HISTORY OF FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
(Historical sketch of First M E Church of Keyser, compiled from original notes by Thomas R Carskadon (1894) and paper by Judge F M Reynolds (1919)
(L MCcD) September 1925
The first name of the community we know as Keyser
was Paddytown named in honor of Patrick McCarty who owned and
operated a furnace for refining iron, near Twenty-first Bridge, the
ore being taken from the nearby hills. The name passed through a
series of evolutions, Paddytown, Windlea, Potomac and New Creek till
1873, by vote of the people in town meetings. Keyser was the name
chosen, and Keyser it has been since that date, although in recent
years some sought to have it changed because it suggested a name not
popular among Americans, but time moves on and it is to Keyser many
will turn proudly homeward during the celebration of Home-Coming
September 6-7-8 1925.
This much by way of introduction:
The Methodist Episcopal Church in this community dates back to 1854, when class No 1 at Paddytown met at 11:00 AM for class meeting. When members of the class were:
MARY M SINGLETON
AARON SINGLETON and
At this time and earlier the work was carried on by local preachers, called Mountain Bishops who traveled from place to place, enduring great hardships in order to "look up the lost ship". One of the most zealous of these was JOHN JEREMIAH JACOBS of West Virginia.
Soon the isolated Congregation became a regularly organized mission with REV JAMES BEATTY the first preacher in charge, who was followed by REV HENRY HOFFMAN (father of DR C S HOFFMAN). Then came the REV ARCHIBALD JAMES PORTER. Under the leadership of these Godly men the church prospered until the "war" came and the Church which had been built on the lot opposite the R A WELCH home was burned and the church left for some years without a pastor. Though human organizations sometime failed, the church goes on, and in these perilous times God called to his service REV I H CARSKADON and other local preachers to preach to his people in New Creek, holding services in the old toll house just outside of town.
New Creek mission seems to have fallen a victim of the war, but again we see how from seeing defeat, victory comes and New Creek became and appointment of the old South Branch circuit at the close of the "war" with Rev. GEORGE CROSSFIELD as "circuit Rider";
services being held for some years in the old army hospital which stood where the Woolen Mills now stand. From the Old Army Hospital which stood where the woolen Mills now stand the place of worship was moved to the new "Mineral County Court House". This change came during the pastorate of Rev. HARRISON MCNEMAR, and under his leadership the church on Main Street was built in 1869 or 1870. This building now occupied by The Thompson Furniture Company, was moved from Frostburg. This, the first home of the First M E Church of Keyser was made possible by the devotion and financial aid given by the late THOMAS R CARSKADON. This house served as a place of worship until the growth of the congregation and the noise of down town traffic made it desirable to locate in a more roomy and quiet place, which place was found on Davis Street, and the present home of the church was built and dedicated in 1894, under the pastorate of REV C T WEADE.
Thus from a class of six in 1854 at Paddytown, has grown the congregation of First Methodist Episcopal Church of Keyser, having a membership of approximately five hundred.
This church was connected with Camp Meetings. The first began soon after the "war" and was held on the HENRY HOFFMAN Farm near Ridgeville. About 1876, the trustees leased a plot of ground from the late NIMROD ALKIRE, along the Headsville Road, just beyond Queens Point Cemetery. After several years the camp meetings were discontinued.
The first meeting of the M E Sunday School was held in the old Army Hospital building with THOMAS CARSKADON as Superintendent. This was about 1866. F M REYNOLDS was elected Superintendent in 1870 which office he held until 1924 when he asked to be relieved from active service as Superintendent. His request was granted by electing him Superintendent Emeritus for life, and electing R W THRUSH active Superintendent. JUDGE REYNOLDS is still in Sunday School Work and teaches his class of boys regularly.
Through the years of many men and women of prominence have been connected with this church and would be worthy of further mention, but should such be started there would be no ending, therefore, only one special mention will be made; that of UNCLE TOM and AUNT SALLY CARSKADON whose esteem is testified to be a memorial tablet placed some years ago in the main auditorium of the church they loved and served so well.