From History of Pleasants Co., West Virginia to 1980, published by the Historical Society
Typed by Linda Fluharty.
Used with the permission of Society President, Walter Carpenter, for this site only.
Typed by Linda Fluharty.
THE APOSTOLIC FAITH CHURCH -- "Revival!" was the cry from Creel Street when Rev. Chester Stanley Dayhoff came to town. This revival lasted about three months with services held nightly, with few exceptions. Working daily at the O. Ames Plant in Parkersburg and preaching nightly God's Word was one of the sacrifices essential to the establishment of our Apostolic Faith Church.
This new and unusual doctrine based on Acts, Chapters I and II was in truth only new on the day of Pentecost, Repentence, baptism in the name of Jesus, and the enfilling of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues was not any more popular in St Marys than it was in Apostles' day. Despite objections, the Apostolic Faith Tabernacle was built in 1938 on Sixth Street and remained there until 1962. The present building was then erected on the same site under the direction of our present pastor, Robert L. Lough, Although Rev. Dayhoff passed away in 1959, the same message has continued to be preached in St. Marys to this day.
The first building, a temporary tabernacle structure to be replaced when the congregation was ready and able to do so. Beginning with a sawdust floor, wood stove, and handmade pews, the first congregation saw steady improvements until the decision was made to build a concrete block building on the same site as the first one. Members took turns holding services in their homes during this time. For fifteen years this building served us well.
Revival spirit then tripled the congregation's size resulting in the 1977 expansion and the twenty-eight foot extension at the back of the church. Day by day, improvements can be seen as members work to pay for the church needs. All debts are paid in full. No bank loans have been necessary, thanks to the devotion, dedication and sacrifice of these faithful people. The Ladies' Auxiliary has worked steadily having yard and bake sales to earn needed funds. They are supported by the Apostolic Young People who also have candy and craft sales. The men donate labor and such offerings as necessary to complete each task. With everyone in one accord, working and praying together, revival has come alive in our church. Every weekday has its activity, including Home Mission, Bible Study, Choir Practice, Prayer Service, Evangelistic Service. Sunday School is held each sunday. Young ministers are being called by God and trained for service. A special area is set aside for the many musicians and singers whoe talents are growing daily as God blesses.
Such shall it be until Jesus comes. Our goal is to "Reach the host at any cost." Our work must continue and will accelerate until that great and final day when Jesus shall return to his people.
[Submitted by Ruth Ann Dayhoff.]
BELMONT BAPTIST CHURCH -- The Belmont Baptist Church was organized in 1926. Charter members were: Mr. and Mrs. Ira Looney, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hammett, John S. Shingleton, Mr. and Mrs. George H. Henson, Arthur Hammett, John B. Hammett, Raymond Shingleton, Miss Gertrude Shingleton, Mrs. George Ingraham, Mrs. Carrie Walters. First deacons were: George H. Henson, Tom Smith, John S. Shingleton and Charles Hammett.
Members met for worship on the fourth Sunday of each month in the Union Church with ministers from the St. Marys Baptist Church. Sunday School was held in conjunction with the Union Church. The Mission Circle was organized in October, 1926, with monthly meetings held in the homes of the members, Church clerks have been: Mrs. Anna Hannan, Mrs. Grace Vaughn and Mrs. C. B. Shingleton.
Land was purchased at the corner of Third and Clark streets. The church was built with volunteer labor. Minter Reynolds laid the cornerstone August 12, 1951. Dedication services were held November 1, 1951. Bell for the church, from the old Beaumont shcool building was donated by Francis Williamson in 1955. Pulpit was purchased from the Grantsville church and is still being used. In the 1970's additional classrooms were built, plus other improvements to the church. The baptistry was donated in memory of Johnny Bogard.
Ministers who have served the church are: H. W. Martin, Robert Stump, Denver Davis, Jarrett Chandler, K. D. Finch, T. B. Turley, Clyde Bush, Baber Morris, Boyd Sparks, Bill Lilly, George Stout, Calvin Ferrell and Ernest Hammack.
[Submitted by Mrs. Florence Shingleton and Dorothy Evans.]
THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF ST. MARYS -- Eighteen people with letters from their respective churches, met October 22, 1898 in the M. P. Church to organize a Baptist Church in St. Marys. They adopted a covenant, chose the name The First Baptist Church of St. Marys and elected Rev. Harvey Cofer as the first pastor. Charter members were: Rodney and Nancy Reynolds; D. W. and Addie Reynolds; A. C. and Lina LeBarron; Jacob and Margaret DeLong; Cassie Reynolds; Deborah Schupbach; Carrie Schupbach; Lizzie Riggs; Rachael Ann Barkwill; Bina Easton; Maggie Strickling; Wlla M. Sarber; Lizzie Ogdin; Abbie E. Poole.
Meetings of the new church for a few years were held in the M. E. South Church, now the George Street Church of Christ. The housing committee proposed a new building on Barkwill Street, site of the present church, on a lot donated by Samuel Barkwill.
Dedication of the new church was set for April 21, 1901. For three days and nights the rain poured down and by Saturday it was pelting snow. Snow was one foot deep on Sunday with a flood threatening. No trains were running so Rev. W. D. Walker and wife came from Parkersburg on the Keystone State, a riverboat. A few people gathered at the church to hear an inspiring sermon by Rev. Walker. They decided to postpone the dedication and invited Rev. Walker to preach the dedication sermon. This service was held May 26, 1901.
The new church grew slowly but steadily. Records show names of many well known business and professional people who gave time and service to promote its growth. The fiftieth anniversary in 1948 and the seventy-fifth in 1973 were observed with special services. An educational annex was built in 1958-59. The next project was a new sanctuary adjoining it on the site of the old church. The groundbreaking ceremony was May 2, 1971, the first service held in the new sanctuary was December 24, 1971, Communion Service. Dedication services followed on April 30, 1972.
The First Baptist Church has always been a mission-centered congregation, glad to lend a helping hand when locally needed. The present congregation is very grateful for three young people who dedicated their lives to Christian service and finished Seminary. Helen Ruth Locke is Director of Christian Education for the First Baptist Church of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Rebecca Cutlip is Minister of Christian Education for the First Baptist Church of Marietta, Ohio. Larry Hooper was Associate Minister of the Oak Hill Baptist Church in Oak Hill, West Virginia for several years. He recently reentered Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary as a graduate student.
We try to maintain the tenets of the covenant adopted by the charter members. Our present pastor George B. Harris III is continuing to lead us toward more knowledge of Biblical teaching. He particularly stresses the need to practice these teachings in our daily Christian living.
[Submitted by Grace E. Locke.]
FRENCH CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH -- A council, led by Rev. L. W. Holdren, Moderator, and Rev. W. L. Oliver, Clerk, met on June 6, 1885, organizing the French Baptist Church with A. R. Hardy, Acting Deacon, Rev. W. L. Oliver, Pastor, and Harvey Pryor, Clerk. The articles of faith, the church covenant in common with all Baptist churches, was adopted.
The first meeting was held on June 7, 1885 at the Wiley school. Rev. L.W. Holdren gave the charge to the church, and the first sermon. The church being opened for membership, Brother John Copenhaver was received on relation of his Christian experiences, into full fellowship of the church.
Charter Members were: William Locke, Daniel Locke, Robert Locke, A. R. Hardy, Harvey Pryor, William Pryor, George Copenhaver, Daniel Wiley, Susie Bond, Kate Copenhaver, Sarah Copenhaver, John Copenhaver, Rachael Hardy, Rebecca Hardy, Sarah Pryor, Jennie Mossburg, William Bond, G. H. Williams, Julia Williams, Jane Bond, Mary Phelps, Fanny Williams, John Phillips, George Smith, Sarah A. Smith, Henrietta Copenhaver, Sophia Locke, Eliza Copenhaver, Mary E. Wiley.
For several years services were held in the Wiley School. Members cut timber, purchased land on which the church was built. Dedication was March 1, 1902. Some of the pastors were: W. L. Oliver, F. P. Baldwin, Walter Reaser, L. S. Vannoy, W. A. McClaine, W. Frank Osborne, Harley Bailey. Deacons have been: A. R. Hardy, Oliver Cunningham, Michael J. Cronin, Thomas Cox, Arthur Cox and Cecil Lowther.
The church was closed at various times, once during the late 1950's, opening again in 1961 with Rev. W. Frank Osborne returning as pastor. Ill health now prevents him from driving. His wife Sylvia brings him for services on the first and fifth Sundays. They have served the church faithfully for many years. This little community still meets at the little church, worshipping and working together in much the same way as in the beginning, 95 years ago.
[Submitted by Mrs. Emma Fox.]
GOOD HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH -- On Saturday, July 14, 1883 at 2:00 P.M. an interested group of Baptist people held a meeting at the Ruckman School House for the purpose of organizing a Baptist Church at Schultz. This Church was organized at this meeting and named Good Hope Baptist.
Twenty members from the Willow Island Baptist Church were released to form this Church. J. R. Shingleton was called as first Pastor and Joshua Powell and Joseph Mathers were the first Deacons appointed.
A lot was purchased from J. R. Shingleton on which the building was to be erected. A dedication service was held on the second Sunday in August, 1887. The Church became a member of the Parkersburg Baptist Association in its early years (before 1887).
The first heating in the building was with coal and the lights were kerosene lamps. In November, 1907 both the heat and the lamps were replaced with gas. Electric was installed in May of 1946. Prior to this we did not have electric available in our community.
In August of 1949, Rev. Clyde Bush who was serving as supply Pastor for Willow Island, Belmont and Good Hope Baptist, was instrumental in helping to form a Parish between these three Cburches. This Parish was called the "Willow Island Parish" as Willow Island was the oldest or "Home Church."
In November of that year Rev. Baber Morris was called as first Pastor for the Parish. This Parish was in force until 1968 when Willow Island withdrew from it. At that time, Belmont and Good Hope formed the "Belmont Parish" which was dissolved in October, 1971.
In 1951 three rooms were added to the rear of the building to serve as classrooms and for other activities. Many other improvements have been added over the years.
At the present time, our oldest member is Mrs. Marguerite Powell who will be 92 years of age on September 17th. She united with our Church in 1917. Mrs. Carrie Nichols has been a member for the longest period of time having united with the Church in 1912. Our Pastor is Rev. Roger Fairfax who has been with us since October, 1979.
[Submitted by Mrs. Ruth Satterfield.]
MAPLE LANE FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH -- The Maple Lane Free Will Baptist Church was established on October 6, 1968 under the leadership of Rev. George J. Burns of Graysville, Ohio. He was a former resident of Pleasants County, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. George Burns of St. Marys.
When established the church had ten members. It has grown to a present membership of fifty-eight.
When first built the church was known as the Maple Lane Methodist Church. After many years, the Methodist Church became inactive with no services being held at this location.
Rev. Burns pastored the church for over two years, then Rev. Thomas J. Cox was elected and still pastors the church today. Rev. Rex Hadley serves as Assistant Pastor.
The church is located near Hebron, W. Va. at the countryside village of Maple Lane, adjacent to the Masonic Cemetery grounds.
[Submitted by Mrs. Rex Hadley, Church Clerk]
WILLOW ISLAND BAPTIST CHURCH -- In December 1868 letters of dismission were granted to the following members of the WilIiamstown Baptist Church for the purpose of organizing the Willow Island Baptist Church, namely: James Powell, Catherine Cochran, Rebecca S. Cochran, Dicinda McTaggart, Martha Louderback, Edward L. Harness, Mary A. Kester, Martha Dunn, Rose Cameron, Susan Mowery, Mary M. Walls, Mary Jane Feeney, Martha Powell, John Cochran, J. E. Cochran, Isabella McTaggart, Abija Joy, Emma J. Harness, Randall C. Crisben, Jane Dunn, James H. Hoffman, Ann Mowery, Mary Davis, Eleanor A. Feeney, Friend Cochran, C. P. Cochran, Hugh McTaggart, James Louderback, Susan Joy, James A. Kester, T. H. Dunn, George C. Peckens, John Kester, Barberry Sheets, Mary M. Calvert, Mahala Williamson.
The Willow Island Baptist Church was organized January 9, 1869. Rev. W. P. Walker was called to be their Pastor, C. F. Cochran was elected church clerk. On March 16, 1869, Hugh McTaggart and Friend Cochran were elected trustees and empowered to secure a building site. A lot was secured and Rev. W. P. Walker submitted plans for the building, they being adopted May 8, 1869. The Church was dedicated the fifth Sunday of January, 1870. During the year 1870, a mission was established at St. Marys. In June 1883 twenty-six letters of dismission were granted to organize Good Hope Baptist Church at Schultz. In October 1898 eleven letters of dismission was granted to organize St. Marys Baptist Church. In 1903 the Bell Tower was built and dedicated. In June 1904 the fourth Sunday was the first Roll Call. In 1908 two additional acres of land was purchased for a cemetery. In 1926 eleven letters of dismission was granted to organize Belmont Baptist Church. In 1929 was the first Homecoming and Roll Call.
The Willow Island Parish was formed in 1949, consisting of Belmont, Good Hope nad Willow Island Churches. Rev. Baber Morris was called as first Pastor. In July 1968 Willow Island Baptist withdrew from the Parish. Rev. Clyde Loar was called as Pastor.
During 1969 the front interior of the church was remodelled and the Baptistry was installed. April 20, 1969 was dedication of Baptistry and Candlelight Baptismal Service. August 27 to 31, 1969 was Centennial Celebration. Classrooms in basement, dedicated in 1958, were inadequate for the number attending. In 1979 five more classrooms, an overflow room and office were added. Pastors having served were Rev. Virgil Sallee, November 1969 to April 1976. Rev. Charles O'Conner served only a short time, September 1976 to March 1977, due to illness and death. In June 1977, Rev. C.W. Seaman began his work as Pastor.
Much more could be said about the Willow Island Baptist Church, this however should be noted ... there has been a Sunday School since the Church was organized.
[Submitted by Mrs. Ethel Cokeley.]
ZOAR BAPTIST CHURCH -- The Zoar Baptist Church, oldest of its denomination and one of the oldest of any faith in Pleasants County, was organized in 1850. Upon suggestion by Elder William C. Barrett, a missionary of the General Association of Virginia, a number of brethren first met at the home of William Medley, June 13, 1850 and voted to meet at the Union schoolhouse near St. Marys. Zoar was constituted as such on June 22, 1850. Brethren from Newport, Washington County Ohio and Mt. Vernon, Wood County Virginia, were present for the ceremony. Edler H. S. Dale was requested to deliver the sermon, it being taken from the 2nd Chapter of Ephesians.
Charter members were the following: Mr. and Mrs. Charles Seckman, Mr. and Mrs. John Cohen, Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Shingleton, O. P. and Elizabeth Shingleton, John and Sarah Lamp, Mrs. Margaret Wilson, Mrs. Martha Stout, Nancy Riggs, Christina McCardle, George S. Smith, Levi Gregg and William Medley. William C. Barrett was chosen as the first pastor and Charles Seckman was elected as the first Deacon.
In the early years of Zoar Baptist Church there was not any regular meeting place. Among some of the locations were: Union Schoolhouse, M. E. Church South, St. Marys, Court House, Schultz Run School, Lamp residence on McKim Creek and Barkwill home on French Creek. From these locations we assume that Zoar took in the larger part of Pleasants County.
Plans began for the erection of a building on December 21, 1867. Ralph Hanes was elected treasurer. Committee appointed to select a building site were: C. E. Wells, B. F. Seckman, Dennis Lucas, Daniel H. Jones, Eli B. Wilson and Oliver P. Shingleton. William Hanes gave the lot at Jonestown for the church. The building size was 36 by 40 feet, 14 feet high and set on cut stone furnished by early stone masons. The ceiling, walls and seats were all finished with hand dressed native timber. Dedication services for the church were held on September 25, 1869.
Singing, baptizings and association meetings provided many good times. Everyone sang by note. Singing school was held regularly and teachers were employed. Preacher Byrd and Neil Smith were among the teachers. Young people attended from Cloverdale, Maxwell, Mt. Pleasant, Shawnee, Jonestown and all neighboring churches.
Zoar Baptist Church celebrated its 100th anniversary with a special homecoming ceremony on Sunday, October I, 1950. There was singing and preaching all day. The pastor at that time was Rev. Frank Osbourne.
The church had no meetings during the early 1960's. Sunday school was reopened on October 16, 1966. In the past few years some improvements have been made to the building. Blocks underlayed, suspended ceilings, front floor carpeting and a gas furnace was installed in June, 1975. Plans for the addition onto the church building for classrooms have been made.
[Submitted by Mrs. Clarice M. Cox.]
ST. JOHN'S CATHOLIC CHURCH -- Family records show that the first Mass in what is now Pleasants County, was at the William Gale home at Belmont in 1835. Mass was said at "Waterside," the Hammett residence at WilIow Island in 1861. In 1899 a priest celebrated Mass in the Ferguson home at Schultz, and performed the marriage ceremony of the family's eldest daughter. The Ferguson home was in the historic log "mansion" built by Christian Schultz.
For years, only an infrequent visit by a missionary priest afforded opportunity for attending Mass, always in a private home.
Early in this century, St. Marys and Newport, Ohio Catholics attended Mass in the Kelsall Building on Second Street. The De Sales Heights chaplain came regularly on first and third Sundays of each month to serve the congregation.
In 1913, Catholics purchased from the United Brethern, their church on Dewey Avenue. First called St. Mary's Catholic Church, the name was later changed to St. John's Catholic Church, honoring Bishop John Swint.
St. John's became a mission of Holy Rosary Church, Sistersville, in 1951, served by Fr. Thomas Duffy, Sistersville pastor. He was succeeded by Fr. Paul Fahey, 1962; Fr. Gerald Guli, 1964; Fr. Cecidio Federico, 1966; Fr Paul Schwarten, 1969. Bishop Hodges made St. John's a canonical parish, independent of Sistersville, December 5, 1974, naming Fr. Schwarten pastor.
After exploring feasibility of enlarging the Dewey Avenue building, St. John's Parish decided to build on their Washington Street property.
Ground breaking ceremonies were held April 9, 1978. First Mass in the completed building was celebrated on Ash Wednesday February 28, 1979.
Present membership: 81 families; 189 parishioners.
[Submitted by Ellen Hammett.]
CLOVERDALE CHURCH OF CHRIST -- In 1880 Samuel Albright organized a society at Cloverdale with Salathiel and Catherine Hart, Eugenus and Hester Newbrough, Marion and Martha Hart and William and Matilda Hart. The first minister of the new con gregation was Samuel Albright, followed in later years by George W. Varner, Francis Davis, Adam Ward, Jesse Beard, Charles F. Fogle, J. M. Cochran and other Evangelists serving throughout the area.
Services were held in the Cloverdale Schoolhouse prior to the building of a church structure. Eugenus Newbrough was instrumental in securing a lot adjacent to the Coen Cemetery, furnished timber for the building that was erected by community members of the congregation. The cemetery became a part of the church organization and is presently known as Cloverdale Cemetery. Dedication of the new Church building was held in 1893, with Samuel Albright giving the dedication sermon.
Early members of the Cloverdale Church a Christ were: George W. Varner family, Cecil C. Horner family, John F. Hart family, Thomas H. Hart family, Edward Nellis family, George W. Oliver family, David D. Boley family and John R. Jewell family. In later year, Coleman L. Davis and C. C. Hart provided leadership for several years, they being followed by Ernest L. Davis and Charles N. Powell.
At present, worship services are held each Sunday at 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM. Sunday School is held each Sunday at 9:45 AM. A ten day Gospel Meeting is held annually in September.
[Submitted by Leonard Hart.]
THE DEWEY AVENUE CHURCH OF CHRIST -- The nucleus of the membership of the Dewey Avenue Congregation came from the faithful members, who moved from the rural areas to live in St. Marys.
During the year 1906, with thirty-one charter members, the first regular meetings were held in the old M. E. Church Building, where the present Methodist Church now stands.
In 1907, the congregation rented the U. B. Building on Dewey Avenue, later sold to the Catholic Church, and worshipped there until hey completed their own building on the corner of Sycamore and Dewey Avenue, October 24, 1909.
About ten years later a preacher's residence was constructed adjacent to the Church Buildng; then in 1937, six class rooms were added to the Church Building.
This building served the congregation as a meeting place for fifty years. Due to the growth of the congregation, a new building vas constructed on the opposite corner of the street, where services were first conducted March 22, 1959.
Elders having served through the years are: C. T. McCullough, Marcus Bayles, W. E. Clovis, T. J. McFarland, C. Ross Williamson, G. A. Smith, A. R. Wilson, George A. Clovis, A. C. Buchanan, G. B. Varner, O. S. Robinson, Barley J. Smith, Oliver Buchanan, Ralph W. Miller, Ellis Knight and WilIiam E. Clovis II.
Some of the men of great spiritual stature who served the congregation as located preachers are: Charles E. Fogle, G. W. Varner, A. E. Harper, T. Q. Martin, Charles Taylor, E. G. Rockliff, George Hickey, Jesse Clayton, Denver E. Cooper, Earl P. Stevens and Wiliam J. Renner.
During the seventy-five years that the church has been meeting in St. Marys, many have come to Christ, and through missionary efforts it has been possible to help establish churches of Christ throughout the United States and around the world.
[Submitted by N. Clovis and V. Hilty.]
CHURCH OF CHRIST, GEORGE STREET -- On January 20, 1935, the following members of the Church of Christ met at the Odd Fellows Hall in St. Marys, W. Va., namely: Ray and Maggie Dotson, Marcus and Annabelle Bayles, Clarence and Edna Ruckman, Winfred and Garnet Cox, Ira and Edna Hart, Fred and Martha Oliver, Frank and Gertrude Taylor, Arthur and Mamie Hammett, John md Ella Pittman, Ida Ruckman, Ruth Hart, Ermaleen Hart, Margerie Clutter, Ruth Bayless, Richard Hupp, Charles Mott, Calvin Martin, Laban McCullough, Walter McCullough, Mary Minnick, Susan Minnick, Freda Gault, Letha Snyder, Perry Hart, Dorothy Dotson, Mary Dotson, Robert Ruckman, Eloise Ruckman, Effie Truex, Delno Truex, Darrell Hart, Howard Clutter, Jaunita Taylor, Martha Snyder, Bill Snyder, Max Snyder, Maxie Riggs, Billy Mitchell, Paul Gault, Richard Gault, Mary Mitchell, Margaret Barlow, Betty Jean Barlow, Golda Reaser, Leona Reaser, Virginia Lee Hammett, Ellen Reaser, Edward Dean Clutter, William Masters, Ella Reed, Emma Nelson, Addie King, Edwin McCullough, Claude Oliver, Vernus Dutton.
The meeting opened at 9:30 AM with two songs by the congregation "Blest Be The Tie That Binds" and "What A Friend We Have in Jesus", prayer by Marcus Bayles, a short address by C. A. Ruckman. Classes and teachers were selected and organized.
This congregation continued to meet at the Odd Fellows Hall until February 1, 1935, then moved to the present location at 108 George Street, having purchased the present church building from the M. E. South Conference for the sum of $1,200.00. In later years, the church purchased a dwelling, located at 112 George Street, for use as a parsonage.
For a number of years our stationery carried the message, from John 8:32, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." On our bulletin we used the slogan "The friendly little church at the end of the bridge." Our attendance averages 160 on Sunday Morning and 130 on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Our contributions average $900.00 per week.
The present officers are: Elders: Clarence Ruckman, Russell Lough. Deacons: Everett Barnhart, Frank Powell, Frank Morris, Burl Williams, Bill Jewell, Burl Hescht, Tom Amos. Trustees: Carl Johnson, Clarence Ruckman, Eli Sweeney, Charles Sweeney, Chester Bills, Russell Lough. Minister: Evangelist Cecil O. Dotson.
[Submitted by C. A. Ruckman.]
PINE GROVE CHURCH OF CHRIST, NEAR HEBRON IN LAFAYETTE DISTRICT -- This "Christian Society," as it was recorded in Hardesty's History, was organized sometime before 1843. Hugh Morgan, Alexander Campbell and Samuel Cochran were selected as trustees, and empowered to acquire property for a meeting house and cemetery. They bought from James Hanlon a log building, that had been used as a school and one acre of ground on which the present old part of the cemetery now exists. The deed was recorded April 24, 1843. The first religious service was conducted by Rev. James G. West.
Some of the early residents of the area were Lamps (1835) Maxwells (1842) Gorrells (1832) the Watsons (1844) and many others. It appears the building was only to be temporary as history relates, that a large frame structure 30' X 40' seating 200 was constructed, near the location of the present building. This is thought to be the place Rev. Daniel Sweeney conducted his first meeting. The Church was well -------- way in 1847. Lafayette District was soon to grow and fast - between 1870-1880 more than doubled in population, so the church also grew. In 1882 Rev. G. F. Strickling was listed as minister.
In 1888 tragedy struck, Alexander Campbell was killed and the large crowd attending the funeral overloaded the church - floor and corner foundation fell at that time. The present building was constructed soon after and about 1903 the seats designed and built by my father John Watson.
Yearly protracted meetings lasting two or three weeks were the custom. Regular services were conducted however, by the brethren. So far as I know there has never been a local minister, but more than 50 ministers have served the congregation. Now in 1980, it continues to serve the people of the community with faith, hope and love.
[Researched by Earl Watson.]
INGRAM RIDGE COMMUNITY CHURCH -- In 1890, Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Ingram deeded an acre of ground for use as a burial place. Later, Oak Ingram, a grandson of A. W. Ingram deeded a building lot for a church, the deed being made to the trustees of the Ingram Ridge Church. Older trustees of the church were Pearl Dennis, Stephen Dennis, William Dennis, George Clark and Verna Ingram. In the early days, illumination was from oil lamps. Heating was provided by the central wood stove. At the church dedication in 1920, a donation of $100.00 was made by Al Ingram, this being the amount needed to complete the dedication. Prayer meeting was held each Sunday after Sunday School each Sunday. Twice each month there was preaching services. For several years Rev. Otis Guard served as minister, Superintendent was Stephen Dennis, Class Leader was George Clark.
In July 1968 the Church was changed from Methodist to a Community Church. Present trustees are: Charles Bee, Marl Riser, Laird Webb, Johnie Kiggans and Verna Ingram. Preaching is twice a month with Laird Webb. Sunday School Superintendent is Johnnie Kigans, teachers are Mrs. Webb and Marl Riser.
We now have gas for heating and electricity for lighting in the Church. Today everybody drives cars to services. In the old days everybody either walked or used horses and buggies. The church serves both Pleasants and Ritchie counties, in fact the church building sits on the county line, part being in each county.
[Submitted by Elsie Adams.]
GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH -- Grace Episcopal Church stands stately on the banks of the Ohio River in St. Marys on Riverside Drive.
Construction started on the brick building in 1895, making the structure the second oldest church building within the city. The land was purchased for $200.00 from George and Ann Leonard of Jackson County when the small congregation, which met at George Kelsall's Store in St. Marys, saw the need for their own building. At the store, it was said that a sewing machine properly draped served as an altar.
After being cleared of debt in 1905, the Gothic style building was presented by Rev. Paca Kennedy to Bishop Peterkin, who then consecrated the building. The inside, or nave of the church, has been noted throughout the community as one of the most architecturally beautiful ones. The nave, if turned upside down, portrays a ship of olden days. At present time the church family is renovating the building to bring the structure back to sound condition.
Thus far Grace Church, a mission church, has existed under Bishops Peterkin, Gravatt, Strider, Campbell and Atkinson. It received its first fulltime priest in 1971, the Rev. Peter Schoew. Since then Revs. Dobbs, Perkey, Martin and Lockett have served the church.
The present Vestry of the Church is Sr. Warden Mrs. Yvonne Landsettle, Jr. Warden Mr. Harvey Hatfield, Mr. Bob Davis, Mr. Homer Bramble, Mr. Phil Wakeling, Mr. Richard Pinkerton, Ms. Joan McGuiggan, Register Connie Dale and Treasurer Larry Haas.
[Submitted by Connie Dale.]
THE REORGANIZED CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized in St. Marys, West Virginia on October 10, 1976, meeting two Sundays a month at the home of Deacon and Mrs. Melvin E. (Gene) Bowie, Route 2, St. Marys, W. Va. On August 14, 1977 the Saints voted to start a mission and services started every Sunday, beginning September 1, 1977.
The West Virginia District Conference of February 4, 1978 voted and gave the St. Marys group Mission status, to be self sustaining and a member of the World Church with headquarters in Independence, Missouri.
Consecration Services were held on March 5, 1978 at the Ellis Boyles home in St. Marys. Speakers were High Priest William W. Brown of Belpre, Ohio and High Priest Ron Yaeger of Columbus, Ohio.
The first Bible School was held August 2125, 1978 at the home of Deacon Melvin E. Bowie. Teachers were: Eleanor Bowie, Maxine Boyles, Barbara Clovis and Jeanette Bowie. The Womens Department was organized November 18, 1978 at the home of Mrs. Eleanor Bowie. The Word of Wisdom was chosen to study for the year, from Doctrine and Covenants Section 86. Teacher was Mrs. Delbert Wilson.
The first Ordination Services were held November 5, 1978. William T. Clovis was called to the office of Deacon and Melvin E. Bowie was called to the office of Priest.
Services are now held in a church building at 303 Washington Street, St. Marys, the first service here being held Easter Sunday, April 15, 1979.
[Submitted by Maxine Boyles.]
BELMONT UNITED METHODIST CHURCH -- In 1898 the Rev. J. J. Mason organized a class at Belmont with the families of William Kester, Greenberry Ruttencutter, Ellen Sharp and Mary Hammett as organization charter members. The church building was erected around the turn of the century, it belonging to the Methodist Protestant Church, however there is a provision in the deed that when it is not used by that church it may be used for services for the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The idea of a new church building originated with Sam Nurse. Other known helpers were Green Ruttencutter, Dennis Gibbs, T. N. Boss and Dan Boss. Other known charter members were: Ellen Sharp, Mary Sharp Kester family, Arch and Emma Hammett, Mr. and Mrs. Green Ruttencutter, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Nurse, Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Gibbs, Mr. and Mrs. Dan Boss, T. N. Boss, Mrs. Rebecca Graham, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Graham.
The early church was Methodist Protestant, a member of the Friendly Circuit. It operated as a Union Church, with Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian faiths enjoying the privileges of the church. In later years, about 1951, the Baptists built their own church, the Presbyterians ceased to have a regular minister, some members moving away, others passing away, leaving the church wholly Methodist.
In 1954 an annex to the back of the church was erected, providing two basement and two ground floor classrooms. In 1963 a larger annex was added to the front of the church. Later the Cooper property was purchased to rent. Total cost of these additions amounted to approximately $65,000.00. Many personal gifts such as nursery chairs, clocks, cross and candies, organ, etc. were given by members.
Ministers serving the church through the years were the Reverends: Mason, Poole, Payne, McCulty, McCoy, Burns, Spiker, Ismam, Bennett, Green, Vincent, White, Shields, Hickel, Hively, Nuzam, Daniels, Fred Smith, McCutcheon, Ross, Clegg, Thompson, Geo Smith, Burns Vandine, McVey.
Present officers are: Trustees, Paul Janes, Janet Baughman, Walter Gibbs, Gene Harris and Virgil Hickman. Sunday School Superintendent, Robert Byers, Asst. Supt. E. E. Simonton. Minister is Terry Alvarec.
[Submitted by Pearl Fauss.]
CALCUTTA METHODIST CHURCH -- "There's a church in the valley by the wildwood. No lovlier spot in the dale. No place is so near to my childhood as the little (White) church in the vale." The songwriter surely had a glimpse of Calcutta United Methodist Church, located among the upper waters French Creek at Calcutta. This picture post card church has been the childhood church many hundred members through the years. Some faithful members still come from outside the community, however the membership mostly young families of the community.
The earliest church at Calcutta was a house located near the general store, in which Sunday School was held. Fannie Bills felt a need for a church for the community and was instrumental in starting the present church. The building as it now stands is a memorial those faithful parents and grandparents of many of the present members. Ground for church was donated by Aaron and Fannie Bills. The main building of the church was constructed from Marple Saints Church located further down French Creek. The men the community put the building up in 1921. The church was dedicated in 1922 the Calcutta Episcopal Church. Howard (Bart) Bills recalls helping put the gold ball on the steeple which still adorns the main part of the church. Early Sunday School superintendents were Mun Reese and Elmer Yergin.
Years passed and families moved. Attendance varied, sometimes only a few came. Clifford Haddox remained faithful and kept church doors open during the 1950's. During the 1960's Don Gault, Harold Dye, Lawrence Poynter and Rolla Reed gave new leadership to the church. An annex was built for Sunday School rooms and wedding receptions. The main sanctuary was also remodeled.
Membership is now 104 with suffic youth to carry on for many years. Trustees Charles Hartline, Leo Poynter, Arthur Taylor. The church is a member of the Belmont Charge, Rev. Amos McVey, pastor, Hal Wise Sunday School Superintendent.
Every second Sunday in September is Homecoming. For those who have lived and attended the lovely little church in the vale, the doors remain open and a welcome is felt as you walk into the church. Time has changed the decor of the building, but the love and fellowship in the Lord remain, and will hopefully for many generations to come.
[Submitted by Betty Bailey.]
CLAY POINT UNITED METHODIST CHURCH -- The first remembered church to hold serices at Clay Point was United Brethren In Christ. They met for about a hundred years in the Clay Point school house, beginning in the first log structure.
The first church house at Clay Point was built with lumber from an old methodist buildng at Grape Island. The land and $100.00 was donated by Lloyd and Julia A. Bailey, August 4, 1907 for use and benefit of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Original trustees were: Everett Roby, Albert Holdren, William Bailey, Ode Bailey, Charles Delong, Alex Bailey, Martin Wigner, M. C. Harper and A. M. Ruttencuter.
On February 6, 1924 this building was purchased by J. F. and Clara Brammer for the sum of $90.00. They deeded it to Albert Holdren, William Bailey and J. F. Brammer, Trustees, for use and benefit of the United Brethren in Christ. First pastor of this church was Rev. Roy Alkire. Being a carpenter by trade, he and nembers of the congregation rebuilt the church to its present size.
In June 1968, the Evangelical United Brethen and the Methodist Churches united and it became the present United Methodist Church of Clay Point.
Ministers serving the church were: Roy Alkire, E. H. Waters, G. A. Davis, R. L. Kelbaugh, N. R. Moyer, A. G. Niday, J. H. Wallis, L. W. Nizum, R. L. Clark, V. J. Lathy, J. C. Swain, C. E. Hart, W. R. Baker, W. Gainer, C. Perish, L. C. Thompson, J. Tenny, F. Murrey, D. Jenkins, Clyde Brammer, Jr., Hearl Jones, Jr., Jack Hart, Paul H. Lovejoy, Calvin Greathouse, Frank Underwood, Myron Gregg, Franklin R. Lambert, Jerry Eaton, F. W. Kincaid and C. F. Rexroad.
[Submitted by Mrs. Alta Taylor.]
COW CREEK UNITED METHODIST CHURCH -- On May 14, 1885, a meeting was held in the school house for appointing trustees. The decision was made to build a new church dedicated to the worship of God. The Rev. Joseph Dunn, who was pastor at that time presided. The trustees appointed were: William Kester, Rufus Kester, David Hawkins, Henry Hawkins and Joseph Cornell. The first Sunday School was organized in the log schoolhouse on Cow Creek on July 6, 1886.
Land for the church was given by Charles Ruckman and his wife Sarah V. Ruckman. Trees were cut and hauled to the sawmill, lumber hauled to the building site, a kiln was built to dry the lumber, it was planed and dressed by hand. Carpenters were George Houser, George Gatrell and George Hess. They also built the furniture, altar and seats.
The church building was completed and dedicated in November 1885. The first minister in the church was Rev. James Sims. At no time since the Cow Creek Church was dedicated has it been without a pastor appointed by the conference of the Methodist Church.
Ministers who have served include: J. L. Sims, J. L. Harper, J. P. Varner, David Hawkins, Joseph Dunn, J. J. Poynter, S. C. Jones, Jesse R. Jones, T. J. Hickel, J. E. Burns, S. D. Boggs, L. R. Poole, J. Phillips, Josiah Payne, H. S. McCulty, A. McCutheon, Herman Ross, Hollie Thompson, Marvin Burnes, Howard VanDyne and Amos McVey. Organist for over fifty years was Miss Florence Ruckman.
In 1970 an annex for Sunday School rooms was built by Benson Reynolds, Ronnie Steele, Harry Bradley, Lee Steele, Miles Steele, Earnest Steele, Bob Steele, Gale Steele and Sharkey Blouir. Wayne Lanham provided grading for the addition.
[Submitted by Lee Steele.]
EUREKA UNITED METHODIST CHURCH -- Prior to the year 1910 the citizens of the village of Eureka had no "house of Worship" but they realized that no community can neither prosper "nor long endure" without God. Until they could arrange to build a church, these families took turns offering their homes for Worship Sunday after Sunday. Later the school house became their chapel and it wasn't until around May 1910 that their dream came true and construction of their little church actually began.
On June 3, 1910, Grand Master, Frank Wells Clark of New Martinsville, laid the corner stone of the St. Paul's Methodist Church South of Eureka according to Masonic Rites. (The name later became St. Paul's United Methodist when we merged with The United Brethren.) The chief address was delivered by Clyde B. Johnson.
Other speakers were the Rev. J.H. Jackson, the Presiding Elder, who had been in charge of the St. Marys Circuit more than fifty years before and the Rev. H. H. Given of New Martinsville.
It is situated in the center of a tract of level land, formerly belonging to the Cochran heirs, near the B and O Railroad and the beautiful Ohio River about a quarter of a mile north of the Eureka Pipe Line Station.
A red brick building with magnificent stained glass windows, it is without a doubt, the most beautiful country church in the Ohio Valley. The interior is equally attractive with its white walls; the pews and the pulpit are of oak and the kneeling step at the altar is carpeted in red velvet. On the front wall a picture of Christ seems to say "Come unto Me all Ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." The bell in the steeple has called "A full house" of worshippers many and many a Sunday and its doors are always open to all denominations.
The first trustees were: George Bull, John Adkins, W. C. Wright, Aaron Ruckman and A. B. Hammett.
The following ladies have served as pianists for the church: Bird Stage McTaggart, Myrtle Hammett Cutright, Beulah Locke Lyne, and Lillian Johnson Wright. (The first three are deceased).
Our church, built at a cost of $3000 was dedicated during the summer of 1911. The dedicatory sermon was delivered by Rev. Gosling. The Rev. N. C. Cochran served as our first minister and the present minister is our beloved Amos McVey.
This little church has witnessed the ecstacy we feel when we see two people joined in marriage and the sadness we feel when folks gather for the last rites of a loved one. Above all, I can truthfully say, "this little church stands as a monument to Jesus our Lord and Savior and to the salvation of many souls.
[Submitted by Lillian Johnson Wright.]
MT. CARMEL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH -- Sometime prior to 1888 a Methodist Episcopal Society was formed at Mt. Carmel by Rev. Price with charter organization members Jim Bonar, James Doc Snivley, Henry Steele, Mr. Greys and Mr. Justins.
The Mt. Carmel church was built in 1888, a cemetery established, upon land donated by James (Doc) Snivley and Dan Holdren. The first revival meeting, lasting six weeks, was held in the new church with Rev. Price as minister. Rev. Price became the first minister of this church. Early members of the church were the families of Frank Pollard, Martin M. Stewart, James Snivley, Rosa Shepherdson, Clarence Shepherdson, Austin Adams, Jack Bennett, Margaret Lamp and Dorothy Cox. Mrs. Lamp and Mrs. Cox are presently members, they having faithfully attended this church since girlhood, a period of over seventy years. Other faithful members have been the McKnight families, Catherine Bennett, Louis Bennett, Richard and Bell Bennett, Hobart and Mabel Bennett.
In recent years, renovation of the church have been the addition of a bell tower, the church bell being donated by Oscar McKnight, the tower erected with labor of the members. The interior of the church has been painted, making a very attractive atmosphere for our place of worship. Membership is increasing.
The present officers of the church are, trustees: Aubrey Bennett, Hobert Bennett and Don Adams. Sunday School superintendent is Theodore Hicks. Our minister is the Rev. Clell Rexroad of the United Methodist Pleasants Circuit. Services are held the second and last Sundays of each month. Sunday School is held each Sunday.
[Submitted by Dorothy Cox and Margaret Lamp.]
MOUNT PLEASANT CHURCH -- By deed dated March 2, 1888, Johnathan Powell and wife donated thirty square rods of land to Thomas J. Little, William Higgins, Joseph Williamson, J. F. Leonard and A. J. Huggins. Trustees of the Methodist Protestant Church, to be used for church and Sunday school purposes only, and to be called "Mount Pleasant." Upon cessation of use for these purposes, title to the land is to revert to original owners. The deed stipulates that when premises are not used by the Methodist Protestant Church, they shall be free to any and all orthodox churches equally, all to be in "Peace and Harmony."
By January 1890, eighty-six members were listed by the pastor, M. M. Everly, of the St. Marys Circuit. In 1915, one hundred six members were listed by S. Johnson, pastor of the St. Marys Circuit. Some of the early members were: William Higgins, S. M. Coss, Johnathan Powell, Jacob Cunningham, T. J. Little, A. J. Huggins, A. J. Cunningham, Emma Cunningham, G. B. Cunningham, Drusey Cunningham, J. E. Cross, Jane Cross, William and Sarah Isekeit, Isaac and Lettie Williamson, Hattie Cunningham, Granville Stout, Jacob Martin, Thelma Little.
About 1920, G.B. Cunningham donated a bell for the church. A bell tower was built by William Isekeit and Clell Powell, some remodeling to the entrances being done at this time. Clark Cunningham purchased new seats for the church.
In 1948 electricity was installed. In 1972 propane gas heater stoves were installed, replacing the old "Pot Belly" coal and wood stove.
[Submitted by Nellie Cross Higgins.]
NINE MILE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH -- The Nine Mile United Methodist Church sets on a hilltop about nine miles east of St. Marys, a short distance off W. Va. State Route 16.
The first church, the Methodist Protestant, dates back to 1866 when this section of the country was a wilderness. The Rev. Charles Locke pastored in a log schoolhouse. He was followed by the Rev. H. A. J. Francis, who in the summer of 1866 organized the Nine Mile Class consisting of eight members, namely: Mr. and Mrs. Jobe Locke, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Poynter, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Locke and Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Poynter. During the following winter the Rev. J. J. Poynter held revival services at Nine Mile which resulted in 33 accessions to the class.
Several years later, in 1878, a log church building was erected. Rev. Peter T. Conaway preached the dedication sermon.
In 1901 the log structure was replaced by a frame type building which stands today. The Rev. Samuel C. Jones was pastor at that time. The work on the church started in November, 1901 and completed in June, 1902 with all debts paid. Members of the building committee were: Matthias Cronin, N. S. Locke and Orlando Eddy. J. L. Britton served as secretary and treasurer. Joseph Locke, Logan Eddy and Evan Poynter were hired to do the carpenter work at $1.25 per day. Albert Locke donated timber. Many others donated labor and helped in various ways. Total cost paid out in cash was $650.00. Rev. Dexter S. Boggs preached the dedication sermon.
The Nine Mile Church for many years was a part of the Maxwell Circuit, the "Circuit Riding Preacher" serving churches at Mt. Carmel, Mt. Pleasant and Dunns Chapel. The parsonage was located at Nine Mile, the structure still stands and is now the home of Elmer Nichols. Two prominent ministers emanated from this church. John H. Mossburg and John J. Poynter, both were Doctors of Divinity and both served as President of the West Virginia Protestant Conference. The Church today is known as the Nine Mile United Methodist Parish, being served by Rev. Maurice Miller of St. Marys. Pride and dedication of many men and women have resulted in keeping the building preserved in good condition. Many of the early settlers have their final resting place in the Church cemetery nearby.
[Submitted by Mrs. Sylvia Wiley.]
PLEASANT VALLEY METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH -- The Pleasant Valley Church was first organized in 1838 at the home of Ralph Wilson, on McKim creek. A church was built at the head of Rock Run, up Church Hollow as a few people still remember it. Some referred to it as the "Meeting House."
Rev. Phillips was the pastor. The first members were Ralph and Mary Wilson, Thomas and Elizabeth Locke, Charles and Rachael Wilson, Job and Mary Locke, William and Elizabeth Locke.
In January 1892, a tract of ground was purchased for one dollar in hand, from G. W. Lamp and Marie Lamp, his wife. The building was torn down and moved about one and one-half miles down the road. The was rebuilt on the Rock Run road.
Trustees were E. S. Holland, J. W. Gorrell, T. H. Whaley, J. S. McHenry, H. J. Williamson, D. H. Gorrell and M. F. Lamp.
In 1965 the congregation decided to remodel the church building. A hardwood floor was installed, also wall panelling and ceiling tile were put up.
Trustees for the year 1980 are: John Gregg, Okey DeLancey, Edward Gregg, Delno Shingleton and Roger DeLancey. Pastor is C. F. Rexroad.
[Submitted by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Gregg.]
PT. LOOKOUT U. M. CHURCH -- Situated in the northern section of the county, the former United Brethren Church was founded in 1875. A log structure housed the first congregation and the present frame structure was constructed some 85 years ago.
Originally a member of the Shiloh circuit, later the Bens Run circuit, the church is part of the Pleasants Circuit, pastored by Rev. Clell Rexroad. Former pastors resided at the parsonage in Bens Run, which has been vacant for several years. The Rev. V. J. Lathey and family served the longest - six years. Church suppers were once held on the lawn at the parsonage.
Revival meetings, prayer meetings, Bible study, Sunday school and song services were highlights of the years. Special programs were once held on Decoration Day and Children's Day. For 45 or 50 years, the annual homecoming has been a special event on the second Sunday in September.
Builders of the early church were Isum Mott and John Rosenlieb, superintendent and class leader respectively. Nathan Northcraft served as treasurer for many years; Charlie Tice taught adult classes. Wilmer Gorrell served as superintendent during the 50's and 60's; Mrs. Wilmer Gorrell taught the children's class, later teaching the second generation; Mrs. B. W. Doty served as superintendent and young adult teacher; B. W. Doty was a trustee of the church and parsonage, active in renovating both; Mrs. Stella Northcraft kept the coal and wood heater going and the oil lamps filled as janitor years ago; Dan Wagner and Jerry Adams were later janitors; Mrs. Orie Adams served as pianist and teacher; Mrs. Archie Monroe directed the church choir.
Many of the above mentioned lie sleeping in the cemetery behind the church. Most noted among the headstones is that of Hon. James V. Williamson, one of the founders of the first constitution of West Virginia.
Rededication services were held on May 30, 1950, after complete renovation of the church interior. The Rev. Wiley J. Baker, pastor and the Rev. R. L. Kelbaugh officiated.
Present officers are: Bruce Northcraft superintendent; Burl Smith Treasurer and teacher; Mrs. Clyde Brammer asst. Superintendent and teacher, Mrs. Mabel Summers secretary; Mrs. Burl Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Summers, Mr. Clyde Brammer Trustees.
In 1979 a chain link fence was erected around the cemetery. Mrs. Ethel Doty is secretary and Robert Doty is trustee of the cemetery fund.
[Submitted by Betty L. Smith.]
RAVEN ROCK UNITED METHODIST CHURCH -- In 1881 a Methodist Episcopal Society was formed at Raven Rock by Rev. J. Engle, the congregation including families of L. N. Coffield, A. S. Vance, J. W. Gardner and A. Kigans.
The present church building was erected round 1900 on a lot donated by Mary Gregry. Trustees of the building and church organization were selected from five different denominations for the purpose of operating as Union Church. The trustees were: C. F. Barker, B. F. Riggs, Robert Browse, W. S. Barkwill and W. L. Myers, representing the Baptist, Presbyterian, Christian and Methodist faiths.
Among the early families attending and supporting the church were: Watt Riggs, James Rea, Alex Carpenter, James E. Cochran, Levi Dailey, Isaac Barnhart, George Yost, Ray Barker, L. C. White. For several years the church operated as a Union Church, but as time passed the congregation became wholly Methodist, operating as Methodist Episcopal and upon consolidation later became the Raven Rock United Methodist Church.
The present trustees are: Fred Rea, Sharon Kemp, Eva Berwinkle, Nettie Barnhart and Mabel Snivley. Sunday School Superintendent is Mabel Snivley. Pianist and Choir Director is Sharon Kemp. Sunday School is held every Sunday. Preaching and worship services are the first and third Sundays. The pastor is Rev. Clell Rexroad, pastor of The United Methodist Pleasants Circuit.
[Submitted by Mabel Snivley.]
SHAWNEE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH -- The original church at Shawnee was called Wagner Chapel. the society being formed sometime after the immigration of Christopher and Catherine Wagner to the area in 1820. The chapel was of log construction, being located near the road leading from Sugar Creek to the crest of the hill near the headwaters of Shawnee Run.
The chapel burned in 1893. By deed dated December 23, 1893, Calvin Wagner donated one acre of ground to T. E. Fleming, Amos Smith, Asa F. Wagner, Friend Wagner and John Wagner. Trustees of the Methodist Church at Shawnee, West Virginia, to be used only for the use of the M. E. Church and a cemetery. The location was at the top of the Shawnee hill, the present church building being erected shortly thereafter.
One of the early ministers was Rev. Bunting. For the first few years they had no organ in their church. Two girls visited the homes of the congregation and collected enough money to purchase an organ. Organist was a Miss Smith, later Mrs. Mollie Wagner was organist, continuing for several years. Franklin Wagner, a small child of Calvin Wagner, was the first to be buried in the new cemetery.
Attendance for both Sunday School and Church services was very good in the early years.
[Submitted by Mrs. Ora B. Wagner.]
THE ST. MARYS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH -- The official name "United Methodist Church" is exactly correct in that the church is the flowing together of three streams of Methodist, plus the United Brethren Church, however there was not an organized branch of that denomination within the city of St. Marys, but were some organizations within Pleasants County.
THE METHODIST PROTESTANT STREAM -- As colonists poured over the Allegheny mountains from Virginia and through the valleys of the Monongahela and the Ohio. circuit rider preachers followed them and began preaching in cabins, stores and blacksmith shops. It seems the Methodist Protestants came first, organizing a society in St. Marys some time before 1850. Dr. I. A. Barnes states that a quarterly conference of the Tyler circuit was held in St. Marys in that year and a great revival meeting was held in the Union School House in 1858, bringing in many members. Probably the first member was William Rymer. A lot was purchased from A. H. Creel, at the corner of Washington and Second streets, for $50.00. Immediately thereafter a meeting house was erected with David Gregg, P. H. Hudkins and William T. Sharp named as trustees. Among the great preachers who served this branch were Dr. I. A. Barnes, Dr. B. M. Mitchell and Dr. D. H. Davis, all of whom served as Presidents of their Conference, the highest honor in the denomination.
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL STREAM -- The St. Marys Methodist Episcopal Church was descendant of a Society organized at Bethesda Chapel near Grape Island by a minister Phillip Green, following a society at Arvilla. The first meeting house at Bethesda was built in 1850, with Jacob Hanes, W. V. Gill, Greenberry Riggs, John F. Taylor. B. W. Riggs and Phoebe Taylor as members. Members of these families lie buried in the Bethesda Cemetery where their stones may be found. Two buildings burned at this location and the membership later moved to St. Marys.
The first church building of the Methodist Episcopal church was built in 1885 and was a frame building 28 by 50 feet, at a cost of $1,500.00. The Sunday School was organized in 1887. The present brick church building was built in 1906 and dedicated November 18th of that year by Dr. S. K. Arbuthnot from Clarksburg. The present parsonage was erected in 1901. The fine pipe organ was donated to the church by Mrs. Ezra Mason Sellers and daughters, Doris and Ruth, in memory of Dr. Ezra M. Sellers.
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH SOUTH -- The Methodist Episcopal Church South was one of the first to erect a building for worship in 1851. During the Civil War the society was greatly disrupted and the building fell in disrepair. The Sunday School was organized in 1891 and drew a goodly number. Because of small numbers the society gradually united with Trinity Methodist long before the Methodist Protestant denomination united in the general conference action in 1939, with the first United Annual Conference in Fairmont in 1939.
THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH -- Ground was broken for the new Chapel and Educational Building on June 17, 1973, and the Dedication was held November 7, 1976.
[Submitted by Clyde C. Ireland and Rev. I. S. Middaugh.]
ST. MARYS CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE -- The church was organized August 3, 1946 in a building formerly used as a store building, located on the corner of Second and Creel streets. Charter members were: Clarence Fulmer, Mrs. John Fulmer, Mr. and Mrs. Dick Bailey, Mr. and Mrs. Ira North, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Peckens, Mrs. and Mrs. Joshua Peckens, Anna Maria Stewart, Elizabeth Moore, Clara May Moore, Bertha Lynch, Barton Lee Hudkins, Carl Peckens and Edna Lynch.
Church officers were elected October 20, 1946, as follows: Clarence Fulmer, Steward, Ira North, Steward, Henry Peckens, Steward, Dick Bailey, Trustee, Ira North, Trustee, Henry Peckens, Trustee, Clarence Fulmer, Treasurer, Anna Woolums, Sunday School Superintendent.
In 1948 a lot was bought from Barrett Brothers, situate at the corner of Second and Lafayette streets. The church building was erected by Rev. John Bruce and members of the congregation during the year 1948. Building workers were: Elva Flowers, Cecil Flowers, Raymond Flowers, Kenneth Flowers, Dorothy Flowers, Donna Flowers, Nell Bailey, Betty Stewart, Mrs. Snively, Mr. Thomas, Mona Hasley, Gladys Robbins, James Robbins, Marion Flowers, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hartleben, Mada Barrett, Wanda Barrett and Edith Barrett. The lumber used to build the church came from the Hartleben mill. The lumber for the parsonage came from the Wolf Creek school house.
Pastors of the church were as follows: Rev. Allen Woolums 1946-1947, Rev. John Bruce 1947-1956, Rev. Garland Wilson 1956-1958, Rev. Ira Hemmings 1958-1961, Rev. William Shannon 1961-1964, Rev. J. S. Brannon 1964-1970, Rev. Ralph Dennison 1970-1972, Rev. Lloyd B. Johnson 1972-1980.
In 1977 land was purchased in the Gail Lauter Addition for a new church in the future.
[Submitted by Rev. Lloyd B. Johnson.]
ST. MARYS UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH -- The St. Marys United Presbyterian Church was organized under the name St. Marys Presbyterian Church with sixteen charter members, on April 28, 1904 by a committee from Parkersburg Presbytery. Ruling Elders were: Dr. R. W. Douglass, John S. Hall and Newton Ogdin. Trustees were: Newton Ogdin, Clyde Johnson and W. C. Bostaph.
The congregation met in the Episcopal Church until a church was built on Washington Street with a gift from Mr. Richard Wanless of Cairo and subscriptions of the charter members. Land was given by the Ogdin family. The cornerstone was laid on February 12, 1908. In 1927 the adjoining lot was purchased and an annex was built under the leadership of Mr. J. B. Northrop. In 1945 the adjacent house and lot was purchased and after renovation was used as a manse. On December 18, 1955 a home on Fourth Street was purchased for the use of the minister, the former manse converted into a parish house.
On September 18, 1977 a new church dedicated. It was built the preceding year with Dr. C. R. Gerber serving as Chairman of the Building Committee. It stands on the property at the corner of Washington and Third Streets. It is red brick of a simple temporary design. Its sanctuary above, with class rooms and Fellowship Hall beneath provide much needed space for the activities of the congregation of more than two hundred members.
During this period of seventy-five years, twelve ministers and several stated supplies have served the congregation. The present minister is the Reverend R. Daniel Simmons.
[Submitted by Edna Douglass Hamilton.]