Hardesty's History of Wirt County

THE BAPTIST CHURCH

The coming of the Baptist missionary was almost if not quite
contemporary with those of the Methodists, and from that early
date the church has ever been an integral factor in the religious
work of the valley, and is to-day the prevailing denomination of
the county.  Prominent in its early history are the names Levi
Wells, sr., Jesse Woodyard, Vincent Dye, Calvin Crawford, Peter
Conrad and J. D. Riley.  These are the names of the founders of
the church in the Little Kanawha valley.  Several congregations
were collected throughout the county, but did not have an exist-
ence in the town of Elizabeth until the 26th day of October, 1844,
although the place had been a preaching place for several years
previously, the officiating ministers being the Rev. William
McAboy, Jeremiah Dail, Cornelius Hoff, Ephraim Dye and Enoch
Rector. The first house of worship ever erected in the town was
that of the First Baptist Church in the year 1836; it was near
the site of the present residence of A.L. Wells, Esq. The site
upon which it stood was obtained conditionally from William
Woodyard--the condition that when it ceased to be used for
religious purposes, it should revert to the said Woodyard or his
heirs. The building was a framed structure, and was occupied
until some time during the late war, when it was used as a bar-
racks for the Federal army then stationed here, and by which it 
was so badly used that it was abandoned, and the lot upon which
it stood was returned to the Woodyard heirs.

The present church building is a neat frame with a seating
capacity of 400.

The members constituting the church at the time of its organ-
ization, in 1844, were Isaac McDermond, Elizabeth McDermond,
Jacob Conrad, Cathaine Conrad, William C. Wells, Uree Wells, 
Susan Fisher, Elizabeth Wells, Bathsheba Coe, Thomas J. Gates 
and Anna Gates, all of which had taken letters from Bethesda 
Baptist Church for the purpose of forming the church here.  The
council from other sister churches appointed to confer with the 
members, before mentioned, as to the propriety of constituting 
the church at Elizabeth then in Wood county Virginia: A. 
Elliott, James Riley, Willis Leach and T. C. Byrd from Mount 
Zion Church; William C. Barrett and E. Dye from Stillwell 
Church; and George Owens, James Moss and Caleb Wiseman
from Bethesda Church.  Rev. E. Rector, W.C. Barrett and J. 
D. Riley were the officiating ministers at the time of organization;
E. Rector giving the right-hand of fellowship, and the exercises
closing with prayer by J.D. Riley; W. C. Barrett, secretary. 
The first regular meeting was held on the 2d day of 
November, 1844, at 2 o'clock P.M., with William C. Wells as
moderator, and Isaac McDermont clerk.  At that meeting the
church called their first pastor, Rev. J. D. Riley serving the
church as pastor, preaching Saturday and Sunday each month
until the 15th day of April, 1845. Rev. Riley resigned his pas-
torate of the church, which then engaged Rev. Isaac McDermont
(a licentiate) to preach once a month until: they could get a regu-
lar ordained minister to preach for them.  On the l1th day of
February James D. Yates was chosen clerk of church.  On the
19th day of September, 1845, W. C. Barrett was chosen pastor,
and served in that capacity until the 18th day of November, 1848.
On the 17th day of June, 1847, William C. Wells and Jacob Con-
rad were ordained deacons of the church.  Rev. Cornelius Huff 
was chosen pastor on the 16th day of December, 1848, and con-
tinued as such until the 16th day of April, 1850.  J. S. A. Far-
row was chosen on the 20th day of November, 1847, and con-
tinued as such until the 18th day of May, 1850.  On Saturday 
the 18th day of May, 1850, the church by unanimous vote, called
Rev. E. Rector to its pastorate, who remained as such until the
9th day of June, 1845.- Jephaniah Wiseman was chosen clerk on
the 26th day of December, 1851, and continued as such until May,
1859.  Rev. M. B. Edmonson was called to the pastorate of the 
church in April, 1859, and continued as such until the 20th day 
of December, 1862.  William C. Wells was chosen clerk in May,
1859, and continued as such until June, 1860.  In May, 1860,
Rev. W.C. Wells was granted by the church license to preach 
the gospel.  Rev. M. B. Edmonton was again called to the pas-
toral care of the church on the 15th day of September, 1860, and
continued until November, 1862.  M.L. Lockhart was appointed 
clerk of church in June, 1860, and continued as such until the 
15th day of May, 1876.  Elder Jonathan Smith was called to the 
pastorate of the church on the 28th day of April, 1866,. and con-
tinued until November, 1866.  The church then had no regular 
pastor until June, 1867, when the church then called Rev. John 
Moffat, who preached for the church until June, 1868.  Rev. M.
B. Edmondson was again called to the pastorate of the church on
the 9th day of January, 1869, and continued until April, 1870.
Rev. Patrick Murry was called in April, 1870, and continued 
until May, 1871. Rev. W.E. Powell was chosen pastor of the
church on the 18th day of November, 1871, and continued as such 
until the 20th day of September, 1873.  Rev. George Burdett
was next called to preside as pastor of the church from the 8th
day of August, 1874, until the 12th day of August, 1876.  Rev.
H. Coffer was called as pastor by the church on the 29th day of
December, 1877, and has continued with the church until the
present time. L.C. Rogers was chosen clerk of the church, Feb-
ruary, 1877 and is the present incumbent.  L. H. Wells and C.
W. Rogers are the present ordained deacons of the church. 
After their first house was destroyed the church then purchased a
lot where their present home of worship now stands in 1865, and 
in 1867 erected upon it a neat frame building with a seating 
capacity of 350; the present membership is eighty-five. In con-
nection with their church is one of the oldest and most important 
Sabbath-schools in the Little Kanawha valley; William Bissett is
the present superintendent.

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