Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Morgantown, WVa
Job's Temple - Gilmer Co
The oldest log church in Gilmer Co.
In 1845, southern sympathizers within Gilmer County's Methodist Church broke away from the Methodist Church and formed the Methodist Church South. They constructed their own church, called Job Temple, in 1860. In 1979, it became Gilmer County's first site to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Job's Temple, one of the oldest log churches in West Virginia, is situated on West Virginia Route 5 in Gilmer County, West Virginia. It is a log structure, rather small, rectangular in shape, and similar to many log structures that served settlers as places of worship in the Appalachian Mountains through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The Temple, constructed by local labor between the years 1860 and 1866, is 18 x 24 feet in dimension, and constructed of 22" to 24" poplar logs that were locally cut. The poplar logs are laid in the familiar X squared & notched design which gives the Temple it's rectangular appearance. The roof was originally of hand-hewn clapboard (hewn with a broad axe ) , but due to natural deterioration , this roof was replaced by a tin roof in 1936. The original mortar was a clay mix, also done locally. Re-daubing was done i n the early 193Os, using the same type of local clay mix mortar as the original, and done in the original manner by a grandson of one of the first settlers in the area and supposedly one of the last individuals with knowledge of this old method.
The single entrance to Job's Temple faces east and consists of a large heavy wood door. There are four windows, two on the north and two on the south walls of the building. The interior of the building is in the same simplistic design as the exterior. Excepting a large section of the ceiling which is 1950 celetex, the interior is of wood and mostly original. The original sections of the ceiling are of poplar boards that are whipsawed and hand dressed. The walls (constructed of broad-boards), the floor , the wooden pulpit-lectern, and the wooden lamp stands are all original. The original benches were made from split-logs with wooden legs driven in a tether end. Only a few of these original benches remain, however. Most of the benches now in the Temple are backless, hand-made wooden benches constructed around 1934.
The property on which the Temple sits is approximately three acres and is mostly hilly and wooded. The 122 grave Job's Temple Cemetery is directly adjacent to the Temple, and dates from four years after the Temple itself was constructed. There is also a stone open-air lectern a few yards east of this church from which the various ceremonies and festivities connected with Job's Temple are conducted. Plans are in the offing to restore the original clapboard roof and the appropriate sections of the interior ceiling. Such a completed restoration would serve to enhance the beauty of this structure , which is already one of the areas most prominent and well-known landmarks.
Situated on a knoll overlooking Route 5 some nine miles from the Gilmer County seat of Glenville, Job's Temple stands as one of the only remaining Log churches still in use in the state of West Virginia. One of the oldest places of worship in central West Virginia, Job's Temple began as a result of the split in the Pisgah Methodist Church occasioned by the slavery issue in the 1850's. The pro-southern faction , or Methodist Episcopal Church (Southern), split from the main body of the Methodists and founded their own church near the site ofthe original Gilmer County courthouse (now disappeared) of De Kalb. Construction of the log structure was began in 1860, but the coming ofthe Civil War, during which most of Gilmer County's able-bodied men went off to fight , interrupted the building of the church. After the end of the Civil War the structure was completed in 1866, with the Rev. Pickens as it's first pastor.
Throughout the remainder of the 19th century, this log church, named Job's Temple after a local church member Job Westfall (not the Biblical Job) served as the primary place of worship and community center for the area. The church frequently served not only as a place of worship and focal point of weddings and funerals, but as a place of refuge during the frequent flooding that did and still does take place in this part of Gilmer County. In keeping with the spirit of a community center, the Temple was also used as the place of worship for the Baptist church during the year 1897-98. Sunday School continued to be held in Job's Temple until 1912, after which time the building was more or less abandoned except for occasional funerals and weddings and gradually fell into disrepair . Major renovations were begun in 1928 and continued throughout the early 1930's until the building was considered to be rehabilitated in 1936. At this time, the annual Job ' s Temple Homecomings began, which with ever-increasing attendance have continued down to the present time. The Homecoming is generally the concluding day's event ofthe annual West Virginia State Folk Festival,.which ends with Sunday services and a speech by some prominent West Virginian in the Temple.
Job's Temple was also the home of a prominent West Virginia "Singing School" during the period 1870-1890, which was attended by individuals from all over central West Virginia.
The Job's Temple Cemetery, which is directly adjacent to the Temple, is one of the oldest in Gilmer County, and the names on the grave markers represent some of the oldest and most prominent members of the Gilmer County community. The Cemetery is well-kept, and continues to be used. The last burial took place as recently as 1977. The object of great pride and veneration for the community, it is still the scene of weddings and funerals for members of the community.
Historical Marker located on Rt 5 about 10 miles west of Glenville (between DeKalb and Latonia).
View westbound on Rt 5, with Job's Temple on the hill to the right.
A better view of the church.
Nice riding out Rt 5 at this point.
pnoman screwed with this post 03-26-2009 at 03:57 PM