Warriors Mark United Methodist Church
According to early records, the coming of the first Methodists to this area was about the year 1788. The early preachers journeyed to and fro preaching in homes and occasionally in barns and “wherever an opening presented, proclaiming the Gospel. On horseback and frequently on foot (for they were men of great endurance) they traveled long distances through summer’s heat and winter’s cold with a Bible, a hymn book, and a few choice volumes of Wesley’s and Fletchers’ works and patiently and faithfully instructed the people in the doctrines of Methodism, which they believed to be in accordance with the inspired scriptures and best suited to men’s consciences.”
Benjamin Hyskell, a Virginian & one of the first Methodists to the area, along with his sons George & Frederick, settled in the area about 1790. The first place of preaching in the Warriors Mark area was at the home of the Hyskell’s. The log cabin which was built on what is known as the Hyskell or Leon Cox Farm, formerly the George Hutchison Farm, was one of the first preaching places in the valley. Another of the early preaching places, was the second floor of the house built by George Hyskell where Florence Neff now lives, formerly the John Hutchison Farm. A stairway was built on the outside to give direct access to the large room that was used.
In 1810, a log meeting house or church was built on ground which the records say, was given by Frederick Hyskell for a cemetery and a place to erect a Methodist church. This is what is known today as Burket Cemetery – about 1 mile from the center of Warriors Mark. There is no known picture of this building. In 1919 a marble marker was placed in Burket Cemetery marking the site of the first Methodist Church erected in 1810.
The Methodist people secured a lot in the new village of Warriors Mark and built a large wooden one-story structure with a basement. This is on the same site currently occupied by the present building. The church was near the road and entered from the north, facing the G.G. Hutchison residence. Rev. W. A. Carver, who was a junior preacher in Warriors Mark in 1872, visited the Warriors Mark Church on Homecoming Sunday, August 1936 and drew from memory a pencil sketch of the church built in 1840. This is a reproduction of the sketch.
The congregation built a large, two-story structure with a shapely steeple in 1873. It cost $7,000. The neighboring Presbyterians contributed a church bell that could be heard throughout the valley. This building continued to serve Methodism until January 28, 1929 when it was totally destroyed by fire. The people in Sunday School casually mentioned the smelling of smoke. No one investigated and as the services progressed, so did the fire within the walls. About a half hour after the worship service was over and the people had departed, the bell in the steeple began to ring. As they looked toward the church they saw dense smoke rising above it. The smell of smoke had become a reality, but in spite of every attempt to save it, the lovely structure burned down. Men and women carried everything out that was loose, even removing some of the beautiful glass windows thinking they could be used in the church that would be rebuilt. The front wall of the building bearing the dedicatory tablet “Erected in 1873” stood up to be the last part of the church to give way. The bell and steeple went shortly before, and the bell, ruined by the heat, never rang again.
1929 – 1930
After the fire of January 28, 1929, the congregation immediately set to work to build again and the present church, built of native stone hauled from the Allegheny Mountains and trimmed with native limestone was erected and dedicated just a year after the fire, February 2, 1930. The total expenditure was $38,500 in cash, plus $2,000 donated in labor and materials. Insurance on the old building provided $12,000 and contributions during the time of building amounted to $14,500 leaving a debt at the time of dedication of $12,000, which was paid in full by the end of the fiscal year 1942 – 1943. As in 1874, the Presbyterian friends gave the bell, which rings today.
1993 – 1994
The present addition was added to the back of the stone church building. The addition contains a large Gymnasium/Fellowship Hall, kitchen, six classrooms, a library, restrooms equipped with showers, a secretary’s office, and a pastor’s office. At the same time the addition was built, the sanctuary was renovated to a seating capacity of 300.