Trinity United Methodist Charge
Friday, September 25, 2020

Excerpt of "History of the Philippi Methodist Church



By Dr. Elmer E. Myers 

Submitted to BUCKHANNON DELTA, March 31. 1953


            The short history by Dr. Myers submitted to the Buckhannon Delta contains much information covered elsewhere in these articles, so only other data are quoted here.


            “Bishop Francis Asbury, on his second visit to what is now West Virginia, stopped overnight on the very spot where the town of Phillippa was later laid out. (The name was changed to Philippi in 1869). There was only one house here then, that of William Anglin.

            “This was rather rough country and the people probably not much better for the Bishop later on says of the former ‘This Country will require much work to make it tolerable,’ and of the people, ‘Good moralists they are not and good Christians they can never be until better taught.’

            “No doubt there were many other itinerant preachers who followed Bishop Asbury through this section and it is probably that the Rev. Harry Smith was here many times. However, the first established circuit which included the location of Philippi was that of the Rev. Gideon Martin who rode 300 miles monthly to preach also at Belington, Beverly, White Oak, St. George, Terra Alta, and Oakland, Maryland....

            “According to ‘Promoted Pioneer Preachers of the West Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church’ by Welding, the Philippi Circuit was organized by John W. Reger apparently between the years of 1852 and 1854 although the Rev. Spencer King had served with the Rev. J. W. Snodgrass in Barbour County in 1851.

            “However, it is known that the Rev. Josiah Washington Reeves was here as early as 1845. Rev. Reeves was also a tailor and thus mended men’s clothes as well as their souls. The story of him and his family is an interesting one in the annals of Methodism. Rev. Reeves was a friend and coworker of Bishop Asbury and named his second son, Thomas Asbury, after his esteemed friend. The entire family was noted but there is one name that all the world reveres and that is the daughter Anna who by her marriage to Granville. E. Jarvis became Mrs. Anna Jarvis. Do we not now have Mothers’ Day because of the influence of those early Methodist ministers?

            “The story of these or other churches would not be complete without mention of noted laymen. Many contributed much in the organization of the church, but the names of two especially stand out, Judge Samuel Woods and Judge Ira E. Robinson. Judge Woods was a Class-leader and a great religious worker and he carried his religious convictions with him to the bench on the Supreme Court of Appeals. Judge Robinson was twice lay delegate to the National Methodist Conference and contributed much to the advance of the unification of the three branches of the Methodist Church. It was Judge Robinson, who, as lay delegate to the National Methodist Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1912, offered the resolution to adopt Mother’s Day observance in Methodist Churches throughout the United States, which resolution became effective that year.”