A History of Sand Hill Methodist Church

Submitted by Phyllis Dye Slater.

From the Sand Hill Methodist Church Centennial Book, written in 1947. General chairman of the centennial observance was Mrs. Lulu Winters, with Mrs. H. A. Moss, Mrs. Benton Hazlett, W. H. Turner, L. E. Fisher, and R. S. Merinar.

In 1769, the first white people settled in what is now the Sand Hill District of Marshall County, West Virginia. Attracted by the fertility of the land, the John Wetzel family built their home along Big Wheeling Creek; a little later in the same year the Earlewine and Sivert families settled on the ridge where the Sand Hill post office and church were later established. In the next few years more and more families moved until they formed a real community.

The whole top of the hill where the church now stands and the ground down to the schoolhouse were used by the Indians as a ground for races, both afoot and on horseback, and for the other games and bonfires. The Indian village was at the foot of the hill extending north.

The stump of a tree three feet in diameter stood under a house built by a white family on this site and later owned by Richard and Mary Marsh. Priscilla Williams said it was the tree about which the chief's tent was fastened. Priscilla had a marvelous escape from the Indians herself at the age of ten when she and a woman and little boy hid under the falls at the foot of the hill to the west while the Indians were hunting for them. They were on their way to the blockhouse at Fort Henry, now Wheeling.

After the Indians had been sent by the government across the Ohio River, the house was built over the stump. It was very large, built of hewn timbers..two houses, really, with a small connecting one of boards, which was the width of the stone chimney between the two houses, and which was used as the barroom when the place was an inn. This inn accomodated travel through the region before railroads were built. The second floor of the larger house was in one room and was used for political gatherings, entertainments, and shows of any kind that happened along.

About 1820, Ebenezer Buchanan sold the house and the farm on which it stood to Richard and Mary Marsh. (Deed is in Elizabethtown, now Moundsville.) The Marshes had been born in England, coming to America after their marriage. Richard had heard Charles Wesley preach in England. He soon had religious meetings convening in his big room every Sunday.

The Rev. Isaac Davis, who owned the Elliott farm, preached there frequently, and his daughter Eliza, who married John Winter, said that he was also away from home for weeks at a time on a preaching circuit which extended into Ohio and Pennsylvania. Rev. Davis often advocated a church for Sand Hill, which was then being called Apple Pie Ridge because of Mary Marsh's good apple pies, but the scarcity of money prevented it.

The congregation grew until it was unsafe to meet on the second floor of the Marsh house any longer. "Uncle" Matthew Marsh, cousin of Richard, and his sons used to prop the floor with timbers on Sundays for fear of an accident. Then a log schoolhouse was built on Richard Marsh's farm just back of where the lower Sand Hill store now stands (1947), and the congregation moved its services there.

This building served the congregation till 1881/1882, when the present building was erected. In the winter of 1925/26 the church was remodeled with some repairs and alterations being made and rededicated on 26 March 1926. More remodeling took place in 1945 when it was raised and a basement was built beneath it. Following this, wiring for electricity was begun, and cement walks laid to connect with the main front walk. Several years later a bell weighing more than a ton was placed atop the building. The cemetery has since been enlarged by one-half acre.

Records of pastors before 1882 are lacking but since that time the following have served: Henry T. BOATMAN, ???-1883; J. B. FEATHER, 1883-1884; G. R. COPELAND, 1884-1885; C. S. ALLAMONG, 1885-1888; H. C. SANFORD, 1888-1892; T. W. CHILDESTER, 1892-1896; M. W. RIDER, 1896-1897; V. A. NANNA, 1897-1901; A. D. PERRY, 1901-1903; C. E. LEATHERBY, 1903-1905; Will H. PENN, 1905-1908; C. N. STEPHEN, 1908- 1909; P. W. MATHENY, 1909-1911; H. M. LAW, 1911-1912; D. F. CARDER, 1912-1915; F. T. HURXTHAL, 1915-1916; H. O. TEAGARDEN, 1916-1918; B. F. NEWMAN, 1918-1921; J. F. HOCKENBERRY, 1921-1928; C. S. BOSTIC, 1928-1930; A. W. MILLER, 1930-1932; C. S. DEBARR 1932-1940; O. E. ELKIN, 1940-1946; S. O. PARSONS, 1946-??.