Salem Church - Old Church History

Salem Church, now torn down, was built about 1842
printed by the Hampshire Review, August 31, 1927


Thinking that perhaps a few reminiscence of an old land mark just torn down preparatory to replacing it with a new building might be of interest to your many readers, has prompted me to write this article.

In the year 1842 Joseph Snapp and Ellen, his wife, conveyed a plot of land to Nancy Water Thomas Brooks, John Snapp, Alfred Urton and Benjamin Collins, trustees, for and on behalf of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, worshipping at the church called Salem, near Slanesville, Hampshire County, Virginia.

This church has stood the storms of many winters, and has been occupied by many ministers, we well as laymen. Well do I remember the first minister that I ever heard preach in this church, James Beaty, the father of your townsmen, W. E. Beaty He filled the pulpit about the year 1871. I remember of an instance that occurred while Brother Beaty was on the charge, holding a protracted meeting at this church. One night he called on Brother S. H. Williams to lead in prayer. All was silent for a moment or two. Perhaps from embarrassment Brother Williams did not pray at once, but presently he offered his petitions to the Most High, and no sooner had he begun than his sainted mother jumped to her feet, clapped hands and walked the aisle, shouting praises to Almighty God that she had a son that could pray. I was small but it so excited me that I went home and told my mother that there was a crazy woman at church tonight. I wish we had more shouting mothers today. Many ministers have filled the pulpit of this old church in forty-one years that I have lived close by. I do not remember of but one minister being buried in the cemetery there, the Rev. C. W. Stump.

When my father moved to what is now known as the Michael place in 1869 but few graves were there, while there is quite a number now. The first person buried in the cemetery, was Benjamin Taylor, a tanner by trade, who tanned hides the old fashioned way at a tanyard on what is known as the Wills place near Higginsville. A few Confederate soldiers are buried there, as well as a few of the World War soldiers.

In the 60s and 70s there were but few school houses, and many times the children were taught in homes and churches. Our townsman, J. Z. Hardy, taught school in this church in 1868, as well as my first teacher Thomas W. Keller, a native of Romney, taught there in 1869.

Many persons, far and near, have donated to the building of this new church, for which we are very thankful. But we still are in need of considerable funds yet to complete the building and will appreciate any contribution that anyone chooses to send us. Make your contributions payable to Rev. John L. Thomas, Treasurer, Levels.

We have had donated two marble cornerstones-one from G. R. Park, Romney, W. Va. and one From Diehl Bros., Charles Town, W. Va. for which we are very thankful.

Yours respectfully,
G. T. Michael