker. Built and dedicated as Goodwill Methodist Church, it later became a self-supporting, independent church and was given the name of Goodwill Community Church. Although this church is located in Roane County, it is not far from the Clay County line, and many people from Clay County attend the church.
House of Prayer--The House of Prayer was organized when some of the people of Hansford Fork decided to begin having a prayer meeting in the home of Justine Paxton. This was in a farm house on Hansford Fork. The people then decided that the community needed a church. As the prayer meeting grew they needed a new building and the Lord supplied them with one. So they moved from the farm house to the new building on Hansford Fork Road. The trustees and deacons of the church are as follows: Justin Paxton, Forest McKnown and Sherri Lanham.
Groves Creek Community Church--On October 12, 1940, a group of people met to organize the church known as Groves Creek Community Church. The members of this group named the church after the community it was founded in. The organizing members of this group were: Willis McMorrow, W. H. Johnson, W. C. Jackson, Matilda Bailes, and Icie Butler. The first active pastor of this church was Rev. Icie Butler. Groves Creek Community Church is located on the waters of Groves Creek, West Virginia, in Clay County.
The Horners Fork Missionary Baptist Church--The Horners Fork Missionary Baptist Church was organized on January 10, 1932. The community of Paxton had been holding Sunday School in the Horners Fork schoolhouse and a revival was held by evangelist Norvil Butcher. After the revival, the church was given the name of The Horners Fork Missionary Baptist Church. This name was agreed upon by the charter members of the church. Charter members of the church were: B. J. Carper, E. V. Thomas, Stella Thomas, Jake Samples, Norvil Butcher, Herbert Keller and Irene Keller. Horners Fork Baptist Church purchased a lodge building in Clay, had it torn down and the present church building was built out of the material. The first pastor of the church was the Rev. Norvil Butcher.
Indore Baptist Church--The Big Sycamore Baptist Church was organized and built in 1893. It was built by Anderson Neal, Moses Cline, Thomas Legg and Ruben Neal. In 1898 the property was deeded as a gift to the Big Sycamore Baptist Church by Moses Cline and Virginia Cline, his wife. The new church was organized under the pastorship of Jesse Paxton in 1956. In 1957 the new building was completed. The cornerstones were laid by Breckenridge Legg, Lillie Cline Legg, Izora Brown and Deedee Jones. The name was changed from Big Sycamore Baptist Church to Indore Baptist Church because of the length of the name and because visitors had difficulty in locating the property - Big Sycamore Creek covers many miles.
The Ivydale Baptist Church--What is now known as the Ivydale Baptist Church or the Big Otter Baptist Church, was organized around 1892. Charter members of the church were Joel Walker, Robert G. Hayes, James F. Hayes, Crocket G. Beasley, Lowja Walker, Malinda Friend, Mary L. Friend, Mary E. Hayes, Matilda E. Beasley, Elizabeth Beasley, Leah L. Hayes, Hannah E. Hayes, and Sarah L. Chapman. Back then, there were no church houses at Ivydale or anywhere nearby. The pioneer church members used schoolhouses for places of worship, and if no schoolhouses were available they would use any unoccupied building. About the year 1898 when Rev. Newton Hamrick was preaching to the people in Ivydale and vicinity, they began to realize the need for a church where they could establish permanent headquarters. A location was decided upon and in about 18 months the church was built using donated labor.
The Ivydale Methodist Church--Sometime about the year 1889, what is now known as the Ivydale Methodist Church was organized; this was a few years before the town was called Ivydale. Jack Ice surveyed the town and named it Ivydale after his daughter Ivy. Some of the founders and organizers of the church were Rev. Joseph Dulaney who was one of the first, if not the first, Methodist minister ever to preach in our community. The Rev. Joseph Dulaney who was the father of Ada Friend, wife of Uncle Marion Friend; Mrs. Onnie Shaffer, wife of Rev. Eliott Shaffer; Mrs Rose Bledsoe, wife of Jack Bledsoe; Mrs Emma Hamrick, wife of Dr. Robert Hamrick; son, William (Will) Dulaney all were early members of the Methodist Church and contributed much to the up-building of the church. Rev. Elliot Shaffer was also among the first Methodist ministers to preach in Ivydale. The current Methodist Church was built by the Presbyterians. Soon, however, the building was purchased by the Methodists and from that time the church has been known as the Ivydale Methodist Church.
Leatherwood Freewill Baptist Church--The first organizing members decided to name the church after the community and to join the Free Will Baptist organization. The following were the organizing members: Gladys Morris, Othel Morris, Sherry Steward, Shonnie Taylor, and Judy Morris. The first pastor and person responsible for organizing the church was Rev. James A. Duffield, Ivydale, West Virginia. The church was first organized in September 15, 1973, and met in the old church building. The new church building was built in the spring and summer of 1982 and is located on Rt. 17, Leatherwood Creek.
The Liberty Advent Christian Church--In the month of January 1900, Rev. John F. Elmore organized the Liberty Advent Christian Church. This took place in a log house near the Amanda Park residence. Forty members joined the church at this time. Abner Jehu "Hugh" Samples was elected elder, and George McCune secretary. While serving as pastor, Rev. Elmore married Nellie Procious, daughter of Adam Procious. Prior to the church organization Rev. John Elmore came into the vicinity of Twistabout Creek and began a revival. It was a spiritual, lively, old-time shouting, soul-saving revival held at the Hunnicut House on Twistabout Creek. After the new school was finished later in the year of 1900, the church was moved from the log house into the new school building.
Laurel Fork Missionary Baptist Church at Lizemore--The Laurel Fork Missionary Baptist Church is located at Lizemore, Pleasant District, at the mouth of the Laurel Fork Branch of Adonijah Creek, one fork of the Big Sycamore Creek that empties into the Elk River. This one room (24 x 30) school house was built in 1894. People traveled three miles down the creek to an old store house called Commissary of Worship at the mouth of Lick Branch, which empties into Adonijah Creek. They all decided to move public worship up three miles to Crosby School in 1900. The organizing members were Jefferson and Gennie Dawson, Jesse and Nancy Sizemore and Lydia Morris. In the year of 1928 the Clay County Board of Education sold the school property to the Laurel Fork Missionary Baptist Church.
Little Laurel Baptist Church--The Little Laurel Baptist Church was organized on May 16, 1909. A council composed of neighboring Baptist churches met at the Little Laurel School House. Rev. R. M. Rose was appointed Moderator, and C. T. Underwood was appointed clerk. The charter members were: Jesse White, M. C. Friend, G. A. Friend, Mary Boggs, James Carr, L. H. Hall, Luverna Hall, Sarah Hall, Sally Carr and Lizzie Hall. The first officers chosen were M. C. Friend and Jesse White. The deacons were J. A. Carr, church clerk; L. H. Hall, treasurer; and Rev. R. M. Rose, pastor. The council organizing the church consisted of Rev. S. M. Hamrick, Deacons A. O. Friend, C. T. Underwood, A. J. Walker, W. R. Dumford, W. G. Graham and W. H. Mullins. On August 29, 1914, a deed was made and signed between R. E. Bucklen, Victoria Bucklen, L. H. Hall, James A. Carr, and Marshall C. Friend, who were trustees of the Little Missionary Baptist Church. This deed was the surface to a lot and a certain parcel of land situated on a divide between Little Laurel Creek and the Simons Fork of Big Sandy Creek in Henry District in Clay County, West Virginia, which land was to be used as a site for a church edifice and for church purposes only.
The Lizemore Church of The Nazarene--The Lizemore Church of the Nazarene was first organized in March of 1953 under the direction of the West Virginia District of the Church of the Nazarene by Dr. E. C. Oney, District Superintendent. An abandoned theater building owned by Norval Rogers was purchased and used as a church. Rev. Lovell Shinn was then pastor. In 1956 Rev. Everett Corns of Seth, West Virginia took over. Under Brother and Sister Corns the Nazarene Foreign Missionary Society was formed. In 1959, Rev. and Mrs. Roland Smits of Summersville became pastors.
Lizemores United Methodist Church -- The Beginning: By Neva Jane STOUT BRYANT Copyright October 2001
The beginning of the Lizemores United Methodist Church was conceived on "December the 18th - 1850." According to the original Articles of Agreement, now framed and on display in the church, 22 men subscribed various amounts "for the purpose of Bilding a meeting house for use of the Methodist Episcopall Church or any other Christian denomination when not wanted to be occupied by the first mentioned." The church was to be built "from the mouth of the Slab camp fork of sd Creek just at the end of William Nicholases(sic) plantation thence down sd fork as low as the School house Be low James A. Walkers on Sum Spot of ground within the afore sd Bounds." Those men subscribing monies toward the construction of the church were: Hiram SIZEMORE, John T. MORTON, James A. WALKER, Charles C. MOORE, Alan T. MORTON, David JOHNSON, Robert WILLIAMS, William WALKER, Cyrus RODGERS, Andrew BROWN, Elijah NICHOLS (my great-grandfather), Thomas T. MORTON, John J. MOORE Jr., Milton WALKER, Rice MORTON, Alfred PECK, George H. MORTON, John M. KINCAID, John MORE(sic), John C. RODGERS, Levi BOGGS, and Clarke JARETT(sic).
On "January the 18th 1851," the subscribers jointly agreed that "Sd House Be Bilt on the land of William Nicholas(sic)." Those signing were: Hiram SIZEMORE, David JOHNSON, John T. MOORE, Wm. WALKER, James a. WALKER, Alfred PECK, Charles C. MOORE, Milton WALKER, Robert WILLIAMS, Allen MORTON, John T. MORTON, John T. MOORE, George MORTON, Elijah NICHOLS, Cyrus RODGERS, John C. RODGERS, Andrew BROWN, and Clarke JAROT(sic).
On "the twenty sixth day of November in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty Two" William NICHOLS, my great-great-grandfather, and his second wife Elizabeth sold in trust for the "Sum of one dollar in specia" one acre of land in Clay Co., WV to "John T. Mortin, Clark Jarrett, David Johnson, Robert Williams, Milton Walker and their successors…forever in trust that they shall erect and build or cause to be Erected & built thereon a house of place of worship for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church." The land was described in the deed as "Beginning at a Black walnut standing near the road leading from Sycamore to Twenty Mile running thence North Eastwardly to a Spruce pine thence South Eastwardly crossing a Bottom about 15 poles to a poplar & spruce pine then up the Creek to a Dogwood and spruce pine thence Crossing the Bottom to the Beginning."
The first church was built of logs. It sat approximately 100 feet to the left of the location of the present-day church, and was near J.G. MORTONs store. This church was used until 1895 when a new frame building was constructed. The 1895 church was then used until it burned during the early 1900s. The present church, which was built in 1905, remains in use today. Several additions have been made since the church was constructed, including the addition of basement classrooms, bathrooms, a fellowship hall, and stained glass windows. Some of the pastors of this church have been: John T. MORTON, W.E. HENNON, George WARD, B. FITZWATER, Dan WILSON, Rev. BORDERS, Fred SMITH, C.W. SKELTON, Richard THURSTON, Herbert VANCE and Carl BURROWS (current pastor).
Maysel Missionary Baptist Church--The Maysel Missionary Baptist Church was organized on March 26, 1907, and the original name was Laurel Fork Baptist Church. There were thirteen charter members. The church was organized in a one room log schoolhouse near where the old Maysel school- house now stands. Before the community of Maysel was formed, the place was called "Frog Pond", but neither the school nor the church was ever known as "Frog Pond". On March 25, 1908, James Reed and his wife deeded a parcel of land to the church trustees and their successors as property of Laurel Fork Baptist Church. On August 28, 1949, the name of the Laurel Fork Church, by a vote of the church, was changed to the Maysel Missionary Baptist Church, since there was another church in Clay County by the same name.
The Freewill Baptist Church of Maysel--The First Freewill Baptist Church of Maysel was organized on January 1, 1967, in a warehouse at the junction of R. 36 and 4 which had been leased from a Mr. Hamrick, to be used as a temporary meeting place. Charter members were: Homer W. Holcomb, Lee W. Myers, Hamsford Griffith, William Wallace, Elizabeth Brown, Bessie Holcomb, Harrison Taylor, Rosa Taylor, Joseph Starcher and Evelyn Starcher. Homer W. Holcomb was elected as first pastor. On May 24, 1967, Homer W. Holcomb and Noah Keener met with Jack D. Sizemore, and wife at their store at Wallback, and purchased a building site on the north side of Route 4 just over the mountain toward Clay. The deed was made to Hansford Griffith, Dow Cottrell, and Noah Keener as Trustees. This site became the permanent site of the church.
Middle Run Baptist Church--The Middle Run Baptist Church was organized at the mouth of Rock Camp, now located on State Rt. 4 near the Kenton Meadow Stone Quarry. Rev. Daniel Huffman was elected as Moderator for the meeting and A. B. Keener as clerk. After the sermon by Rev. Huffman, the council proceeded to organize the Middle Run Baptist Church. There were eight members who presented letters from the Elk River Church and one joined for baptism, making nine charter members. The first meeting of the Middle Run Baptist Church was at Laurel Run. At this meeting , they adjourned to meet at the Middle Run Schoolhouse. At a meeting at Middle Run on June 5, 1869, a committee of three were named to locate a site to build a church.
Mt. Carmel Methodist Church--Memories of the Mr. Carmel Methodist Church on Oak Hill Ridge are held dear to all those who lived in or near the community in its heyday. The little white church which stood in a cove almost surrounded by woodland was built in 1907 under the leadership of Bradley White, Joseph Foreman, and others who were in its membership. The congregation of this church was formed in or before 1889 and met in the old log schoolhouse which stood nearby. In its prime, the Mount Carmel Church had a large Sunday School and hosted revival meetings that are still remembered as times of great blessing and spiritual renewal. As the community shrank in population, the church membership dropped and the church building was converted into a family dwelling in 1976 and burned to the ground ten years later.
Mt. Ovis Primitive Baptist Church--This church is located at Enoch in Clay County. The name was chosen by the membership. The organizing members were: G. W. Salisbury, George Ramsey, Nathan McKinney, N. M. Workman, Annie Salisbury, Lizzie Fitzwater, Ollie Hughes, Henry Adkins, Laura McKinney, Sarah Nicholas, Homer Nicholas, Martha Ramsey, Myrtle Ramsey, Elder Z. T. Whaling, Tessie McKinney, Elder Lovell Adams and Bert Scott. The first pastor was Z. T. Whaling
Nebo Baptist Church--It was called Hardman Church; Marcellus (Sell) Hardman donated the land and furnished the material from his saw mill. It was built by volunteer labor from the community. John McCumbers was the first pastor; he and Marcellus were the head of the church for many years. Link and Glenn Dawson were head carpenters in the building of the church. They were the sons of Anderson Dawson, who lived and owned the Dawson Fork of Stinson Creek. Link was the first to be buried at the church cemetery. The Nebo Baptist Church is located off Rt. 2 at the Nebo-Hallsburg Hollow (Tanner Hollow), up the hollow about one-half mile - up the first left road.
New Antioch Baptist Church--There were twelve people who selected a level area surrounded by large clusters of gray, moss-covered sandstone boulders beside Dog Run Creek at the junction of a small branch of water that comes down from the old George Nutter homestead, now owned by the Vernon Adkins family. The persons no doubt had been meeting in their homes for worship, Bible study and prayer until July, 1896, when they met and organized and adopted the name of New Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, and initiated the plans to construct a log building to be used for the Christian fellowship and worship. The names of this original group were: John N. Bailes, Fanny Bailes, Albert R. Bailes, Jane Bailes, Billy Holcomb Sr., Polly Holcomb, Mont Smith, Mattie Smith, George Thomas, Bell Thomas, and Bill Thomas. The Baptists finally decided to move from that location and into the building belonging to the Primitive Baptist Congregation located on the hill above the Eakle Station of the Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad. This move was made sometime in 1930, and they remained in that location until 1952 when they leased land at the junction of Route 15, and the road leading from that point across the country to Widen, West Virginia. They constructed their present church at that site.
O'Brion Advent Christian Church--The Rev. John Elmore helped to establish the O'Brion Advent Christian Church in 1909 in the O'Brion schoolhouse. In 1929, the present church was built on land donated by Susan Hyer. Located on O'Brion Creek two miles off Route 4, the building was erected in one week's time by the church members. The Rev. Tucker Estep was the first pastor. The first trustees were: Curtis Sirk, Preston McCracken, Draper and Ella Duffield, and John and Rosa Smith. All are deceased.
Ottervale Advent Christian Church--Don Fitzwater of Anacoco, La., submits the following concerning the Ottervale Advent Christian Church: I spent my youth going there with my parents and some siblings. There is some history associated with this church. It was once a school house. Myrtle Mollahan taught there years ago. L. E. Murphy probably was credited with being the father of the church. I can't be sure about that tho. The last time I was there they had begun putting plaques on the pews with the names of departed ones that were regular attendees. My parents, Rosie and Elisha Fitzwater attended there for the majority of their lives. My father and one of my brothers and I hauled most of the cinder blocks up the hill to build the basement on a sled using an old black horse named Bob. Henry King supervised hanging the bell. Clarence O. Douglas is a member there now and could possibly come up with some info about the early days of the church. Most of, if not all the old members like Herschell and Ivy Drake, Carl Morris, L. E. Murphy, Lula Hill, my parents, and a number of others have gone on to their reward. Some of that history needs to be recorded. June, 2001.
Pisgah Freewill Baptist Church--A revival meeting was conducted at Pisgah, Clay County, West Virginia, on June 9. 1947, by the Rev. O. B. Hill, Rev. F. T. Jeffery and Deacon James F. Cox. There were thirty-two souls saved and twelve baptized. On June 15, 1947, Sunday School was organized with the help of Rev. J. W. Henson, the Freewill Baptist State Sunday School Organizer. The Pisgah Church was organized on June 22, 1947, as a Freewill Baptist Church by the Rev. O. B. Hill, Rev. F. T. Jeffery and Deacon James F. Cox. The oldest schoolhouse in Pisgah was used for a church until March of 1957. At that time a special meeting was called of the members to devise a way and means of raising money to build a new church. In March 1957, the old schoolhouse was torn down and the basement for the new church was begun. By the first Sunday in June of 1957, the basement was built and Sunday School and church services could be held there.
Pleasant Dale Missionary Baptist Church--Pleasant Dale Missionary Baptist Church was organized November 4, 1877, by S. L. Weeks and Thomas Mullins. Services were first held in a schoolhouse at Adair, West Virginia. When the school burned, services were held at Grose Hollow. Church plans were drawn by Robert Hamrick in 1926 and in 1927 the church was opened and dedicated.
Procious Community Church--The Procious Community Church was organized in 1974. Early regular meetings were held in the old Horner's Fork schoolhouse for several years. Some of the first regular worshippers at the Procious Community Church were: Joe and Addie Dawson, Evelyne McGlaughlin, Robert Varney, and Don and Wilma Dobbins. The church was originally named the Procious Church of God, but was later renamed the Procious Community Church. The first pastor was Rev. Donald R. Dobbins of Maysel, West Virginia. The new church building was started on July 19, 1979 and is located on Route 4 at Procious, West Virginia.
Trinity Missionary Baptist Church--Trinity Missionary Baptist Church was conceived on Valentine's Day, 1983, when a small group of born-again Christians met in a private home. This group shared a common bond of love for our Savior and a keen interest in seeing people saved. We also wanted greater freedom of worship. These worshippers first met as a church group in a borrowed church on Sunday night, March 20, 1983. Prayer meeting that week was held in a home. Trinity Missionary Baptist Church was officially chartered on March 27, 1983, in the old Clay transportation garage. Thirty-six believers signed the original charter. Services were held in the garage and classes met on buses and in vehicles during the spring and summer months. On May 1, 1983, a check was written to Dennis and Barbara Woodall as a retainer for 3.8 acres of land at the top of Daubenspeck Hill on Route 36 at Maysel. The deed of trust was issued May 4, for this land. An access road was started the next day. The ground-breaking ceremony was held on a wintry type day on Sunday afternoon, May 8. The first revival started that very night with brother O. L. Shepherd as the evangelist.
Unity Gospel Tabernacle--Unity Gospel Tabernacle is located at Stinson, West Virginia. The ground for the church was donated by Jim Starcher who requested that it would be a Community Church. Several people from this community and others donated time and money to help build the church. The church was organized in January of 1974 by Darrell (Buck) Mollohan, Orvall Starcher, Troy Douglas and others. The first pastor was Darrell (Buck) Mollohan.
Valley Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church--The church was possibly named for its original location on the ridge above Valley Fork, West Virginia. It is now located on Route 36 just above Valley Fork Elememtary School at McColgin Gap. The recorded deed at the Clay County Courthouse shows that A. M. Rogers and his wife Sarah deeded 3/4 acre of land to the trustees in 1911. The trustees listed were: John Donahue, Mr. I. Thomas and G. W. McGraw. The first minister of record was the Rev. Price Parsons in 1923. Over the years many records have been lost. The old church stood back close to the hill, a Jenny Lind building with wooden brackets on the wall to set oil lamps on....A Burnside stove stood in the middle of the church. Sometimes during the preaching, as the minister passed by it, he would pick up the poker, give the inside a stroke or two, and put some wood in it. The stove was taken down in the summer to give more room. The later United Methodist Church building was built in 1945.
The Wallback United Methodist Church--The members of the Wallback United Methodist Church are happy to reminisce about the beginnings, and dedication of the church. The Wallback community was not always prosperous enough to support two churches as it does now. The early Pleasant Hill Church served both the Methodist and Baptist parishioners. Services were equally shared by pastor Howard McCarty, Methodist and Herbie Smith,Sr., Baptist.
The following unique situation was encouragement for our moving to a permanent Methodist church home. During a scheduled afternoon baptismal service, Pastor McCarty was unable to gain entrance to the Pleasant Hill Church building to deliver a Lord's Day Sermon to his congregation, and a baptizing at a nearby creek. Several men came to his aid by pushing a large horse-drawn wagon belonging to a local merchant, A. S. Rogers, to the center of the crowd. An open-air pulpit - what could be more appropriate? Following this incident the Methodist services were conducted at the Crocket School for a short time. Overflowing crowds and a great desire for a permanent location caused unrest among the Methodist parishioners. Soon building plans surfaced and the needed land was bought. On September 7, 1922, land was bought and people began plans for construction of a new church building.
Walnut Grove United Methodist Church--It is thought that the first church was built of logs and was located on the J. L. Wilson, R. S. Strickland, and C. P. Wilson lands where they corner. This was in Walnut Grove and when the church was moved to its present location on Rt. 54, Wilson Ridge, the church name, Walnut Grove, was retained. The first Walnut Grove Church at Wilson Ridge was build on ground donated by the Gibson family for the church and cemetery. This was around 1880. In 1923, the old church was torn down and another was built in the same location. Free will offerings and free labor, given by the people of the community, built the church which was dedicated in 1924. This church burned June 20, 1975, and a rebuild church was ready for use in September 1975.
White Pilgram Church--This church's real name is Rogers Chapel, but it has always been called White Pilgram after the school which was located just across the hollow from where the church stands. When the church was build in 1927, a man named Rogers in Charleston said if they would call the church Rogers Chapel, he would donate the chairs; hence, it was dedicated in the name of Rogers Chapel. The church is located off Route 36, on the left fork of Sandy, about one mile on the left side of the road. Some of the organizing members were: Burt Cruikshank, Manard Rogers, Sherman Rogers, Melvin Shamblin, Jesse Shamblin, Joseph Moore, Andy Rogers, Harvey Hershman, and Edmond West. Reverend A. P. Parsons was the first pastor.
The Widen Baptist Church--The Widen Baptist Church was organized February 17, 1934, in the Widen theater building under the direction of Reverend J. H. McLaughlin. Reverend A. S. Kelly, Reverend A. S. Walker and Reverend J. H. McLaughlin were the three ordained ministers on the organization committee. Reverend J. H. McLaughlin was called as the first pastor for the remaining part of the associational year. The Widen Baptist Sunday School was organized October 21, 1934. On June 10, 1959, a groundbreaking ceremony for a church building took place on a flat of ground that the Elk River Coal and Lumber Company had deeded to the Church. Brother Ernie Butcher, trustee, lifted the first shovelful of dirt.>