The History of the Ward Community Church

by Jan 11, 2010Armstrong, Crookshanks, Dangersfield, Hartinger, Johnson, Keesey, Schweinsberg, Sheldon, Spruce, Wakeman, Ward WV9 comments

Ward WV Community ChurchBy way of introduction I’ll first say Ward came into existence primarily as a result of the coal mining industry in West Virginia.  I’ll give more about the overall history of Ward later.

This post is about Ward Community Church. Later topics will cover each of the churches that developed in and near Ward over the years, you’ll be able to find them in the Ward, WV category on this blog.

This church was located at the mouth of Four Mile Hollow in the community of Ward.  Ward was never incorporated as a city in the proper sense so I’ll refer to it as a community.

Having just delved into this project, I’m finding my primary source of information – several volumes of the Ward Community Reunion books – I’m discovering there is some discrepancies in the writings.  The first one I spotted today in preparing this post.

The Reunion Books have this church being built by Kelly’s Creek Colliery Company in 1919 (actually the Colliery was owned by Valley Camp Coal after it was purchased in 1917 but retaining the name Kellys Creek Colliery Company until the mid 1930’s).

The church was dedicated on May 25th, 1919 with Reverend T.C. Johnson of Charleston Baptist Church, Reverend W.C. Hartinger of Methodist Episcopal Church (Methodist Episcopal? can someone confirm the church name for us) in attendance.  The decision was made early to follow a non-denominational style of worship with visiting ministers from around the area leading the services for time.

The first pastor is reported to be Reverend T.B. Sheldon.  He also served as the Assistant Sunday School Superintendent.

The first executive board meeting took place on a leap year, February 29th, 1920 and the church leadership met at the home of Henry L. Schweinsberg, the General Superintendant of Kellys Creek Colliery (Valley Camp Coal Co.), Emmett Keesey, Schweinsberg, W.B. Crookshanks, Reverend Sheldon, Pendelton Spruce, Ben Wakeman, F.A. Dangersfield and M. Armstrong were the board members at the time, the article isn’t clear whether all of these men were present at the initial meeting.

Spruce was asked to act as Music Director, Keesey was elected Temporary Chairman.  It was decided the board meetings would always be held on the church property going forward and meet the first Monday of each month.  Elections for the board would take place annualy on the first Monday of the year and the Treasurer would issue a report each January and July.  One final decision was mentioned, that the board meetings would always open and close with prayer.


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