First United Methodist Church


Before the dawn of the nineteenth century the Methodist preacher was wending his way from settlement to settlement in this part of the country. This locality seems to have been served from the Wheeling charge, then from the Middlebourne settlement; the first recorded Methodist minister to Middlebourne was Waiter Athey in 1831. In April 1841, Rev. Jacob S. Patterson, was sent. There is evidence that he touched this community during that time. In 1842 and from that time the Church records carry a New Martinsville charge. It is our understanding that the First Methodist meetings for this community were held in a school house about two miles above town, as to just where the first building was erected is uncertain.

Letter of Rev. J. J. Dolliver, pastor of New Martinsville Charge from Washington, D.C., February 18, 1901.

I was sent to New Martinsville circuit sometime after 1848. The membership was not large, consisting of not more than twelve persons who worshiped in a small school house. The winter after I came I held a revival meeting in the Court House which greatly strengthened the membership of the church and added many new members.

So built up in faith were we after that meeting, that we decided to build a church, and I headed the subscription list with $100.00 which sum I raised with great difficulty, having to sell my horse at last to finish paying it, and putting all my marriage fees with it. After we had gotten all the material together and we were about to begin work on the foundation, there was a terrible flood which swept away all our material but the stones for the foundation. But trusting in the Lord we renewed our efforts and succeeded in building a nice little church.

At the Conference of 1841, the membership was reported as 194 white and 4 colored. At the Conference of 1853, the membership was reported as 335 whites and 8 colored.

From 1853 until 1900 the congregation met and worshiped in the “Old Brick Church”, Lower Main Street. On August 31, 1900 the cornerstone was laid for a new Church under the pastorate of Rev. G. D. Smith.

As the dark war clouds began to rise and the rumblings of that Great Disaster commenced to roll, they disturbed the people of this community and the agitation reached down into the Methodist Church of New Martinsville, as it did in hundreds of other churches, and the congregation became divided, but over a period of a great number of years, there has been good cooperation between the congregations.

In the year 1900, they built a building, which was dedicated June 30, 1901.

In 1903 this structure was all but destroyed by fire. The membership promptly rallied and on May 15, 1904 the present main structure was dedicated.

In 1958 a large new addition, the educational building, was completed through the dedicated work and giving of the congregation. In 1962 the remodeling and repair of the church was completed.

The people of this church today are most grateful unto God for spiritual ancestors who planned, worked and sacrificed that our people may have a place of worship and a base from which to proclaim God’s good news, Jesus Christ.


return to the History of the Churches of New Martinsville