"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,
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!