The Tygart Valley Presbyterian Church Celebrates 75th Anniversary
From the Randolph Enterprise, October 19, 1958
“The Tygart Valley Presbyterian Church celebrated the 75th anniversary of it’s dedication on Sunday, Oct. 19.
The guest speaker at the 11:00 a.m. worship service was the Rev. Dr. Felix B. Gear, Professor and Chairman at the Department of Systematic Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Ga.
Dr. Gear was born at Huttonsville and was a member of the Tygarts Valley Church before moving to Mill Creek. He received his A. B. degree at Davis and Elkins College. During his student days, Dr. Gear often preached at the Presbyterian Churches in the Valley. Upon graduating from Davis and Elkins, he attended Union Theological Seminary at Richmond, Va., where he received the B. D. degree. He received his Th M. degree at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N. J., and the Ph. D. degree was granted by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Widely known as a pastor and scholar throughout the Presbyterian Church, Dr. Gear is one of the many “sons” to which the Tygarts Valley Church points with pride.
Also present at the celebration was Dr. Gear’s brother, the Rev. Arthur S. Gear. Born in Huttonsville, Mr. Gear also attended the Tygarts Valley Church and was a charter member of the Mill Creek Presbyterian Church. He attended Schools in the Valley and for some years taught in the Georgetown Community schools after which he attended Union Theological Seminary where he received the B. D. degree. He is now pastor of the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, Charlotte Court House, Va., and the Douglas Presbyterian Church, Farmville, Va.
The Tygarts Valley Church was organized in 1820. During the year of 1821, the members began building a church on a tract of land one mile south of Huttonsville. The handsome brick structure housed the congregation for a number of years, until it was completely demolished by Union forces during the War Between the States. A monument has been erected in the Brick Church Cemetery marking the site of the church. For twenty years worship services were held in the neighborhood schoolhouses.
During the pastorate of the Rev. W. S. Plumer Bryan (1873-1889) work began on a new structure which was formally dedicated October 21st, 1883. Except for minor repairs the church remains unaltered today. The architecture is gothic and was designated by Isaac Purcell, an architect from Philadelphia. It is reported to be the first edifice in Randolph County erected upon architect’s drawings. Messrs. L. and Z. T. Chenoweth were the contractors. The dimensions are sixty-one by thirty-one feet. The spire which contains a 1200 pound bell reaches to a height of 105 feet.
The church is highlighted by gothic windows, the glass being one of the most pleasing features of the church. Neither enameled nor stained, it is rolled cathedral glass imported from Europe. In the windows are emblems and symbols of various significance. Of special interest is the large front window, twenty-six feet in length which contains the seal of the Church of Scotland, suggestive of the congregation’s historic affiliation.
From the Tygarts Valley Church several other Presbyterian Churches in the Valley were organized including Mill Creek, Beverly, and Mingo. Members of these churches and all other friends of the Tygarts Valley Church are invited to attend the celebration.
In addition to the 11:00 a.m. Worship Service, there was a basket picnic dinner at 12:30, followed by the Anniversary Hour at 2:30. At this service former pastors and friends of the church brought greetings. The present pastor of the Tygarts Valley and Mill Creek Churches, the Rev. Robert D. Barnes presided at the services.”
Special thanks to Judy Wright for providing us with this picture!