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    Alleghany Highlands

    Genealogical Society, Inc.

    Covington, Virginia


    Quarterly Publication – April 2009 Volume 18, Issue 2

    Persinger Journal Recently, a young man joined the Society. He had the Persinger Family Journal 1907-1910 with his research. This Journal is so interesting that I wanted to use excerpts from it in our Newsletter. (I would love to use it all, but the newsletter could not accommodate it’s some 35 pages.) It is posted on USGENWEB by Susan Persinger (persingers@yahoo.com) and Mary Jones (persingers@yahoo.com). They have graciously given the AHGS Newsletter Editor permission to publish excerpts. (January 1907) Today we had us one of my chickens after church to eat. James killed the big white hen for me and Amos cleaned it for me. I had give her warning cause like granddaddy Persinger always say they can lay in their nest or they can lay in my pot. That old thing had not give me an egg one in ages. Sis fixed up some beets and Miss Mary brought over some rice with onions. We had us a good time cause the house full of people. I wish I had me a house full all the time cause lord knows a body hates to be by their selfs. I like to be by myself if I have some thinking to do but most of the time I want someone with me. Me and sis always been together and that makes it easier on us both. I wonder somedays if sis ever misses never getting married. The way she talks she don’t. She would of made a good momma cause she was always good with mine. Somedays I feel bad cause I think maybe that she never got her no man cause she always be wanting to take care of me and mine. I thanks sweet Jesus that she been with me all these years cause I never made it without her. I enjoy writing. I use to write when I was little but with the children and all it just seemed that I never had time or was just to wore out to do it. Miss Fridley over in Alleghany County give me a book to write in when I was bout 8 and I wrote lots in it. Sis thinks that momma burned part of it by mistake when she was starting a fire in the cook stove. I wish I had it to read what I was thinking bout back then. Sis can read and do some writing but she not as good as me cause she never liked to do her much learning. Sis always wanted to be outside or in the kitchen helping with the cooking. Me I liked it but we didn’t have lot of time for it cause we were always working around the house and fore I was 14 we was working for other people. I use to hate the men talking about starting the garden cause I knowed what was coming. Lord knows I hated pulling rocks from those fields. Us kids had to carry big buckets and we had to fill them with rocks out of the garden and we carry them all day til it was to dark to see. We had to grub the ground and then pull weeds and my back would hurt but had to be done. I can make a good garden but don’t mean I like it. After we left Botetourt for the Carolinas I remember telling sis that making a garden there was not hard on a body cause there was no big rocks to be moving out of the garden and the dirt easy to turn over. I remember one year we was staying up in Ritch Patch and lord knows we carried rocks all summer and every time it rain there was more rocks then fore we started. Miss Bowen always say that the ground growed rocks. I find me a hawk feather out by the basin yesterday. I put it over the door so as to keep bad luck out. Granddaddy Persinger always say put them with the quill down so that bad luck run right up them and not in the house. Lord knows we need us some good luck in this house. I aint had no word from my David in a long time. I know he can write. Sis says that he must be busy but I don’t know me why he don’t at least write me a few lines. Miss Jones say that Miss Grace been gone five years today. Her and Miss Jones were good friends and I had her over a couple of times. She was a good Christian lady and loved her church. I never knowed if they was related and don’t do me no asking now cause if they was it may make her sad. Miss Jones done seen more trouble in her time than most so I never want to add to her grief. I know how it is to lose one you done loved and someone reminding you that they are gone. Miss Mary and Miss Jones come over and we had us all a good time. They learned us some slave songs that they would sing on the plantation. Miss Mary is the funnyist person when she has her a mind to be. Miss Pearl didn’t want to do her no singing cause she says they aint nothing bout slave days she ever want to think bout again but then she and Miss Mary do one together and it was the cutist thing. Miss Jones can do her some singing. Sis says that in heaven that has to be what an angel sounds like. Now sis don’t have her no voice for singing at all. My Tom can do him some singing but aint no use trying to get that boy in church to do it but he is a good boy and always do for me and sis. My James done give his kids a dog. I hate to say it but I think the thing is ugly with big bat ears and a tiny little tail. I never have much cared for a dog and sis don’t like them but the kids already love him to death so I have to put up with him. I always been a little ascared of dogs cause one of granddaddy relations up and died from worms they got from a dog. Say they knotted up inside her and fore they could doctor her she up and died. I been waiting on a letter from my David. I wish he was here but a man has to go where there be work. I know he could write more than he do. Amos cut his foot and stayed two nights with me so that I could look after him. Lord knows his momma act like she not able to do nothing. Little wonder that my James come over all the time. I know that a body may not know all they needs to know when they first gets married but she has had her plenty of time to learn. I done offered her for years to help her learn some cooking and some sewing but says she aint got her no mind for it. If James didn’t do most the cooking they all be starving. When he is gone working his kids come here and eats most of the time or I have to fix up something and send it over. I don’t mind me a bit but she needs to be doing her part. Her and Linda done had words a couple times over it but I keep hush cause aint my place to say. She say she sick all the time and send Amos over to get her a plate of something and I been ascared to say much cause if she up and died I never forgive myself. My granddaddy Persinger knowed all bout animals and how they works. He say a white deer is called a spirit deer and is sacred and no man should kill one cause they are special and have powers. When he was little him and his daddy seen them one over in Alleghany County. It was no more than a rock throw from where they were but didn’t run off cause it knowed they never hurt it. He say his daddy told him never bother the spirit deer cause the spirits protect it. His daddy was an Indian and learned him all bout such things. The way you know such things is by the way they look. If an animal or bird is different from what you expect then it means that it done been marked by the spirits. Some is good luck and some is bad luck and a body needs to know which is which. A white squirrel is called a ghost squirrel. I never seen me one but granddaddy say a white squirrel is bad luck. If you see one you gots to leave it be cause if you kill it all the bad luck runs to you. It be the same with a white crow. I heared of this boy that shot him a white crow and took it home to show his family. A couple days later his momma falls over dead in her kitchen and everyone says he done brought death home with him that day. A black cat is unlucky but a black rooster brings good luck. If they have any spots on them then they not lucky or unlucky. Some folks don’t know them nothing bout such things but I think they is important for a body to know. Me and Miss Odell been cooking up a pot of beans for Miss Mary cause she been in the sick bed most all week. Miss Jones says she helps her but she not able hardly to be taking care of herself so me and sis been helping. My cook stove got a crack in it you could put your finger through but don’t want to be spending me no money to be replacing it. I like to cook course liking it got nothing to do with it cause I got to do it. I don’t want nobody in my kitchen anyhow excepting maybe Miss Odell or sis. Sis can do her some cooking when she has a mind to and aint no one make better cakes. James says he will bring me some vanilla when he stops by tomorrow. That boy loves his vanilla cakes and I tell him that I get sis to help me bake him up some. Sweet Jesus knows that there aint a better son than my James. Miss Beth can do her some eating. She eat most of half a pie that I fixed me up. She stayed the night with me and near bout chewed my ear off but course I loves listening to her talk. I can do me my sewing and never has to worry myself bout what to say cause she never gives a body a chance to say nothing. Sis says she bet she talks in her sleep. A person never believe she as old as she is. She says she was born in 1819 over in Botetourt County. She had her 10 children and done outlived all but one. Only one left is her boy Nathan and he not able to hardly look after himself and she still able to get out and do things. She had him in 1839 somewhere up north cause she was free and say that her and her man had trouble out of some slave catchers that wanted to sell them off at auction. She never say it but Miss Odell says that her man was a runaway from the Carolinas and that be why they had them some trouble but I know that they made trouble even if a body not no runaway. After the war they come back to Virginia cause she had her some people here and cause she didn’t like her all the snow and cold up there. I say that it snow and get cold here and she laughs and say if we aint lived up north then we never seen real snow or cold. Say she lost her man and two of her boys in 1889 from some sickness but never say what it was. (February 1909) It has been to cold to be doing much visiting so I been in the house by myself most of the day. I done me some sewing but it is hard on a body being in the house alone. I been thinking bout all my family and it is hard somedays cause I miss them. I think bout them all the time. Yesterday was my Adams birthday and I miss him as much today as ever. I think bout all mine that done passed. My granddaddys brother died bout six years back and I wanted to go to Ritch Patch when they buried him. He was a good man and always treated me and sis good. Sis say she thinks he was a hard man but I know he had him a good heart and he loved us. He was with the south during the war but it aint his fault that so many has problems with a persons color and started that war. James told me that he would take me but I knowed that Bernard would be there and a part of me wanted to see him but I knowed that it would a been hard. Somedays I wish I was a stronger woman cause I let them stop us but that not my way. When James takes me up to see my sweet Adam I plan on going over and paying my respects. Seems like more of mine in the ground then with me somedays. I thank god my James and sis with me and not been took. I never be able to live with that. James is a good daddy to his and I give thanks to god for him everyday. Somedays the world seems so mixed up to me. I was talking with sis and she says that grandma say that in the past some of the Persingers owned them a couple of slaves. Grandma say that she recollected Miss Sara talking bout it. I don’t like to think that my blood family would ever do some foolness like that but sis says that the past is the past and it don’t make her no never mind anyhow cause all those folks are long dead. Miss Terry says that even some Indians owned themselves some black slaves and that bothers me to cause what if my Indian relations were slave owners. It is enough to worry a body to death. The Bible says that the sins of the daddy fall down on their kids so a body has to think that be why so much bad falling on us all. I try and talk with the preacher bout it but he don’t seem to understand. I never do no talking bout it round Miss Jones cause I know it would upset her thinking of mine maybe owning some of hers cause it upsets me. Somedays I wish I never knowed nothing bout the ways things were. Miss Eliza says she never lets herself think bout the way thing were cause don’t do no good anyhow. That woman done seen her more than her share of troubles and just wants to forget what she done seen. Maybe I need to me more like her but sis say a body never change their nature.I use to have me long talks with Miss Amanda bout things and she always say that aint no use looking back cause aint nothing there and aint no use looking forward cause you aint there yet the only thing you can do is try and stand where you at without falling down. I do think that a body needs to know when they done been cause that is the only way to learn but then if a body dwell on things to much that aint good. This week seem alful long to me. Guess folks been to busy to be visiting much so just me and the cats. I miss Miss Mary and been thinking bout her a lot this week. I recollect Miss Mary talking bout how she never knowed her real momma cause her and her brother was sold when they was little. I never knowed my real momma. My daddy was only bout 16 when him and momma had sis. My momma was a mulatto woman from over near Roanoke and cause he was to young to get married they just had to visit when they could. Sis was bout a year old when momma had me. She died a day or two after she had me so me and sis was sent to her momma but she was to old to take care of two babies and after a while she sent us to granddaddy Persingers. We never seen or heared from her or her people again so don’t know if she died or what done happened. I think my real mommas name was Margaret but Sis says it was Martha. I ask daddy bout her but he say that he don’t ever want to talk bout her cause it cause trouble between him and momma but I thinks that wound never healed. We lived with granddaddy part of the time and then later with daddy after he got married and some with other family we had. They were all good to us but sis says that momma always looked at us like we were different cause we not her kids and that why they give us to any family that take us in. I can understand cause she always had a houseful of her own and we were two more hungry mouths to feed. I think that is why sis never been close to the other kids in the family cause she say we only partly related and they were treated better than us. I don’t say nothing cause she is my sister and I love her and things were hard but we also had us some good times. I loved it when we stayed with some of granddaddy relations over in Alleghany County. We use to visit over at Miss Wolfs cause she had a big house and she would buy us candy and she had dolls that she let us play with. I know she loved us and when we stayed over we got to sleep in separate beds in a big bedroom. Whenever we were hungry we got to go to the kitchen and she would fix us up something and always say for us to eat all we wants. When bed time come she always say that there was food in the kitchen and that if we got hungry during the night we could get us some bread out of the bread pan and eat it. I remember one time her and Miss Bowen took us to town and we goes to this store. I was bout six and sis was seven and this big white man comes over and says that they know that he don’t allow no niggers in his store. First time in my life I was ever called that and I almost cried right there. Miss Wolf just looks him in the eye and says that we are Peter Persingers children and we going to pick out some candy cause we are such good girls. This white woman comes over and says that we are just babies and that he better not make us cry. He let us pick it out ourselves but when we are leaving he says that next time she need to leave us outside if any white folks is in the store. That night I ask baby Jesus to make her my momma but fore I was eight we was back at daddys.

    Our granddaddy Gabriel Persinger was born up there in Ritch Patch Virginia. It is up in the mountains not to far off of Botetourt. It aint hard to get to if you been there but can be hard going the first time. Miss Sara was by herself in the cabin that her and her man had done made. I think they say that it had just one big room. Her man had done went off cause he was thinking that there was plenty of time fore the child be coming and he knowed that her family was just down the road. Her brother done told her to come to his house and stay cause he was worried bout her. There come up this bad wind storm and Miss Sara was afeared to go out til the storm was over. Sometime after dark the baby started coming and around midnight she had done had her the baby and then the second one done started coming. Not many people in those days had twins so she was surprised and being that it was her first time she was not sure what to do. She had helped with babies coming so she knowed some. She had her some problems cause in the morning her brother and his wife come to check on her cause she had not come to their house. They find Miss Sara out on the floor all covered in blood and the children on the bed. Her brother say that he figured that she was going die cause she done lost so much blood. He takes the babies cause they were dirty and still had blood on them and he goes for help while his wife tended Miss Sara. Some women come to the cabin and they try to doctor Miss Sara. They send for this colored lady cause they knowed she could cook up some medicine for her and everyone knowed that coloreds and Indians knowed more bout medicines from plants than most of them white folks over there. After several days Miss Saras fever done broke and she was eating some so they figure she was going to live. They bring one of the boys back to see if she has any milk to nurse her babies with. She say that she called the first one Gabriel cause while she was sick she had a dream bout angels standing by her bed. Her man was an Indian and they put great store in dreams and such. Her family says this was a good idea cause her not dying was sure a miracle of God. They seen that she was dry and cause they had no cow around to get her some milk they meted the boys out. Miss Sara had to stay down there with her sister for neigh on a month cause she was still weak to be looking after herself. I thank Jesus that I had me folks there when I had me my babies cause it was hard. The only one that give me big trouble was my David cause he was so large. Tom was my last one and the easiest of the lot. It was round 1890 cause we was living down in Carolina next to Miss Mays place but sis got the date wrote down in her Bible. I got sis up out of bed and she went and got Miss May and her sister and they weren’t in the house more than a short time fore he come and had me almost no pains at all. It weren’t but a few years after that that Raymond passed so tom was my last Liked to of had me some more but liking aint getting so a body have to make do.

    Additional Comments: This journal was kept by Mary Margaret Persinger 1858-1919? a daughter of Peter Persinger from Botetourt County, Virginia, granddaughter of Gabriel and Rebecca Persinger and a great granddaughter of Sarah Persinger. This journal was found in an old trunk in 1982 by my aunt and given to me. A number of loose pages along with a second journal, which covers part of 1910-1912, disappeared after her death and it is hoped that if found the owner will allow these to be added to this record. Most entries had no date attached to them and many were loose so I know some mistakes were made in trying to put them in order. There were almost two hundred pages of hand written entries and some mistakes may have been made during the typing . There is a great deal of Persinger family history going back as far as 1816 included among the accounts of day-to-day activities. If anyone has information on any of the individuals listed here please feel free to share it with me. As a result of transcribing the entries into MS Word the program automatically corrected many spelling and grammatical errors, but many were deliberately left by me as written. In cases where words were illegible, a best guess was made.

    I give permission for the posting of all or parts of the journal to the Internet to any site for genealogical research purposes, however use of this for profit is prohibited without written permission from Susan Persinger Jones or Mary Jones. persingers@yahoo.com

    Invading Yankees Broke up Wedding

    THE ROANOKE TIMES, Thursday, October 16, 1958

    By Blanche Bess

    A recent visit to the crest of Potts Mountain where the forest driveway has been opened with unsurpassed scenic beauty of surrounding counties, homes, fields and orchards in the valley and mountains that fade away in the distance, along with the picnic tables, the fire tower and the newly erected radio transmitter brought to mind the changes that have come about since Civil War days.

    Near the Fincastle-Sweet Springs Turnpike is part of a house foundation, on crest of mountain which was the scene of a never to be forgotten wedding.

    Flowers still grow and bloom amidst weeds and briars. A peach tree, laden with delicious fruit stands by, but there is no sign of the lively time of the wedding.

    Amidst the trouble and horrors of war, Cupid continued to do his deadly work and as a result, one bright day there was a wedding on the crest of Potts Mountain in a home located on or near the line of Alleghany and Craig counties, when Miss Polly Tucker became the bride of John Starks of Craig County. So far as we know there was no notice of this marriage in the “society” columns of our leading papers, nevertheless, it was an occasion of note.

    A large crowd, many self-invited, had assembled to take part in the fun and to partake of the great feast which had been prepared. It was a matter of wonder to this day where all the food came from. But it was there in abundance.

    Two long dining tables had been set together, and fairly groaned under the weight of delicious food. A dance was to follow the feast. A number of young men who had been dodging about, bushwhacking, to avoid going to war thought it safe to attend the wedding and join the fun.

    They wore their best home-spun jeans and rode the most spirited horses of which the neighborhood could coast. Some had been borrowed some just “take’. One young man (bushwhacker) whishing to make a dashing appearance rode a horse which belonged to his brother, who was a t the front defending his country. The horses were hitched to trees around the home, while their riders made merry.

    The marriage ceremony was performed by David G. Given, (so said), owner and proprietor of the Booth-Given Tavern, on Potts Creek. Davy may have been a justice of the peace, but it is well known that he was not a minister of the Gospel.

    All things being ready, the bridal party, with guest were just about to sit down to the table. Covered with snowy white home-spun linen, laden with delicious food for which those old time wedding feasts were famed, when lo! Billy Lynch, Confederate mail carrier came up the mountain, his horse foaming with sweat, and still he was laying the whip on with one hand and waving his hat with the other, yelling at the top of his voice; “Run, run, run for you lives, the Yankees are coming, run!”

    Losing no time, he went galloping down the mountain, determined, if possible to save his own hide and the precious mailbag. Thinking Billy might be envious because he couldn’t stop, the merrymakers paid no heed to the warning.

    They had just seated themselves at the table, each with his chosen lady, when like rain out of a clear sky, the Yankees rushed in, captured the men and the Yankee officers sat down with the fair southern ladies, right under the noses of their hungry captives, and simply devoured the wedding feast.

    After literally licking the plates, they, in a very gallant manner thanked the ladies for the lovely time and the delicious foods then amidst the tears and pleading of the bride they left, taking the bridegroom along with the officiating minister and other and started toward Barber’s Creek.

    Only one man escaped. He saw the Yankees coming and ran. He had to climb a high rail fence, just as he topped the fence a Yankee shot at him. He fell on the opposite side. The Yankee thinking him dead, didn’t bother to look and Lewis played “dead” until the last soldier left, then went home.

    David G. Given had no notion of becoming a prisoner of the Yankees. He played “crazy.” Along the way he picked up several cow bells and hung them around his neck, all the while muttering to himself.

    When they reached Barber’s Creek, Davy made signs: Made crosses on his breast and said, “David G. Givens, king of the Jews, divided the river and went across dry-shod”. He threw his hands as if dividing the water, all the while rattling the cowbells, until one of the officers, William McKinley, who later became president, said: Fir heavens sake, turn that old fool loose, we don’t want any lunatics to look after.

    When released Davy started his long walk home. The Yankees didn’t release his horse.

    A son of David G. Givens told this story of how his father fooled the Yankees.

    1.Rev. H.A. Wilson 1892 to 1893
    2.Rev J.W. McNeil 1894 to 1897
    3.Rev. L.B. Atkins 1897 to 1900
    4.Rev. S. Grady 1900 to 1901
    5.Rev. J.W. Canter Apr 1901 to June 1901
    6.Rev. H.P Baker 1901 to 1902
    7.Rev. A.C. McNeer 1902 to 1905
    8.Rev. M.P. Weikle 1905 to 1906
    9.Rev. V.W. Wheeler 1906 to 1909
    10.Rev. J.W. Bell 1909 to 1912
    11.Rev. C.M. Sarver 1912 to 1913
    12.Rev. E.G. Helmintoller 1913 to 1917
    13.Rev. E.A. Welcher 1917 to 1918
    14.Rev. R.S. Odell 1918 to 1919
    15.Rev. Wesley Carr, Missionary 1919 to 1922
    16.Rev. H.B. Smith 1922 to 1924
    17.Rev. Palmer Eubank 1924 to 1928
    18.Rev. J.B. Grimes 1928 to 1930
    19.Rev. Charles L. Reiter 1930 to 1931
    20.Rev. George K. Heydrick 1931 to 1935
    21.Rev. S.C. Stickley Oct. 1935 to Dec 1935
    22.Rev. L.C. Ruckman 1938 to 1943
    23.Rev. Wilfred Lawson 1943 to 1948
    24.Rev. L.S. Shires 1943 to 1948
    25.Rev. C. H. Palmer 1948 to 1950
    26.Rev. L.R. Whitten 1950 to 1953
    27.Rev. John Z. Brandon 1953 to 1954
    28.Rev. Alfred Stables 1954 to 1956
    29.Rev. Paul E. Trimpey 1956 to 1959
    30.Rev. Richard Hoagland 1959 to 1961
    31.Rev. R. Guy Sheltman 1961 to 1962
    32.Rev. R. Lee Nucklols 1962 to 1967
    33.Rev. Kenneth D. Amstrutz 1967 to 1971
    34.Rev. Emmett W. Eccard, Jr. 1971 to 1973
    35.Rev. Pembroke Hall 1973 to 1985
    36.Mr. John B. Mitchell, Interim speaker

    1985, 3 months
    37.Rev. Charles V. Jackson 1985 to 1996
    38.Rev. David Bogar 1996 to 1998
    39.Rev. Robert Ford 1998 to 2001
    40.Rev. Dr. Matthew Nelson 2001 to 2004
    41.Rev. Wm T. Setleff, Jr. 2004 to 2007
    42.Rev. Faith M. Weeding 2007 to

    SEPTEMBER 15, 1996

    This year we are celebrating the 148th anniversary of the establishment of Mt. Pleasant Church. Although there are few early written records of the Church, we do have oral accounts of those days that have been handed down, and we feel that most of them are fact.

    Now let’s turn back to a century and a half ago. We are told that in the 1830’s and 1840’s this entire area, on both sides of Jackson River, was made up of a few family farms, each containing several acres. Those where the days of dirt roads, and the only means of transportation was by horseback, horse drawn buggies and wagons, or on foot. This was before the railroad, telephone and other ways of communications came into being.

    However, those early pioneer families were seeking God. They began gathering in their homes for Bible study, prayer, worship and fellowship with God and with each other. In the meantime, their families were increasing in numbers until it was becoming difficult and overcrowded to continue meeting in the homes.

    In the year 1848 Mr. Absalom Dressler, a local landowner, made available a small parcel of land, on which was situated a log building and designated in the deed, to legally elected Trustees representing both the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, and their successors, “to be held, used and enjoyed as a public meeting house, for the use and benefit of the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches equally to be used and enjoyed by them respectively, for the purpose of religious worship.” That was 148 years ago.

    We are told the log building was renovated by the people and used as their church for about a quarter of a century.

    The, with the passing of years and a growing population, the first log church became inadequate for their meeting place. In 1872, Mr. Absalom Dressler, again seeing the need for a more desirable place for the congregation to worship, donated a new larger site across Big Run south of the earlier site. This was conveyed by deed to the Mt. Pleasant Church Trustees, at the time, as follows: “to be used as a building site for a meeting house to be called New Mt. Pleasant Episcopal Church South and their successors for a place of worship of Almighty God, including the graveyard.”

    A new one-room frame sanctuary was erected that year, on the new site. Many of the timbers used in the construction were of hand-hewn and hand-dressed oak and locust. The interior walls were plastered and covered later with wallpaper. Kerosene swing-arm lamps, with reflectors, were attached to the inside walls for night-time illumination. The pulpit, pews and chancel rail were all hand made by the local members. A new foot pump-organ provided the music. The outside of the building was covered with weatherboarding painted white, with dark green trim. This was, indeed, a modern structure, for that time.

    For years, Mt. Pleasant Church was a mission post of First Presbyterian Church and Grandbery Methodist Church of Covington. Lay persons, and occasionally the ministers from those churches on the Covington Circuit, came up to Mt. Pleasant and held preaching services.

    In the early 1900’s the Presbyterian denomination ceased using Mt. Pleasant Church, thus leaving it to the sole used of the Methodists. During the World War I and the Great Depression years Mt. Pleasant Church was brought into the Callaghan Circuit of the Virginia Methodist Conference and became a part of the four-point Callaghan Charge, along with Fletcher Chapel, Hoke Chapel, and Emory. The pastor in charge resided in the Methodist parsonage located near Fletcher Chapel in Callaghan. For some time, Sunday School at Mt. Pleasant was held every Sunday at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, followed by preaching at 3:00 o’clock on the second and fourth Sunday of the month. During those earlier years, our Sunday School was often jokingly referred to as “A Groundhog Sunday School,” because it operated only part-time during some winter months.

    After World War II, with some of the area farms being subdivided, better roads, and increasing number of new residents building and moving into the neighborhood, more automobiles, no gasoline rationing, and most of all a spiritual revival, Mt. Pleasant Church experienced a renewal and a new growth. In 1948, the congregation completely renovated and remodeled the one-room sanctuary. Electricity replaced the old kerosene-oil lamps; a pot-belly coal stove became the heating system, replacing the small wood heater. The old plaster was removed from the interior and replaced by sheet-rock wall board and paneled off in squares. The high ceiling was lowered and all inside wood trim repainted. The outside weatherboarding was covered with white asbestos siding and all the old windows were replaced with new arched windows. On Sunday, August 22, 1948, the people of the church and community, and our Pastor, Rev. L.S. Shires, held a big all-day celebration, marking the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Mt. Pleasant Church. Friends from far and near came to join the congregation in offering up gratitude to God for His abundant blessings. Dr. T.M. Swann, Staunton Methodist District Superintendent, conducted the special Re-dedication Service that afternoon.

    The Mt. Pleasant Church membership and attendance continued to increase until additional space had to be provided. In 1955, under the pastorate of Rev. Alfred G. Stables, the one-room building was further improved by the addition of four new Sunday School Classrooms and extensive changes in the sanctuary. Factory-made pews replaced the old handmade ones; a new piano replaced the foot pump-organ; second-hand carpet from the Greenbrier hotel covered the bare pine sanctuary floor; a two-section choir loft was added; an oil-burning furnace was installed for central heat, replacing the pot-belly coal stove. (No more building fires and shoveling coal!) Indeed, what an advancement that was! The congregation was very grateful to God for the better facilities and gave Him the glory for His goodness.

    During the late 1950’s Mt. Pleasant Church and Emory were moved from the four-point Callaghan Charge to the three-point Edgemont Charge along with Parrish Court Methodist church. We then were having preaching every Sunday. Subsequently, our next placement was with Mt. Carmel Methodist church under the Pastorate of Rev. Pembroke Hall.

    The Presbyterian equity in Mt. Pleasant Church, referred to in the 1848 and 1872 deeds from Absalom Dressler, was not resolved legally on the Alleghany county land records until 1967. At that time, the Lexington Presbytery, represented by Rev. G. Sexton Buchanan, of the Falling Spring Presbyterian church, graciously (at no cost) released and relinquished any and all the Presbyterian equity to Mt. Pleasant United Methodist church, whose legal representative was Rev. R. Lee Nuckols, pastor in charge at the time.

    Under God’s guidance the congregation continued to grow spiritually and in numbers. Attendance increased steadily and the people began to realize that new and larger facilities were necessary to better carry out the church’s program and activities. A study showed that, for many reasons, it would not be feasible to try to add on to the present 1872 structure.

    So, a search began for a new site for a larger and better equipped church building.

    Mr. and Mrs. John A. Fox, Sr. two of our dedicated members, on August 2, 1974, deeded our church a 1.69 acre parcel of land where we now sit. The new site is across

    Mt. Pleasant Drive, adjacent in a southwesterly direction, to the old Mt.Pleasant church.Mr. Fox’s big barn was situated on the property. He stipulated that if the men of the church would dismantle the big barn, move the lumber to his field on the East side of Highway 687 and rebuild the barn there, he would donate the site for our new church. The 1.69 acre site and the barn removal project was unanimously approved by a congregational vote.The men went to work immediately and completed the barn project.

    The congregation then started in earnest with a Building Fund for a new church. Many fund-rising projects were initiated and carried out; many donations were received; much planning was done; and many prayers were offered and were heard by God. He blessed our efforts in a wondrous way.

    We had enough in the Building fund by the spring of 1976 to proceed with construction. The groundbreaking ceremony was conducted on the grounds on Sunday, April 4, 1976 by the Rev. Pem Hall, our Pastor. The congregation stepped out, in faith, that with God’s Divine Guidance and help, and with dedication, generosity and hard work on our part, that a new church building was possibility. Many meetings and several charge Conferences were held; much paperwork was required; legal documents were executed, according to Methodist Conference policies; and other planning work was done. After all the necessary hurdles of building a new church were overcome, Rev. Troy Cave, contractor, was employed to build the church, allowing our members to help, thus saving much expense. The excavation was done; a well was drilled and construction began.

    God blessed our trusting, prayful, sacrificial efforts and hard labor, to such an extend that the new brick building was completed in May 1977. The Consecration service, conducted by Dr. Frank H. Van Dyke, was held on May 22, 1977. The congregation, with humble and thankful hearts, filed in and took their places in the new sanctuary. The Sunday School pupils also enjoyed their classes in the new uncrowded Educational Department. The Rev. Pem Hall, being a very business-like man, as well as our pastor, was an excellent leader during this building program, and we are very grateful for his direction and leadership.

    It was necessary to borrow several thousand dollars to finish our building, but our dedicated congregation vowed to try to eliminate the indebtedness as quickly as possible, as well as undertaking some other necessary improvement. The large graveled parking lot was paved; the Youth bought and planted beautiful shrubbery; classroom tables and chairs were purchased; the church kitchen was furnished by the United Methodist Women; and many fine projects were carried out by the United Methodist Men. God truly continued to bless our efforts, in that our Church Building debt was completely paid off in less than eight years. The church Note-burning and Dedication Service was conducted by Virginia Conference Bishop Dr. Robert Backburn on March 27, 1983. Other Conference dignitaries were in attendance at this special service,

    Rev. Charles V. Jackson, his wife Becky and their four children came to us in 1985. The congregation increased spiritually and in large numbers during his pastorate. He helped bring Mt. Pleasant to the level of a Station Church in October 1987, and under his leadership and god’s guidance and blessings we were able to purchase a new parsonage in 1989, for the benefit of our residing pastor. The parsonage is located in Clearview Estates Subdivision not far from Mt. Pleasant. The Jackson family were the first to live in the new parsonage. Our new Pastor, Rev. David Bogar, and his wife Vickie reside there now. Dedication Service was conducted by District Superintendent William Logan on February 3, 1991

    During Rev. Charles Jackson’s tenure as pastor, Mr. Pleasant carried out many new programs: a fine Children’s Ministries began; many revivals were held; the Youth Ministries became quite active; the congregation’s spiritual life was enhanced; and many new programs were initiated. He and his family left us in June of this year and are going to Paraguay as missionaries in the near future. We pray God’s richest blessings upon them as they answer His call to this new endeavor.

    This old 1872 Mt. Pleasant Church building stood vacant for two years after the new brick church was built. It was dismantled and moved in 1979. A stone monument was erected by three members of the church on the site of the 1872 building. A bronze plaque, donated by a friend of the church, is embedded in the monument. It was unveiled and dedicated by Rev. Pem Hall, to the memory of the old church site donor Mr. Absalom Dressler. During this special service on October 18, 1981, a wreath of flowers was lovingly placed on his grave in the adjoining church cemetery.

    A Cemetery Perpetual Care Plan was established several years ago. The Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Association was organized by the United Methodist Charge Conference with Trustee selected and empowered to oversee, maintain and manage the Cemetery operation. We believe a well-kept church cemetery is an enhancement to the entire community.

    We feel that God’s bountiful blessings continue. We now have a sincere and dedicated pastor, Rev. David Bogar, and his wife Vickie, who are leading us in a close commitment to Christ. They have been with us just a short while, since late June of this year, but we have already grown to love and appreciate them very much. We continue to pray for God’s guidance for our Pastor and congregation, as we all work together there. May we all respond to this call to be witnesses for Jesus.

    And, may we always remember, recall and cherish our humble roots and small beginning as a Church Family. May we never let pride get in humility’s way.

    Yes, we give God the glory for all He has done through us at Mt. Pleasant Church. We praise Him and gratefully and pray-fully seek His continued guidance, mercy, love and forgiveness as we strive to live and work for Him.

    In sincere thanks for having been allowed to serve as

    Your Past Church Historian,

    Mamie J. Byer

    From the Covington Virginian

    March 4, 1929



    Work starts this week on three of the houses to be erected in Clearwater park, the very attractive suburb which is being developed by Mr. E.C. Hirons and associates, just north of Covington, on the plateau around which Jackson River flows on the south side of Deep Ford Bridge.

    The driveways through the part were laid out some tine ago by Mr. Allan Saville, of Richmond, and a gravity flow of spring water from Warms Springs Mountain arranged.




    Within the next month the Covington Silk Mill, a branch of the Schwarzenbach Huber Company, of New York, will remove fifty of the looms from this plant and replace them with machines of a more modern type.

    This will not mean any enlargement of the present building nor affect the number of operatives, Manager Sulzenberg said, but will give the present operatives a chance to work on better machines and to do a fine grade of work. The new equipment will enable the mill to manufacture crepes, which was out of its range, heretofore.




    Mrs. Penelope Sheets Fridley died at 12:40 o’clock Sunday morning at her home in

    Spruce Street, after an illness of only a few hours. She was stricken with paralysis about 9:15 o’clock Saturday night; and never rallied.

    Mrs. Fridley, who was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Sheets of Eagle Rock, was 66 years old. She was the widow of Mr. William H. Fridley, who died in 1920. A former marriage was to Mr. Alex Dooly, of Malden, W.Va., who died in 1906. One son of the first marriage survives, Mr. C.M. Dooley, of Dana, W. Va., and one from the second, Mr. J. C. Fridley, of Covington; also one sister, Mrs. Elberta Mays, of Eagle Rock.

    Mrs. Fridley was a faithful member of the Eagle Rock Methodist Church and the funeral was held there this afternoon at 2:30 o’clock, being conducted by Rev. J. Herbert Bean, of Harrisonburg, a former pastor of the Granbery Memorial Methodist Church of Covington.


    Mr. J.W. Bunch, a brakeman on the C.& O. Railway, had both of his legs cut off at about 6:30 yesterday morning when he was caught under the wheels of his train that was about to leave the yards in Clifton Forge. Reports from Clifton Forge today are that he is getting on as well as could be expected, but is suffering from the great shock.

    Mr. Bunch’s home is on

    McCormick Street,Clifton Forge.He is well known in Covington, where he has many friends.

    Pictures from Our Files

    The Alleghany Highlands Genealogical Society has received a donation of photography negatives. The negatives were from the Miller Studio collection and were filed in paper envelopes. The names on the photo packs did not always reflect the contents. Each envelope was labeled with a handwritten name. At times the name was very difficult to read, thus there may be spelling mistakes. Every effort has been made to transcribe the writing correctly.

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