Trinity United Methodist Charge
Saturday, September 26, 2020

Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte Crim


            To understand Crim Memorial United Methodist Church, one must first clarify the source of the name “Crim.” The man, J. N. B. Crim, who financed the building of the church (as explained elsewhere in this book), built the church to perpetuate the memory of his departed wife and for the benefit of his children and friends.

            Joseph N. B. Crim was born in 1835 in Rockingham County, Virginia. At the age of twelve, his family moved to Barbour County, about six miles from Philippi. Young Crim soon moved into Philippi to the home of his uncle, who was engaged in merchandising, and began working in his uncle’s store. He attended school when it was available, but most of his education came from the practical experience of working in business. This practice served to develop him into one of the foremost business men of the county.

            In his early 20’s, he went into business for himself, and at the same time, bought extensive real estate. He soon became one of the leading merchants of the county. He married Almyra J. Hall and they had a son and a daughter, Edmond and Cora May. Almyra died in 1890. He owned a store at Elk City (where he lived) from 1861 to 1894, and it was evidently at Elk City that he first established a church connection, joining the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is reported to have been a daily student of God’s Word as his well-worn Bible will show. He continued forming partnerships with various partners and established stores in Peel Tree, Overfield, Belington, and Philippi.

            These business connections led to an interest in the banking business, and he soon became president of the Tygart Valley Bank, regarded as one of the most solid institutions of Barbour County. He could no doubt have become a powerful politician, but other than serving as a Barbour County representative to the state convention that gave us our state constitution and winning a primary election for Sheriff, he devoted his time to business. The primary election had given him a huge majority of 460 votes, but Maxwell’s HISTORY OF BARBOUR COUNTY does not record the general election.

            Perhaps one can best understand the place that this man held in the community by referring to the BARBOUR DEMOCRAT which gave weekly reports of his final illness. Two articles in the Thurs. January 19, 1905 issue are revealing. The first was written by R. T. Webb, Pastor of the M. E. Church South (Which became Crim).

            “When he realized that he could not live, he made the following statement: ‘I had thought that I would get out a few months, or may be, a few years, but it seems now that I am going. Tell Eddie, May, Herbert, and all that are in any way connected with my family, and my friends, to meet me and my dear wife in a better world. I have many friends--George Grant, and hundreds of others, whom I wish well; in fact, I have no ill will against any one. All I ever asked was for a man to come up and do right with me.’

            “On last Wednesday night, at 11 o’clock, he came to the last River, and crossed over as silently and as peacefully as the dawn in the east paints the promise of a new day.

            “At the time of interment, a large concourse of people did him reverence. R. T. Webb”