The History of the Ward Community Church

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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  1. dean payne

    I remember the church on the hill very well. Went to sunday school there with my aunt (Betty Barrnett) who lived right accross from the church on the same hill but later moved down to the beginning of 4-mile first house on the left going up the hollow.I lived about six houses further up on the left just where the creek crossed the road next to the Johnsons I have lots and lots of memories of Ward (The best little community in the world to be part of,and I’ll never ever forget my life living in Ward WV).

  2. Michael Perine

    My parents were married in the Ward Community Church about 1946 after my father returned from WWII. I still have a black & white hanging church plate. Mother’s maiden name: Fields, My grandfather: Joe Fields. My grandmother’s maiden name Sue Barnett. My father grew up in Cedar Grove. His father owned the Perine Funeral Home in the 1940s. Harley Perine drowned fishing in the Kanawha river. Both my grandfather & grandmother Fields are burried in the Montgomery cemetery.
    I was born 1949, Huntington, WV..
    Lisa, thank you for this website. Does your mother remember anybody I’ve mentioned?
    Peace, Michael , retired 25-tr independent trucker.

  3. June Ann Hall

    I am amazed that the comments about this church. I was very young when my Mother would visit and took us to this church on occasion. My Mothers maiden name is Young. Lola June Young and her Father was Harvey Hudson Hamilton Young. Her Mother was Olive Mae Buckley. I remember living in Ward and we had a neighbor that my Mother called Bee. If I remember correctly (as I was only 4-5) I think her last name was Barnett. My Mother lost contact with her and at one point, my Mother asked her brother to drive her around because she got a lead where she had moved to. My Mother really loved this woman and I remember nothing but good of her. I did not stay in est Virginia too long because my family moved to Cleveland Ohio to search for work, but, I have such fond memories of my childhood there. Could it be that this woman Bee Barnett is from your family?

  4. June Ann Hall

    Is Bee Barnett from your family?

  5. Sandra Jean McBane Austin

    Michael Perine, I remember your grandparents – Sue and Joe Fields. They lived in a house by the filling station, as I recall. Sue died of cancer and as a child I remember a story that while Sue was on her death bed, she said she could hear angels singing and how beautiful it was. That lingered in my mind all these many years.

  6. Carel Joe Tucker

    I was born at Ward, WV in 1938. George & Sylvia Tucker were my parents. We lived at mouth of 4 mile, 2nd house from mouth. Allan & Faye McBane were out neighbors before moving to larger house next to metal hut: their children were John Allan & Sandra. Allie & Thelma Harrison lived on other side of us, their children were Sue,& Ross. Thelma was postmaster in Club house post office. Evert & Billie Hudnall lived in next house, children were Raymond, Phillip & Sandy{I think}. The next house was where company Doctor resided, I remember Dr. Hively & Dr.Babcock living there. My Father used to usher at the movie house for Homer & Goldie Null. Wigs Hackworth was projectionist & Dot Patterson sold tickets, while Barbara Elswick sold popcorn, candy, coke.
    I have lots of memories of living there, all of which are very heartwarming. Will answer any inquires,if I can.

  7. Joe Tucker

    Correction on who ran theatre !!! Roy & Kat Napier ran it until closed. Wig Hackworth, Bobby Kauff were projectionist that I remember. Kitty Patterson sold tickets & my Dad, George Tucker took up tickets. I remember him having to go fire up coal furnace in winter time to heat theatre. Also heard tale of Tex Ritter being there, but can’t remember it. Goldie{Akers}worked at company store or company office. Hope I can remember other things later. Please give my email out to people who want to talk.

  8. Jackie Young

    I was born in Ward WV in 1943 and lived there until we moved to Charleston WV in 1955. Ward was a great place to live. My family names: Young, Tucker, Dangerfield and Buckley. Grew up in Ward with family all around.

  9. Kathy Polston

    I’m looking for information on my father. He was born in Ward in June 1934. His mother was Audrey Elswick later as Audrey Martin. Married Vernon Martin and lived in Glasgow. Any info would be good.


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