William Cullen Bryant wrote, "The groves were God's first temple". Such was the lot of the earliest settlers. Life was difficult and nature gave no quarter. A belief in a Supreme Being was innate and our ancestors lost no time in honoring their God. Homes were first used for religious services. Traveling preachers and missionaries came through the settlements to hold services, to marry those who desired, and to say a consoling word and a prayer over the graves of those who had died since their last visit. As the congregation grew an authorized member of the clergy would assist in officially organizing the church. Soon ground was donated for the building and a cemetery. It became a community project. Everyone helped. Ground was to be cleared. Logs cut, shaped and dragged to the location. The women prepared the food and often helped with the heavy work. Even the children assisted. Many times the building was used for church services on the Sabbath and as a school during the week.

In later years it was more satisfactory to contribute money and employ skilled workers to erect the building. As with the consolidation of schools, the automobile and improved roads brought about the closing of some churches.

The people of Marshall County have, indeed, a very religious heritage. The spiritual incentive surely was there and has born fruition. The church and the school are the barometer of our progress and development.


Most of the rural churches had a cemetery nearby. The care of these cemeteries was under the jurisdiction of the Church Trustees, or a special group known as the Cemetery Trustees or volunteers from descendants and friends of the deceased. There are now cemetery associations which have permanent endowment funds and regulations for perpetual care with a board of directors in charge. The county also has five cemeteries not affiliated with a church.

Burials have also been made on farms. These small family cemeteries usually were fenced. Grave markers might have been field stones with no names. Very old monuments are sometimes so badly weathered that they are illegible. People living in the area now, or who did live there in the past, assisted in locating these family plots. The name most prevalent for the site is used. If no identifying name could be determined or if no marker was found, but tradition gave a location for a burial, then that spot is marked with an asterisk.


The Reverend David Jones of Freehall, New Jersey made two "missionary" journeys into the Ohio Valley in 1772 and 1773, preaching to the Indians. In December, 1772 he was joined by another missionary, the Reverend John Davis who was in very poor health. They stayed at the home of Dr. James McMechen. On December 13 Reverend Davis died. Reverend Jones obtained a spade and a few boards from a cabin some eight miles distant and using some nails he had brought with him from over the mountain, he and another man made a coffin. Then, as Reverend Jones recorded in his journal, "The remains of this worthy man are interred near a brook at the north end of the level land adjacent to Grave Creek. About sixteen feet from his grave stands a large black oak tree and on this tree I cut with my tomahawk the year, day and month."

*J. H. Brantner has recollected this story in Historical Collections of Moundsville, West Virginia.