Gospel Trumpet Publishing Company

Written by Thomas O. James, c 2007.


Trumpet Building

Dale Stultz, a researcher from Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana, recently visited Moundsville seeking help with a history project. He and an assistant traveled here to obtain documentation about the Gospel Trumpet publishing company that operated in Moundsville from 1898 to 1906. The company owned several large buildings in Moundsville, one of which was located on the east side of Walnut Avenue near the intersection of Elm Avenue.

The Gospel Trumpet was the publications arm of the Church of God, with roots in Michigan and which located to Moundsville in 1898 because of the abundant natural gas and coal reserves. Cheap fuel and access to transportation on the B&O Railroad induced the company to move nearly 100 people and all of their machinery on nine rail cars to this river city.

Stultz, a retired educator, is conducting historic research for the Church of God, whose archives are held by Anderson University. He has been involved with archeological investigations in Indiana and was in Moundsville to visit several sites where the publishing company flourished for eight years. Local historian, Joe Parriott, helped Stultz in his efforts to view old plat maps [PHOTO] and conduct deed searches at the Marshall County Courthouse.

A large building at Elm and Walnut Avenues, originally a shoe manufacturing company that had gone bankrupt, became a hub of activity for printing presses, which turned out a magazine every week. The Gospel Trumpet brought messages of faith to the members of the Church of God, an international organization with missions in India, Africa, China and the Caribbean basin. The editor was Noah Byrum.

July 7, 1898 saw the presses inoperable due to dampness and the Moundsville Daily Echo “very kindly offered the use of their press” to get the Trumpet published by its deadline. According to Stultz, Noah Byrum’s diary notes that, “The press at the Echo office was run all night, and by the next morning the Gospel Trumpet was ready to fold and mail.”

To house the large family of workers, the Trumpet built an immense brick and frame structure on the hill overlooking Fostoria Avenue at the junction of Walnut. This site is now the location of Greenwood Cemetery. The large home [PHOTO] represented an order of magnitude from the congregation’s humble beginnings in a flatboat on the Ohio River. Two such vessels, the Gospel Ark and the Floating Bethel barge [PHOTO], were docked at the 13th Street landing in 1898, having been floated down-river from Pittsburgh. A choir of gospel singers performed atop the flat-roofed barges, encouraging local residents to attend services on the boats.

Indian Knob, As Seen From Trumpet Home

As immigration increased at the turn of the century, the population center of the United States moved westward. The Gospel Trumpet decided to align itself with this shifting demographic and in 1906 moved all of its equipment, inventory and members to Anderson, Indiana on 22 rail cars. The large home above Fostoria Avenue was dismantled [PHOTO], its materials to be reused in Indiana.

Dale Stultz presented nine archive photographs depicting the historic buildings of the former Gospel Trumpet, the Floating Bethel and three winter scenes of ice harvesting in Moundsville. These ice-cutting photos may have been taken in the vicinity of Floral Street and Mound View Center, as a well-known ice plant was located for many years nearby where today a behavioral health group home maintains a residence on Arlington Avenue.

[PHOTO] - Cutting Ice
[PHOTO] - Harvesting Ice
[PHOTO] - Hauling Ice

The Echo has been presented with digital files containing all nine of the historic photographs. Dale Stultz requests that anyone having any information or photos of the Gospel Ark riverboat please contact him through the Echo office.


  • The planing mill [PHOTO] was used as an office and temporary living quarters until the Trumpet Home was built. The planing mill was located adjacent to the publishing company, and can be seen on the 1899 plat map.

  • Congregation members lived communally as a nuclear family. They drew no wages for their labor in order that the religious mission of the Church of God attain maximum growth in the most efficient manner.

  • Members were originally known to one another as "Saints." However, there is no affiliation with the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormon Church.

  • The editor of the Gospel Trumpet was E. E. Byrum, not Noah Byrum. The two men were brothers, but Noah was more of the business manager while Enoch E. was editor of the Trumpet.

  • No trace of the buildings has survived extant. However, the cement stairs of the Trumpet Home are still intact in the hillside of Greenwood cemetery, on the Fostoria Av elevation.

  • The Floating Bethel barge burned in 1899, yet timbers were salvaged from the wreck and were used in the construction of two homes in the Park View section of Moundsville. Both of these homes are in good condition and occupied.

  • The Trumpet community arrived in Moundsville by rail and left by rail. A spur rail line [PHOTO] [PHOTO 2] that extended east from the B&O main line formerly serviced the Fostoria Glass Company and other industries in the Parrs Run area that later became Park View Addition. This rail line was taken up after 1986 when the Fostoria officially ceased to exist. The last vestiges of it are soon to be obliterated when a new Wal-Mart Superstore prepares a tract of land in the spring of 2005 for the shopping center.

    Marshall County WVGenWeb - Linda Cunningham Fluharty