"The Primitive Baptist"
Maxwell's History of Randolph
"This church had a very early organization in Randolph County. One of the earliest as well as the most eloquent of its preachers was Elder Thomas Collett, born 1788, died 1870. Under his management the old church - the oldest now standing in Randolph - was built four miles below Beverly. The edifice was a fine one in it's day; it had a gallery and high pulpit. The house was of logs, but several years before the Civil War it was weather-boarded. During the war soldiers tore off nearly all the weather-boarding and the roof. . It was never thoroughly repaired afterwards, and was abandoned many years ago, the denomination building a new house of worship near Lick, where 23 members now worship. The old church was a veneration in the neighborhood. The first preacher there was Thomas Collett. He preached long after he became blind. He was suceeded by Elder Nathan Everett from Pennsylvania; and following came Elder Joseph Poe of Barbour County. Next was Elder Ezra P. Hart; then Elder Elam Murphy, followed by Elder Hart again, and Elder Stephen D. Lewis is the present pastor. There is another congregation of this church on Leading Creek, with a house of worship and 45 members. The first preacher there was Elder David Murphy, next, Elder James Murphy, the present incumbent, who, though unable to walk, still expounds the Scripture to his people."
The link above is to a page containing additional information of the church that was once located on the Arnold Hill Cemetery plot.
The Earliest Church in Randolph County
Contributed by Mrs. E. E. Workman, Church Clerk
The Regular Baptist Church of Jesus Christ Called Valley Church, constituted on the 2nd day of August 1806 in the county of Randolph, state of Virginia, [now West Virginia], consisting of ten members, to wit: Jacob Kittle, Daniel Canfield, William Hixon, John Chenoweth, Mary Kittle, Mary Holder, Elizabeth Moore, Mary Sconover, Margaret Sconover, and Deborah Hart.
And Appointed their first meeting of business to be held on Aug 23, and met accordingly. The following members received into this Church and were baptized Aug. 21, to wit: Abraham Kittle, George Kittle, Nancy Caplin, Margaret Kittle, Garnet Kelley, Elizabeth Kittle, James Skidmore, Sary Skidmore, Christena Weese, and Daniel Sconover.
Those who consituted this church were pioneers of Randolph County. They were men and women who feared God and loved to keep His commandments, therefore had a desire to assemble themselves together to praise and honor Him. The government of the church was and has remained democratic. The whole membership voted on all business transactions and discipline, also on receiving members into the church. The majority ruled in all matters of controversy. The discipline given by Jesus Christ as recorded in the 18th chapter of St. Matthew.
They chose their Pastors and addressed them as Elders instead of Reverend.
For several years they held their meetings on the fourth Sunday in each month and the Saturday preceding it, but later voted to hold it on the second Sunday and has remained on that date until the present time.
When it was constituted in 1806 they held their meetings at Jacob Kittle's house and in the house of other members until 1818. They agreed to build a house for public worship. Brother Henry Petro and wife gave them one acre of land by deed, the building was of hewn logs, [as no other material was available in those early years.] 25 feet by 28 feet, with galleries. They joined the Tygarts Valley River Regular Old School Baptist Association and were in correspondence with 8 or 10 churches of their faith and order. When the Association was held with this church ministers were in attendance. They were held three days.
Minutes of the first Meeting
According to appointment made at the Constitution of this Church it was then agreed upon that the first meeting be on the 23rd of Aug. 1806. The Church met on the said day and after prayer proceeded to business. Brother Phineas Wells chosen as Moderator and proceeded to appoint their meeting days of Discipline which is to be the fourth Saturday in September.
The first rule adopted in this Church is al follows, to wit: That the majority are to rule in all cases of controversy.
Brother Jacob Kittle is chosen by this Church to sit as Deacon. We appoint brothers Jacob Kittle, Chenoweth, and Hixon, to hear our petition to the Union Association to receive this Church into that body. It is concluded upon that we give brothers Phineas Wells and John Carney a call to attend time about as helpers and Moderators to out Church.
A door was opened to hear experiences. Abraham Kittle, jr, came forward and related what the Lord had done for him and was received by the Church.
Being at peace among ourselves do adjourned.
Next meeting to be held at Jacob Kittle's house, September 27th, 1806.
The Church not according to appointment and after supplication to God by prayer proceeded to business, Margaret Kittle and Nancy Caplin, being formerly baptized as members of this Church, were received into full fellowship. A motion made by Brother Jacob Kittle, William Hixon, Abraham Kittle, George Kittle, and John Chenoweth, do the same.
Being at peace among ourselves do adjourned.
Minutes June 8, 1907, 101 years after the Church was constituted.
The church met and after praise, prayer, and preaching by Elder J. E. Bartlett, proceeded to business. Sister E.E. Workman was chosen Clerk protem.
The door of the Church was open for reception of members.
Mrs Francis Wilmoth came forward and related her experience was received into the church for the ordinance of baptism.
After being baptized she was received into full fellowship of the church and being at peace adjourned.
Elder J. E.
First pastor, Phineas Wells, was a resident of the vicinity as was Nathan Everett and Thomas Collett. He joined the church in 1811 and in the same year was set apart by the church to exercise his ministerial gift. Thus he preached for the church and in 1826 he was ordained to the full work of the ministry ordination by Elder John J. Waldo of Harrison County, West Virginia, Elder Simon Harris and Cornelius Huff. August 7, 1830, he was as Moderator of the church for the future, November 13, he was chosen as pastor and served both as pastor and moderator until July 18, 1867, making 37 years according to the record. His death must have occured about 1873. Next Elder Joseph Poe was chosen pastor and 11 years followed by Elder Ezra P. Hart 11 years, then Elder Stephen B. Lewis 3 years, Elder Ezra P. Hart again one year in 1904. After his death, Elder John M. Barlett of the Mt. Olive Old Side Baptist Church of Philippi, Barbour County, West Virginia was chosen pastor and served the church faithfully for 14 years, then resigned on account of age and the distance from the church. At his resignation the church chose Elder Jonah Murphy of Montrose as pastor who is also pastor of Leading Creek Old Side Baptist Church. He has been a faithful pastor of the Valley Church for 16 years and is with us yet.
During the Civil War between the states the old log church at Arnold Hill was used for shelter by the Army. The church repaired it after that and about the year of 1872, the old church being past repairing, the members agreed to build a new one, which was a frame building larger than the old one. The one acre lot for it was donated by Thomas Chenoweth and Florida Chenoweth, his wife, and Job W. Daniels and Martha, his wife, by deed located on the Chenoweth road a short distance south of where the State Road crosses Chenoweth Creek. The building has stood for 61 or 62 years and is looking old, but the church still holds meetings there. This closes the history submitted by the Church March 20, 1935.
Ministers Who Visited and Preached in the Early Years of the Primitive Baptist Valley Church at Arnold Hill
Elder Simon Harris
Pastors who served the Valley Church
Elder Phineas Wells
First Deacon of the Church
John G. Phillips
John T. Chenoweth
Thomas Collett Jr.
Click here to see the names of members who served in the military and as Randolph County civil servants